WI Rustic Roads: Marinette County, R32, R44, R97

Published Thursday, December 22, 2022 by Bryan

I warned you all about Marinette County in the introduction to this Rustic Roads series. That warning was about Rustic Road 32. R32 is the longest Rustic Road, and can be accurately described in three sections: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good: the 9.4mi paved portion just north of County C. Nice, narrow, rural curvy roads in decent condition.

The Bad: the 15.9mi paved portion south of County C. It's clearly not meant as a riding road, but rather as boat launch access. It's posted much slower than seemed necessary for the off-season day I visited, but judging by the roadsigns, I expect on a busy summer weekend you wouldn't get up to even that speed while following the boat and camper trailers.

The Ugly: the unpaved portion just south of US-8. At least the day I rode it, I found 9mi of near constant washboard, followed by 1mi of uncompacted, soft, loose dirt. Bring your light bike and aggressive tires for this bit - my street tires wandered everywhere.

R44 has a surprisingly large amount of variation for its comparatively small length. It's only a little over six miles long, but you get the forrest-tunnel vibe, the agricultural scene, and the old gravel cut-across all in one.

R97 has the feel of an old farm road. Narrow, uneven pavement. Trees crowding as close as the wagon would let them. It may be mostly straight, except for a few 90-degree turns, but it's really a step back in time.

Note that R44 and R97 are very close to each other. It's worth the time to ride both if you've trekked all the way out to either.

Categories: Motorcycle Travel WIRR