January 2, 2016

Jan 3, 2016

Greetings and happy new year!

My travels today took me (by car) to Lakewood, Townsend, Carter, Langlade, and Antigo.

Lakewood got an inch or two more snow that we did in Silver Cliff. Trails going there along F looked thin but rideable. There were wear spots or places that the groomer hit a high spot, but generally they looked good enough if you weren’t expecting too much.

In Lakewood and north of town there was more snow. The grade looked again thin but rideable. There was a little snirt or staining but it looked good for what snow we had.

As we went south of town the grade got a little thinner. There were a few bare spots at Hwy 64 & 32 and it was getting thin by Bear Trail Inn by 64 & T.

Langlade just east of the ball filed on 64 just east of 55
Langlade just east of the ball filed on 64 just east of 55

The trails along 64 east of Hwy 55 and the railroad grade about 3 miles wast of 55 were groomed and looked nice, but there was not a track on them. It was fairly early in the morning, so it is possible that I was seeing overnight grooming before riders got to it.

I checked the web and the last SnowTracks update was 12/28 and reported no snow. I don’t know if they are open or not.

The ride north to Townsend and Carter found more snow that in Silver Cliff or Lakewood. the trails that way looked good and had minimal thin or snirty spots, even in town.

The weather after the snow helped compact it, and the snow is no longer the puffy stuff that fell early last week. That helped set up the little bit of base that the groomers made. It isn’t a lot, so there were still thin spots and terrain features like rocks and ruts and bumps.

The bottom line is that you can ride but expect early season conditions with little ice on roads and the above mentioned thin spots and terrain features. The hot ticket was the un-plowed forest roads. Those looked fun.

There were no tracks that I saw on Waubee Lake, Townsend Flowage, Chute Pond along 32, or the lake near Polar on the way to Antigo.

When the snow came Monday night, it was coming really fast at an inch an hour or more. A lot of the lakes were open or had open water spots. The snow fell so fast that it slushed up those open water spots and it froze after the storm. We have had some cold weather, but I’d give it another week or so before considering any lake riding. Even then Know Your Lake. Ask locals or check conditions as you go. It has been a bad year for ice, and most lakes were open water a week ago.

The week ahead looks pretty normal for temperatures. I am expecting mid-20s until about Tuesday, with low temps in the teens Sunday night and single digits Monday night.

Tuesday begins a warming trend in advance of a storm for the weekend. I am expecting upper 20s Wednesday, and low thirties Thursday and Friday. If all goes well we will see a little rain followed by a plowable snow. It is a little hard to be specific a week out, but it says what I want to hear.

I still have not saddled up yet. I had a tough fall with a lot of surprises that took my weekends away.  That all left me quite unprepared for winter.

The plow truck and snow blower were full of surprises Monday even though they were both good running units when stored. That whack-a-mole game took up most of my free time this week. I have about an hour to spend on them and that whole end of winter preparedness should be in good shape.

Next up is the Indy Trail. It is the easiest to service, so its first into the shop. If all goes well, tomorrow afternoon should be the first test ride.I have heard it run and moved it about a month ago, but after the plow truck and snow blower dance I don’t have my hopes up.

1216iI got something at Fleet Farm today that made me very happy. It is a huge 1.5 gallon funnel for gassing up the sleds.

The new gurgle-gurgle gas cans are nice that they are sealed so well. It makes transporting gas in the trunk a lot less scary.

Gassing up the sleds is another story. Even when you get the gurgle just right and get it all flowing perfect, it still takes roughly 27 minutes to pour 6 gallons of gas into the sled. Then you go get the other can with the next 6 gallons..

In theory.. I can get rid of the gurgle top once the gas is safely home, and gas up in a hurry. The bottom of the funnel is only 1/8″ smaller than the top of the gas can so it should flow pretty fast. It might be the best $6.50 spent this year.

While I was at Fleet Farm I picked up a couple of boxes of plugs. They were 20 % off, so classic NGK’s were $2 a plug.

That is going to wrap it up for tonight. Have a good week and thank you for visiting!

RJB