Sunday, July 18, 2010

Returning from Bayfield

Since we had mechanical problems with the Ural that were self-induced and we still had vacation planned, we went home to switch bikes to the SV650.

We decided to ride up to Bayfield taking the scenic route.

We took MN-210 through Jay Cooke State Park. I wrote about this on a previous visit, but it was even better this time with everything green.

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Is very beautiful and hard to leave, but we were starving. We had a very tasty lunch in Duluth, MN at the Whole Foods Co-Op. The same place I ate last time I made this part of the trip.

After Duluth, MN we went east on US-2 and picked up WI-13. WI-13 is a great road that hugs the south shore of Lake Superior. I highly recommend it!

We stopped at the mouth of the Bois Brule River. To get to this spot, we rode on a gravel road. It was my first time riding two-up on a gravel road. We survived it, but it was the longest four mile road I’ve ever been on. The washboard corrugations were especially exciting as was the deep gravel next to the corrugations! I thought the bike was going to vibrate apart.

The view was worth all the stress of the gravel.

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Back on WI-13 we continued to head east. The wildflowers were in full bloom and were intoxicating. We enjoyed them for over sixty miles.


At one of the stops we saw a Bald Eagle:

bald eagle

The SV on the shore of Lake Superior:


Wild flowers in bloom on the shore of Lake Superior:


We arrived in Bayfield, WI a bit later than we expected due to a detour we found out the next day was not necessary.


Boat pics for you:

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On Tuesday morning, we headed North on WI-13 to the State Park and the Little Sand Bay area. Just beautiful. Very clear water and clean sand.


The required pic of the SV and the Apostle Islands sign. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to take a ferry to any of the islands. Next time!


For the return trip we headed south from Bayfield, WI on WI-63 and then followed WI-77. Unfortunately, our favorite part of WI-77 starts near the intersection of WI-13. Next time!

We headed west on WI-77 for a good chunk of the day when I saw a nice little road heading off mentioning a wildlife viewing area and a state park.

The road was paved, so I turned in. It was a nice paved road too at two lanes wide. After a few miles, it shrunk to 1.5 lanes wide. Eventually it went to one lane, and got very bumpy. It appeared they just dumped some tar and stuck river rocks into it. It made cobble stones seem smooth. The pavement ended and gravel started then to my horror the gravel ended and turned to sand.


I had the exciting experience now of riding two-up in sand! My wife could sense I was quite tense and grabbed on to my right shoulder for extra support. Bad idea. It pulled my right hand back causing the throttle to open up and the bike surged ahead. After a LOT of wobbling, I got the bike back under control and I reminded her to grab my waist instead. We went a bit further until the road forked at a T-intersection.


Both sides had at least another 1/2 mile of sand that I could see. I decided to cut my losses and make a quick retreat as this was the wrong bike with the wrong tires for the road. At this time, we were passed by two ATVs. We turned the bike around and crawled back out to the road. Another patch of deep sand on the return trip made the bike buck and jump all over. Sport tires to not like deep sand.

We made it back to WI-77 and continued our trek home. We eventually hooked up with WI-48 and took that back to WI-70 into Minnesota. We were pretty exhausted, so we wimped out and took I-35 back to the Twin Cities.

In the five day trip we covered four states and 1304 miles using two different bikes. Even though it wasn’t the trip we anticipated when we started, we had a fantastic time. It also turned into a good shakedown ride for our Big River Ride in August 2010.

We refined our packing ideas, learned we need a new solution for locking helmets and coats to the bike. It also showed me that my phone can write the blog, but getting the photos included on the road without a computer was not possible since I upload everything to flickr. The gear list for August will hopefully include a small netbook.

Full Flickr Photo Set here.

Related Posts:

  • Finding Bayfield
  • Uraling the Trans Wisconsin Trail: The Photos
  • Uraling the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail: Day 3...
  • Uraling the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail: Day 2...
  • Uraling the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail: Day 1...


    1. Dear Chris:

      I found your account of this trip to be most gripping... Except the part about the gravel. I hate riding in gravel and do it very reluctantly and poorly. I would not even attempt to ride in sand — let alone with a woman I loved on the back.

      I'm not surprised some part of the Ural gave out... I read the episode regarding the tire. I don't think "if" is the question with a Ural, but "when." You and Charlie6 amaze mw with these machines.

      Fondest regards,
      Jack • reep • Toad
      Twisted Roads

    2. Dear Jack: Thank you! That is high praise coming from great writer like you. I thought I'd give the sand a try. I've already proved I'm a bit crazy by selling my car and riding in the snow on a Ural! ;)

      If those long way round guys can do it on 1000lb GSs. I might be able to do it on mine too I think different tires would have helped slightly. :)

      I'm still going to investigate trying to get these other two tires replaced under warranty. They seemed to fail too fast.