Saturday, January 16, 2010

Touring the Frozen Lakes on a Ural

Ural at Lake Johanna Sunset

The sky was clear with the temps around 35F and my Ural returned running good as new, I had to go for a ride.

We started the ride planning on just doing the grand rounds tour we like so much, but ended up trying to see how many lakes we could get the Ural onto or in pictures with.

Mississippi River

The above is a shot of the Mississippi from NE Minneapolis on the east side.

Ural at Wirth Lake

Wirth Lake was the first lake we found, but no boat launch in sight.

Ural at Cedar Lake

Cedar Lake was the second lake we found, no boat launch.

waiting for the train

We continued on the Grand Rounds roads and got stuck waiting for this train.

Ural and Lake Calhoun

Lake Calhoun… closed area.

Ural and Lake Harriet

Lake Harriet. I missed the boat launch turn and with the one way, didn’t want to ride all the way around to get on the lake.

Minnehaha Creek

We followed Minnehaha Creek east across Minneapolis.

There were lots of people out today ice skating, cross country skiing, and just enjoying the warm weather. Today was 35F, the first day above 20F in the last month. It has been around –10F to 20F.

minneapolis skyline

Minneapolis Skyline from the 50th Street bridge.

Ural and Lake Nokomis

Lake Nakomis. There seemed to be some sort of course set up on the lake. Large tents setup on shore. I wonder if there is/was some ice race?

Ford Parkway Bridge over Mississippi RiverMississippi River

Ford Parkway Bridge over the Mississippi from the Minneapolis West bank. The setting sun made the St. Paul side glow.

Ural and Mississippi River Bank at Sunset

More glowing on the St. Paul side.

U of MU of M

University of Minnesota - East Bank Campus

Downtown Minneapolis

Downtown Minneapolis from under the I35W Mississippi Bridge

Underneath I35W Bridge over Mississippi

This is under the I35W bridge above, and the only place we saw the Mississippi free of ice. The rest of it is covered with snow and ice.

Downtown with Gutherie Theater

Another Minneapolis skyline shot with the new Gutherie Theater. I was happy to get the scrolling sign on top to say “Gutherie Theater” on the first try.

Ural and Minneapolis Skyline at Sunset

Minneapolis skyline at sunset from Boom Island Park.

Ural at Langton Lake

Langton Lake, no boat launch here.

Ural at Lake Johanna Sunset

Finally! Lake Johanna. While we were riding around the lake, we observed many trucks and a four wheeler riding around on the lake. I’ve been past the boat launch on this lake many times, and made a bee-line right for it. I stopped just before the lake and enabled 2WD.

We caught many strange looks as we went sailing across the lake. The view from the middle of the lake was also great, and not something I would normally get to see. There were “roads” packed into the snow on top of the lake from the trucks that were ice fishing. As long as I stayed on the roads, we didn’t run into any trouble.

I ventured off the “road” a couple times into the four to six inch snow and nearly got stuck the second time. The Ural is only about five inches off the ground, so it was a bit exciting. I think a knobby pusher tire would make it much easier. Riding on the lake was like riding in the mud and dirt with a dirt bike or a giant parking lot covered in ice and snow. Lots of fun!!  The Ural Patrol really is a street legal ATV or a snow mobile with three wheels as my co-workers like to call it.

We only visited seven lakes on this trip, but there are dozens nearby. We passed almost ten more that we couldn’t figure out how to get a photo with short of stopping in the middle of the road. They don’t call Minnesota the “land of 10,000 lakes” for nothing.

PS: For you observant types, that isn’t me in the sidecar. I had my sidecar monkey with me; she had a great time and wants to ride on more lakes soon.


  1. Your sidecar monkey is nuts! Very sporting, but crazy all the same.

    I can just hear it now......

    Me: Come on, lets go for a ride.

    My wife: Are you mad - it is freezing out there!

    Me: Ok, it s a little cold, but I want to go ride on the lake.

    My wife: Go take your medicine and lie down for a while!

    I admire your spirit, but touring frozen lakes is not for me.

    A great read however!


  2. Does look like fun ... but I'm happy living in Washington. -:)

  3. Charlie6: Thank you!

    Gary: She literally fell on the floor laughing after reading your comment. She didn't need any convincing to come with. :) Thanks!

    Chuck: It was fun :)

  4. So I rode today about 35F here and as I wasn't totally freezing, I would say you are either much more prepared, have all heated gear, or just a bigger man than me!! to ride in such cold weather.. wow!

    I have grip heaters to install but I need better head coverage for sure. Feet were getting cold but mostly my chin/neck even with my gator on, hands a bit chilly and feet. Need better cold weather gear!

    and bro.. is amazing.. thanks for the hook up!!!!! if you have a profile let me know I'll share my rides with you.

  5. Bash3r: Thanks! LOL. I doubt I'm a bigger man than you! I am probably much more prepared (and better gear) as I have been riding nearly every day since Feb 09. In the last few months, I've learned a lot about riding in the cold. Layers are important, especially windproof layers.

    I only have a heated vest and heated gloves, but I plan on getting a gerbing heated coat at the motorcycle show next month. I haven't used either on the last couple rides. The Ural also has a lot more wind protection than the WR250R. is neat. I sent you an e-mail.

  6. Chris:

    glad to see your Patrol is running like new. I missed all the drama about running on one cylinder and it bothers me when "They" don't find anything wrong. I seldom wear heated clothing although I have a heated vest, heated gloves, and heated grips. I worry more about adhesion/slippage on wet/icy roads.

    I love your sidecar monkey. Your audience require a few "Helmet-less" photos in the future, with helmet hair. thanks so much in advance for your kind compliance.

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  7. Bob: Welcome back :) I don't think it gets cold enough for you to need heated gear. :) You still have green grass in your "winter"

    What? Ride without a helmet?! tsk tsk... that just won't do. She's a bit camera shy, so we'll just have to see.

  8. Chris:

    Helmet-less photos, NOT helmet-less riding/sitting

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin