Please start here: 8 States, 6 Wheels, 5 Days, 2 Brothers, 1 Adventure
The skies were clear, the temperature was a cold 25 degrees and the bikes were wearing a thick blanket of frost. We packed up and got back on the road before sunrise. Our destination was the harbor point in Superior for a quick Lake Superior photo shoot.
As we approached Superior there was a sudden rise in temperature, you could feel it was warmer and the frost quickly melted off the windscreen. As we entered town, we saw a bank sign displaying the temperature as a balmy 33 degrees. It surprised me how much warmer that 7 degree difference felt.
We quickly found the Wisconsin Point Road and followed it to the end to scout out a good location for photos. We arrived before sunrise and John thought it would be nice to get some shots with the Superior Entry Lighthouse and the sunrise as a backdrop. We backtracked down the road a short way to the area near the lighthouse.
We rolled the bikes down the concrete seawall and carefully positioned them to get some great pictures of the bikes with Lake Superior, the lighthouse and the sunrise. I would say it was the best location we had found. The sands of Lake Huron were more fun, but this provided better pictures.
It wasn’t long and we got back on the road headed west, the final leg of our trip, with our expectation to reach home before noon, just a few hours behind our goal. We were headed into snow, but we weren’t sure where we would find it and if we would have to drive through rain to get to it.
The snow arrived while stopped for gas in Floodwood, MN, about 45 miles west of Superior. We were thankful that it was not preceded by rain, as is often the case with early season snow. That just makes things even messier.
As we moved west, the trees and ground were beginning to show their blanket of snow, making for a beautiful ride. However, the beauty of the scenery was tempered by the fact that my gloves and boots were fast becoming saturated from all of the rain & snow over the past two days and my hands and feet were getting really cold. I had fashioned a field expedient wind guard for my right hand out of a plastic bag, which helped with that hand, but my other three appendages were not so happy.
We made a quick stop as we crossed the Mississippi River for some pictures and then it was back on the road. We soon arrived in Walker, MN stopping for gas and for me to change my socks and boots. There was little hope for my hands except to add a dry pair of glove liners (which were soaked within a few minutes). We also replaced the plastic bag on my right hand with a handlebar muff John had bought. We had determined early on that they were too small for the Urals, but we made it fit and it worked better than the plastic bag. While I was inside changing, John was outside extolling the virtues of the Urals to those interested.
The snow continued to fall as we got back on the road. It had accumulated several inches deep in the ditches and on the trees. The road was wet, but there was no accumulation as it was melting off the pavement as fast as it fell. I felt much better and was able to enjoy the scenery along the way. We decided to take a short excursion into the woods to see how the Urals liked playing in the snow and to get a few pictures. They handled the snow-covered trail with ease and John captured a short video of me driving the Yamal a short way down the trail. Back on the road, the snow stopped a few miles east of Detroit Lakes. We made our final gas stop, as we were only about 50 miles from home.
That last stretch of the ride was uneventful as we pulled into the driveway about 1400. The odometers read a few kilometers shy of 3000. We had traveled 1861 miles, visiting 8 states, 1 province, the 5 Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, the Mississippi River and Niagara Falls since arriving in Boxborough 6 days before. It was a great trip. The bikes performed flawlessly, the stock seats were surprisingly comfortable and neither of us had any complaints or soreness from the ride. The Yamal seemed to have a little bit more power/speed than the Bondi, but the Bondi got better gas mileage, usually requiring 0.2-0.3 gallons less at each stop.
I will do a final wrap-up with additional thoughts at a later date. We plan to use our Urals year round, so you can also expect updates as winter progresses. In the meantime, I welcome any suggestions for winterizing the bikes – what tires work best in snow? Should I get ‘Hippo Hands’ or heated grips? What other modifications, if any should I look to make.
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