Ride to Speculator & Wells: Update 2/17/15

When I got up at 7:30am and saw -16*F and a cloudy sky, my heart sunk.

But, the sun broke out for a bit and the temperature crossed zero by 10:00am ride time on its way to an eventual high of 15*F.

Including myself, 8 hearty riders showed up at the Benton Road parking lot for the Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce Ride. Once everyone got their sleds warmed up, it was show time:

Ride begins!

Ride begins!

The trails around Indian Lake village had been groomed and in great shape. They hadn’t hit C8/Sabael trail yet, which had a bit of chatter and some leftover weekend corner scuff.

Indian Lake was a cold ride down to the boat launch, but was relatively smooth. Indian Lake/Lewey Lake campsites weren’t that terrible. Lewey Lake was a nice crossing.

Our first brush with ugly was the combined two-headed monster of 2 Miles from Hell and S82C/Old Indian Lake Road which combined for a 6 mile medieval torture chamber: an endless stretch of hard whopper moguls and brick hard studders. It was nearly as rough at Lindsey Lohan after a 3 day coke binge.

We all made it down to Perkins Clearing in one piece. Jessup River Road was a nice ride back to HM115. S41/Mud Lake Road was its usual smooth magic all the way back to HM110.

The south end of Perkins Clearing Road was a bit worn and scuffed up from the weekend with small bumps. C4/Melody Lodge trail and LP3 was a pretty good run down to Oak Mountain where we had lunch at the Acorn Pub & Eatery. I had perhaps the best pizza I have ever eaten on the trail and probably ate far more than I should have. Bacon on a pizza is magic! Anyway, I was able to complete the ride without a gastric emergency.

I had a nice chat with Bob Carr @ D.R.A.G of Speculator whilst he was eating lunch with his family. He gave me some pointers on where D.R.A.G. was grooming into the Tree Farm.

After lunch, some of the party headed back to Indian Lake. But Darrin Jr, Jason, Dustin and I had grander plans. I decided to loop around the Tree Farm and make a run to Wells.

C4 from the River to Cave Hill Road was in great shape! It’s no longer the torture chamber we’ve seen in the past. Cave Hill Road and Elm Lake Road were great! Long Level Road and Fly Creek Road had a bit of chatter but were good rides overall. Old Route 30 had some rollers, but was a pretty decent run.

S42 along Route 8/30 down into Wells was in pretty nice shape. The groomers were able to repair the roadside damage from the highway plowing last week.

C4B/Gilmantown trail was our next brush with ugly. It was rough throughout. The powerline sections were pretty fun. But the stuff through the woods was just hard rough bumps and not much fun.

We were very happy to find LP4A groomed and in great shape, just like Bob Carr said it would be. After we made our way up to Mountain Market so Dustin could dump a few gallons into the tank, we headed for home.

We repeated our 6 mile torture through S82C/Old Indian Lake Road and 2 Miles from Hell. But we did spot the Lake Pleasant groomer which looked like it was about to go through there. Dang, we should have waited another hour! At least I can give you some hope that stretch will be better tomorrow than we found it today.

Here’s ilsnow jr after his second dance with the devil on S82C/Old Indian Lake Road:

Old Indian Lake Road torture

Old Indian Lake Road torture

Obviously, he was hamming it up a little bit. But sometimes, a bit of humor does wonders for morale!

Got back to Indian Lake and all of the trails were again in great shape. C8/Sabael trail had been groomed today while we were out. I lead the group on the victory lap through S85/Ski Hut trail, S86A/Little Canada, Lake Adirondack and S87/42nd and Broadway.

By the time we got back to the compound, we had spun off nearly 110 miles for the day. Most of the riding was good. But the rough stuff did stand out as well. As the groomers continue to make their rounds, trail conditions should improve this week. We didn’t see much traffic today. I think the bitterly cold weather has kept some people away.

Here are some pics from today:


Bottom line:

You never know what’s going to happen when you do group rides with people you’ve never ridden with before. We ended up with a great mix of locals and out-of-towners that made for a nice ride. I’m not the most social person out there, but I enjoy meeting the people who I help through ilsnow.com. It was fun showing fellow riders through some trails they hadn’t ridden before.

One change I will make for next year’s ride: I’ll have it Wednesday or Thursday to allow the groomers another day or two to smooth out the holiday weekend bumps.

Next up:

Guided Snowmobile Tour to Newcomb: Thursday, February 19; Meet 9AM at Town parking lot between Town garage and Little League ball field on Benton Road. Stopping at High Peaks Kitchen for lunch. Family friendly ride. I have to be at the office on Thursday, so Crazy Cal will be leading that posse up to Newcomb. Town of Indian Lake and the Snowarriors have been doing a great job with S84/Blue Mountain trail and 538/Newcomb trail, so I’d anticipate a good ride for ya!

For the ilsnow nation,


Comments welcomed!


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