Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bikepack to the UP Day 1

The thought of riding my bike to my in-laws in Michigans Upper Peninsula has been rattling around in the back of my mind for a couple of years now.  I finally decided this was the year do it and if I didn't put it on the calendar it would just keep getting pushed off.  The week before labor day would work great as I would have a ride back home when Kerry came up to her parent for the Labor day weekend.

The weeks before setting off were used to fine tune my route and make an ongoing list of things that I absolutely needed to bring.  The route I chose was a very good mix of tar roads, gravel trails, maintained forest roads, and doubletrack with a bonus bit of singletrack thrown in.  I chose to ride my full sus mt. bike because it's comfortable and rolls nearly as well as my commuter cross bike despite having tires that are more than double the volume.  Given the bike choice, and it's lack of bike racks I suited the bike up with a Revelate Viscacha seat pack and then sewed up a custom frame bag.  The handlebars would support a lashed on waterproof stuff sack.

The entire route, as planned, would be 315 miles.  I planned to ride that over the course of 4 days.  Day 1 would take me from home in White Bear Lake, to Cameron WI.  I would ride primarily tar roads up to Osceola where I would jump on the crushed limestone Stower Seven Lakes trail, which would take me to Amery.  There I would jump on the gravel Cattail multi-use trail which would bring me to Almena.  From there it was tar backroads to my campsite in Memorial Park in Cameron for the first night of camping.

Day one ended up being 86 miles and the Cattail Trail was much bumpier than I banked on and the extra weight in my backpack took a toll on my butt.  Some adjustments would have to be made for the rest of the trip.  Mom ended up coming over from Scandia and joined me for the first night.  It was a pleasant surprise.  Since she came into town, we were able to run back into town for a bite to eat in DT Cameron.

The route as a whole

The bike, fully laden just prior to take off.

On the road near Scandia where I met up with my parents as I passed by their house. 

Great cruising on the Stower Trail

Cattail trail

Loose and rough terrain on the cattail trail

Home for the first night