Riding The Keweenaw

Paul throwing down at the Michigan Tech Dirt Jumps…


This past weekend was the annual Ride The Keweenaw (RTK) event held each spring on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Upper Michigan. Since we once lived here we used this event as an excuse to remove ourselves from our current situation here on the East Coast and visit friends and doing some riding. The original plan included a friend of mine from Maine who was going to tag along. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be and just days out he ended up having to cancel. In the end things worked out alright. Mari decided to come with and because we didn’t have to get my Maine friend back to work we could extend out trip by a couple of days making the 20 hour drive a little more palatable. 

So, on Thursday after work we jumped in the car and were on the road by 6pm. Mari drove for the first couple of hours eventually stopping for gas and to make a driver exchange. At this point in time we must have been very close to a… let’s just call it a fork in the road. And when we got off the highway to make the exchange we made just enough of a deviation in our route to cause our GPS to decide that the southern route through Port Huron and Lower Michigan was the better option. Unfortunately, I did not notice this little error until we were almost to Toronto. Now, this wasn’t a huge problem. Time-wise the difference between the routes in negligible. The southern route is longer but has a higher speed limit, while the northern route is shorter with a lower speed limit. It would be interesting to figure out what the difference is in price between the two routes when you consider the additional mileage combined with the lower efficiency at the higher speeds. Anyway…

We eventually arrived on Friday afternoon and that evening we hung out with friends at the new club in town and had dinner at our friend Dave’s new burrito shop. Apparently, we had too much fun on Friday because when 8am rolled around the next day both Jason and I were a little slow to get moving. Up first on the agenda was a ride at the Michigan Tech Trails followed by a demo by some professional riders at the local dirt jumps. It was at the dirt jumps that I broke out the camera for the first and only time. I was having too much fun with everyone and sometimes a camera just gets in the way of that. 

After the session at the dirt jumps, Jason and I met Lynn and Mari at The Lunch Bag for a quick bite and then we were off to our second ride of the day over at the Churning Rapids trails and ending on a new trail called Aunt Flow which is a super flowy, dirt-jumpy, line of dirt. After getting our arse’s kicked at Churning we retreated to Lynn and Jason’s for a bit eventually ending up at Fitzgeralds in Eagle River for some BBQ and drinks on the lake. 

On Sunday we awoke a grey skies, rain and a radar that showed a storm system stretching all the way to the west coast… not exactly what one would hope for when planning on riding a bike down steep rock and mud covered trails. Fortunately, the weather gods blew the whole system north and though we got off to a late start we eventually made it up to Copper Harbor where the girls were kind enough to shuttle us up Brockway Mtn a couple of times so that Jason and I could ride The Flow and On The Edge, both of which are relatively new trails that are as fun as anything I’ve ridden anywhere in the country. After riding we grabbed a bite at the Mariner and then headed over to Brad and Karen’s to check out their new church… I mean house that is nearing completion on the shore of Lake Superior. 

The next couple of days saw us just hanging out and catching up and then on Wednesday morning we got back in the car and started the long trip back to the Northeast. 

It was really good to see everyone and catch up. We really miss the place and with any luck we will be back soon for another visit.

Below are some more pics from Saturday, and when I’m done I’ll post a short video composed of footage shot with my new gopro.



The gathering at the Michigan Tech dirt jumps after our first ride



Elias Featherly doing what he does



Here comes the train



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