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Jim Duke,ORV

Making the Best of What We Got!

By Jim Duke, Contributing Writer

To say it’s been a good summer so far would more than likely be challenged by a large majority of folks that look forward to spending maximum time outdoors with friends & family, enjoying the recreational activities of choice and without the several distractions that may or may not actually materialize. In most cases, we just make do with what we get and make the best of it.

In discussing what a perfect day is like, I was somewhat surprised to hear many folks think dry and dusty trails are better than those where a recent rain has fallen. Maybe dry & dusty would be the case for the unit in front, but certainly not for any of those following. But in the second case there needs to be marginal rain for the area and not the gully-washers we’ve seen in many parts of the Upper so far this year. According to one longtime rider who knows most trails in the area very well, a well-dampened trail surface is ideal for any size group of units, just enough to create a no dust / no mud condition. He was quick to add, however, that such conditions are more rare than common.

At a recent unofficial meeting of a group of ORV riders that had stopped for a lunch break at a local eatery, I had the opportunity to visit with several of them and discovered most were from other parts of the state, and two were visiting from a neighboring one. It seems they had all become acquainted within the last few days and had decided to team up, so to speak. All but one couple were staying at a campground near Grand Marais, so it was only fitting that they were all drawn to a large campfire in a common area of that facility. As one fellow put it, “we’ve made some new friends that will be a long-lasting friendship for sure.”

The group was just finishing their break and getting ready to get back on the trails, so I didn’t get the chance to get their names or exactly where they were all from, but I did manage to determine that they considered this part of the Upper Peninsula to be best for their riding style and the number of trails sufficient to permit several days of touring without too much backtracking. The assumed leader of the group said he & his mate had made several trips up to this locale, and it was one of their favorite spots to come, camp, and ride.

Their afternoon itinerary was to head back east toward Curtis and hopefully a final fuel stop in Seney before returning to their base camp. I was invited to stop up join them later in the evening, but prior obligations would prevent that from happening. I did offer business cards to them and suggested they get in touch if it should become necessary that they might require some local help. As they made their way out to their units, I watched them preparing for their next adventure and remembered what one of them had said during our recent conversations. He said, “Time is short to try and wait for the perfect day… we’re making do with what we got.”  I don’t believe it could have been said any better, and I wholeheartedly agree!

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