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Discussion Starter #1
I will be going with some friends on ATV's (Me on the Strom) to ride some of the forestry roads in May. We plan on staying in one of the free (Donation)camp sites. If some of the areas that my friends want to hit are too muddy I plan on driving the Echo Trail and Highway 1 again.

A link to the off road maps is here:http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/superior/recreation/atv_trails/

I've driven some of them in the Tofte area before:http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/superior/recreation/atv_trails/documents/ohv_tabloid_tof.pdf

We are leaning towards the Poplar River Campground at this time. I know that road is a hoot to ride.http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/superior/recreation/camping/rustic_camp.php

These are what many of the roads look like:http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/superior/recreation/atv_trails/Examples%20of%20Low%20Standard%20Roads.pdf

I'll probalby avoid most of the ones that look like this:http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/superior/recreation/atv_trails/Example%20of%20unclassified%20road.pdf
 

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I live in Grand Marais. My backyard is the Superior Forest.

Let me know what routes you're interested in, and I'll scout them out for you to make sure that they're in decent shape. Also, of course, I'll be more than happy to ride with you.

I'm thinking of putting together a Grand Portage to Ely off-pavement ride later on. This would be on maintained dirt roads, for the most part. We'll have to see what the roads are like after the snow melts.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've done an off pavement ride from just outside of Grand Marias to Isabella before. Lots of fun. Only been up to Grand Portgage once.

Right now we don't have any specific routes, plan on deciding what to drive once we get there. Would be glad to run into you. This would be only one weekend. Later I still plan on riding around Superior so I'll be up your way twice.
 

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Hey Gents, I'm interested to see/hear any of your experiences. I just learned about the forest roads late last summer, but did not get a chance to get up and explore. I'm looking for places where my son and I can do some longer rides (he doesn't yet have his driver's license, so it's all got to be off state roads) perhaps with some camping.

When you mention the all off-pavement rides, are those entirely on forest service roads? Or are some of them state gravel roads?

And while I'm up to riding on any of the stuff shown in the pics on the little dirt bikes, I'm probably only comfortable on the OML2 roads on the 'Strom. What's typical for these longer routes?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Technically even on forest roads that are not designated for OHV use you need a drivers license to be on. There are quite a few interconnected routes up there for you to explore with your son, especially on smaller bikes. I only have the one and can't get a second if I keep the same wife if you know what I mean.
 

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I've been on the route your are thinking of taking--Poplar River Campground with my Vstrom. Didn't camp, but I did go by the campground. Lot's of gravel roads. Lot's of fun. I may be interested in going with you. Email me with a date.
 

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The roads I've got in mind are a combination of forest service roads, county roads, and reservation access roads. It's a real hodgepodge in that regard. Most of them are pretty well maintained. There are also snowmobile and ATV trails, but I think they want to keep anything that isn't a snowmobile off the sled trails, year-round.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Iron llama, let me know when you plan on doing the ride, I would be interested. I don't plan on going through much mud though, and some of those areas can be pretty muddy.
 

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Probably mid-to-late summer. I drive most of these roads pretty frequently at work- especially closer to Grand Portage and Grand Marais. You can take a 2wd car on them most of the time. From time to time they'll get flooded out, but if we hold off until after the spring rains and snowmelt we should be okay. I'll cross-post an announcement once I get back on the bike, in the Canadian forum, in case any of the Ontario riders want to tag along
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great, we are thinking of May 23-25.
 

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I'll keep that weekend free!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Date change -

I can't go Mother's Day weekend, wife would divorce me costing more then I can afford.

Friend #1 can't go May 16-18 as his wifes 30th birthday is May 18 so she would divorce him.

Friend #2 won't go Memorial day cause he wants to go on a vacation with his current girlfriend.

Friends #1 and #2 won't go earlier cause it might snow like today.

Now I need to see what weekend we can go in June.

I am about ready to just go myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I am looking to something myself on Labor day weekend. Iron Llama you going to be around?

On the second weekend of June the three of us will be up there.
 

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Yeah, I don't have any plans to be out of town that weekend. Most of the roads I have in mind are covered in snow, and a few are currently snowmobile trails. I'll probably be able to start riding those- after they warm up and dry out- in a month, give or take. But I've driven every road I have in mind in 2WD, so a bike can handle it. There are some logging roads out here, also, if you want to get a bit more adventurous. I have a route in mind, but haven't put it into Google Earth or anything yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I understand the snow covered part! I bet there is still a lot of snow up there!

If the roads are snowmobile trails that is a good sign of not being used by logging trucks before spring road restrictions go on. At least I don't think they have hit that part of the state yet. They are on down here.
 

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I haven't heard anything about that. I'm starting to go into Google Earth and lay out the route I'm contemplating. I'll post it here when I've got it set.
 

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Partial route

Route so far

114 mi – about 4 hours 57 mins

That's what I've got roughed out so far. This is assuming that what Google has in their databases accurately represents what exists on the ground... some of the names are incorrect, but look mostly accurate.

Grand Portage is about 45 minutes north of Grand Marais, or just under 3 hours north of Duluth. It's about an hour south of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The route I have planned out ends at Highway 1- turn right, and you're an hour or two south of Ely. Turn left and you're headed back towards Duluth, or Thunder Bay.

I've driven this entire route- in bits and pieces- a number of times over the past 6 months, at work. The route is entirely drivable in a 2WD car when the roads are dry. Of the 114 miles, less than 20 are on asphalt. I have not (yet) ridden any on my DL650 but eagerly anticipate doing so.

Right now some of the roads are plowed asphalt (Devil Track, Gunflint Trail). Some are snowmobile trails (Pine Mountain, Shoe Lake Rd). Some are cleared gravel (The Grade, aka The Grounds). Some are logging roads (Ringo Rd), and also used by snowmobiles.

Paved roads up here are generally in poor condition. This is a poor county and there isn't a lot of discretionary income to maintain asphalt. The roads are bumpy, as the frost heaves wreck havoc on them. That's okay; the scenery is some of the best I've ever seen, and you'll want to ride slowly to take it all in. You don't want to whiz past a moose without noticing it.

You also don't want to whiz *into* a moose without noticing it- or, more likely, a deer. There are dozens of deer strikes every week. I hit one in my truck and thankfully didn't damage my vehicle, even if I did have to put down the deer. These deer are suicidal and like to play in traffic. I had one cut across the road and trip over my trailer hitch- while I was driving at 55 mph. Don't plan on carving up the twisties in high-speed, low-altitude strafing runs- deer love to hide behind blind corners. So do moose, bear, timberwolves, and hippies.

On this note, any deer hunters out there... this is an intensive management zone, and this past season you could buy tags to take up to 5 deer. Please, please... take some of these ambulatory road hazards out of the woods, and put them in your freezer!

I'll pop into the Canadian forum and mention this to them.

Let me know when you have a date in mind, I'll scout the route for you and then ride it with you. As I think of it, I'll collect GPS waypoints for a bunch of these intersections.

There are also logging roads and forestry roads, and lots (and lots!) of places to catch fish. Some of my favorite restaurants of all time are on the Gunflint Trail. There is a casino in Grand Portage, but no tables- just machines.

Keep two down!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That route looks like fun. Currently I know I will be up there the second weekend of June, and I plan on being up there on Memorial day weekend.

Let me know when you are having your ride and I'll get there.

My family and I can only eat 3 deer/year. My wife and daughter are sick of venison, I wanted a venison roast on Saturday and my wife said no way.
 

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Sounds good. Sorry for the delay in posting on here; my computer died and I just recently replaced it.

I don't know when I want to put this ride on. It's going to depend on the feedback from on here, as you folks are the only ones I know who would be interested. Everyone I know up here rides Harleys or sportbikes.

Shoot me an email when you come up, we'll go for a ride, maybe even this one.
 

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Hi Iron_llama,

We met last September at a wayside on the Gunflint. The ride sounds fun, and I think SteveT would be interested, that is if scheduling works out for us. Hopefully you guys will decide to stop having snow storms soon and things will dry off a little. I'll keep an eye on the forum to see if/when you post a date.
 
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