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[U]Katahdin-1022,[/U] just put your curser on my Army logo. It opens up a window with (almost) everyone's data about them.

Not real rare, but we've had winters start mid/late October and last into mid April. Also had some winters mild and hardly any snow and mild and stay in the mid 30s.

Good luck on your endeavor.

Maddmax
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Katahdin-1022
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My grandparent's farm was in NW Iowa (Clay County) and I can remember some brutal cold the few times we visited there in the winter growing up. One New Years we were there for 4 days and the warmest it ever got was -15. The coldest that visit was -28. Another time we drove up from Missouri for a long weekend in early April. On the drive back we got caught in a blizzard and had to seek shelter in a nearby farmhouse along with a dozen other stranded motorists. We bunked with strangers for 2 days until the plows finally got the road cleared. Our station wagon wouldn't start - the engine bay was completely packed with snow - and we had to get a tow truck to the nearest town and a garage that could blow out the snow and get the car to start so we could go on home the rest of the way. That was somewhere around Ottuma, IA as I recall.

My dad grew up on that farm and said one time they had snow flurries in late August.

So yeah - the upper Midwest gets some of the worst of the extremes in weather.
 

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Discussion Starter #123
just put your cursor on my Army logo. It opens up a window with (almost) everyone's data about them.
If we're lucky, we learn something new every day.
Learning something new means that we're still alive.

I learned mine today related to this: the only thing I've lamented so far about the new (forum) format was that I couldn't see location data for members. Now I know how to find that. Thanks. ;)

Loving this new software. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #124
So yeah - the upper Midwest gets some of the worst of the extremes in weather.
In the late '70's, I lived in N TX up on the plains. Grad school for two years.

I remember how fast the weather could change. From a 65 F day to a blizzard in a finger snap.

The saying there was, there's nothing between here and Canada but a barbed wire fence.

I moved to New England after that experience twice. Once to RI, now in ME,
where I learned this: there's nothing between here and the Arctic.
 

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The kicker with the Midwest is they get the heat and humidity in the summer too. I lived in SE Michigan for a few years and not only "enjoyed" the cold, snowy winters but it got hot in the summer too. I recall one heat wave when we hit 100 to 104 for a few days and our house, like many, had no AC. At one point I went out in the middle of the night and sat in the car with the engine running and the AC on just to get a little relief.

It's supposed to be 103 here Wednesday and Thursday "but it's a dry heat." (And we have AC of course.)
 

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I sure hope the basic 450 works for me. Price is $7000 vs $8000, easier for my funders to swallow.
A basic ATV is the way to go. I have a Honda Foreman. It's the base model with a manual transmission. It does have power steering. If I had to do it all over again I'd buy the exact same kind of ATV. I'm partial to Honda but any brand configured the same way is the way to go IMO. Power steering is a must if you're going to ride on rough terrain. You don't need it for running around on groomed trails or fire roads but for anything even slightly bumpy or tight get power steering. You'll regret it if you don't.

I bought mine primarily to use for work around our property. I also knew it might be used as a hunting rig every now and then. I specifically chose the model I did with longevity in mind. I'll have this ATV until my great grandchildren drag it off to the ATV museum. When it comes to mechanical things simple is usually more durable so I wanted a manual transmission. On a Honda that means it still operates with an automatic clutch but I have to manually select the gear. I also have to manually select 4WD and manually select the differential lock. More times than not I just put it in third and go about my business. I only have to downshift if the terrain gets really gnarly or really steep. Sometimes if I'm traveling a distance I'll upshift to 4th or 5th. I'm in 2WD except for the absolute worst or extremely slick conditions.

BTW, when I say I have to manually select 4WD and diff lock it's all done with switches on the handlebars. Most 'manual' ATVs operate the same way.

My neighbor has a Polaris. I don't remember the model but it's their biggest one (he's 6'6"/380) and it has all the bells and whistles. Automatic everything. It's a really nice rig and it's been reliable but he can't go anywhere I can't, it's significantly heavier and it cost quite a bit more. He likes it and I like mine.

We also have a Polaris SXS. It has an automatic CVT transmission. Excellent vehicle but I hate the transmission and I'll never buy another off road vehicle that has one.

I've never needed a winch on either of my ATVs. It's astonishing where these things can go. I go through stuff with both of them in 2WD that I could never get through in a 4WD truck. If I need a winch for my Honda Foreman it probably means it's submerged to the handlebars in mud/snow and I probably really need a crane. I'm certain a winch would be handy under the right circumstances but for 99% of riding it's not. It's also one of those things that you'll be extremely grateful if you ever do have to use it. I wouldn't take a winch off my ATV if it had one but so far I've never felt the need to have one. YMMV.

My Honda is a 450 and it hauls me and everything I've ever needed with ease. I frequently have a small trailer hooked up and I use it to haul brush, wood, rock, etc. I rarely even notice it. I even use it to relocate a 16' flatbed trailer I have. The trailer weighs about 1800lbs empty and the Honda doesn't have a problem hauling it around on mild terrain. I wouldn't try to haul anything bigger but it serves as a motorized trailer dolly just fine.

My recommendation is you're on the right track with the Kodiak. The motor is more than big enough and you don't need a bunch of gadgets and features. Almost all ATVs have selectable 4WD and locking differentials and that's all you need. The truth is you'll be in 2WD and going 15mph or less 90% of the time so don't get tunnel vision about suspension and hyper 4WD stuff. It's not a racing rig. It's a small hunting/work truck.

Just like anything motorcycle/ATV related the depreciation is instantaneous and substantial. You're much better off buying a basic rig and adding aftermarket stuff as the need arises than buying a fully loaded rig from the dealer.

YMMV
 

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The kicker with the Midwest is they get the heat and humidity in the summer too. I lived in SE Michigan for a few years and not only "enjoyed" the cold, snowy winters but it got hot in the summer too. I recall one heat wave when we hit 100 to 104 for a few days and our house, like many, had no AC. At one point I went out in the middle of the night and sat in the car with the engine running and the AC on just to get a little relief.

It's supposed to be 103 here Wednesday and Thursday "but it's a dry heat." (And we have AC of course.)
I remember those hot muggy Summer nights in my youth here. Open windows with little or no moving air coming in. Not very many people had AC back then. Fans were about it and all they did was blow hot air around. We had a small creek running through our property that got used regularly buy us kids.

I remember Thanksgiving extremes. One we had 18" of snow on the picnic table. Another we were eating Thanksgiving dinner in short sleeve shirts.

We have that old saying (like others), if you don't like the weather, just give it 5 minutes and it'll change.
 

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If we're lucky, we learn something new every day.
Learning something new means that we're still alive.

I learned mine today related to this: the only thing I've lamented so far about the new (forum) format was that I couldn't see location data for members. Now I know how to find that. Thanks. ;)

Loving this new software. :cool:
Another nice thing. Up at the top where you can log in or out, put your mouse on it (it says account details). when you click on it, it opens a box. There is an alert box It might show some numbers when you click on it. It will take you to threads you might have been in and other people have responded to. Nice aid to help find where you may have been and want to keep up with on the conversation at hand.

Takes a little time and exploring, but the new forum is getting easier to figure out as you go.
 

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One thing to keep in mind is color. If your going to be leaving it in the forest and getting very far from it get a color that stands out or put a flag on it. We were working in a 1000 acre wood and got off to go look for a couple of boundary corners. Then we keep walking further and further away. We were off the trails. Started back and couldn't find our olive drab ATVs. Looked for them for half an hour. At one time we figured we were 100 feet away from them and couldn't see them. We weren't disoriented, I knew where north was. Just couldn't see them. I'd hate to be in a Maine forest and loose site of my ATV. Last two we've bought have been red, never had a problem with them.
 

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One thing to keep in mind is color. If your going to be leaving it in the forest and getting very far from it get a color that stands out or put a flag on it. We were working in a 1000 acre wood and got off to go look for a couple of boundary corners. Then we keep walking further and further away. We were off the trails. Started back and couldn't find our olive drab ATVs. Looked for them for half an hour. At one time we figured we were 100 feet away from them and couldn't see them. We weren't disoriented, I knew where north was. Just couldn't see them. I'd hate to be in a Maine forest and loose site of my ATV. Last two we've bought have been red, never had a problem with them.
Good point. ATV,s here are required to have a red flag, SMV triangle. Side by sides require that too and a flashing orange/yellow light. Best to check State rules and regulations. Some States also require registration with a sticker and numbers like boats. Some go as far as requiring break lights and turn signals.
 

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Discussion Starter #131 (Edited)
Thanks very much for all the continued ideas and suggestions. Lots of it here including the last six or so posts. It's very helpful to me in thinking through this project.

I got a call back from the third dealer I've spoken with to get prices. His store is further north than any of the others, up in Jackman near the Quebec border. (Translation: serious boonies in the northwest highlands.) I spoke with him on Saturday and asked that he search a bit for a 450 EPS (but not an SE). He called this morning saying he's found several tan/camo units that he can have delivered in.

What he said next rocked me. $7500 out the door; the guy on the coast wants $8k, which includes taxes, destination charge and "document" fee. I asked the guy in Jackman about fees. He said he does not charge destination and document fees, only taxes. So he's probably got my business.

Trying to ramp up funding effort now. I got an email this morning from a major supporter of my work who may even be able to kick in $5k. Going to see how I can work things out.
 

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Discussion Starter #132 (Edited)
Evening update. I went for a long walk in the woods outback today over to the ATV trail (still closed because of mud season) and the older forest beyond it (many towering northern white pines). Shirt sleeve and vest weather for most of it; more sun tomorrow. Thought a lot about an ATV.

I just finished dinner of carnitas pork from the slow cooker, black eyed peas w/ habenaro cheese, spinach and cornbread. Looking at my desktop image (see below) in an "I can't wait" manner.

Reading my earlier post from the day, I realized I wasn't clear about this: "I got an email this morning from a major supporter of my work who may even be able to kick in $5k."

That person had already pledged $3500, the biggest part of what I've got together so far. But now, there's a potential to increase that commitment to $5k. That brightened my afternoon walk considerably. If that that happens, I'm only $750 short. 😃
142726
 

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Discussion Starter #133
May update. I'm renting a car tomorrow and driving down to the dealer on the coast to test drive two Kodiak 450's: one base model without power steering and a 450 EPS SE with it. I don't want an SE (read the deluxe model), but the EPS will be the same in terms of power steering. This way I can experience the difference for myself.

I suspect I'm going to spring for an EPS. Most in this thread have said yes, do it, and all the dealers have agreed.

While I've got the car for the day, I'm going to drive on over to my new-to-be town, also on the coast, that's just a few miles from the Canadian border (New Brunswick) and take a look at the apartment building I'll be living in when an apartment opens up. I'm still on the waiting list, now number 1, I think. I'll also visit a few areas where I'm sure I'll be ATV'ing.

I report back in a few days.
 

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Discussion Starter #134 (Edited)
Post trip and ATV test ride (yesterday). The verdict is in: power steering for sure. Hands down, no questions. First I tested a base model Kodiak 450, then a 450 EPS SE. Just around the parking lot, but it was a big lot with a lot of relief (the building is built on a really bumpy piece of land) so lots of ups and downs. As many of you predicted, the difference was very significant. In fact, it took less than a minute on the base model to know that I wanted power steering. So it will be.

I have some other comments about my test drive experience that I'll add later, but for now, I'm off on a new search. The trails in my new-to-be town -- where I spent most of my day -- are far, far more extensive than I thought originally. This morning, I had a very pleasant phone conversation with the leader of the ATV club for my new town. He was exceedingly helpful; I'll no doubt join his club. They do both outtings and trail maintenance. I learned from him that on the ATV trail near my apartment, I can get all the way from there up to Fort Kent, as far north in Maine as one can go, on the border with Quebec.

But what got my blood pumping was his description of the routes from my town on the coast up to north of Rt 9 from Wesley to Bangor through the Machias River Corridor, 76 miles of protected river, one of the wildest in the NE, and a major run for Atlantic salmon.

When driving through that area yesterday on the way back to my home NW of Bangor on a 50 mi stretch of Rt 9 that is one of the best highways I've ever been on in the state with very, very little traffic, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I had no idea that such landscapes and vistas (vista after vista after vista for dozens of miles across wild areas) existed in this state. At times, I felt like I was in Wyoming. And it's all accessible from my town via ATV/snowmobile.

Which leads to my next point. I called a dealer this morning to inquire about snowmobiles, since the trails are only ride-able from mid-May through mid-October or November by ATV. He made a couple of suggestions, but said consider a track kit. Another poster in this thread mentioned them a bit ago, but I didn't even know what that was.

Here's Yamaha's page about them. Here is Camso's page.

Now I do. WOW! I'm intrigued. This opens a lot of possibilities. I even called the company -- Camso -- and they said that they can be switched out (back to wheels) in summer (which I need to do).

 

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Sounds good and you are doing your homework.

Remember, it's always best to ride in a group or let someone know where you are going and a time frame incase you have trouble or get hurt. Your cell phone won't always have a working signal, batteries can also get used up fast searching for a signal. Be able to carry extra fuel SAFELY (not any or many fuel stops out in the "wild"). Plan as if you WILL be stranded and carry emergency supplies for a small shelter (for bad weather), something to start a fire that's water proof, water, "THINGS" happens. You could have an uninspected stay over for a night or two waiting for help once they figure out you are actually missing.

As for the tracks. They aren't cheap get ones with a warrantee good for a couple years. They will make your machine a fuel hog and meant to be run in low range (NOT just low gear). AND depending on snow, you STILL can get stuck if you aren't careful. They make tracks for just snow and ones for mud and snow with bogie wheels instead of just a slide rail (for snow). Remember it's NOT a snowmobile, it's an ATV with tracks. BIG difference.

Keep us posted and up to date.
 

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Discussion Starter #136
MMax, good points re tracks, and all taken. I wondered about tracks with slide rails (skis). I'm going to research those also. Seems they'd also work better in snow alone, and reduce fuel use. If anyone has suggestions or links, I'm all eyes.

I don't need tracks for mud. I plan to stay away from mud pits. ATV's aren't even allowed on the trails during mud-season (literally what they call it here; Maine soils get very saturated and mushy), from snow melt to mid-May or June 1. The large majority of trails in this state are pretty well maintained by clubs. Pits are repaired. (There's a major repair of a set of pits on the main, relatively new (one year old) trail across the highway from me going on right now, including some heavy machinery (an excavator).)

Re riding, yes, to begin, I'll either be riding with others or on the main trail down there, ITS 82, the Downeast Sunrise Trail. It's an old rail bed that stretches 87 miles W-E, and is flat and well maintained. It's also heavily used -- the regional ATV Interstate that leads to hundreds of miles of groomed trails. If I had problems there solo, I'd likely be rescued. But to begin, for exploring some of the backcountry trails, I'd prefer to do with a group. That's one reason I'm interested in the club I mentioned.

Eventually, I'll likely do some solo trips. But those are less about riding and more about getting to one place, set up camp for a week or two, and just be there. I plan to do lots of photography and make videos. Plus just take some solo time. (I'm an introverted loaner. :rolleyes:)

Re gear, all good suggestions; I agree. I've been a hiker, backpacker and mountaineer for six decades. Experience has taught me to go prepared for anything. My friends even laugh at me when I go downtown, I carry layers, rain gear, FAK, water and a snack. You can count on it that even if I go for just an afternoon ride, I'll be carrying enough gear for a couple of overnights. Not just for emergencies, but in case I get somewhere beautiful and don't want to go home! (I have stories about that ....)

Plus, it's just good training for keeping and testing the kit. :geek:
 

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[U]Katahdin-1022,[/U]
Sounds like you are on the right trail and have a good grasp when it comes to being ready for about anything.

Thought about putting a set of tracks on the Gator ($5-6 grand), then figured I'd be better off getting an Argo 6X6 and putting tracks on that after a friend of mine brought his up here (an avid Duck hunter). They also float and would be great in some of the wet land we have here, the ground pressure (with tracks) is only a few pound per square inch. I zipped across, stopped, waddled around a bit and took off in an area I would normally sink up to my knees in just trying to walk through. It barely left track prints behind. It'd also be great for ice fishing in the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #138
^That's impressive.

I've been watching some videos about the Camso's, mostly by the company when they were camplast (?). It's a totally impressive design. I'm no engineer (I'm a biologist/ecologist by training), but it seems intuitive. Clearly they put a lot of thought into it.

The thing that slowed my interest a bit was watching their installation video. Very complex. Took two guys who know what they're doing 1.5 hours. I wouldn't try that myself. Going to call the guy in the new town that may wind up doing my repairs to see if he's ever done it. He charges $60 an hour, so for less than $100 could probably put these on if he's done it before.
 

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Discussion Starter #139
Friday update. I just called the mechanic in my new town-to-be who will almost certainly do major maintenance on my ATV (I'll do my own oil, filter and air filter, which is most of it).

He said he installs and uninstalls tracks regularly, and "it's not a big deal".

I responded, "For you maybe!". :LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter #140 (Edited)
Next question. (I still have several more.)

Do any of you ATV/UTV owners own and/or use hitch racks? I'm already considering one, especially after seeing that the 450 is a bit smaller than I expected (no complaint; that's good for me in the end given the intense density of the forests downeast), and thus so are the racks. They do indeed have a capacity of almost 270 lbs, but I have trouble visualizing how I can confidently fit all the gear on them that I ultimately want to carry for, say, a two week (or more trip). For me, that'll eventually include:
  • a large canvas dome tent (don't own it yet, but plan to) that weights 20 lbs (but it's palatial and tall, but doesn't fold up small)
  • my cot (although I may buy a second one)
  • two backpacks : a 75L (mostly insulation, sleeping bag, pad, hammock w/ quilts, plus two camp tarps) and a 35L day pack
  • some camp tools (saws, small shovel) and what ever other tools may be handy
  • lots and lots of food, much of it canned, but also some veggies that keep well w/o refrigeration (potatoes, carrots, onions, etc), along with cooking gear
  • my 10/22 and some lightweight fishing gear
  • extra fuel for longer trips
  • assorted other gear
I might could get it all on with ratchet straps (I'm really good at packing gear), but it's seems it would be unwieldy. I don't want to look like this. :oops:

I'm not ready yet for a trailer -- both in terms of need, finances and experience just driving the ATV, let alone pulling a trailer -- so I'm exploring other options.

This morning, I started researching hitch racks. Most have a similar design -- I like the ones with the Z-shaped connector that lift it up higher -- and offer a lot more flexibility than the racks alone. I'm finding weight capacities of at least 300 lbs -- which is way more than I really need.

The price variation is surprising, from $50 to over $450.

This one from Harbor Freight has my attention for only $50. Looks pretty good, at least for starters, but ... I've bought some items from Harbor Freight that have been quality (at least enough), and others not so.

So, I'd love to read about experiences, brands, caveats, tips, suggestions, etc.
 
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