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Riding in Minnesota & Wisconsin in the Fall - Part 2

As promised and to lack of universal acclaim here is the 2nd and maybe final instalment of my recent trip to the US.

You may recall that I ended Part 1 following a trip to northern Wisconsin and Minnesota close to the western edge of Lake Superior by heading back to my friend’s house in Voyager Village.

The following day, Monday, saw an easy ride around the local area taking in a few lakes and a lunch break at one of them, Sand Lake, as you can see the weather was beautiful.

Sand Lake, Wisconsin

The only issue was that my bike wouldn’t start, I firmly believe that Doyle sabotaged it so that I was forced to ride one of his Harley’s. In fact, his favourite. The dark reddish coloured beastie featured in Part 1. After getting used to a quite different animal with a clutch you needed a grip like Tarzan to operate all went well and we had a good day.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t happy when the FJR was restored to health, and I was able to continue riding a proper bike for the rest of the week.

Tuesday was a big day in the Peck (Doyle & Karen) household with the arrival of Keith, a lifelong friend of Doyle’s going back 60 plus years. Keith, like Doyle is a Minneapolis native who also now resides in Wisconsin but on the northeast side of the state, close to Lake Michigan. Keith is a military veteran having served in The Marines in the 1970’s with postings including Vietnam, Korea and Japan. I have met Keith on several occasions both in Wisconsin and Florida and he is a big man with a big heart. A really nice person to be around.

It’s fair to say that Doyle and Keith like a drop of booze now and then and Tuesday’s session got underway around lunchtime.

The plan was to go to The Shop for an early dinner as it was a special Taco Tuesday. The Shop is not what it seems, not a shop at all but a bar in the middle of the woods. It is extremely popular and by 4.30 people were queueing out of the door.

Fortunately, we had arrived at 3.45 so had got a decent table. Doyle and Keith well on with the drinks.

The odd thing was that only Doyle had the Tacos!

I had driven there and would drive home afterwards as I don’t drink so not an issue for me.

For this small trip we used Keith’s SUV, I think a Chevvy something or other?

Fast forward to Thursday and a trip out to see another mutual friend, Dale, aka Oscar.

Dale is a retired Heating Engineer and former shop owner who lives in Pine City, Minnesota. This is where Doyle and he met. He is a Harley rider and loves the great outdoors. So much so that he owns some parcels of land about 30 miles north of Pine City, across the state line in Wisconsin. Dale is a larger-than-life character, incredibly enthusiastic, great company, extremely resourceful. The sort of man you’d appreciate having around in difficult situations.

One of these parcels is 80 acres of pretty dense woodland where he has created what I called ‘a natural fun park’. It is quite something.

It is ‘off grid’ meaning there is mains power or utilities supplied. Dale has created a unique getaway with no near neighbours, building a small cabin, powered by solar panels linked to batteries. He brings in water while he is deciding where to drill a well.

Talk about big boys’ toys, he has a bulldozer, a large digger with backhoe, a track driven tipper, several quad bikes, and all sorts of other equipment.

He has used these to clear space for his 2 bedroom cabin, create a small lake, carve out trails through the woods, build deer stands to hunt deer and bear.

Dale's Cabin

Riding through the trails cut out by Dale was fantastic, spongy swamp, tight turns, towering trees, a real treat and certainly one of the highlights of the trip. Dale has put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into his retreat over almost 20 years and still has more things he wants to get done. I’m looking forward to my next visit.

Doyle (left), Keith and Dale

Keith (sitting), Dale and yours truly

Small lake at Dale's place

Me getting basic training on a quad bike

Ready for the off on the trails with Dale

Dale, the expert, setting off

Perfect end to a perfect day, around the firepit at Dale's place

We ended the day sat around the fire, under clear skies where due to no light pollution the expanse of the universe unfolded. The boys were merrily drinking their favourite tipples and I was drinking Coca Cola. Once again, the driver. We did not leave until around 11.00 PM.

An unforgettable experience and one which I was very privileged to be present at.

As most readers, if they have got this far, are asleep I will end this for now.

I can do a 3rd and concluding part if there is demand. There maybe demand not to do it. Let us see!


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