In a week or two I will go back to blogging at my summer home at https://www.northerndestinations.com/scindex . Visit me there for the same weather, events, and more.

Greetings and welcome!

It is time to bolt the door and call it a season. It is very depressing but it was Mother Nature’s decision. Marinette Co is closing trails after this weekend.

This was an absolutely brutal winter, but we did have snow and a lot of weekends to ride.

Winter came early this year. It was much earlier than even I expected. I got caught on a lot of stuff. The camper never got winterized before it froze, and Indian summer never came to thaw it back out. After the cold came the heavy snow came. It shut down my wood yard with probably only half of the wood that I wanted to cut done. It also weighed down the newly formed ice on the lakes and flooded, crushing the idea of an early start for the lakes.

The lakes did not really come around until late season. That caused a couple of delays and plan adjustments for local radar runs and events.

Later in fall the wet heavy snow bowed down trees and power lines causing some power outages around Thanksgiving. More of interest here, it littered and blocked hundreds of miles of trails with downed and bowed over trees. This slowed down the opening of the season again as volunteers scrambled to clear trails. In context, that came right after our summer drechero with 100mph winds that leveled forests from Mountain up to Townsend and west past Antigo, causing a massive cleanup effort that will continue this summer.

The wet heavy snow made a great trail base and that saved a lot of marginal weekends. The wet heavy snow also was hard on buildings. I have seen several crushed sheds, including one at my house. Snow loads on roofs were at critical load when the big thaws came.

The other thing that this winter challenged us with was that it seemed to snow a lot on Friday nights when people were wanting to travel north.

In the end we had a lot of challenges this season. We also had a lot of good or great weekends where we could ride, and we missed out completely on the really bitter cold weather except for small stretches. If our significantly below normal weather of October and November had come in January, those excursions of polar air would have been brutal. It would have been nice to help freeze up deep swamps, but it ain’t no fun to live through.

Personally this was a brutal winter. A lot changed in my life late last year and the challenges came like road cones at 100mph. The winter took down a shed, the camper plumbing, a couple of fall projects, some car repairs, and in the last big freeze my well froze up. I did get sled number one into good shape and I got to ride it a little. Sled number two remains frozen in the ice. That will all change significantly this year with the new house and shop.

Now we need to talk about summer storage.

Item one for me is gas. I only use Startron as my off-season gas stabilizer. Make sure that you run it into the carbs or injectors by running the engine for a few minutes. As far as leaving gas in the tank I go with 1/4 tank. It is enough gas in the tank to move it around but not a $40 loss when I drain the fuel system in fall. I also burn up any spare gas in the truck or mower before warm weather comes. Winter gas is a different blend than summer gas. It is thinner and has more butane, so it evaporates the good stuff out in summer. In some cases it could boil and vapor lock a hot engine. I use it all up in spring and start fresh in the fall.

Gas stabilizer quickie- I don’t use Stabil because it left me with green carbs and stinky gas waaay too many times. Maybe the new stuff works. The old stuff did not work for me. SeaFoam, while a wonderful fuel system cleaner, left the gas a little stinky. The carbs were good, but the gas was a little off. Startron left me with good smelling gas, clean carbs, and a two pull starting sled. Here is my hookup on it. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001VMNHX8

My next stop is fogging oil. I don’t *ever* use Stabil in my gas but their fogging oil is ok. I pull the air box and run the sled on a stand running the fogging oil into the carbs as I rev the motor. Almost choke it out, bring it back up, repeat several times. For the upper cylinders you can squirt injector oil down the plug holes and pull¬† it over a few times or put fogging oil down there. One last stop for the fogging oil is the pipe and anything metal that will rust like metal skis and that evil track adjuster bolt.

Around here there are two more pests attacking our sleds.. mice and mud bees. For the mice a piece of aluminum screen over the end of the exhaust pipe with a clamp will keep them out. Also tape up any little hole that they can make an entrance with to the air box. Mice love air boxes. This year I am going to try putting a couple of moth balls under the hood in an open jar. Mice don’t like strong smells.

Mud bees make me cringe. They pack mud into any little available hole and use it to lay an egg. That packed mud has shown up in cylinder head fins, vent lines, and a thousand other places where they caused major damage. Some spots are getting taped up with duct tape, some holes will get calked, and the whole sled will get sprayed with my D-Fense-SC insecticide (Absolutely wonderful stuff) before final storage.

One last tip, don’t store them under tarps unless there is a lot of room for air circulation. Tarps do a poor job of keeping moisture out and a great job of holding it in. Unless you want to horribly corrode every part on the sled do not use tarps. Use a barn/shed,¬† a lean-to, or a covered trailer for storage.

There is one last topic this morning… time to play in the snow one more time at Kosir’s whitewater rafting. I originally found this area because of the whitewater. I played in it for 10 years before moving here. Once here I did about a million whitewater rafting pictures as an action sports photographer. I watched and or played in the Peshtigo River for 30 years and I kind of know a little about it.

There are two elements to a river’s flow. The base flow and the runoff. The Pesh is about a 30/70 river with the run off being responsible for about 70% of the flow. The other 30% is groundwater that comes from all of those spring creeks and seepage from wetlands. That is the always there flow. With the Pesh 70% runoff it makes our river very rain dependent for high water.

The reason that this matters is that the aquifer and headwaters that feed the river are just loaded with water after three really wet years. That will take our base flow from barely runnable to a really fun river level. In other words, no matter what happens with the rain, the river will be at fun levels this spring and early summer. Honestly I have never seen it this wet in the headwaters.

So.. we have a very significant base flow. We also have a huge really moisture loaded snow pack that will melt and make huge runoff. That river is going to ROAR. We are in for a really significant whitewater rafting season this spring and early summer. Every weekend will have guaranteed fun water levels and some weekends will be mind blowing. Whitewater rafting at Kosir’s starts the first weekend in April.

One last thing is to thank everyone. You guys are the gasoline that runs this. Whether it be saying hi in the bar, stopping into Rapids, pausing for a picture, or slipping me a few bucks as a donation you are very appreciated. Like so many in the snowmobling world, this is a volunteer effort. I don’t get paid by anyone to do it. The couple of ads and donations this year added up to much less than $500. I am not rich or retired so those couple of bucks in the bar or on the PayPal tab below are really appreciated.

The real heart and soul is the friendship. I have made hundreds of wonderful friends and that alone was worth the effort.

This was my 20th year and it has been a great run because of you guys. Thank you to everyone!

RJB

In a week or two I will go back to blogging at my summer home at https://www.northerndestinations.com/scindex . Visit me there for the same weather, events, and more.