The First Ever ATV & Side x Side Crossing of Michigan's Massive Mackinac Bridge
Saint Ignace, Michigan is a town with a history few other places can match. Over the years, it has been under the domain of at least three different countries and was inhabited by Native Americans who called the area home long before French explorers arrived. Today it’s often called the Gateway to the North, and it is both a tourist destination and the jumping off point for exploration and adventure in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We were there for both.
A Tour of Protool Industries and the Woodman's Pal
There’s something about wrapping your digits around a machete that just makes you want to wield it through the brush like you were on a mission to discover the lost tribes of the Congo. This isn’t a hi-tech tool with a laser sighting system and an electric motor. The motor that powers this piece of equipment is the muscles in your arm that fire at your will, and in doing so, create the original hi-tech weapon.
It wasn’t supposed to be a trek through the snow. When Kawasaki called asking if we would like to try the 2016 Teryx Side x Side on the trails of HatField-McCoy, we were quick to grab our helmet and gear with thoughts of the West Virginia Mountains in mind. It’s always great to get a chance to ride the Hatfield McCoy Trails, but I was a little worried when we started seeing the news about Winter Storm Jonas.
They move and make mountains in Northern Minnesota. The mountains are not snow covered, alpine peaks, but instead are iron ore rich deposits that are milled into mountains of marble sized taconite pellets, ship-bound for steel mills, and soon to become the steel alloys used for everything from your pickup chassis to your high-strength ATV frame.
Jeff Houser may be the one who does the tube bending, welding, and fabrication work, but make no mistake, Erin Houser refers to it as HER Polaris RZR 1000. And who wouldn’t want to claim it? Erin’s personal RZR is one of the hottest custom RZRs we’ve ever seen, and coming from a company with the reputation that Houser has earned over the past couple decades, we know everything is built with a purpose, and built to last.
Changing the tires on your ATV or Side x Side is a great opportunity to upgrade with a tire that better fits your needs. We use our Polaris RZR 900 for trails that range from loose sand, to rocky, former railroad grades, and for prowling around the woods.
Brakes are quite possibly the most overlooked system on an ATV or SXS. We take them for granted because they usually work when we squeeze the lever or step on the pedal. But over time, our brakes will lose their feel and performance. Since it happens slowly, we often don’t realize how bad they’re getting. Routine maintenance is very important to proper brake function, and unfortunately, throwing on a new set of pads won’t necessarily restore all of the lost performance.
The term is “economy of scale”. What it means to a manufacturer like Honda, Kawasaki, or Can-Am is getting the most out of their design, tooling, and testing dollars by using the same parts on as many different models as possible. In the ATV world no manufacturer takes that concept to heart more than Polaris. It’s a good bet that if you own any given Polaris ATV or Side x Side there will be a bunch of parts that are found on several other models as well.
Your tires and bodywork aren’t the only thing that can get a little scuffed up or punctured on the trail, so can your hide. Riders often put a huge amount of thought and effort into selecting the right wheels, skid plates, and all manner of parts for their machine, but almost no effort into a first aid kit to patch up any medical emergency either they or a riding partner might encounter.
You don’t have to look far to find a great riding area in Pennsylvania, and one of the best is Rock Run Recreation Area near Patton. At 6500 acres sitting on former coal mining property, it’s big, it’s got plenty to do for all outdoor lovers, and it can be challenging.