Hook and bullet club: Riding ATV trails

by Nick Wognum

Getting out to ride ATVs is usually something we wait until the fall season to do. But an invitation to ride on a Saturday afternoon with some friends was too good to pass up.<BR><BR>We ended up with four wheelers going on a ride along old railroad grades and deer hunting trails. It was a blast.<BR><BR>Heading into the woods during a summer day is usually an invitation to be eaten alive by every bug within a 10-mile radius. But thanks to the presence of swarms of dragonflies, it wasn’t that bad. <BR><BR>We brought along a cooler and a chainsaw and both came in handy on the hot afternoon. The Stihl roared to life several times to clear deadfalls and the cooler provided liquid relief to the riders.<BR><BR>The four wheelers represented four different manufacturers with Mike on an Arctic Cat, Ben on a Polaris, Alex on a Yamaha and me on a Honda.<BR><BR>Each machine ran well although the Polaris started to overheat and the battery was dead on the Yamaha. Other than that, we had no problems.<BR><BR>Mike was our guide and did a great job of making sure we stayed together. Each rider approached obstacles differently and making sure we kept together as a group helped with making the ride a safe one.<BR><BR>Seeing new country was the offer Mike made and I had to take him up on it. We snowmobile through this area in the winter but being on wheelers in June gives you a whole different perspective.<BR><BR>For one, your travelling speed is much slower so you can look around more. And you don’t have several feet of snow covering up the landscape. There is the problem of trying to see through the leaves, but where we were there were enough openings to get a good look.<BR><BR>Getting up on the ridges was a real treat. Here you could see how the deer travel through and where Mike and his buddies set up in November in search of big bucks. Judging by the racks on the wall in his shack, they have a pretty nice spot to call home in November.<BR><BR>We would stop from time to time to talk and to let the machines cool down a little. Not really a whole lot different from snowmobiling in that aspect.<BR><BR>Sitting around talking about whatever comes up is one of the best parts of motorized recreation. Sure, riding is great and some people have gone to the point of putting two-way radios in their helmets, but getting a chance to shoot the bull is part of an enjoyable day.<BR><BR>I would have to say that we use our four-wheeler on a 50-50 split. Half the time it’s for recreational riding and half the time we use it as a utility machine, hauling dirt, wood, deer stands or whatever needs to get from point A to point B.<BR><BR>Getting out on a Saturday afternoon to see some new country on the four wheeler was a great experience. And it was nice that the dragonflies helped keep the bugs down. <BR><BR>