Northwoods – It’s a Different Environment

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Once thing I love about going to different places is seeing how the locals have evolved with their environment.   Maybe I’ve had more time to just observe, since I’m sort of out of commission, but this trip it seems like it seems more foreign that usually.

Up in Northern Wisconsin, in the winter, this climate is harsh.  People really need to be ready or it could be deadly.  The temperatures are so much lower than most the rest of the country ever encounters, we don’t even have any idea it even occurs.

I spent a winter in Grand Forks North Dakota, where the winters are harsh.  I remember asking a girl there if all the cars there have plugs for block heaters.  She didn’t know that cars came without them.

A couple New Year’s ago, we were out on the Hemlock Ridge at midnight and the actual temperature was around -35.  I think the high temperature the day was -12 or something silly like that.   Dennis’ ski race is Saturday and they keep changing the forecast.  The high now is supposed to be -2, with a low of -20.  It is lucky there isn’t as much wind in skiing as cycling, but it is still cold.  42 km at -5 would be tough.  But, he’s lucky it isn’t Sunday.  The high temperature is -8 on Sunday.  It is crazy.

Okay, here are some photos from the last few days up here.

Ned's unofficial National Championship jersey from a couple year's ago. I think it is cooler than the real one he won last year in Utah.

Ned’s unofficial National Championship jersey from the Fat Birkie a  couple years ago. I think it is cooler than the real one he won last year in Utah.


Dennis has done a ton to his cabin to insulation. He had blown foam put in last year. But many houses here get crazy ice dams. The weight and damage of the ice and water is incredible.

Dennis has done a ton to his cabin to add insulation. He had blown foam put in last year. But many houses here get crazy ice dams. The weight and damage of the ice and water is incredible.


Dennis put in new v-groove when he blew in the foam. It looks super nice.

Dennis put in new v-groove when he blew in the foam. It looks super nice.


Dennis' bike room switches into a winter sports complex depending on the season.

Dennis’ bike room switches into a winter sports complex depending on the season.


I was worried about my car, so I bought this. It didn't go low enough.

I was worried about my car, so I bought this. It didn’t go low enough.


So, I siphoned close to a gallon out and added pure antifreeze. It is strange when you have to have the antifreeze go down to -40 or below.

So, I siphoned close to a gallon out and added pure antifreeze. It is strange when you have to have the antifreeze go down to -40 or below.


Dennis at the Seeley Ski Club's garage where they keep their snow mobiles.

Dennis at the Seeley Ski Club’s garage where they keep their snow mobiles.


This Gavi, George and Yulyia boy. He eats sour cream on his pancakes. Julyia is from Russia.

This is Gav, George and Yuliya boy. He eats sour cream on his pancakes.Yuliya is from Russia.


Normal WIsconsin truck.

Normal WIsconsin trunk.


Seems like a high percentage of the pickups have plows attached.

Seems like a high percentage of the pickups have plows attached.


You don't often see a $10000 Fatbike parked in front of a bar at noon when it is -10 out.

You don’t often see a $10000 Fatbike parked in front of a bar at noon when it is -10 out.


Ice fishing tents, with deer stands behind.

Ice fishing tents, with deer stands behind.


The trapping isle at the hardware store.

The trapping isle at the hardware store.


And, of course, the ice augers for drilling holes in the lake ice.

And, of course, the ice auger section,  for drilling holes in the lake ice.


Trudi heading out on her first fatbike experience.

Trudi heading out on her first fatbike experience.

 

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “Northwoods – It’s a Different Environment

  1. Joe C

    We spent about 2 months in Minnesota last winter while my daughter was at Mayo. I spent the entire time asking people why the pioneers stopped in such a place. I can’t even imagine. If I have to put up with those temps, I want some vertical involved. Oh well, 66 here today in west Texas.

     
    1. Galen Murray

      There was interesting article I read somewhere about how the invention of electricity and air conditioning changed the population distribution in the United States. Cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix, etc. were just too hot to survive; since without air conditioning 110F+ would be terrible. Where settlers settled in the Midwest since even though the temperature was extreme cold they could always build a fire or bundle up more. It is also easier to keep food longer in the Midwest since they had ice boxes to store meats and other goods.

       
      1. Krakatoa East of Java

        I live in Phoenix (10 years now) and find it to be just fine (provided that my rides happen in the early AM during the April – October period). As a matter of fact, the only thing I don’t like is how COLD it gets here (early AM) during the winter months. Way colder than I was used to in San Diego. I’m just not a guy who enjoys riding in very col weather. 🙁

        When I go to San Diego during the summer (and I ride later in the day), I find myself (ironically) overheating due to my not being used to the humidity there (that is, relative to PHX).

        BTW, with that vaulted ceiling holding all of the heat, it must be FRIGID down at ground-level.

         
      2. Steve Tilford Post author

        Java-DId you notice the ceiling fan in the photo. That runs in two modes, directions. In the winter it redistributes the warm air back down to the living area. Plus the wood stove is on the first floor, which makes it toasty warm when you’re near it.

         
    2. daveeckstrom

      Funny, I was driving back to my home in Wisconsin from NorCal last summer and I stopped for gas at some little town in Nevada. It was like 110 degrees and I couldn’t even catch my breath. I thought the exact same thing as you, except for a different reason. I hadn’t seen water or a tree in like 100 miles and it just made me wonder who decided to stop the wagon train and settle there. I guess it’s all in your perspective.

       
  2. Dan Lind

    Trudi is going to return with a HUGE smile on her face after her first fat bike ride. Looks like there’s some fresh snow up there in Seeley right now. I’m jealous. In Minneapolis, we’re patiently waiting for more snow. It’s been sparse so far, and warmer than normal temps have forced the postponement of numerous fat bike races…

     
  3. Craig

    If you like snow sports the cold is good. You adapt to the temps fairly easily. We went skiing at Red River NM over New Years and the first day there woke up to -16F. A bit nippy coming from Oklahoma but it was all good. I couldn’t live in it all year but definitely could handle 3-5 months.

     
    1. Joe C

      I have a house in the upper valley at Red River. The coldest I’d ever seen there was -31, and it didn’t feel nearly as cold as the day to day in the far north.

       
  4. Fergie

    A stellar visiting the Tilford Blog. This is stuff a enjoy the most…the local observations/differences of daily of life.
    -fergie

     
  5. Peter

    pfffffft … Wisconsin. Try Minnesota. I spent four years there getting my Ph.D. Got enough winter there to last me a lifetime.

     
  6. daveeckstrom

    I live in Hayward, so the pics you posted are all familiar everyday sights to me. It’s really interesting to get the perspective of someone who isn’t from here on our climate and lifestyle. I guess I just forget that most people in the US probably do view this weather as extreme. For us, it’s just add an extra layer and wear your chopper mittens. You get used to it.

     
  7. John Yarington

    Steve,
    Thanks for the great writing, I really enjoy reading your stuff. Great to see photos from Dennis’ house. Please pass a hello on to him from John Yarington if you can.
    Thanks!

     

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