The following is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Off Highway Motorcycle

We rode about 45 miles this day..G Man had at least 10 more than the rest of us by doing laps around the parking area 
 After our family trip with the moto-bikes, I was kind of on a roll and wanted to keep it going with multiple trips up to the same area. I had just gotten my bike out of the garage and was feeling good about twisting a throttle after a couple years of mothballing it.  G Man had just gotten his OHM youth training out of the way and had a new bike. I wanted to get him out and do some real riding before the trails closed for the year and/or the weather got nasty.


A little deeper than he thought 

This was nice and clean
  My friends, Best in Schow, and Vandy just got their Yamaha Big Wheels trail worthy so it took very little arm twisting to get them to take a day off of work to go ride. G Man was excited to get a day off of school as well. We choose Wednesday, which turned out to be a fantastic, warm, sunny day in October.  So, with all the bikes loaded up early in the morning we headed north to Nemadji State Forest. that a hand gun on the table?

I don't really like taking pics of food but this was soooooo   good
 There are many single track,two track, and fast, open roads up there to get lost on. I've been there  a half a dozen times, but still can't make any sort of judgment as to where I am once I get going. Not knowing your way around up there just means you may have to ride longer, which is not a problem when all you have to do is twist the throttle. Our group of four spent the first part of the day on some twisty, rough single track, and then backtracked all of it to try and find a lost GPS unit. We never found it, but ended up back at the vehicles around 1PM to cook some lunch.
Best in Schow

  The second half of the day was much less technical and fast. We hit mostly the two track 4-wheeler trails and the logging roads. We all had a ton of fun and G Man proved himself a worthy rider. I was very impressed with his ability and thrilled that I could do something this awesome with my oldest son. It was one of those times that I thought would never be a reality while changing diapers and feeding him that nasty stuff out of a baby food jar. I've had a lot of these kinds of moments with all of my boys, they are growing into some fine young adventurers and I am grateful to be experiencing all of it with them. I was fun to ride with my homies as well, even though one of those big wheels nearly broke my ankle.
Motorcycle Gang 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kettle River Sampler

Coffee...check    Monster....check
We're all good
 Sometimes I feel guilty about not using certain items in my collection of gear. Most recently it's been the pack-raft, I love this thing. The summer was so busy with all sorts of other fun stuff that I really didn't get out on it(except 1 time that was freakin' awesome..... I'll write about that later).

I never get tired of seeing a bike strapped on my raft, although it paddles much better without it

 So........When ArcFlash and myself were making plans for the Winter Camping Symposium we decided to throw the rafts in the van so we could use them on Sunday before returning home. Very close to the spot we camped for the weekend was the Kettle River. I've never been on the river but have heard scary stories about the Devil's Kettle and other dangerous rapids running through Banning State Park. The six mile section we choose was miles north of Banning, had no rapids and was close to the Munger Trail that we would use to get back to our vehicle. Just a little south was a temping section that listed many class 1 and 2 rapids.

We risked all.......and won !

Stopped to check out an abandoned building....some call this Urban X, except this is far from an urban setting 
  Since the water was cold, and I didn't have my dry-suit we stuck to the easy flat water. The river level was low and we would be carrying bikes so I'm sure it would not have been as much fun as it would be in the spring or after a heavy rain.  It took us about two hours to get back on land after we shoved off. The short trip was on a very nice fall day and was a good way to round off the weekend


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dirt Bikes and Firearms

Beautiful fall day
 As the title suggests.... Mid October, the family van was headed north with five dirt bikes and as many guns. My dad has a small retreat, comfortably suitable for two on 10 acres but we would jam five of us into the little cabin. On the plus side, it's clean, bug free, heated and we can cook in it.....perfect!  We don't go there very often so when we arrived it was nice to see the building was still there.

G man's new bike ...Thanks StCroixTroy 

I got these squirrel targets for Super Y..he hates squirrels since one tried to kill him a few years ago with the Plague 

 We didn't have any big plans for the weekend except to mess around on the bikes, shoot some guns and eat. We arrived on Friday night.... late ,with the only concrete goal for the next day to sleep-in. After breakfast I unloaded the the bikes and we all messed around trying to wear-in some trails by repeated passes. The terrain is so rough up there we didn't get too far but enjoyed it none the less.
loading the clip 

This kicks way harder than the 22 and it's too long for him, so he got an assist 
  Later in the afternoon we got the guns out and shot off about 150 rounds with the 22's. These are so scarce now I didn't want to use much more than that. We also had a couple pellet guns and one single shot 20ga that was my first gun at the age of 13. Although this one kicks much more noticeably, the kids liked it the most because it shows way more damage when a target is hit.
you lookin at me ?   sucka 

 The next day we all slept in again, ate and packed up early. Nearby, in the town of Moose Lake are the Soo Pits, an off-road motorized playground. G Man just got himself a DR-Z 110 the week before, passed his OHM (off hiway motorcycle) safety test, and was itching to really test it out. Up until now, the boys have only been able to ride in the yard at home. This is fun and all, but very small in relation to the range the motorcycle can cover. The two younger brothers , Super Y and Big D have not gotten their safety certificates to ride public land and their bikes are not legal since they are cheap pieces of junk from china, and don't have spark arrestors, so they had to sit this portion out.

Soo Pits

  Lynn was also out riding in the pits with her TTR 125, it was good to see her using the bike, it has barley seen the light of day from the back of the garage since we had kids. We messed around for a couple hours and packed up, grabbed a nice late lunch in town and headed home....... Brrrrap
Super Y and Big D occupied their time with agate hunting at the pits 

I told him to go through the mud...kept it clean instead 
   P.S.... this is the last time you will ever see brrrapp used again on this blog.  2 stroke dirt bikes make that sound, mountain bikes do not.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Winter Camping Symposium 2014

The third weekend of October was the 17th annual Winter Camping Symposium taking place at YMCA Camp Miller in Sturgeon Lake Mn. I was there for my first time with ArcFlash. I had heard about this thing going on for quite a few years and thought it was about time I joined in to see what it was all about.
About half way

The sunset was awesome
 From the photos I saw on their website it appeared to be all about warm, heated camping in canvas wall tents. I thought this would be the perfect place for me to use my lightweight canvas pyramid tent and extra small wood stove, so I signed up.The requirement for myself was to at least partially ride my bike to the event with all of my gear that I would need in a real winter bike-packing situation with my heated system.
AF got this photo...I like it 

Dude from  Enlightened 
 Originally AF and I were going to drive up together, park our vehicle and ride the last 15-20 miles. AF decided not to ride and volunteered to drop me off anywhere I wanted. This worked out well since I was able to have him bring some of my gear and fire-wood. This was a bit of a cheat on my part, but as far as having everything I would need to camp free and clear of assistance I was prepared. On the bike I had tent,wood stove,cook-wear, including a small stove, sleeping mat,sleeping bag,ground cloth,enough food for a dinner and breakfast, fold-able water bottles, head lamp, and an extra down jacket. In Af's van was some more food, pop, and clothing. The fire wood was brought along because I wasn't sure if I would be able to forage for my own on site, so I didn't consider that cheating.
Muskrat Metal Works....nice stoves made by a super cool dude

Cooke Custom Sewing...another nice and knowledgeable fellow
AF dropped me off in Finlayson, about 14-15 miles from the site in Sturgeon Lake. The ride was super easy on the Munger Trail , a relatively flat, paved, former railroad grade. I didn't care, it was just what I need after a long work week, it was also a beautiful, unseasonably warm evening. I arrived after dark and was greeted by someone at the check-in station. AF was also there and he showed me to the little spot for us to set-up our tents.
All the comforts of home

Super light heated tents made by the guy from Empire Wool and Canvas for his personal use 
The next morning I got a fire going and warmed up the tent while I was still in my sleeping bag. It wasn't very cold for "winter camping", maybe 35 F, but as long as I had the wood stove I might as well enjoy my breakfast sitting in a t-shirt. The first seminars got going at 10 am, AF and I stuck together and sat-in on one about cold weather hammocks. From there we went to see about making bread in a frying pan. We ducked out early to go see another about wood stoves, Muskrat Metalworks stoves in particular. After that we caught the tail end of a clinic about making your own choppers from Cooke Custom Sewing and then another from the same guy about tarps and how to rig them. There were also some presentations about fat-bikes and fat-bike travel.
Old school canvas tent conversion 

Gigantic M-1950 arctic military tent
In the afternoon there was also a tent tour in which a large group traveled the grounds and those in the group that wanted to share anything about their particular tent could do so at that time. They almost missed mine, it was so small some wondered if it was for pets or just some sort of a display. My system was not as well received as I had hoped, some thought it was really cool while others didn't seem to get it. Big tents with all the comforts of home seemed to be the way a lot of the campers leaned.
These were everywhere wonder, they are great tents by Snowtrekker

custom made double wall tent made by the guy from Muskrat MW
  The day was jam packed with useful information from the presenters as well as others chiming in about their own tips and tricks. The seminars went well into the evening with the main guest speaker presenting a slide show of this accomplishment in achieving the Triple Crown , with an emphasis on the snowy sections. After that was a screening of a short film of a winter expedition in Canada. From there the party moved to either a large fire outside or live music in one of the other buildings, and in the wee hours became one at the fire.   I met quite a few interesting, knowledgeable, and friendly people and will definitly be back in 2015 to have some more fun.