Minocqua, Wisconsin 2006

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The 2006 visit to the winter playground certainly brought a lot of first's along with it. It was the first time Steve was joining us; it was the first time we rode the sleds with jackets open and wore no gloves; it was the first time we were able to track our trip via GPS; it was the first time we were able to communicate with each other while traveling down the trail; and it was the first time I was not riding with 140lbs of dead weight on the back of my sled. Allow me to explain...

Before I get to far into this I should note all of the photos used herein are Steve's. He went photo-happy so I decided to use his album for the trip page. Thanks Steve! Anyway, pictured above is Steve (and Jason's boot). This was Steve's first experience ever on a snowmobile. Talk about jumping in with both feet! I don't think he quite understood how grueling a 1000 mile expedition would be, but he has a very good idea now. Perhaps lucky for him, however, the trip got cut short by roughly two days. Unfortunately mother nature did not fully cooperate with us this year and the temperature rose to record highs during our trip. On the way home from Copper Harbor we ran across a lot of slush on the lakes and pavement in the gas stations.

Blah. That is something you should never have to see while snowmobiling. Anyway, we pressed on even if it meant our trip ended early. Along the way, however, we had a ton of fun. As noted above we were able to track the entire trip via GPS. Jason even mailed a laptop up to our rental cabin so he could check out our progress as we went through the trip.

To follow along on our route with the use of a GPS marked trail, follow the map from Day 1.

Another gadget Jason encouraged for our trip were SnoFone's - walkie-talkie's for snowmobile helmets. I wasn't sure what to think about this at first, but after a weekend with them I cannot imagine not having the use of the head sets on my next trip. Surprisingly, they were rather useful and never really got in the way. Here is Jason wearing his. You truly have to search to find anything but the microphone.

Finally, we had hoped to cover more mileage this year due to not having to stop at bars every hour to warm up my wife. This was because my wife did not join us, mostly because we are now happily divorced. So a few positives of the divorce worked out to be better gas mileage on the snowmobile, faster top end speed, and less fatigue for the driver (me!) since I did not have to accommodate for the ex-misses. Even still, I did not let this cut into my bar-hopping time as much as expected. I mean, ole' Chuck needed some company, ya know...

It just would not have been right to go snowmobiling and not pay Chuck a visit. Anyway, lacking excess useless weight on the back of my sled meant the guys would help themselves to pack cameras and gear onto my passenger seat. This year we did a much better job to ensure none of the gear could fall to the side and catch fire (hint: see Minocqua 2005).

As you can clearly see the gear was definitely not going anywhere. However, I still felt the need to start something on fire. What would a vacation be without the need to extinguish a freak fire? I did my best, but no matter what I did Jason and Co. would not let me start the cabin on fire.

OK, time to get to the good stuff. Even though we ended early, we did have two days of good snow to ride in. We arrived mid-week which allowed us to get a jump on the weekend rush. Good thing, too, because there were no trails left by the weekend, but what we got to play in was beautiful.

While Steve made good use of the opportunity for photography at the scenic vistas with photos like this ...

...and this of the bridges in the UP...

...and this one below of Brockway Mountain...

For a couple videos, check these out (QuickTime format) ~

Panoramic of Brock way Mountain

Brock way Mountain again, but notice the wind on the face of the mountain.

To follow along on our route with the use of a GPS marked trail, follow the map from Day 2.

...I put the time to good use as well. It was a good thing, too, because the warm weather made for some difficult stretches on the trail. When I wasn't sleeping I was flying past the camera.

Of course the nap allowed me the chance to motor up to the Houghton/Hancock bridge at night to capture a few photos. This photo below is one i took because Steve couldn't get a good nighttime photo.

Lucky for us near the end of the trip we were able to stumble upon a watering hole.

However, allow me to warn you about this place. I could be wrong, as it has happened twice before, but I do believe the 4 of us were getting picked up by two old guys, and the table full of women likely had no interest in guys besides a possible arm wrestling match. It was just a hunch, though.

So we tried to reach 1000 miles. I think it was possible, too, had it not been for the warm weather. In the end, however, we came up considerably short. I think we could have made the goal, but it leaves us a goal to reach next year.

To follow along on our route with the use of a GPS marked trail, follow the map from Day 3.

To see all of the remaining photos from the trip, please follow this link.

To see the story and photos from other years in Minocqua please view ~
2001 ~ 2004 ~ 2005

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