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My Labor Day U.P. ride

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All right my kid never ceases to amaze me. This may get a little braggy but I can’t help it. Watching my kid ride some days brings a big ol smile to my face.


Me and my son went to the U.P. this weekend to ride and camp out with a few others at my friend Joe’s place in Detour. This was to be his 1st weekend riding with the big boys.

Brendon, or Butters as my friends call him (more on that latter), and I left for the U.P. Thursday afternoon about 4:30pm. The plan was to get up to Lake City and get a room for the night. Anyone that has traveled with an 8 yr old knows that they start to “loose it” in the truck after a few hours. So we made it to Holton Lake and got a room for the night at the Motel 8. Pool and hot tub. Ahhh…..snzzzzzzzzzz


Up early Friday morning and back on the road by 9:00am. After a missed exit we found the West Higgins Lake trail and unloaded the bikes.

=> Higgins Lake

We did a small loop on the south end that ended up being 12 miles. Trail was awesome! Quad width, moist hard packed dirt, no woops, and just a few tree roots to make it interesting. There were 2 other quad riders that we ended up sort of riding with, until we came to a logging in process area. They were cutting the forest as we rode up and the trail was gone in a big way. We asked the loggers if they had seen the trail and if they were planning to clean it up. They said that if we could wait 5 min they would fix it up for us. Nice. I don’t see that happening very much. Usually they just leave it looking like a missile testing site. Bren and I got tired of waiting so after a little scouting we took off cross country and found a way around the carnage. That was the last we saw of the quad guys. We continued on and eventually got back to the truck. There were a few sand sections that were really killing Brendon. But he soldered on thru them like a trooper. Only one bad crash ending in a handle bar to Bren’s side and the resulting bruise. Oh and there was also a nice stump on the outside of a right hand turn. He went wide and pasted the sucker. Folded the tip of his shifter back flat. Made shifting a little hard after that. The TTR90 don’t have a folding tip shifter and gets bent a lot. Something I plan to fix very soon with a cutoff wheel and a welder.

Anyone have a spare metal folding tip shifter laying around that I can have/buy?

So we loaded back up and headed out. Bren was considerably mellower now after our ride which is what I was after. Still had about 3 hours of driving to do and I was hoping he would take a nap in there somewhere. No such luck.

Right past Higgins Lake I say a sign that read “CCC Museum Next Exit”. Hmmm I didn’t know the CCC had a museum, I gotta check this out. So off the highway we go to explore the exciting CCC museum. NOT. Turns out the CCC stands for “Civilian Conservation Corp”. Something about plant life nurseries and such. Boring! Not for us. Back on the highway. Not a total waist though as I spotted a nice campground right on Higgins Lake not to far from the trails. Hmmm. Store that one away for future use.

It was still early in the day and I was considering stopping at the Tomahawk trail just off of 75 and run a few miles of that. But the drive north was really starting to drag on and I really wanted it to be over so we (I) vetoed that idea and pushed on for Detour. If you ever travel with kids I found a wonderful tool, a portable DVD player. Bring a few movies and a pair of headphones and you will have a few hours of peace. Ahhhhhh. The movies are for the kid not me mind you. Although I did watch the Hulk while sitting in traffic coming home.

Finally arrived at Joe’s place about 4:00pm. Set up camp and lounged around while the kid played in Lake Huron.

=> Bren swimming

About an hour latter Kurt and his wife Kerry arrived and set up there camp, followed by Jim and his daughter about 2 hours latter. Around 12:00 midnight Keith, his brother Kevin, Keith’s boss Laurie, and her daughter Shelby finally arrived.

=> Camp #1

=> Camp #2

=> Camp #3

=> Camp #4


After a slow morning and breakfast we formulated a plan and loaded up and headed down the road to Cranberry Lake. We were thinking that we would wear the kids out in the morning ride then the boyz could go out and play on Birch Hill and Forman Lake. Cranberry lake is at 1st glance a 12 mile boring 2-track. Well you gotta ride this trail with someone in the know as there is a lot of hidden single track in there ripe for the pickin. Joe took us on 2 of his “Personal trails”. We even took my son thru these and he did great. He even made it clean over a log crossing that Joe crashed on. Bren was more than proud of that one and told every new person that he saw from there on out about it. We made it to the end of Cranberry Lake and took a break. The original plan of additional riding was thrown out the window as most of us were hot and wanted to swim in the lake and toss back a few cold ones. So we headed back and called it a day.

=> Taking a break at the damn

=> Bridge by the damn

=> Cranberry Lake group shot


Today we were headed to Drummond. My son was dying to go over so we had no choice. We got over there late again around 1:00pm and geared up to ride. We dropped right in at 13 to 12 to 14. This is pretty demanding trail for an 8 yr old but he was loving it and only fell once. And that was only because he lost his balance and there was no ground under his foot. From there we split up, Bren and I took the road to give him a break and the rest dove back into the trails. We met back up at 15 and took the 2-tracks down to 11. We dove in the single there and took that to 9 were we again split up and Bren, Kevin, Kurt and I went on to 16 and the rest went to 17 were we would meet them. Again Brendon did great in the single here only going down like 1x.

=> Drummond map for referance

=> Group at 9

We all dove in at 17 and rode thru to 17a and on to 18. This is a nice section of trail without very many rocks (compared to the rest of the island that is) Again he amazed me by bouncing his way thru the nasty sections and almost keeping up with Kevin (one of the slower riders) I could really tell that his TTr90 was taking a beating as there were white marks on most of the rocks after he went past them. That little 90 don’t have much ground clearance and tends to grind its parts on the ground. Kinda made me grind my teeth thinking of the damage I would have to repair latter…lol He did have one or 2 good get offs in here. On one small rocky hill climb he took the wrong line and was stopped by a 6” rock ledge. He tipped over and rolled head over heals down the hill. It was actually pretty comical. He was fine and was soon back underway.

=> Bren at 18

From 18 we turned to the 2 tracks and headed out to Marblehead. There were a few mud holes in here that we either had to skirt or go thru. I soon realized that Bren didn’t have the balance to ride on the edges of the mud so I just took him thru the middle. The Jeeps and quads had pretty much whipped the mud into a brown foam that was only like 3” deep. So it wasn’t that hard to go thru. Although Bren did manage to lay it down right in the middle if one hole. His whole rh side is mud. I got a few surprised looks by the Quaders and Jeepers that were out there. I think they were amazed to see an 8 yr old bouncing over the rocks and roots.

All right here is were I have have to rant for a minute. We came up on a group of Jeepers. Turns out the lead Jeep was the Prez of the Drummond Isl. 4X4 club. The 4x4 club was awarded the contract to do the trail maintenance about 2 years ago. Well when Jim and I were up there to run sweep for the SDOM part of the single track had been re-routed to a 2-track so the quads could get thru. Jim and I had fixed it back to the single track. Well Joe said that the trail was now re-routed back to the 2-track again by the 4x4 club. The “Leader” then proceeded to chew us out for doing that. Said that the quads were there to stay and if he found out that we had removed a section of quad trail to put in single track that he would level the entire island of trees……blah blah blah….all the while holding a beer, slurring his words, and weaving back and forth. What a tool this guy is. Great roll model for a cleb prez he is. I find it interesting that the entire island was motorcycle single track wide till they got the maintenance contract then all of a sudden it is quad width trail. Ya wanna know why it is quad width all of a sudden??? Cause all this tool has to do maintenance from is a quad and he wants to cut them wide so he can get his fat lazy beer gut thru the woods on his quad. What a TOOL! Don’t give me that crap that these are quad trails. I have never seen a quad on them. The quad folk tend to stay on the 2-tracks. They hate the tight nasty stuff for the most part. I personally have never seen a quad on the single track unless we convinced them to try it so we could haul a saw in the woods. Don’t get me wrong I don’t have anything against the quad people. Just don’t try to convince me that they have always been there ridding our single track. ARGHH!!!!!

Ok I am better now.

Well we finally made it to Marble head. I figured that we would leave the kids bike at the top of the rock descent. But no he wanted to try it. So with a little coaching from pop he made it down without a problem.

=> Top of Marblehead

=> Down with some coaching

=> On his own

=> Marble head outlook 1

=> Marble head outlook 2

=> One tired Puppy munching on a power bar

On the way back up Keith rode Brendons bike back up. This next shot was taken a split second before the real carnage happened. Picture in your mind big rocks and very little ground clearance….lol

=> On the verge of disaster

Then there was Kurt’s attempt at the hill. Before and after.

=> before

=> and after

He was fine but he thought he may have broken a finger.

From there we took the other way back to 13 via a very rocky 2-track that goes on for a few miles. Brendon was bouncing and grinding on rocks left and right with his legs flying all over the place. He was getting pretty tired and beat. I had to lie to him and tell him just a little more of this and it will get easier when in reality I knew there was much more to come. I was riding in front of him in here to pace him. I didn’t want him going too fast thru here and either crashing hard on the rocks or tiring himself out to the point that he cant/wont ride anymore. Eventually we made it out to an easier road and made it back to the truck. I figured that after 25 miles of that he would be pretty whipped but nope he just kept on riding around the parking lot. Kids??? Were do they get there energy?

Once across the ferry we had to stop and take a picture of him next to the flying saucer.

=> flying saucer

Now this is no joke. Back in the 60’s there is a fella across the bay from Joe’s place that built this flying saucer in his pole barn with a bunch of followers with the belief that aliens would come and take them away in it. I guess this fella claims that aliens had talked to him on nearby strawberry island and told him this. WOW! Must have been some really good drugs back in the 60’s ay. I guess if you drive around Detour there are pyramid shaped houses around there. Ya know the power of the pyramid and all that. Man what a bunch of headcases out there.


Well Monday we packed up and made the short 5 hours drive home in a record 7-1/2 hours. Wow. The traffic sucked. BAD.

Well it looks like my kid is now a Drummond regular and will start going there with us on Memorial weekend. Although he will be in for a shock when he gets there in the spring and discovers all the mud there. But who knows he will probably surprise me again and blow thru the stuff with no problem. Everyone agreed that he will be kicking my butt in the trails in the very near future.

Oh yea I was gonna tell ya about the “Butters” name. Keith named Bren after the South park character Butters. Well bren hated that so after this weekend we renamed him Digger. He seems to like that better, although I still call him Butters when he is being a nuisance.

And after bouncing around in all the rocks Bren has found a name for his bike. He has named his bike “Hopper”.

I glanced over his bike yesterday. His LH footpeg is bent back. The shifter is bent again. The rear brake lever is bent. I think the bars are bent. He has knobs ripped off the rear 773. And I am almost afraid to look at what damage I will find under the bike once I wash it. Oh well it was worth it.

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Nice write up, Don. :thumbsup: I'd like to get our kids togeter in the spring sometime. my oldest is 9 and yougest is 5....I think he'll be able to show em how its done. :devil: they'd get a kick out of it. :awww:

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Nice write up YZman. Sounds like a great weekend with your son. He will remember it long after you. Reminds me of riding with Gavin a fiew years ago. The putting around at times gets old but the learning curve is straight up and the memories are great. He's out there scared to death at times but knows it's OK because your with him. Whats better than that? TC JR smokes me know but still looks for my guidance because I've allways got him out of the woods and home safe. Nobody I would rather ride with, the best father son time ever has been on the bikes. :thumbsup:

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YZman - That was great :thumbsup: You gotta be soooo proud of your son ! He held up like a real trooper.. I hope my son and I can make it up your way soon.

Thanks again for the great story and pictures :devil:

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