Article: Glamping Across Minnesota: A Moto Getaway
Glamping Across Minnesota: A Moto Getaway
We get it. Camping is not for everyone, let alone MOTO-Camping. The strategy it takes to minimize your needs for several days and pack that minimized item list onto a motorcycle is not for the faint of heart. We, on the other hand, love it. We get off on figuring this shit out, binding it all to a sissy bar, and rolling down the highway totally packed down. It's part of why we ride.
Alternative Moto Travel
On the other hand, there are easy ways to get that "Living off the bike" feeling, without really roughing it. Whether it's due to a lack of space or a lack of interest in sleeping on the ground, we've got a route for you with accommodations.
Begin your trip at Getaway Moto Cafe in Carver, MN, always. Get your coffee, a snack, and some encouragement from the owner, Nate, if he's around. This gets you on the road and out of the Twin Cities just far enough to make sure your packs are solid on your bike.
We rented a camper cabin in Whitetail Woods Regional Park in Farmington, MN for the first night. These are Architecural Award-winning cabins that are super affordable. About $85/night. Book yours here:
From there, you can ride any number of scenic byways from Farmington, through Redwing, and up along the river on the Wisconsin side. You cannot go wrong with this ride in the fall.
From Farmington, we rode north, back past the cities, and up to Crosby, MN. A little time was spent on Interstate 35, less than an hour, before getting off onto the two lane highways we love so much. The trees were changing colors, the sun was shining, and the air was perfectly brisk.
We arrived at our destination, Ironton Island, in Crosby just after 4:30pm. The owner, Jess, greeted us at the driveway entrance. Not only does she own & run this little slice of paradise, she designed and built them by hand with her partner, Chad. Love a strong female lead!
We pulled right up to the cabin, which was among two other identical cabins. The three shared a bathroom, which was extremely nice and well planned out, and was accompanied by an outdoor shower. Typically, this area is flooded with mountain bikers with the vast trailways throughout and around the town. We blended in with our two wheels as well as we could.
Best part: its .5 miles from downtown Crosby. If you go, stop at the brewery there and have some Thai food at Drunken Noodle. Glamping ain't so bad, ya'll.
Book it here:
The next morning, we packed back up and headed east, then north, winding through state forests near Voyaguers National Park to Orr, Minnesota, right on Pelican Lake. About 5 minutes after arriving at the liquor store for libations, the rain came and we were stoked the liquor store also had its own bar attached. We cozied up for one while we waited out the rain. That nights' stay was just .5 miles up the road at Dennis's place. Dennis greeted us as we pulled up and showed us the glamping spot he carved out of his private backwoods, complete with another (heated!) outdoor shower & outhouse.
The Longest Day Ever
Day 4 started out like the others; Woke to a chilly morning and had coffee & prepackaged oatmeal for breakfast. We bundled up in preparation for a brisk ride being it was low 50's for the morning portion.
We repacked the bikes and took off, unbeknownst to us that the Dyna I was riding had shed a couple of bolts from the rear sprocket at some point during the past few days.
We were headed home and decided to book it back to make it home for our sons' baseball game at 4:00pm, rather than ride Highway 1 from Ely to the North Shore as planned, knowing it would still be there next year.
We meandered back down the two lanes, most of the time feeling in the middle of nowhere, which is what we want. What we do not want is for a bike to break down out there. Lack of cell service, minimal shoulder on the road, and really no one else around, makes a shitty situation even shittier.
Lucky for us, the last few bolts made their escape just as we were going through Hibbing and about two blocks from the coffee shop we were going to stop at. Still going 55mph, I ignored Jasons' attempts at getting me to pull over (mostly because we hadn't established clear signals beforehand and it looked like he was just reminding me to pull over for coffee), and I waved him off assuring him I was turning just up the road. That's when the bike made a loud couple of clunks and I lost all power.
I made it to the stoplight and Jason ditched the XR up ahead, ran back and pushed me off the road. There, we found we had two bolts left but each were hanging out of the homes they should be living in, one was bent out of shape and lodged between the sprocket and the swing arm. Nice.
After a coffee, a sandwich, and lots of phone calls, we determined we needed to go get our truck and pick up the bike ourselves. There were no vehicles in the area that we could use to get this thing home. So, knowing the tiny seat on the back of the XR was merely for looks, I folded up my Atwyld flannel for cushion, strapped it to the bike, and we rode home. I took three Tylenol Extra Strengths to get through it and promptly iced my ass once we got home.
Fast forward three more hours, we arrived back in Hibbing. Without any hills around and a short ramp, the Lowrider made it tricky to load. We finally landed on backing up to a curb, putting large rocks under the ramps end, and running the bike over the hump, and up. It worked after about an hour.
Three hours back home and we collapsed in bed around 1:45am with smiles on our faces because even a 9 hour ordeal couldn't ruin the high of a helluva good moto trip. On to the next with established hand signals.
Thanks for reading. As Nate at Getaway said, keep the rubber side down!