A MIDWEST OUTDOOR ADVENTURE PUBLICATION
CREATE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE DOWN APALACHICOLA WAY KEWEENAW TRIP GUIDES DISPERSED CAMPING 101 MIDWEST CONNECTIONS TO CONQUER A RIVER MEANDERING RUN
3 4 8 16 24 30 34 38 42 44 46 50 56 60
The Gear Bunker Create Your Own Adventure A Beginner's Adventure The Journey Down Apalachicola Way Keweenaw Trip Guides MoLeisure Xventures Meandering Run Midwest Connections To Conquer a River Motor Vehicle Use Maps Capture the Season Dispersed Camping 101 Adventure Vehicle Profile
Hunter's Point by UP Jeeping
CINDY POPE Publisher
"A magazine is a periodical publication, which can either be printed or published electronically. It is issued regularly, usually every week or every month, and it contains a variety of content. This can include articles, stories, photographs, and advertisements."
COVER PHOTO BY CHRIS BACARELLA "The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is Wisconsin's gem of wilderness area still open to motor-fueled adventure. With the Lakewood-Laona District only a few hours north of Southern Wisconsin, the forest road filled area offers a quick escape on two-wheels or four making it a favorite of mine for weekend trips."
Dear readers, this issue marks the 12th issue of Northology Adventures digital magazine! I want to thank everyone for reading, sharing, contributing and supporting this publication. I am so thankful for your encouragement and still cannot believe how excited for every issue I get, and for the kind words and feedback from the community. We are doing some awesome things, let's keep it going! Northology Adventures Magazine has made all efforts to make sure that content is accurate on the date of publication. The views expressed reflect the author(s) opinions and are not necessarily the views of the publisher or editor. All content is published in a good faith. Northology Adventures does not guarantee or accept liability for any loss or damage of any kind caused by this magazine or errors in the accuracy of claims made by the advertisers.All rights reserved and nothing can be partially or in whole be reprinted or reproduced without a written consent. By using links in this magazine, you acknowledge that and agree that Northology cannot be held responsible and shall not be liable for content of other websites and advertisements.
CAMPING MOSQUITO FREE WITH THE THERMACELL BACKPACKER 2.0
CREATE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE GIVE A MAN A FISH AND HE WILL EAT FOR A DAY.
IF THE GOAL OF OVERLANDING IS TO BE SELF-RELIANT WHILE EXPLORING REMOTE PLACES, THEN IT ALL STARTS WITH LEARNING WHERE YOU ARE GOING & HOW TO GET THERE.
CUSTOM ADVENTURE TRIPS & ITINERARIES / OUTDOOR EVENTS / CONTENT CREATION / ADVENTURE MAGAZINE
A Beginner's Adventure in Photography I’m going to preface this article by saying this is
as I scoped out where I wanted to set up. Nothing
NOT a how to guide into night time photography,
was showing up yet and the moon was still out so I
I'm not going to get into what settings I'm using or
went back to my cabin at Trail's End to get a little
how I'm setting up shots because I'm just out
rest and wait for the moon to set.
shooting in the dark... I’ve always loved photography and I pretty much take pictures wherever I go, and
A few hours later, and after peeking outside several
99% of the time I shoot with a sub $100 Android
times and getting no sleep, around 4am the sky
phone, but I wanted to up my game a little and get
started to glow along the horizon! The lights are
into the world of DSLR cameras. I decided to go
out! I tossed everything in the Jeep and set back
used for my first camera and after reading several
out to the spot I picked out earlier. No one was
reviews I found a clean Canon 20D that I laid out
there, I had the mountain to myself! Now I’ve lived in
$120 for. It came with the standard zoom lens, 18-
the U.P. most of my life and have seen the lights
55mm f/3.5-5.6, a couple old batteries, and a
several times over the years but this would be my
charger. To add to this I purchased a $15 remote
first time from this epic spot. You need to have
trigger, and a $30 tripod from Amazon, and a bag to
patience when it comes to hunting for the Northern
toss it all in. Obviously none of this equipment is top
Lights, and the first hour sure proved that. After an
quality but to be all in for under $200 just to see if I
hour into watching the lights they begin to grow
enjoy the hobby seemed like a deal to me. And I
and take shape with bands of light swirling and
have to say it's been a pretty fun adventure so far.
dancing across the horizon. For the next half hour I wasn’t sure if I wanted to just sit and watch or take
On a recent trip to Copper Harbor, the northernmost
pictures, I did a little of both. I finally packed it in
part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the forecast for
around 5:30am and headed back to the cabin for
the Aurora Borealis was very promising for putting
on a show. And on top of that the weather forecast for the weekend was for clear skies! The moon was
I can tell you the lights never look like they do in the
bright that night but would be setting soon and I
pictures, you can usually see some greens and
started to watch the sky. I decided I wanted the
whites, and they are much fainter… but sometimes
best view I could get, and for me that was from the
you can see purple, blue, and red. This particular
East end of Brockway Mountain Drive overlooking
night was some of the most vivid lights I've seen in
the town of Copper Harbor. Around midnight I made
a few years. So how did the camera do? It definitely
my way up the lookout and found a few people out
didn’t take the best pictures, but it got me out there
waiting for the lights to show up, we chatted a bit
and I have a story and some cool pics to show for it.
For the next half hour I wasn’t sure if I wanted to just sit and watch or take pictures...
APRIL 4/25 Sunday Adventurers
Meetup, Roscoe, IL 4/30-5/2-Smoky Mountain Overland Rally, Crosby, TN
MAY 5/14-5/16- Big Iron Overland Rally, West Mineral, KS 5/30- Sunday Adventurers Meetup, Roscoe, IL
submit your event at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF OVERLANDING
BY JASON FLETCHER ALL
As the sun sets, I finish stacking gear in the back of the truck. The fridge is fully stocked, all of my gear is packed, and the destination is plugged into the GPS. I climb in, turn on my favorite music, and hit the road with tons of excitement in my heart. For most people who are about to take a long distance road trip, they are focused solely on the final destination and often dislike the journey that takes them there. However, when you’re an Overlander, the literal definition is “selfreliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal.” To the uninitiated that may not make a lot of sense. However, once you start exploring in a vehicle you quickly find that there are a number of amazing sights, obstacles, and people to meet on every journey. In this article I’m going to touch on a few of my favorite trips and some of the amazing things I got to experience on each. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few of the places I’ve been.
Upper Peninsula of Michigan
The drive through muddy washouts and tightly packed pine forests to get to the beach as the sun set was extremely fun. Since we were there for an Overlanding event, we would often run into other people in very cool outfitted vehicles on the trails, so aside from the natural sights, there were also some amazing vehicles to check out.
One of the best overlanding trips I’ve ever been on was the trip to and from KOAR last September.
Once we got to camp, everyone set up their
The drive up is composed of a lot of highway
campsites, started cooking dinner, and then we all
driving coming from Indiana where I live, but
checked out the beach and settled in around a cozy
there’s still a lot to see and I was lucky enough to
campfire. Drinks were had, stories were told, and
join up with a convoy of other overlanders
friendships were forged. Remember, this was just
including Jeremiah from Overland Pioneers. I got
the first day. As the event continued, hundreds of
to meet new people, see some unique overlanding
pictures were taken, new locations were
rigs, and the first night of the trip ended up on a
discovered, and some of the most beautiful and
beautiful stone beach on Lake Superior.
unique landscapes and sights were revealed.
Michigan for some dinner at the Gay bar.
Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail
Looking back on that trip just about six months
One of my very first overlanding trips was
We offroaded up Cliff Mine trail with a beautiful scenic Overlook at the top to celebrate our victory over the rocky terrain. Then we drove down the other side of the mountain before heading to Gay
ago, I still think about some of the awesome stuff I saw and all the new people that I met.
exploring the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail. Again this was an example of traveling with a couple of guys that I had barely met. People that share common interests though often form quick bonds and lots of fun was had by all. On the first day we got lost multiple times which was half the fun and led to some places we would have never found otherwise.
We were driving through thick woods when we suddenly came across about 20 ATV’s. We followed them for a bit and came upon an actual gas station in the middle of the woods. It had two old style pumps out front and a bar/restaurant inside. Since it’s Wisconsin, they (of course) had some amazing cheese curds and burgers with Wisconsin cheese, so it was a great random find. We later found an absolutely stunning campsite on a pond where we spent that first night. Surrounded by natural game paths, the fog rolling off the pond, and good company made it a trip to remember.
At one point, I woke up because I saw a light pass over my closed eyes. I slowly opened them without moving and I saw a police officer walking in between my truck and the other truck parked beside me. He was shining his light into the cars looking for something, but I’m not sure what. I stayed really still and after a minute or two, he
Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia
moved on down the row of parked cars and eventually got in his Charger and drove off. While it seemed a bit sketchy at the time, it was definitely a memorable experience that made the journey that much more interesting. When we got close to the Monongahela, we came through some beautiful little rural towns surrounded by mountains and beautiful rivers.
Another awesome trip that I took a couple of years
Everywhere you looked there was natural beauty
ago was a four rig convoy out to the Monongahela
and it was extremely cool to experience that with
National Forest in West Virginia. The trip took
open eyes and full awareness. That weekend was
about 10 hours each way, which again, sounds like
filled with deep water crossings, dusty trail
a slog and much of it was highway driving, but
traversal, my brakes getting so hot that they
here are a few stories of how the journey can be a
started smoking profusely, and even close
lot of fun.
encounters with bears.
We decided that we wanted to maximize our time
I’m telling these stories because I feel that too
in the National Forest, so we left Thursday night
often, especially nowadays with so much
with a goal to drive most of the way there and
technology and such short attention spans, people
then stop for a few hours of sleep at a truck stop
get so focused on where they’re going that they
before completing the journey. One other truck
miss everything that they could see and learn on
and I left around six and drove until about
the journey to that destination.
midnight. One of the other rigs couldn’t leave quite as early but we’d been in communication
The next time you’re on a trip, even if it is a 10
with them and they were just a couple of hours
hour drive to go to an Overlanding Expo or a family
behind us. So, we pulled into a rest stop and tried
vacation, I encourage you to keep your eyes open
to grab some sleep. We took this trip in late
and don’t focus on just “making good time,” but
summer so it was swelteringly hot. As a result, I
rather, drive down that side road to see what you
had my windows cracked and was drowsing in and
can find or stop at that scenic overlook for a
out of sleep because it was so uncomfortable.
minute to experience something new!
OUR TOP FAVORITE WILD CAMPING DESTINATIONS OTTAWA NATIONAL FOREST From dispersed camping to rustic campgrounds, waterfalls and deep woods, you can't beat the beauty and solitude of the Ottawa.
HIAWATHA NATIONAL FOREST Spanning the UP from Lake Michigan to Lake Superior, options abound in close proximity to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore & Munising.
CHEQUAMEGON-NICOLET NATIONAL FOREST Wisconsin has many water-related recreational opportunities, and many developed and dispersed campsites along miles of two-track.
SHAWNEE NATIONAL FOREST Waterfall season in the Shawnee is spectacular, and everyone should go hike thru the Garden of the Gods.
SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST Ok, confession, we have never been to the Superior National Forest. It's on our list for this year, and I already know we are going to love it.
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DOWN APALACHICOLA WAY BY BILL KURTZ I feel that planning is the most important step in a trip. We have camped quite a bit during our marriage but this would be the first time we have ventured off into the woods to camp with no amenities. The idea of galloping off into a forest to be all alone can be a little intimidating, when you don’t feel like you know what you are doing. Fortunately, I really enjoy researching and learning from the internet. In our travels and especially off roading, we have often seen people who clearly don’t know what they are doing. It is ok to not know everything, but we have seen people engaged in destructive behavior not knowing any better. Both of us have been around scouting most of our lives and really believe in the leave no trace principles. Part of my planning is finding out what to expect in the area we will visit. We decided on the parameters of what we wanted from this overland trip and let that determine our destination. Get away from people, go somewhere warmer, and test our recently learned skills from the KOAR.
We had taken a trip to Memphis and Hot Springs Arkansas two years ago. It was a fun trip but it was not as warm as we had expected. Realizing south = warm we knew we needed to go farther south. Several of my co-workers go to Florida for a winter vacation, but their destination is a crowded beach front in an expensive resort or hotel. I started looking into the National Forest in Florida and we decided on Apalachicola. Not as warm as the peninsula but much less expensive and way less crowded. I used Google maps to help me find things to do in the area. The USDA website was also helpful to learn about the forest and determine rules and regulations. Then came Gaia GPS to scout the forest and find potential camp sites. Jessie did a great job pulling together recipes and getting food prepared in advance. Come time to go I felt confident that we were as ready as we could be.
Knowing it would be late when we arrived, we decided to stay our first night in the Porter Lake Campground. Prior to leaving on the trip we hoped it would be fairly empty. As we pulled in and saw several camper vans, we were afraid it may be too full. There were a few spots left and we took one of them and did a minimal setup for the night. As we only had roughly 30 minutes of daylight left we boiled some water and nine minutes later our Mountain House dehydrated dinner was ready to go. We visited with a couple of our neighbors a bit and called it a night. It was 37 degrees (much colder than we planned) when we got up in the morning so we slept in a bit and read in the camper for a while to let it warm up. I had selected Porter Lake for our first night, to be able to utilize the water source to fill up our Road Showers. The spigot did not have a threaded end so we used our 5 gallon water bladders to fill the tanks on the camper. Surely the other people in the campground thought we were crazy filling the tanks that way, but it actually worked very well. While we were getting ready to move on we visited with several of the people in the campground and were amazed how many of them are living out of their campers full time. One of the ladies we met, after losing her husband to cancer 4 years ago, decided to go on the road full time. She has been traveling all over for the past 3 years seeing the states. She was a wealth of information which we tucked away for future reference.
"The idea of galloping off into a forest to be all alone can be a little intimidating." Soon enough we were ready to go out into the forest. The main forest road was a pretty nice gravel road and we were able to make good time. Once we turned onto the secondary forest road things got a little rougher and we had to slow down. About 30 minutes later we arrived at the unmaintained road that led back to one of the possible campsites I had selected. Sometimes you just get lucky and this was one of those times. We had a nice large clearing with a turn around and short grass at the end of our forest road, a perfect place to set up a base camp. We enjoy the base camp style of overlanding versus moving every day. We had been looking forward to trying out some of the new gear we picked up over the winter. We were very happy with the way the OzTent awning extensions work. We had panels previously that left gaps between each panel. These were less protective from the elements than we wanted so we invested in the ones that zip together to make the
FoxWing into a nice solid wall enclosure. This worked very well on the cool mornings to keep the chill off while making breakfast and packing lunch for the day. We realized last fall the Road Shower works pretty nicely but does not get the water quite warm enough for our comfort on cool days. We blindly acquired a Joolca propane water heater over the winter to combine with the road shower to supply hot water to our pop up shower tent. On Tuesday we went out exploring the forest and found the forest roads were quite bumpy. We mostly relied on Gaia GPS to navigate, but we did use Google maps to route us to one place. I swear it took us on one of the sketchiest routes we traveled! All of the forest roads we traveled seemed to have a decent gravel base under them and after a bit I was less afraid of getting stuck. There were some long and deep dips in the road that were filled with water. At first I was concerned with these after seeing pictures of people horribly stuck in the mud in Florida during my research. After hitting a few of these we realized they too had a gravel base and were level once you got into them. We did find a couple that were over 200 yards long that we elected not to try, but we did take on one long one that scared us when the water got up to the bottom of our doors.
We went for a nice walk up the beach and modeled our central Illinois beach wear. Wednesday we abandoned our overlanding for some local sightseeing and went out to St George Island for the day. We visited the lighthouse, which had a good bit of local history. I can’t really imagine the job the lighthouse attendant had back in the day. Climbing 92 steps to the top with 5 gallon cans of kerosene every 4 hours to keep the light fueled and trimmed. That must have taken some real dedication. After our tour we drove out to the beach for lunch. Fortunately we had dressed warmly since it was only 65 degrees and the wind was blowing about 17 mph off the gulf. We went for a nice walk up the beach and modeled our central Illinois beach wear.
Thursday we went to TNT Hideaway for a kayak tour on the Wakulla river. It really is a small world. Our tour guide grew up in a small Illinois town about 30 miles from my hometown. We put in the river about 3 miles upstream from the office and floated and paddled our way back down to the office. The river was pretty much what I expected with spanish moss hanging from cypress trees leaning out over the water. We saw a lot of turtles out sunning themselves and 3 small alligators. I was starting to think we were going to get skunked and not see any of the advertised manatees when 4 of them started surfacing swimming upstream. It is a lot different seeing wild creatures like this actually in the wild. Kayaking man now become a more regular part of our leisuretime at home and while traveling. I had hoped to be able to get some pictures or video, but they were camera shy and did not stick around for the photo op. Overall it was very relaxing and enjoyable spending time on the water kayaking. The hitch we ran into this day was on arrival back at the campground Gaia said the beta I was using had expired and would not open. It had been working great and we were relying on it to find our way around the labyrinth like forest. We had a very weak cellular signal with no data in the forest so I could not work on it out there. Friday we decided to go into McDonalds for WIFI and breakfast. Once we had WIFI I was able to update the Gaia App. Thankfully it started working again and we did not lose anything we had stored. Back to the base camp to start packing. We realized we had too much tongue weight on the trip down so we rearranged for the trip home. We were not ridiculously overloaded, but going out into the forest fully loaded we could tell we needed to do better. Everything came out of the front tool box and heavier stuff went farther back in the camper and lighter stuff went in the box. I emptied all the fuel tanks into the Jeep and dumped the little bit of water we had left. We also discussed items we can leave behind the next time to save weight. When we pulled out on Saturday morning it was obvious the Jeep was riding better and the load was much better balanced.
It was nice to have the opportunity to get away from the hectic pace we lead in our lives. The planning paid off. All in all we had a very refreshing trip. It was nice to have the opportunity to get away from the hectic pace we lead in our lives. This is undoubtedly the longest we have been without constant availability of mobile internet in quite some time. Unplugging and slowing down was very good for us. We look forward to our next opportunity to practice our overlanding skills and get out there. Actually I am already planning our next trip.
The Apalachicola National Forest is home to some of the most unique animal and plant species in the world. Here, visitors can enjoy safe, familyfriendly activities such as fishing, hunting, hiking and trail riding while surrounded by tranquil, diverse ecosystems.
All the Adventure
WELDING, AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR SANDBLASTING, PAINTING
KEWEENAW TRIP GUIDES Exploring the historic Calumet, Michigan area
Lynn and Jason love cabins! They are the proprietors and tireless rehabbers of Fresh Coast Cabins between Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor just about as far north as you can be on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Here we share a day in the life of a would-be adventurer. Lynn and Jason have put together an amazing itinerary crafted to include all of the natural beauty, history and culture in the Calumet area. Let's imagine you are starting your adventure from one of their cabins on the shores of The Big Lake...
SCENIC VIEWS Grab your walking or hiking shoes and set out south from the cabin on the curvy M-26. This twisty-turny road makes for a beautiful scenic drive along Lake Superior, leading you back into civilization and cell service in historic Calumet. Your first stop at Keweenaw Coffee Works is 45 minutes away, so make a cuppa joe at the cabin before you head out!
Breakfast at Keweenaw Coffee Works: Stop at Keweenaw Coffee Works for delicious, locallyroasted coffee and a light breakfast. We love them for their commitment to environmentally responsible business practices and sourcing their coffee from small farmers. *This can be a quick 10-minute stop if you get your brekky to go, or stay and linger. EXPLORE Arriving in Calumet: Now that you’ve had your coffee, take a quick stroll or drive through Calumet and make a mental note of what you want to explore after the waterfall tour. The churches and beautiful building architecture are of particular significance—made of local basalt and sandstone, these buildings were made to last for centuries. *15 minutes or so. EXPLORE Hungarian Falls: This is one of the most well-known waterfalls of the Keweenaw. There are around six or seven drops along the creek but the lowermost drop—a stunning plunge close to 60 feet high—is the primary waterfall. The walk to the falls is around one mile round trip if you visit all the drops. *45 minutes to an hour is perfect.
SCENIC VIEWS Historical Quincy Mining Dredge: Make a quick historical pitstop at the old mining dredge—Quincy Dredge #2—that is partially submerged on the shore of Torch Lake. Operable for almost 100 years, this is one of two copper mining dredges that sank in 1968. Quincy Dredge 1 is farther out in the lake, barely visible. *5-10 minutes here is plenty. Lunch at Michigan House Cafe & Red Jacket Brewing Co.: Enjoy a slow lunch and relax at this Calumet institution dating back to the late 1800s. The food and beer make for an excellent slow-food and drink experience, so you’ll have plenty of time to take in the incredible historic building interior. It has been well-preserved and restored so that visitors can get an idea of the rich history of the Calumet area during the boom copper years. *Give yourself 1-1.5 hours for a slow lunch. EXPLORE The Calumet Historic District is a National Historic Landmark District that encompasses most of the village. In addition to the rich architectural history, there are great shops to explore. Walk down 5th Street for antiques, local gift stores, and area treasures. Be sure to check out the Vertin Gallery which features over 130 fine artists, antiques, books, art supplies, and more. Cross Country Sports is a favorite shop of ours! Top off your walking tour with a drink and more history at Shutes Bar. *2 hours should be plenty of time in Calumet. PIT STOP Jampot: On your way back north, stop at the Jampot before they close to get breakfast for the next day. Their homemade preserves made from local berries are to die for and pair wonderfully with their baked goods. We highly recommend the Abbey Bread—laced with bourbon and made by monks! SCENIC VIEWS Jacob’s Falls: Just a hop away you can peep the final 20-foot drop of Jacob’s Falls from the north side of the road. If you’re feeling adventurous, climb the steep trail along the rim of the gorge that lets you get nice views of the next two drops. *You could spend up to 30 minutes here if you hike down.
WALK Beach time: Head into Eagle River where you’ll be having dinner and park along Front Street for public beach access. This is a lovely spot to explore the shore of Gitche Gumee before a delicious meal. *A 20-30 minute walk is perfect before dinner, depending on if you want to catch the sunset on the beach or from the restaurant. Sunset happy hour and dinner at Fitzgerald’s: Locally known as “The Fitz” and touted as the “The best damn restaurant and bar on the shores of Lake Superior,” this casual waterfront spot does not disappoint. It’s known for the stunning views, mouth-watering BBQ, southern delicacies, and the best poutine south of Canada. Their bar menu is also very commendable! *This is a slow-food experience, no need to rush things. Fresh Coast Cabins: Welcome home! Kick back in your cabin with some board games or a good book, listen to the waves with your favorite beverage, enjoy a bonfire on the beach…
Please see the Fresh Coast Cabin website for additional historical info on Calumet and for the other Keweenaw trip guides!
Overland Rig Review WORDS BY DELIA MO - PHOTOS BY ENOCH LEISURE Depending on the type of adventure you’re into, any vehicle can be an overland rig! We chose a Nissan Xterra as ours. Enoch had previously owned an Xterra and swore by it. So when he came across Yogi, he had to have him. (He was also sold on the fact that Yogi is manual transmission). Enoch modified Yogi to be able to go anywhere we wanted even to some of the most remote destinations. After living in Yogi for 8 months, we decided to upgrade and add an adventure trailer to complete our overland rig. A lot of people have asked what modifications have been done to both the Xterra and trailer. Here is our Overland Rig Overview.
Yogi - 2009 6 speed M/T Nissan Xterra 4x4 Suspension Bilstein B8 5100s Revtek 840R Leaf kit AAL (rear lift) Daystar Greaseable 1.5in Shackle (rear lift) Moog cam bolt kit (correct front end alignment after lift) SuperSprings SumoSprings (bump stop replacements) Armor Hardcore Off-Road LLC rock sliders ASFIR full underbody aluminum skid plates Performance Volant cold air intake Airflow snorkel R1 Concepts Drilled and slotted brakes Tires/Wheels Cooper Evolution M/T 285/75 R16 tires Fuel Offroad Vector Wheels
Boo-boo - Freespirit Recreation Overlander Trailer Trailer accessories Armor Towers Accessory panels Rhino Rack Vortex two-bar 65″ roof rack Max coupler Suspension Timbren axle-less suspension Tires/Wheels 31" Falken Wildpeak AT3W R15 tires American Racing wheels Tent Freespirit Recreation High Country 80” Premium RTT Teton Sports Mammoth 0 degree Double sleeping bag and liner Homemade slide-out kitchen FlameKing double burner stove Amazon RV sink 5lb propane tank Camplux water heater 13 Gallon water tank We also have a shower/ bathroom setup as well but that doesn’t get used very often. We’re usually camping by ourselves so when nature calls we become one with it. There are a few more things that Enoch wants to add to the rig. But overall, the rig and setup is built enough to provide us with everything that we would ever need on the road. It is also capable enough to go on any road Enoch decides to explore on a whim. Every overland rig is built differently depending on where the driver intends to go. We love seeing all the different rigs that people have built and where they take them. It’s also a great way to bounce ideas off each other to improve or make adjustments to each rig respectively. In general, if you have something that gets you outdoors. It could be a bike, kayak, snowmobile, skateboard, etc. Then you’re doing it right.
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Months ago in 2020 I mentioned that I would write about several of the trail shoes that I've been running in and how they may or may not be 'right' for you. Then the pandemic happened, my local trails were shut down, traveling was curtailed and then winter happened. Here in north central Illinois we received more snow than is typical followed by several cold snaps. Unlike our editor who loves winter, I do not. I did venture out a few times and test the snow covered trails however the majority of my winter miles were spent on the roads or on a treadmill. Horrors. Treadmills. I'm thankful to own one but I can't spend much time on it. Maybe a topic for a future column, "Why I hate treadmills and what to do about it". But, I digress.
Like so many things in life there
running store that excels in
are many options when it comes
servicing their customers. with a
to choosing trail shoes. My
salesperson, try on several shoes
interest is primarily running and
from different brands and cross
to a lesser extent, hiking so keep
your fingers. Still, going through
that in mind as you read on. I
this process is a crapshoot. How
hinted on a recent Instagram
will the shoes react to your feet
post (@coffeetoastrunner) 'what
after one hundred, two hundred
is the best trail shoe'. The quick
miles are accumulated on them?
answer is there is no such thing.
You won't know until you go
Just as there is no best car, no
through the process. A couple of
'WHAT IS THE BEST TRAIL SHOE'. THE QUICK ANSWER IS THERE IS NO SUCH THING. no best coffee or no best bicycle
years ago I thought that I'd
there is no best running shoe,
change road shoe brands and
regardless of what a brand's
ordered a pair from New Balance.
advertising attempts to sell you.
Great shoes for some but I
The only way to ultimately find
realized within twenty miles they
which shoe is best for you is
were not for me so on a donation
through experimentation and
shelf they sit.
that takes time, patience and money. While running is still, in
My first pair of trail shoes were
my view, the least expensive way
the XA Pro from Salomon. I liked
to keep fit running shoes
that they were very sturdy shoes,
continue to creep up in price
had a rock plate so I wouldn't feel
(subject for another time,
larger rocks and tree limbs out on
the trail and they seemed mostly indestructible. I've since run in
A good way to begin the process
four pairs of XA Pro and really like
is to find a local independent
most everything about them. The
ADVENTURE BEGINS HERE
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narrow Salomon fit also wrapped
Then in 2020 a new shiny toy was
my feet nicely, never
announced by Salomon. The
experiencing the blisters that I
Wildcross! Well, I'm wild I
often did with new shoes from
thought. I needed to try them.
other brands. (If you have wide
You know, pandemic and
Most supportive and durable Heaviest Rock plate
feet be sure to purchase the wide
needing a new toy sort of thing.
version). This model also
To me they are a lighter version
supported my mid foot very well,
of the Speedcross. Similar lugs on
important to me because I over
the bottom although the layout
pronate. They have a bottom sole
is slightly different. The Wildcross
that grips well but I slipped
is very light with little midfoot
occasionally when running steep
support. If you need a wide shoe
Mid-weight Less overall support No rock plate For middle distance runs Great for gravel and sandy trails
inclines and declines. Durability is
stay away. The Wildcross is
off the charts, I have put six
narrow and foot entry is not easy.
hundred miles plus on each of
I didn't find that they slip on the
the four models that I've owned.
foot with ease and the lacing system and built in tongue do
Wildcross Lightest of the three reviewed here Little support No rock plate For shorter, faster runs Great on hilly, technical trails
Wanting better traction on loose
not easily loosen. I use my
gravel and hills I changed over to
thinnest socks with these as a
the Salomon Speedcross 4 and
thicker material just won't fit.
then the newer 5. A lighter shoe
Once in though I find them very
than the XA Pro but a much
comfortable to run in and the
While there is no one best shoe I
deeper lug on the sole solved the
grip is very good. As with it's
can offer this advice. Find a brand
traction issue. But, at a cost
sidekick, the Speedcross, there is
you feel is best for you and, if the
no rock plate so you'll feel each
budget allows, purchase both a
. The Speedcross (now model 5) is
and every uneven surface. With
lighter and heavier, more
great on hills but since it is a
eighty five miles accumulated so
supportive model. Switch in
lighter shoe it does not offer as
far I can tell these are designed
between the two or three chosen
much mid foot support. The
for speed and lightness. After
models. This way they won't wear
overall ride is lighter which I
eight to ten mile runs my feet are
down as quickly and your feet
really like but it does not support
more tired than in the XA Pro
will receive the required support
the entire foot as well as the XA
and Speedcross 5. In my
they need for a longer period of
Pro. Life is a series of trade offs,
experience the lighter the shoe
time. Running in worn down
the fewer quality miles you'll run
shoes is not good for your feet
or hike regardless of the brand or
and can lead to injury so be
careful out there.
I tried using some aftermarket inserts which did help with their internal support and that helped bridge the gap between Speedcross and XA Pro. While your mileage may vary I found that the Speedcross performed best up to twelve to fifteen mile long runs and five hundred total accumulated miles.
There is no doubt that the overland community is thriving on social media channels. We can laugh all we want about being "Instalanders" or being "YouTube Famous" but social media is connecting people to form meaningful bonds and friendships. Here we highlight our favorite Facebook groups in the upper midwest and urge you to join in on the fun.
"I am so glad I stumbled upon Facebook Groups! What started as a basic question about where to get my lift installed became the catalyst of countless camping trips, friendships, and access to education and informal training all for free," says Mandy Buehler, a Wisconsin Overland admin "in my opinion, these groups are the best way to enjoy your hobby socially."
Illinois Overlanders Maurice de Lannee is the guy in the driver's seat for the cornfield explorers. "I started Illinois Overlanders to give us a place and have a slightly different style of group than most groups with different information being shared." The Illinois Overlander website is rich with info, profiles, maps, and blog posts. "I am not sure where to go with Illinois Overlanders, lol. I think it's more something that takes shape while being in the process." Michigan Overland Nick Howell says Michigan Overland was started "as a way to connect family members and plan overland trips. We opened it up to the public and it turned into a way for other Michigan based overlanders to connect and plan trips. The future state is to be the go-to overland community in Michigan. I honestly have no interest in self-promotion for it, I'd rather help those out who make some money off these types of things in whatever little way I can." Midwest Overlanders Midwest Overlanders was started by Cody Ash and his wife as a travel blog to catalog their adventures. Over time it evolved into a Facebook group. With almost 8000 members, there's a wide array of experience and input available. "We plan to keep it a free forum, never charging for access. Join the discussion on our Facebook group and our Discord server," says team member Will Nelson. Minnesota Overlanders "The group was started by Josh Rotan, Arron Willis, and Bryan Monahan. They created the club, because at the time Minnesota didn't have much to offer in the overlanding area. Josh moved back south to care for his aging parents, Arron started a family, and Bryan lost his battle with cancer" says current admin Andy Nepsha. "I was left with the club to do my best to carry on what they started. Going forward, all we want to do is help get more people out to enjoy what Minnesota has to offer." Wisconsin Overland The Wisconsin Overland team is Cindy Pope, Mandy Buehler, Taylor Kosky, Jack Flood, Chris Offenwanger and Jake Thompson and was formed by merging two Wisconsin groups led by Cindy and Mandy. Wisconsin Overland has participated in National Forest cleanups, volunteer service outings, Christmas tree hunts and camping events. "We just want to go out and have good, clean fun and get a little dirty" says Cindy.
TO CONQUER A RIVER Jason Pientka paddles for a record to benefit the river he loves
BY MEGAN EASTERLING Humanity has been drawn to rivers since time immemorial. There’s something innately satisfying about it that harkens back to the tension between danger and survival. The redolence of the water, the soothing trickle and raging roar, the picturesque valleys it carves through stone speak to the river’s salient power. It’s power is undeniable. What is it like to conquer a river? Discovering, exploring, and then riding it’s gnarliest sections injects a thrill of adrenaline into the heart of any kayaker. Some become increasingly addicted to this conquest, the paddle seducing them to greater heights. Jason Pientka was born next to the Wisconsin River, and grew up swimming and playing in its warm shallow waters around Stevens Point. Nestled amongst the great lakes, the watershed of the Wisconsin River is a playground of river sports from trout fishing to whitewater kayaking, and everything in between. Jason followed this progression, seduced by the rapids he found while fishing into eventually kayaking over 30 foot waterfalls. He was lured away from the Wisconsin River by an opportunity to make a living of river life as a whitewater raft guide for True North Outpost in Norway, MI. But Jason has been revisiting the Wisconsin River with a different paddle lately. Jason plans to break the record for the fastest solo paddle
of the entire Wisconsin River. Dominated by dams, the Wisconsin River boasts its own record--most damned dammed river per mile. Each of the 26 dams along the Wisconsin River’s 436 miles will have to be portaged as part of this feat of endurance. Attempts are rare, with only a few attempts in the last few decades. The fastest ever recorded paddle was done by a tandem canoeist team in the ‘90s who did 430 miles in 4 days 2 hours. The current solo record was set in the 80’s recorded only on a paddle forum at 6 days 6 hours. Jason feels he can dominate this, leveraging spring flows and daily professional paddling into a streamlined record-breaking paddling machine in a sea touring kayak sponsored by True North Outpost. But Jason isn't just doing this for the ego-tripping glory of paddle cred. He’s doing it as a river benefit. He’s using this feat of endurance as a fundraiser to benefit the sport and rivers that he loves. Wausau Whitewater is a volunteer run nonprofit that is devoted to safely promoting whitewater paddle sports through the whitewater course it has built and maintained along the Wisconsin River in Wausau Wisconsin. Check it out for lessons and events. People Earth Water is an environmental organization that organizes river clean up events around Wisconsin. Be a part of this incredible adventure by donating here.
MOTOR VEHICLE USE MAPS One thing I notice is people wondering if a route is legal to be driven on and when its legal to drive on certain routes. Let me introduce you to the world of MVUM .
Under the 2005 Travel Management Rule, every national forest and grassland is required to publish an MVUM (motor vehicle use map), which is the legal instrument that shows where people are allowed to drive. The MVUM displays National Forest System roads, trails, and areas designated as open to motorized travel by vehicle class (ex. highway-legal vehicles, vehicles less than 50 inches wide and
motorcycles) and season of use. If a route is not on the MVUM, it is not open to motorized use. Signs may or may not be posted; regardless, it is the driver’s responsibility to reference the MVUM to stay on designated motorized routes. MAURICE DE LANNEE CONTRIBUTING WITER
MVUMs will be updated annually, in January, to correct mapping errors or discrepancies and update travel decisions. If no corrections or updates are needed, the MVUM will be validated for the new year by the Ranger District with a red stamp that says: “Valid for Year 20__”. MVUMs only show where it is legal to drive and provide limited topographic and other identifying featurs. Thus, the MVUM is best used in conjunction with a Forest Visitor map or other detailed map.
What kind of data can you find in MVUMs?
By default, a map of the area containing the motor vehicle use trails. Please note that these maps are not topographical maps. In other words, besides lakes and rivers there are no land features (like elevation profiles) shown on these type of maps.
IF A ROUTE IS NOT ON THE MVUM, IT IS NOT OPEN TO MOTORIZED USE.
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Some trails can only be used during the specified time noted on the MVUM and others are year open. Refer to the tables on the map to see both seasonal openings and vehicle types allowed.
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To see all the MVUMs available for National Forests, go to this linkhttps://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/p rograms/ohv/ohv_maps.shtml Editor's note: in future issues Maurice will be examining other info that you can use regarding the MVUMs and ways to access them on your mobile devices. You can read more about this topic on the Illinois Overlanders website.
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capture the season We had one special attendee at every one of the Northology Adventures Copper Harbor Winter Weekends. Sarah brought her adventurous spirit, sense of humor, home brewed kombucha and a keen eye for capturing the beauty of the Keweenaw with her camera.
BY SJ MICHALS I've always wanted to try snowshoeing. When I found out about the Northology Overland winter weekends to snowshoe in the great Northwoods of the Michigan UP this winter, I jumped at the chance to go. The UP is a magical place. Every time I cross over the Michigan border, my soul fills with happiness and I can literally feel the stress release from my body. The fresh air, the incredible amounts of snow, beautiful vistas and, and, and... Case in point, I love da UP especially in the winter. In January, it snowed the entire weekend! I put on snowshoes for the first time, and fell in love. We traversed across deep snow and saw land that would otherwise be very difficult to access. I went home after the January weekend and bought my own pair of snowshoes immediately. I was hooked! I went out as often as I could.
When the February event came closer, last minute I chose to adventure north again. It was another beautiful weekend in the Keeweenaw, and my first exposure to moonlight hiking and photography. March was magical. The first day of spring was welcomed with epic sunrises, warm sunshine hikes, magical sunsets and a brief glimpse of Aurora. Lesson learned (and continuing to learn): If you want something, make it happen. Don't wait for anyone to hold your hand, just go. Do what scares you, because really it's not that scary in the end. Go up that high cliff. Look over the edge. Push further. It's fine! The people you meet, the experiences you create will last the rest of your life. I experienced a new hobby in snowshoeing, drove my Jeep through crazy whiteout snowy conditions like butter, met amazing people, learned new things and made incredible memories. And, I didn't die!
A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO WILD CAMPING
BY CINDY POPE
This vacation isn't going so well. The campground you is crowded, noisy, and there is little screening between sites. The RV generators buzz all day and night and you are getting really tired of the music choices of your neighboring campers. The constant flow of traffic in and out of the campground is starting to annoy you and you wonder, is this the nature experience you want your kids to remember? You fear a family mutiny at any moment.
What if I told you that you could camp in the most beautiful, private, out-ofthe-way places, all over this country, for free? Would you believe me? It's called dispersed camping and most national forests and a fair amount of state forest allow dispersed camping. For this article, we will focus on the National Forests in the upper midwest- , mainly Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
SO WHAT'S THE CATCH? The US Forest Service describess dispersed camping as "the type of recreational experience that is outside the confines of a developed campground setting. It’s just you and the woods without latrines, fire rings, or any other type of amenities you’d find in a campground." There you have it. In order to really commune with nature, you're gonna have to put in a little work, but I promise you it will be worth it.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE? My parents first took me to the Nicolet National Forest when they got into whitewater canoeing. I remember watching the moonlit mist creeping through the valleys as we made our way north at night. Dad turned down a two-track that snaked thru the tall plantation pines, the trees grew closer and closer as we made our way further into the woods. We came to a clearing and stopped, dad turned the car off and started pulling our camping gear out of the trunk. I was so thrilled to be what seemed like the actual middle of nowhere, and it sort of felt like, well, a little illegal. I mean, you just can't camp ANYWHERE, can you? Well, turns out if you're in a national forest, you pretty much can. I there and then made it my mission to never pay for camping ever again.
SO HOW DO I GET STARTED? Free, dispersed camping is allowed in all national forests, unless noted or posted otherwise. You can find places to camp on the side of main roads, or follow gravel or dirt forest roads to get deeper into the woods. I usually check an area on google maps, looking for clearings or dead ends near streams or interesting topography. When I see something that looks promising, I check it on the Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) to make sure that the road is open (roads can be closed seasonally, always check!) Apps like Gaia and Avenza can also let you know where you are in real-time, allow you to track your route, drop pins and add notes and photos to your trip.
YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN
ILLINOIS Shawnee National Forest INDIANA Hoosier National Forest MICHIGAN Hiawatha National Forest Huron-Manistee National Forest Ottawa National Forest MINNESOTA Chippewa National Forest Superior National Forest WISCONSIN Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
So now that you found a place that looks like a nice little campsite, you are ready to prep for your trip. Since you will not be at a campground with water, toilets or fire pits, you need to account for those things. I will address those particulars in another issue, but I implore you to watch this video about how to poop in the woods. Nothing can ruin a camping trip like hiking in a forest of TP flowers. Please also check out the article in this issue by Maurice De Lannee about the Motor Vehicle Use Maps and how to find legal, open forest roads. Happy camping!
A FEW RULES TO REMEMBER Please follow Leave No Trace practices Pack out all garbage and supplies you brought with you– leave the site cleaner than when you found it. Where toilets are not provided, bury and cover waste in a shallow trench at least 200 feet away from any water. Be aware of fire restrictions that apply to campfires Check the Motorized Vehicle User Map (MVUM) to make sure the Forest Service road you wish to drive on is open to motorized vehicles. Motor vehicles may be parked up to 30 feet from the edge of the road surface when it is safe to do so without causing damage . Occupancy is limited to 21 days at the same site within a 30 day period, one mile away from previous site. Use only dead and downed material for firewood. Do not carve, chop, cut, peel bark, install nails or screws, or do any other damage to live trees. Source: National Forest website These rules are from the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and may be different from other National Forest rules, always check the specific area information that you plan to go to.
What drives you to adventure? How do you get there? We want to see and share all the rigs that get us out in nature! If you would like to have your vehicle profile included, email us at email@example.com. Published submissions will receive a sticker swag thank you gift and be entered in our Rig of the Year contest in December.
Why did you choose this vehicle? I’ve always been a fan of the Colorado ZR2 and when I saw the Bison package I knew it was just about perfectly outfitted for my needs without much additional aftermarket cost. AEV Bison package comes with steel front winch ready and rear bumpers and full skid plates. What outdoor activities or hobbies do you have? Motorcycling and toys with triggers. Spending quality time with my family is job number one. What is the next thing on the build list? Winch and LED lighting in headlights and pod style fog lights. Where are you off to next? Taking my boy to Mt Rushmore after the school season ends.
Name: Steve Botsford Hometown: Milwaukee, WI Vehicle 2020 Chevrolet Colorado AEV Bison Drivetrain-Engine: 3.6L V6 -Transmission: 8 speed Auto -Transfer Case: Electronic -Front Axle: IFS with electronically selectable locker -Rear Axle: Solid rear axle with electronically selectable locker Suspension/wheels/tiresFront Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSVTM) dampers. Rear twostage multi-leaf springs; with Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSVTM) dampers. AEV Specific 17” aluminum wheels and Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs.
1993 Tetrick Road Tampa, FL 33624 Tel: 863-327-1459 thecreativeideas.co
The extrasBaja Designs Squadron Sport LED ditch lights, LEER camper shell with g3 Fabrications Roof Rack, 2020 TC Teardrop 5x10 ORE teardrop camper, 270deg OzTent awning with removable sides, 6x8 Tuff Stuff awning with fully enclosed awning room physically attached to the teardrop, 11 pound propane tank, 8 gallons of water in Rotopax cans along with a 100w solar panel, and ICECO fridge.
PHOTO BY MARK DONOVAN
A midwest-centric overland adventure magazine.