April 22, 2011 Goulds Solo ATV Ride: (14 Photos)


14.   April 22, 2011 was Good Friday, the beginning of the Easter Long Weekend. The day started out miserable with overcast skies and wet flurries, but the weather cleared to a beautiful sunny day by noon. With this positive change in weather, I decided to take my Foreman ATV for a run in the Goulds to test out the bike after its winter hibernation.


13.   Earlier this winter I removed the damaged front rack support and my custom bumper. I had planned to fabricate a new custom piece to replace it, but have since decided to just replace the part with a new stock unit. In the mean time, I bolted my badly damaged one back in place, fixed up the joins with "Tech Steel Putty" (this is a cold weld putty, the gaps were too big and metal rusted too thin to weld). This made the bike ride-able again until the new parts arrive.


12.   I also installed my new WARN synthetic winch rope kit, which replaces my damaged, kinked, frayed steel cable with the latest technology in winch cable. Its a nice light weight product that is safer if it breaks, doesn't kink, and frayed ends wont tear up my hands.


11.   I unloaded the bike on Ruby Line near the water pumping station and headed West on the gravel road paralleling the Goulds Bypass Highway. I turned right onto Cochrane pond road and tried to navigate through the deep snow. My bike sank in ruts created by previous riders trying to cross this mess, but I managed to carefully reverse without getting stuck.


10.   At this time I decided to air down my 27" Mud Lite XTR tires for better traction on snowy trails leaving 3 PSI in front and only 2 PSI in the rear. This made a huge difference and the bike now stayed on top of the snow.


9.   Leaving Cochrane Pond Road, I continued West on the tractor road crossed Power's Road and paused at the 4 way stop. Here I turned right and headed straight in the road to the very last field to check the conditions of the trails heading into the woods. The trails from this field were heavily snowed in and had not been traversed by ATV, being alone I decided not to chance going in and getting badly stuck. I headed to the next field East where there are two trails that cross over to Northern Pond Road.


8.   The first trail crosses a large marsh which still snow covered and flooded with winter water run off, a bad choice for the solo ATV'er. The other trail leads through the woods, crossing a boggy/muddy/stumpy area, then continues to the back of Northern Pond Road. When crossing the boggy area I chose a trail that circled well to the right which bypassed the worst of the flooded area and was easily passable.


7.   The trail on the opposite side of the bog was heavily snow covered and had not been travelled by ATV, but with lots of trees to use as a winch anchor I decided to continue on. With my tires aired down, and maintaining high engine RPM in 3rd gear I rode out the trail with little trouble in 4wd. This is where great tires, a locked front differential, and quick reaction time make the difference in riding or stuck.


6.   I cruised all of the roads in Northern Pond, in as far as the old Logging Camp, then in the next road to Joyce's trail and eventually back out to the Highway. Northern Pond Road from the sod farm to the TCH is easily travelled by car or truck.


5.   The smaller side roads were still very snow covered, but I had no trouble crossing them maintaining RPM and good speed. Next I headed in a side road heading West to the Foxtrap Pasture Lands. There was a lot of standing water on this path, as well on the fields.


4.   Pasture Land Road from the fields to the highway had been plowed and was easily travelled by car or truck. Next I headed back to Northern Pond Road, and crossed over to Chicken Farm Road, having to switch to reserve tank part way across. This was after about 3 hours of riding.


3.   I spent the last hour and final 1/4 tank of gas exploring the roads in the Goulds scouting locations for Coyote hunting, and how accessible they would be by truck given the mud/snow conditions. I also checked out the path to the dam at Bay Bulls Big Pond and was surprised to see how high the water level was in the lake.


2.   I've never seen it so high in all my years going in there, they must have the height of the dams raised, as it was higher then normal the previous fall as well.


1.   It was certainly an awesome afternoon's ride. In four hours of constant riding, I only stopped for a break twice and managed to burn a tank of gas nearly completely dry. I attribute this higher then normal gas consumption to extra RPM used on snow covered trails, soft mud, and marsh. Next time I'll be sure to strap on extra fuel!


Cheers, MIKE

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Copyright 2011 Michael Smith