Off-roading in Minnesota

Discussion in 'General Subaru Discussion' started by TMF, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    I'm slightly interested in trying some off-roading in the Forester. I'm obviously not looking for anything extreme since it is stock and brand new, but I'm curious what trails are out there and are close to the metro. Does anyone know of some good areas and have any experience?
     
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  2. tehfuzz
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    tehfuzz Well-Known Member

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  3. JuStaWRX
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    JuStaWRX Well-Known Member

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    Me too.
     
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  4. pillboy
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    pillboy Well-Known Member

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    Snowstorm...highway...median...non-native Minnesotan...4-wheel drive/all-wheel drive...off roading inevitable.
     
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  5. JasonoJordan
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    JasonoJordan Well-Known Member

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    If you find something I'd come out with the jeep.
     
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  6. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    So I've been trying to do some research. It appears as though the closest place to the metro is here (Gandy Dancer, Danbury, Wis):
    http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ohv/trail_detail.html?id=11

    I think our vehicles would classify as a ORV or Off-road Vehicle. Otherwise it looks like another very popular place is here (Iron Range/Gilbert Off-road park):
    http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ohv/trail_detail.html?id=13

    There are quite a few videos at Gilbert on youtube, and it looks much more intense than what I'm looking for.

    Also, looks like I may need to register: http://dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/ohv/index.html

    @Chux - aren't you one of those off-roading types? I believe you're up north, but any insight here?
     
  7. idget
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    idget Want to pokéman? PM ShortytheFirefighter Staff Member

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  8. euro
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    euro Well-Known Member

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    It's been awhile since I've gone offroading (in a offroad only rock crawler) but a lot of the places I use to go are closed now. Better question, how intense are you planning on going? lift, tires, body damage or glorified Gravel roads?
     
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  9. euro
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    euro Well-Known Member

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  10. JasonoJordan
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    JasonoJordan Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing he is interested in some trails through the woods little mud nothing crazy.
     
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  11. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    Lol, definitely closer to a glorified gravel road for starters. I have very little experience (outside of 4 wheeling a fair amount when I was younger) and my stock Forester isn't prepared for much. Eventually I'll probably add all terrain tires, skid plates, maybe a lift, but I want to start small.
     
  12. tangledupinblu
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    tangledupinblu Event Coordinator Staff Member

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    Go big or go home Jordania!


    My plan for the bugeye.
    image.jpeg

    Needs no explanation.
    image.jpeg
     
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  13. JuStaWRX
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    JuStaWRX Well-Known Member

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    This would be my ideal goal for an end product some day... (Photo from SJ group on FB). 1 inch lift in front, 1 3/8 in rear.
    upload_2016-3-24_22-42-56.png
     
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  14. fozzie84
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    fozzie84 Member

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    Another 16 CWP XT! Touring or premium?

    Also, Foothills State Forest http://dnr.state.mn.us/state_forests/sft00019/index.html has some pretty cool minimal maintenance trails, went through them with my In-Laws Pilot so no problem for a Subie haha. Took the STI when I had it up there for our mini-honeymoon and tore it up on some of the paved roads and gravel roads since they are as curvy as Ashley Graham. Reasonable speeds, of course
     
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  15. Chux
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    Chux Well-Known Member

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    Yea, I've got some experience. There aren't a whole lot that's designated ORV trails, which is strange and unfortunate, since the state of Minnesota is the 3rd largest land owner in the country, after the Federal Government, and state of Alaska.....but "we" can't use it much. Most of the trails that are available, are designated at ATV/OHM, but not ORV.


    The section of Gandy Dancer that is open to ORVs is just an old railroad bed. Very flat, smooth, straight, elevated.......looks considerably more dull than your average gravel road.

    Mesabi Mountain Trail was designed for some pretty extreme rigs, I haven't been there, but I've seen some extremely well-equipped machines wrecked at the hands of experienced drivers. Over time, I'm sure it'll smooth out, and bypasses will form/be made around the gnarly parts, but probably won't ever be beginner territory.


    The offroad park in Gilbert is pretty awesome. It was an Iron Ore pit mine in the 70s, and sat abandoned for like 15-20 years, before the MN4WD Association helped clean it up, fence it off, and designate it as an ORV area. There's a trail map on the page you linked to it, the purple roads are core access roads, which would be perfectly safe (but still fun) for a Forester. There are 4 marked lookouts on there, that are accessible from the core road, and pretty awesome. Ely Lookout is my favorite. There are picnic tables at most (if not all, and more) of those locations where you could have lunch. Quartz Mountain (right in the middle of the map) has a pretty cool lookout, that is not marked as such. 47 Trail and Horseshoe loop are good beginner trails, as is Skull road. Leaf Lake Loop is always muddy, usually closed in the spring. Passable, but a little nerve-wracking if your alone.

    Be warned, Roller Coaster and On the Edge are night easy trails to start, but require a pretty nasty rocky switch-back climb to get out.

    I've been going for over 10 years, here's a picture from the first Crawl for the Cure in July 2005, fund raiser for the MS Society that has been happening annually ever since. I owned the Blue '88 Subaru in the back of the group at the time, and knew the guy in the Black one, and I owned the black one by the next year's event. This picture was taken at the lookout at the top of Wayne's world.
    [​IMG]

    Here's a picture I took overlooking the Mud Runs:
    [​IMG]
    Obviously more than a little to do there for almost any vehicle, and almost always some other rigs there that you can watch go big.


    My favorite loop with new people is Skull Road, to Berry Trail, to Horseshoe Loop, break at the Mud Runs, then Red Hills West and Quartz Mountain, play a little at the Crater Crawl, then to 47 trail, then following the core road up above On the Edge and Roller Coaster, there are a few cool spots along that ridge. Then cut back through "the Pines" to "The View", then down the back side of that bluff, and then out along the fence line back to the parking lot.



    The park is closed for rifle hunting season. But open the rest of the year (including the dead of winter, which is a whole different can of worms). A registration sticker is required all but one day. This year the Open House falls on May 21st, the North Shore Wheelers (a club that I used to be a member of, but have become less active in recent years) has made this their baby, providing guided trail rides, lunch, and some instruction for newcomers. These are a great group of guys, and a family-oriented event. I'd highly recommend taking advantage of that time to take a look at what there is to do, and I know for a fact that any of them would be willing to have a new person ride along with them so you could see what it's all about without risking your own vehicle. Their website says 2015, but I'm sure very little will be different when they update for 2016. It falls, again, on the same day as Headwaters Regional Rally, so I'm not sure which I'll be doing this year.
    http://nsw4x4.com/events.html


    I'm currently looking to sell my 4Runner to trade some offroad capability for on-road manners. Probably will be getting a Toyota Sequoia, and looking to do some adventuring. I've been looking primarily at the Michigan UP, and there is a lot to do, with dispersed camping all over the place.


    And just because I love this picture....here's my 4Runner the last time I was up there:
    [​IMG]
     
  16. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    Ugh, another white one! Seems like everyone has a white XT, even though they were tough to find. Haha no biggie, I still love it. Mine is a XT Touring, with eyesight + nav.

    Thanks for the the info on the trails also.
    Thank you! This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for - I greatly appreciate it.

    Do you have any more info on the MS Crawl for the Cure? My grandma and my fiance's grandma both suffered from MS, and I'm always up for supporting research for MS. If it involves off-roading, even better!

    Gilbert park looks like an awesome place to go. Any chance you'd be interested in taking out a few beginners some weekend? Any places to camp on the trail or nearby?
     
  17. Chux
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    Chux Well-Known Member

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    http://www.crawl4cure.org/

    It's a pretty fun event, but it's becoming an event dominated by some pretty extreme rigs, so it's not quite as fun for the smaller rigs, as there aren't really any group rides to go on. But still a really cool weekend, with raffle stuff (including a completely built Jeep Wrangler), BBQs, prizes, etc. etc. And some really awesome people.


    There's a campground in Gilbert (Sherwood Forest), not the nicest campground you've ever stayed in, but walking distance from Lake Ore-be-gone, and there's a gravel path that goes straight from there to the offroad park.

    I could maybe play tour guide. We're saving up to buy a house right now, which means my vehicles are almost all being prepared to be sold, and I don't really have any spare time....but we could try.
     
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  18. fozzie84
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    fozzie84 Member

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    Its because the White/Black combo on the Fozzie is SIIIIIIICK!!!!
     
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  19. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    Cool, thanks for the link. That weekend is open for me, so I blocked it off on my calendar. Hopefully I can make it!

    Also, I definitely understand your situation, and I'm sure the first thing you want to do is play tour guide for a bunch of noobs :p I'm in the midst of wedding planning myself, and most of my weekends are booked, but if I find an open weekend to make it up there, I will give you a head's up!
     
  20. SurlyOldManMN
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    SurlyOldManMN Omdat fok jou Staff Member

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  21. Chux
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    Chux Well-Known Member

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    I actually do enjoy getting people involved. I guided the beginner trail ride for the Open House for a few years.
     
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  22. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    That's awesome, I appreciate that. I'll definitely keep you in the loop if/when I heard up that way.
     
  23. Krazylegz1485
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    Krazylegz1485 Well-Known Member

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    Holy s**t! I'm quite certain I've got a "I conquered Baldy" shirt in a tote downstairs. Circa 93-94 maybe? Damn. Went there with my parents when I was a wee lad.
     
  24. euro
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    euro Well-Known Member

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    I have a video on VHS somewhere of someone cartwheeling a CJ7 down baldy.
     
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  25. Krazylegz1485
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    Krazylegz1485 Well-Known Member

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    Holy yes. Man, if for some reason we ever meet in person I'd love to see it somehow.

    My brother and I both ran up Baldy so my mom bought us both shirts.
     
  26. euro
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    euro Well-Known Member

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    I'll have to see if it even plays (if i can find it) most of my VHS and audio tapes have started to demagnetize after 15+ years of love lol.
    I'll get it Digitized if i can.
     
  27. ShortytheFirefighter
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    ShortytheFirefighter Pokemans. I has none. Staff Member

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    What are the smallest wheels you can fit on one of those? Can you actually get an A/T tire in there?
     
  28. JuStaWRX
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    JuStaWRX Well-Known Member

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    17s I think are the smallest without making adjustments to the brake set up. Maybe 16s thought with the right wheel? Others have made A/T work with 17s I believe.
     
  29. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    So unless you get creative with an angle grinder, the smallest you can run on the XT is a 17. If you swap out the calipers to the older wrx 4 pots, you can run a 15" Method racing wheel.

    Nevertheless, if you pick the right size, there are actually quite a few 17" AT tire options. I think I might do the BFG KO2 because they seem to be one of the few AT tires that also do very well in snow and ice, but they also have a pretty aggressive pattern, so I'm not sure how bad the road noise and mpg's will be... Let's face it, I might only off road a few times a year. Otherwise the Cooper Discoverer AT3 seems like a good AT tire that's not too aggressive.
     
  30. ShortytheFirefighter
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    ShortytheFirefighter Pokemans. I has none. Staff Member

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    I can personally vouch for the KO2s and their performance in snow. They're not bad on ice, but a dedicated snow will outperform them. Road noise is much less than you would think given how aggressive they are. They're scary quiet, actually. I'm running 275/75/17s on my 4Runner and love them. What is the stock size wheel/tire for your Forester? I'm just wondering if you have enough wheel well space without a lift.
     
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  31. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    Nice, thats good to hear! The stock size is 225/55-18, and the KO2 comes in a 225/65-17, so I should be able to fit them without a lift. I'd rather go with a 235, but I think a 225 will be fine.
     
  32. JasonoJordan
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    JasonoJordan Well-Known Member

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    The jeep came withe destination at tires. They are pretty quiet not to aggressive and pretty good in the snow. I would reccomend them if you can get them I your size. Jeep runs a 245 65 17
     

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  33. ShortytheFirefighter
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    ShortytheFirefighter Pokemans. I has none. Staff Member

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    They do run a little wide, a 225 should be fine. Let me know when you can make it to a Tuesday meet and I'll see if I can make it to let you hear them firsthand.
     
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  34. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    Nice, I may actually take you up on that. I'll have to wear my omega so you can check that out too... Haven't forgotten!
     
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  35. ShortytheFirefighter
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    ShortytheFirefighter Pokemans. I has none. Staff Member

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    Excellent! I know some deserted places that'll be perfect to check the tires out ;)
     
  36. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    Lol, guess I should get my c&c just to be prepared :p
     
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  37. tonyM
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    Subscribed. I'd be into taking my car out too.

    [​IMG]
     
  38. iamsam
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    Resurrecting a 3 year old thread here, rather than create a new one... but I am generally pretty interested in off-roading, and I am looking for other people with Subarus in MN who have some experience, hence this thread.

    I was thinking of trying Iron Range, anyone have subaru experience there they can share? Looks like Chux above does. Anyone else?
     
  39. MN_XV_712
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    MN_XV_712 Well-Known Member

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    If you have the ye old FB, come join Mtnroo Minnesota or Soft Roaders MN. The first group is a Subaru offroading group and the second is a offroading group for any one but has a lot of Subarus in it.
     
  40. Chux
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    Chux Well-Known Member

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    Yea, as we were talking about elsewhere here lately, these groups are going the way of Facebook. I'm a member of MTNRoo MN and Offroad Subarus of Minnesota, I know I've seen events posted on one or both, I admit I haven't gone, so I can't speak to what it's like. Looks like they mostly go to Spider Lake, which I understand is pretty tame, but might lend itself well to beginners

    Since this was posted, I've bought a house (half the distance from Gilbert!) and had a kid, so I haven't done a ton, but I've been up to Gilbert a couple times, and made a trip up to the UP last fall which involved quite a bit of forest roads.
     
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  41. MN_XV_712
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    Yes, we mostly go to Spider Lake or Appleton, but we are in the process of planning a trip out to Bruce, WI at some point in spring.

    The trails are good for beginners (I did Spider Lake in a stock XV) but I would recommend a skid plate and some sort of AT tire.

    I am not too familiar with the Gilbert Area at all.

    @Chux I was just up in the UP the 7th though the 10th for the Polar Run Rally, hitting as many back forest roads as possible and then some. Really fun up there!
     
  42. JaloP
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  43. pillboy
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    Lots of off roading happening in southern Minnesota this weekend. WTF people...in this day and age of everyone being connected at all times (even when driving) and you still manage to go out on the roads (and eventually off road) when the authorities tell you to stay home. We really need legal weed so people can be even dumber than they already are.
     
  44. tangledupinblu
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    tangledupinblu Event Coordinator Staff Member

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    Then they’d at least stay home. Unless, of course, if they’re out of cheetos and pizza rolls.
     
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  45. idget
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    idget Want to pokéman? PM ShortytheFirefighter Staff Member

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    Doritos and white castle... Allegedly.
     
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