WI: ROAM Adventure Basecamp
You do not have to be a cyclist to stay here, but everyone else is...
We took our first trip to ROAM in July 2020; it will not be our last. A cyclists haven in The North not to be missed if you like to cycle, like to meet other cyclists, and like some of the elevated luxuries campgrounds like ROAM have to offer.
Roam Adventure Basecamp is a cyclists dream. Located on an incredible network of gravel roads ~ a gravel cyclist can ride right out of their campsite and find multiple routes for nature bathing on your bicycle. [And for the mountain biker, the CAMBA Trail System offers endless opportunities].
Having just been gravel riding in Bighorn National Forest a few weeks before, we can say with honesty that these roads are comparable ~ which is a compliment.
Scouting Notes: ROAM Adventure Basecamp, Seeley, WI
- Travel Time from Minneapolis: Approximately 3 hours (more if you do the usual stop at Burnett Dairy Cooperative for an ice cream cone and happy hour cheese)
- Location: The address is technically Seeley, WI, but we really thought of this to be in the Cable zone. In fact, our first ride (see below) you could have kept going all the way into Cable, and some of the CAMBA trails will get you to Cable as well.
- Trip Dates: July 18-20, 2020.
- Benefits: Likely the most cyclist family campground you will ever stay at, scenic and peaceful.
We would divide the campground into the 'lower loop' and the 'upper loop'. We stayed in the lower loop at site #10 during our visit, which was fine, but our view out the back of our camper was the bathroom building ~ not a big deal, but not ideal either as additionally a footpath to the building went right by our campsite.
Our view from Site 10 ~ the bathrooms
On our next visit our pick of campsites would be a couple of sites up from where we stayed ~ Site #12.
Across from Site 12, the Shower Building.
We would also recommend sites: 22 and 19 in the upper loop.
We would not recommend staying in sites at the entrance to ROAM or at the bottom of the Lower Loop, if it is a wet Summer, has recently rained, or is expected to rain ~ it will likely be buggier and boggier. However, ROAM is open year-round and in late Fall and the Winter bugs will be less of an issue (more on bugs below).
One of the big advantages of staying at ROAM is the SHOWERS!!!
Shower Facility with Individual Showers. Finnish Sauna at right.
The 'when Covid is over' Finnish sauna.
Having showers, especially like these, when campbiking is truly a cyclists dream.
AND... not only does ROAM provide hot showers, but they next level it with a FINNISH SAUNA!!!
[editors Covid-19 note: Since we are being Covid cautious, we unfortunately did not use either of these grand facilities ~ but you can bet that sauna is high on our lists for 'when this is all over'. We are lucky to have a toilet and shower in our camper. That said, these facilities are all very much open and ROAM lists their Covid-19 policies and information on their website. The Sauna was regularly used by younger guests during our visit, and I am sure the air circulation in the showers is great ~ but again Covid-Cautious is our personal motto.]
A cyclist's bicycle will be happy here too with a personal bathing space all its own!
Need to consult a map, load up with water for your ride, a pre-ride meet-up spot, change for your post-ride shower? It's all here for you!
Additional Campground Info:
- Reservations Recommended. ROAM was not full during our visit because it seems to be a well kept special secret ~ shhhhhhh (we found out about ROAM from our friend Cody).
- There are four cabins available for rental if you are not a camper.
- Drinking Water, Change Machine for Showers, Area Maps ~ all available at Shower building.
- Firewood is available in a self-serve station across from the cabins. $6 during our stay; bring cash.
- Dump Station nearby: Before our visit I sent an email asking where nearby we could dump our trailer at the end of our visit, Mo (the owner) wrote back saying they had an agreement with Black Iron Resort for $10. This worked out great on our way home, but we would suggest checking in with Mo before your visit to make sure this agreement is still standing. Kudos to Black Iron Resort; this was actually one of the nicest and cleanest dump stations we ever used, we wanted to be sure to leave it just as clean as we found it.
A couple of additional notes on our visit.
- NO ONE was using a generator that we could hear even though when we arrived there was an excessive heat warning ~ anymore when we camp we find this to be a euphoric experience (we wish campgrounds would give the best sites to generator-free camping). Luckily a storm front rolled in that night and the weather completely changed making the rest of our visit enjoyable.
- We did meet Mo, the owner, during our visit. Mo was regularly on-site offering up information, chopping wood, and being a nice guy. Nice to see the owners on-site.
Skeeter Rating: anywhere from 0/1 to... off the charts. 0/1 during our visit!
We have experienced the worst mosquitos of our lives in this area, so it is always with trepidation that we come. But oddly on our visit this year, the mosquito factor was essentially non-existent, even by the campfire at night! A true moment in time we will not soon forget. Mo confirmed with us that in past years here mosquitos have been in that "off the charts" zone ~ which honestly is a bit terrifying. Come prepared with a screen tent, bug spray, mosquito coils, etc.
We also had no problems with mosquitos on our bike rides, however when we stopped a couple of times to take pictures the deer flies were pretty persistent causing our stops to be brief. Again, in the past on rides in this area mosquitos can be quickly attracted to you if you stop - so spray down before your ride.
If bugs terrify you, as they do me, and you aren't as lucky as us to come during a good bug window, and you don't believe us that bugs will be less of an issue if you are moving on your bike ~ you may want to consider a late Fall or Winter visit (no bugs in the winter... nervous laugh...).
The ability to hop on our bikes at our campsite and head out to an endless option of gravel roads was a true delight. The quality of gravel riding here is extremely good with some climbing, rolling hills, gorgeous scenery, and a relaxing vibe with little-to-no traffic (I think we saw one ORV and zero cars).
Route 1: ROAM to Dirty Candy-ish
- Riding Time: 1 hr 23 minutes
- Miles: 13.7
We unfortunately do not have our Strava details for this, so I have taken a section of the CAMBA Cable and Seeley Trail Map and illustrated our route with the "end-ish" where I think we turned around-ish (I honestly can't remember where we turned around).
The nice thing about this being such a bicycle friendly area, there are directional signs at most intersections to give you options and stay on track if you have a planned route.
Quick stop to take in the views. VERY quick ~ deer flies!!!!
Another QUICK stop, because ~ Dirt Candy!
Route 2: ROAM Loop
This ride was a lot of fun, but definitely had what I called a couple of "humdinger" climbs!
That's Humdinger (1 of 2) behind me. The hut is at the bottom.
On both of our rides we passed by Warming Cabins for The American Birkebeiner, this one was right before the real Humdinger of a climb we actually ended up walking up (Kurt was on a fixed gear bike!) ~ maybe don't lose your momentum before the climb by stopping at the hut to take pictures, but then again that is part of the fun of the ride.
Almost back to camp. Loved this ride!
PLACES TO EAT THINGS TO DO:
- Tilly's Pies. Run by cyclist Trudi Rebsamen, who served us our slice. We mentioned Tilly's in our Scouting Notes in 2019. We actually are not big pie people, but we went for it this time and are glad we did. This was THE BEST cherry pie we have ever had. Trudi is doing a great job operating Tilly's during the pandemic, you can order her pies online (we ordered ours on the drive up), pick up from her at her side windows, and receive respectful face covering service (we wore ours). It was nice chatting with Trudi a bit and we were glad to hear business is doing okay during all of this pandemic craziness.
- Rocky's Wine Emporium. HOLY MOLY was this a find! When packing for a trip you inevitably forget something, this time we forgot wine. We could not BELIEVE this place! Located in a gas station/convenience store you would never expect to find a surprisingly good selection of market priced quality wines with Friendly service to boot. Never judge a book by it's cover. We picked up a delicious bottle of Siduri Pinot that we first had at Greens Restaurant when we lived in San Francisco ~ LOVE this wine!
- Burnett Dairy Cooperative. ALWAYS, always make sure you pick the route that goes by here on your way up and stop here for a cone and happy hour cheese.
Also see our 2019 Scouting Notes for this area for additional suggestions: Cable, WI and Two Lakes Campground.
- Afternoon entertainment: We ride in the morning, so one of the things we like to do in the afternoon is go for a drive and scout out our route for the next day, and next time. We've officially nicknamed Inge ~ "Boggin' Dog".