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Discussion Starter #1
Got the bike packed up last night and everything seemed to fit nicely. Still enough room for me to sit anyway. In about an hour I'm taking off to Duluth for the Aerostich rally. I've extended the trip significantly so I'll get two days (each direction) of mixed on/off road riding (600 miles total), camping along the way. The plan is to travel east from Excelsior, MN to Wisconsin and ride along the old St. Croix River Road and the Gandy Dancer snowmobile trail to Holyoke. From there I'll head east and catch part of the TransWisconsinTrail before heading up to Duluth. I'll post pictures as soon as I get them!
 

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Please keep us in the loop on how well the bike performs. I too and very interested in how far I can stretch out a TW200 which I just purchased. New to the forum but already enjoying alot of the topics. Look forward to seeing photos and performance details of the T-Dub. Good luck.
 

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Sounds like a nice ride report up to Dulood coming our way. Then you'll have to to another ride report up to Grand Marais along the north shore! Just a suggestion Don't tcha know! Heck, you might as well ride up the Gunflint while your at it eh!

But I'll settle for the Dulood ride for now:D. Good luck and be safe.
 

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You'll be in my old stomping grounds. Be careful of bears, seal your food/up tight and hang it up, my dad keeps telling me how desperate and brave they're getting because of the wolf population explosion thinning out their food sources.
 

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I live in west central MN and rode the TW 250 miles one way and enjoyed every mile of it on back roads and small towns along the way. The little TW gave me 80-85 mpg going 50-55 mph. Touring on a TW? you bet. No road is imposable on a TW unless a bridge is out over a river. I stayed overnight near Bowstring, MN (north of Grand Rapids) and returned home the next day. One guy at a gas station said " nice bike, is that a Yamaha?" I said yes, he gave me sign of approval. I have a FJR1300 and tour on the TW there is something wrong with me. But it is fun.
 

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50short,

I live in Shoreview. I'm looking forward to your report. Sounds like some wonderful riding. I've been on some of those roads. Can't wait to see your route.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Very brief update. I won't post the ride report 'til I get home. Too hard to write on the phone.

Well, I can honestly say that Thursday was the best day of motorcycling I've ever had. I ended up logging 270 miles, with about 70 miles offroad. 30 of them were muddy, wet and fun as hell. TW is the perfect machine for minimalist adventure touring. I've owned several KLRs and a BMW GS (don't get me wrong, i love these bikes too) and wouldn't consider taking either of them on a trip like this. Might not even be possible as the trails were so narrow and rough. More to come, along with a shitload of pictures....hold tight. Probably start writing the report on Sunday night.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ha Ha. Wish I could say I found a way to make the seat comfortable. I've got the stock seat with a Stearns Gel Pad. I thought it was okay. Doesn't matter what machine I'm touring on, my butt generally hurts after the first couple hours and then starts to acclimate.
600 miles? The only thing I need to know is what seat you are using. I will buy one sight unseen.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Day 1:
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Here's a picture of Little Mule all packed up the morning of departure. Considering I had all of the equipment necessary to travel unsupported for 4 days (minus food) the bike was suprisingly comfortable and easy to load / unload. The weather was ideal for a bike ride. Cool and dry with a light breeze. Can't ask for anything better than that. I finally got on the bike and rolled out of the garage by 9 o'clock after dropping my two boys off at school and pounding a cup of coffee.

The first leg of the trip was the only part that I wasn't really looking forward to...circumventing the Minneapolis / St. Paul metro using secondary roads and getting myself to the Wisconsin border. Overall, it went very smoothly and I was able to keep my speeds at or below 55 MPH, which seems to be Little Mule's happy place. My route took me past a Yamaha dealership so I stopped to check out the goods and pick up some oil, a filter and a spark plug. The guys in the dealership were very helpful and said they'd never seen a guy my size (6'5") riding a TW on a long'ish trip.

The really fun part of the trip started when I landed on the east bank of the St. Croix River in the town of St. Croix Falls, WI. This was just over 80 miles into the trip and the site of my first stop to refuel. Gotta love that $5.43 gas bill!
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On my way out of town I stopped at the St. Croix Falls Scenic Overlook and took a few pictures.
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From St. Croix Falls I followed WI-87 north to the old River Rd. This is where more of the rural riding would start that would eventually lead me to the beginning of the offroad section of the trip. The River Rd is a great stretch of narrow, cracked tarmac that follows the meandering course of the St. Croix and is very sparsley populated.
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Discussion Starter #12
The River Rd. ended and dumped me onto a nice series gravel roads through the beatiful Wisconsin farm land. There aren't mountains or oceans in the midwest, but I sure do love seeing the old barns and farm animals. It always puts a smile on my face.:)
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Stopped along the way to help this little fellow get across the road before he was turned into a turtle pancake.
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After riding along another 30 or so miles of gravel, I got back onto the highway to make tracks for Grantsburg, WI where I would get lunch and refuel. There was an old fashioned Drive-In that looked too good to resist. After refuelling, I stopped in to try their famous "Homemade Root Beer" and a patty melt. I was not disappointed. This place is fantastic!
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Heading north out of Grantsburg I grabbed County Rd F where I'd travel through some more rural farm land for another 30 miles before arriving in Danbury, the beginning of the offroad section. :cool:
County Rd F is pretty fascinating. There are a lot of run down, "backwoods" looking farmsteads and dwellings along this section. Kind of made me sad, but still, it's awesome Americana and interesting to see. The pictures of the sign below give a pretty good representation of what I'm talking about. I took these while riding through Swiss, WI.
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Once I arrived in Danbury, I refuelled, picked up a trail permit and a bottle of Scotch (medicinal purposes) ;) I'm about 180 miles into the ride at this point. The Gandy Dancer trail is nothing more than an abandoned railway that was repurposed as an ATV trail. Consequently there are some cool old bridges to cross over!
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Can't wait to read more, great RR!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I travelled about 35 miles on the mixed gravel and rock track with an average speed of about 15 MPH. I was very happy with how the bike handled the terrain, but the change between a rock bed and gravel bed almost washed the front tire out a couple times. The TW's rear suspension is pretty stiff from the factory and that was a good thing. Being that I weigh 250lbs and I had 30+pounds of gear and food, I didn't once bottom out the shock. Keep in mind I'm not riding very fast at all...too old for that.
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The trail deteriorated (got better) after about 20 miles or so. From here on out, the next 30 miles of riding would be pretty rough (fun) and take me to my first camp of the trip. Here's a picture of the trail as it got farther back into the forest.
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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
The pictures do a great job of hiding the seemingly hundreds of potholes and logs hiding beneath the grass. The lower lying portions of the trail were saturated and kind of felt like riding over a sponge, but those big fat tires just floated right on through. My favorite part about the TW is the confidence it inspires in my riding ability. Not sure if it can be attributed to the low seat height or the fact that it doesn't carry much mass. Either way, it's combination of mild-mannered, predictable street performance, and it's ability to conquer any terrain I put in front of it makes it the most valuable pony (mule) in my stable.
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Discussion Starter #17
Here's a picture of another little buddy that popped out of the woods. I like'em a hell of a lot better when I'm going 10-15 MPH than when I'm going 75MPH on the super slab.

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