If you’ve graduated beyond the typical Fall color tour and want something a bit more adventurous we have just the thing for you. The Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail covers over 600 miles running between Galena Illinois and Superior Wisconsin. It offers motorcyclists a truly unique experience and is a bucket list item for many adventure riders. Last month motor head, MHCC friend and contributor John McCarthy checked the trip off of his list. You’ll find his recap below.


 The ride began in Galena, Illinois. We started the three hundred mile ride from Hudson, Wisconsin to Galena in an incredible downpour. We had appropriate gear on and were not soaked to the skin. However, it wasn’t the start we had hoped for. When we turned to go east in Red Wing, the weather turned dry and remained so almost the entire balance of the night’s ride. I had forgotten how pretty that part of Illinois and Iowa can be.


Out early the following morning, we spent a good bit of the first day on asphalt and some on gravel. Lots to see winding from farmland to roads with beautiful tree canopies. The first day, I think we all picked up our gravel road skills a notch or two. Gravel has never been my first love. I guess as I am a bit obsessive about keeping my transportation polished it has presented challenges. However, my BMW Sertao wasn’t meant to be buffed.


So, eventually we were banging down these gravel roads at fifty and eighty miles per hour. The second and third days were primarily gravel and trail. Lots of slow speed climbing and trails mixed with water crossings (occasionally deep). When we reached the end of day two, we were all quite used up. Of our twelve riders, one was unable to continue with a broken wrist and one was proceeding carefully with a dislocated shoulder.


The terrain was visibly changing as we headed toward Lake Superior. Apart from seeing the signs of color change in the leaves, the trails had more rock and sand. Near the end of the second night, we had our deepest water crossing in the failing light. Wet and tired, we arrived in Park Falls in time for dinner.


The third day had some challenging trails where we saw everything from water crossings to what we came to describe as talcum powder sand. This sand made the motorcycle unpredictable and would present without much warning on trail and road. We hit the Delta Diner (a fixture on some of the America’s famous Diners shows). Everyone left stuffed and content. A good bit more of challenging trails before we all put on foot in Lake Superior in a little town called Cornucopia. I think we all had an enormous sense of accomplishment.


I have driven the Baja 1000 four times. Trails and difficult terrain are no surprise to me. But, I hadn’t done very much trail or off-road on two wheels. So, as we touched Lake Superior water, I really did have a sense that we had ticked one off the bucket list.