Thirty members of the Marienville Trail Riders Snowmobile Club made their annual trip to Curtis, Michigan during the week of February 16-23. The group consisted of nine women and twenty one men with ages ranging from 16-88. Even though some members had been going there over fifty years, this was the second club trip with thirty members participating. One husband and wife team and their dog Kira, travelled from North Carolina.
After arriving at Pine Bluff Resort , on the Manistique Lake, in McMilan, the members were treated with a lasagna dinner. Club members then met and discussed how they were going to break up into four groups heading in different directions the next day. Monday morning proved to be challenging as the temperature was minus 9 degrees with a windchill of minus 20. The Arctic Cats needed some propane heat and the one Polaris sled needed to take the spark plugs inside to be heated on the stove.
By 9 am everyone was on their way in four directions. Smitty and Mark Preston made the ninety mile trip to Hulbert to see the wild deer being fed by the owner of the Hulbert Tavern. It was enjoyable to watch a hundred or so deer come out of the woods when the owner would go out with a pan of corn banging on the pan. The deer also had bales of hay to munch on while we also ate. The Philly cheese steaks and steak fries were excellent. Most of the club members made it to Hulbert for this interesting trip.
Monday riders made the trip to Pine Stump for lunch and back to Pine Bluff, crossing the 6.2 mile lake in the morning and afternoon. Total miles for the first day was 153. Some of the members logged more than 250 miles on that first day.
Tuesday proved to be a little warmer with the thermometer reading nine degrees but with the same wind. Club vice-President Joe Rogers led a large group to Picture Rocks, along with member Ted LaSittis riding in the back keeping track of everyone. This group saw some beautiful views of the cliffs off of the southern shores of Lake Superior. This group stopped at the Tanglewood Restaurant in Shingleton for gas but had to make alternate plans since the station ran out of gas. During this time, one club member had problems with his Cat. Luckily we were just up the road from the Munising Sport Shop. We towed the sled to the shop and within the hour we had the machine running but only around the parking lot. We called a guy who just hauls broken down sleds so he came and hauled the sled back to Pine Bluff.
In the meantime, club members ate lunch at the Tanglewood Restaurant. Needing gas, Joe decided to take the club to Wetmore, a town further West and pass thru Picture Rocks on the way back. We all got gas and made it to Picture Rocks to a splendid view just before 4 pm. Since we did not have to go back through Shingelton for the broken sled, we were able to take a shorter route by way of the road and Bear Trap. We made it back to Pine Bluff, crossing the lake just before dark. Total miles ridden was 163.
Since club member and website designer, Brian Popoleo brought an extra sled, we were all able to ride on Wednesday. Leaving at 9am, we headed toward Paradise for what we thought would be an easy day. The temperature was 15 degrees with 25-30 mile winds. We made it to Paradise for gas and food at the Berry Patch. At lunch, we decided to head up the trail to get to White Fish Point lighthouse. After having completed a 20 mile trip north on a freshly groomed trail, we realized we had to far to go so we headed back by way of trail 8. Little did we know that this trail led us through a burn section with no protection from the wind ripping across Lake Superior from the North.
When you could see, it was an eerie feeling to see the devastation caused by the fire. In some places the visibility was zero with our leader having to stop to locate the trail markers and break through the drifts. This section of trail 8 through the burnout was only about 5 miles but seemed like fifty. Luckily we didn’t take the more northern trail which was closer to Lake Superior and was about 20 miles long. We made it to Pine Stump and back to Pine Bluff by 8pm. Special thanks to Maria La Clare for preparing a great dinner for a hungry crew. Total miles for the day was 189.
On Thursday, our group travelled to Grand Marais for lunch at the Brewing Company. One member had ribs that day at the Brewery and that night at Chamberlains and the next day at Pine Bluff Grill. The Pine Bluff Grill, which recently opened, proved to have great food with many members returning the next night. The best ribs was at the Brewery. Total miles was 126. Friday, our group went to Hulbert to see the deer and try the philly cheese steaks. Total miles for the day was 172.
On Saturday, two groups joined forces as 88 year old president Ray Bish led the groups to Bear Trap for lunch. The 115 miles travelled were all smooth and freshly groomed having past two local club groomers. Some members had well over 1000 miles for the week. Our group finished the week with 889 miles. One of our club members would always say, “it’s not the miles but it’s the smiles.” Everyone had a great time and a special thanks to Club President Ray Bish, Vice President Joe Rogers, aka(momma duck), Brian Popoleo, Laurie Foster, Ted LaStittus, Ray Lamison, Jeff Moser and Roy Daniels. One pair, 85 year old Earl Cross and 16 year old Dominick Sgro seemed to have a special bond as they would race across the lake. We all hope to return next year!