Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail
Hi! I am writing to tell you about the first of what I hope will be many rides on my new 650XT.
A it about myself, I have been riding for years as a Long Distance rider and have completed many Iron Butt rides, I have certificates for some and others just kept the documentation as a souvenir (why pay for another certificate). Those rides were always on a sport touring bike. I would go to rallies and admire the adventure bikes, but frankly was afraid to ride one as I figured there would be a purchase on the horizon.
I attended the IMS in Chicago in 2015 and swung my leg over a 650 XT and felt the need to own one. I had many conversations with my wife about buying one and riding to Alaska. It always came back to me taking one of my other bikes, which was reasonable(truth be told, I am not always reasonable). I had a right brain / left brain argument on this and this year one of them won. I picked up a leftover new '15 and have been riding it as much as I can since. The driver in purchasing this was to do adventure riding, rather than use as my LD bike. Since purchase though I have had to make a conscience decision to ride my other bikes.
This last week, a friend of mine and I rode the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail and I realized a few things:
- The mental workout of riding on these trails is much more than riding on the road. By this I mean the constant watching of the terrain for changing conditions.
- The physical workout of riding on these trails is much more than riding on the road.
- I NEED BETTER TIRES. I would look for recommendation, although this is not meant to be a tire thread. I may start one (or oil) in the middle of winter.
- Packing will be different than when I am touring on the road.
- I need practice! I feel that we may have hit a few trails that were a bit stretched for the very limited (nonexistent) skills I had going into this.
- Get better at this, or learn to pick up my bike myself!
Back to the report. We left out of the Green Bay area on Sunday late afternoon and enjoyed a short ride down to Governor Dodge State Park for camping. The weather was hot and humid for this leg. The heat and humidity broke as we rode through light rain and into the cold front. The evening was cooler (20 degrees cooler), which made me think I should have brought more than my poncho liner to wrap up in.
Monday morning we went down to the Illinois border for the beginning of this trail and started the ride through the driftlesss region. The day primarily consisted of paved roads that followed the Mississippi north, we cut into IA. Due to the high amount of rain SW Wisconsin has had, we were routed around the Cassville area and back onto the trail in the Prairie du Chien area. We continued on the trail north and decided to break off the course to visit my riding partners daughter in the La Crosse area. It was difficult to find an open campground, again due to the flooding. The roads that were selected were excellent and the views were breath taking. A rough guess is the composition was 90% paved, 10% gravel (Cassvile was washed out).
We left out of La Crosse and cut over to get back on the trail and started heading north again. We decided that we would change the destination for the evening to Eau Claire, so we could visit with an old friend. We found our first trails to ride here and this is where I realized I needed better tires. This is also where I have had my first tipover, which I am not sure I am embarrassed to say there was 4 on this ride. On the first trail, the sand got so deep so quickly that we opted to turn around and head deeper down the gravel road. The second trail we stumbled upon had spots of sand, which felt like I was on ice. I did have the front end wash one way and the rear an opposite, which was my first get off. I ATTEMPTED TO ADD A YOUTUBE LINK, ALTHOUGH CANNOT DUE TO BEING NEW The most damage done was to my ego. We continued further and came upon another trail. We went to pull off to look at the map and I slid off the trail and the bike tipped over (does this count as a getoff?, if so #2). The rest of the day was much better, I was gaining confidence and we had a wonderful evening of conversation with our friend.
The start of Wednesday was rainy and crappy. We got a bit of a late start and got back on the trail and rode to Clam Lake. The trails were getting more fun as we went. By this I mean allot less sand, but when there was sand, the pucker factor was up there! On the fire roads, we came across some very small water crossings. Jay rode around them, although they were so small that I opted to run through them. We came upon one and I said to Jay watch this (think hold my beer). He rode around the water hazard, I hammered through it. I did not compensate for where he was in the trail, slammed on the brakes and tipped over (#3). This one was due completely to stupidity. We continued on to Clam lake following the National Forest Roads and trails, what a blast! When we arrived at Clam Lake, we rode over to a campground, although the state bird (mosquitoes) were so bad that we opted for a motel (if you call it that). Looking at it from a training perspective, I was 50% better as I only dropped my bike once.
Thursday we started heading NE and rode some magnificent trails through the Nationals Forest. I feel that a couple of these had no traffic on them for a long time due to the amount of vegetation on/in them. We were riding down one of these very less traveled roads and a hunting dog came out on the trail between us. This got me to thinking that if there is a hunting dog out here, chances are whatever it is tracking is near! I ATTEMPTED TO ADD A YOUTUBE LINK, ALTHOUGH CANNOT DUE TO BEING NEW Shortly after this, we stopped at The Delta Diner for lunch, we had great conversation with the owner who is an off road enthusiast who rides a KTM. After lunch we came to a point that there was a water crossing that Jay could not go around, so he went through his first. This was the deepest of all of them and my concern was dropping my bike IN the water. I made it through, although hit a patch of mud after exiting. This was 4 of 4 for drops and attribute this one to inexperience and tire. I did not spot the mud patch until I was being removed from the bike. I ATTEMPTED TO ADD A YOUTUBE LINK, ALTHOUGH CANNOT DUE TO BEING NEW
We continued on into Cornucopia and rode along the shore of Lake Superior a bit before heading S to Hurley. Friday I jumped on the highway and back to Green Bay in time to have lunch with my wife with just over 3,000 miles on the odometer, approx 1,400 was this ride. WHAT A BLAST!
Green Bay, WI