Monday, October 28, 2013

Shakedown Ocho

We call her Ocho because she gets 8 mpg & sometimes Erv as a pronunciation of RV. Sometime it's "Camper" so we really haven't settled on a name. We just got her after a long search and took it to Willow River State Park in Wisco as a maiden voyage, day trip.

We had most of the day and a small backpack of snacks and other sundry supplies for a 2 or 3 hour hike. We intend on taking the purple, brown and orange trail but Scooby (the dog) had other plans. Note: the gray trail north of the lake.

About 40 minutes into the hike we get to a bridge and Scooby just turns and pulls us along. I don't bother to check the map because I believe we are on what is commonly called a 'lollipop' trail. That means out, around a loop and then back down the stick you came in on.

Well this wasn't the lollipop but the start of the long gray trail on the map that goes north and east the entire length of the park so we just committed to a 9 mile hike. We figure it out about 30 minutes down the gray trail when I realize we are still going east and the sun should be in our eyes and it's not. We figure it doesn't really matter and we have plenty of what if gear.

We take a side trail to an overlook but not expecting to be out this long have only basic snacks. Scooby has a Milk-bone so he's thrilled.

Willow River State Park has a very nice navigable river and one nasty set of falls. There is also some of the hardest sport climbing in the area. In all the years of rock climbing I never did get to climb here.
The photo on the right shows a huge overhang, you climb up and over the lip to the short face before lowering down!

After the falls it's a matter of making our way back to Ocho and the backside of the lake we overlooked for our rest stop.

Less than 5 minutes after we return and clean the dog of burs and other ditritus the sky opens and we get hard rain for 20 minutes. Not that it matters we are in the heated comfort of Ocho having lunch while Scooby sleeps on the couch. 

A few days later we take Ocho on a 4 day whirlwind tour of the north shore state parks followed by a 3 day southern tour. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Smirched by Grime

Fat Bike Adventure Ride hosted by Deathrider went off a little over a week ago. This is the 3rd and possibly the last F.BAR. DeathRide Adventure 2012 was the first one I blogged and the very first  F.BAR 2011 was when I met Death.

This year we meet up based on a satellite picture of a roof top. This is brilliant! On the weekend we have the ramp to ourselves and the free ride down the ramp from the 4th floor is a blast and gets the riders all on the same pace, fast. The slow pokes that want to sit back in the saddle and have a MORC ride find themselves holding on to the tail of a monster for dear life and learn very quickly that they either better get peddling or their F.BAR is over already!

Deathrider doesn't say it but in the 3rd year he is more catering to the people on the monster's tail. The first 2 years we start with 14+ riders and finish with 4 or 5. This year we only dropped 4 or 5 so most finished. The  F.BAR hidden motto, "Fall behind, get left behind" is either weakening or riders are showing up with horns enough to run with the monster.

Enough with the history. Lets stoke the story and get on with the big pixels of modern show and tell.
It's maybe 50 degrees out so first things first is to get everyone wet to the knees in water and mud to cut the tail off the monster. It's like a Band-Aid, get it done right away.

We drop into a ravine and follow a low flow yet thick mud creek down a few thousand feet then a muddy foot hill climb to a trail. Down the trail to a road and a road to 5 1/2 more hours of cold wet adventure.
More trails lead to some woods and a sequitious natural line of weakness leads us to a tree that 'must be crossed' because nature lead us to it.

In the world, After Tree, we wind through the woods like a snake to the church of off road bikes and they have a swing!

A quick, pop, across space and time.....
And we enter into Adventure Temple
, Deathrider gets a flat, hummm. 
 But we get a giant swing, snacks and a little sun to warm and dry our cold wet bits.

 After a short rest and repair we crash back down into the woods, out of the sun and deeply into mud.

We have to time travel back so the best way to do this is a cave and we happen to have one.
We rack up the bikes to wait for everyone to complete the cave travel. For those that don't know each bike is at least $1500 with many well over $2000 and we have 14 hanging.

More creeks but this time it's a shield of rocks making riding savage hard.

Into the tall grass for a grind up a hill.
It wasn't to last. Grass gives way to more water and rocks.

 Mud follows water and this is the beginning of the real Smirching.

Too fully sully our pants, we need stinky mud about 10 inches deep.

It's time for Munch. We push our bikes to the top of a hill so brutal Rambo would have cried out.
I have a lovely tuna fish sandwich and warm Gatorade. (not pictured)

 The "World War" memorial because in 1922 when the Daughters of the American Revolution put it up they didn't know. 

After a short rest at the monument we bash into the woods and pass over this pipe on our way to the end of the F.BAR
 I'd like to return to this soon and get some better pictures. If the art is this good it means the drain is going to be super cool.

The last trail to civilization.
We hop the train and take over a car or two. The mud has dried so we don't make a mess of the place. The riders all take interest in a mass group of bikers where man and machine are painted thick with mud, grass, and seaweed.... We smile and share a little story about how we held onto the tail of a monster for the last 6 hours. 

Thanks Monster Josh.