The Great Snowmobile Trip of 2008

I previously posted pictures to Flickr, but am long overdue in posting the GPS tracks from the trip.  You can click on each one for a larger version.

In case you’re just joining us, this was a 4 day snowmobiling trip to Michigan’s upper peninsula, with my brother Mike and two friends.

Over the course of the four days, we covered 604 miles on sleds, visited countless warming huts (otherwise known as bars), and bought lots of $10 bottles of two-cycle engine oil.

Here is the overall map that contains the GPS track for each day, color-coded.  The first day is dark green, the second bright blue, the third light blue, and the final day is brown.  There’s some overlap each day, so the individual tracks are down below as well.

Snowmobiling All Days

Day 1 – 140 Miles – High 18F

We got a late start on the first day, after waiting for the sleds to be delivered.  We headed 15-20 miles to a place called the Parkview Lodge for lunch – this is easily the nicest “warming hut” we encountered.  The trip continued on up to Houghton, and finally looped around Calumet before heading back to the cabin in Greenland.  Below is the track for the first day, highlighted in yellow.

Snowmobiling Day 1

Day 2 – 153 Miles – High 14F

We got out on the trails early enough to make it to Ontonagon for breakfast, which was delicious and nutricious with a variety of meats.  After that we headed to the Lake of the Clouds overlook, which was quite breathtaking, even if it was a bit fogged in.  After some more riding, we ended up back at the Parkview for dinner that night.  I remember being almost too tired to eat.  Almost.  Here’s the track for day 2, highlighted in yellow.

Snowmobiling Day 2

Day 3 – 124 Miles – High 9F, Low -20F

This was an exciting day – the day the drive belt broke on my sled in the middle of nowhere, while traveling at about 60 MPH.  There was no spare on my sled, but luckily one of my compatriots had one.  The only problem was, we had no idea how to put it back on.  So, out came the tow rope, and Mike towed me back to the little bar in Rousseau that we had just left.  An experienced rider who we had been talking to before was able to manhandle the thing on there in about 2 minutes, including doing it twice since it was on backwards the first time.  This was Friday, and the trails were quite rough, probably because there were more snowmobilers out.  It was also by far the coldest day, but we all held up well until the late night ride home, when it was about -21 F.  Here’s the track for day 3.

Snowmobiling Day 3

Day 4 – 187 Miles – High 32F

We finally got around to doing a trail that we had been putting off for 3 days (the loop in the upper-left portion of the map below between B&L’s lodge and the Parkview), because we were always too tired by the time we had to decide.  After that and lunch, we decided to push all the way to the legendary Ojibwa Casino in Baraga.  It was a fun ride, but the indian casino was decidedly un-Vegas like, to say the least.  I lost $20 in a Wheel of Fortune slot machine rather quickly, had a rather good steak sandwich, and we played some pool.  Unfortunately, this was our last day, and the long ride back to the cabin was absolutely punishing in terms of bumpiness.  Some of my bones may have been jarred loose and left out on the trail.  Below is the map for the final day.

Snowmobiling Day 4

It was quite an enjoyable trip, except for the drives to and from Michigan.  We somehow managed to pick the worst days to travel in a 10 day period, with blizzard conditions both directions.  I think it took about twice as long as it should have to do the driving.

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