An RVing trip to the Beargrease Dog Sled Marathon

 An RVing trip to the Beargrease Dog Sled Marathon

I think I have become a big fan of winter RVing.

And dog sled races.

Last year, we reported on the Michigan UP 200 dog sled race. Our friend and fellow Roadtreker Gary Hennes met us up there and told us about the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in Duluth, which is the longest such sled dog race in the Lower 48 states.

Howling winds buffeted us as we crossed the Mackinac Bridge behind two snowplows

And so we went this year. We boondocked overnight  in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere and I volunteered and worked on the communications team, using my amateur radio gear in the Roadtrek to help keep track of the mushers and get them any help they needed.

That's me with one of the musher teams passing my checkpoint. I was on the team using amateur radio to provide communications for the mushers and race officials

The video tells the story. It was a ball.

But I will concede, the return home from the John Beargrease Dog Sled Marathon in northern Minnesota was a long, tough drive. Once we thawed the Roadtrek out from the -55F/-68C wind chill temps after a tow to a service garage in Ironwood yesterday morning, we made our way back through Michigan's Upper Peninsula to our suburban Detroit home – a trip of more than 700 miles.

At the Mackinac Bridge, we suddenly found ourselves in marginal weather conditions. Blowing lake effect snow made restricted traffic to 20 miles an hour. We tucked in behind two snow plows and made our way slowly across the five-mile span, buffeted all the time by a howling northwest wind.

Once we got in the Lower Peninsula, we thought the lake effect snow would end. It didn't. It followed us all the way to Bay City, about 250 miles south. Even though we were less than 85 miles from home, I was beat and we pulled into a rest area about half past midnight and we slept till sunup.

I should have slept some more when I got home but I was so excited about the video we shot of the Beargrease Dog Sled Marathon that I spend the day editing it.

I can't think of another adventure in our Roadtrek that we enjoyed more.

Minnesota is a gorgeous state in the winter, especially the northern shore of Lake Superior that the dog sled race followed. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be in the summer. We will be back.

Up above is the video. You can also see how well we fared in our RV. As we've been saying all along, winter camping is great!


Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.


  • Wonderful video Mike. It brings to mind the incredible hardships our early pioneers must have endured. Thanks for taking us there.!

  • Another addition to my bucket list. Funny how the list gets longer the older we get! The video is wonderful. What beautiful scenery!

  • Another thing about these dogs…they love this sport. I saw a demonstration of these dogs getting into the traces and running with a training sled on wheels, in Fairbanks, AK several years ago. Those dogs could almost not contain themselves while waiting to get hooked in. They were so excited and they took off in a flash. It was so much fun to watch.

  • So glad you enjoyed it, Mike and Jennifer. Hope you come back again next year, and that I can spend more time up there with you. Our small RV’s make great vehicles for participating in this kind of event. Bet you got a lot admiring inquiries about the RT everywhere you went! Maybe we can get more Roadtrekers to come along!

  • What a fantastic adventure! Thanks for sharing!

  • Sounds like a very fun time, the only way to enjoy winter is to play in it.

  • You probably met my brother and sister-in-law! Blake came in 7th in the Beargrease this year. They breed huskies and run the Iditarod, too!

    Some day we’ll make it up to MN too.

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