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I spent a weekend at the Argo Anywhere Tiny Lodge in Northern Wisconsin, and got to see why their amphibious XTVs are so awesome.
We've reached a point here at Wide Open Spaces where we're getting invited as guests to some pretty incredible opportunities. They sometimes involve a little travel, typically to a place known to be ripe with outdoorsmen delights.
What's cool about the latest trip I made was that anyone, not just the editor of an outdoor website, can go on it too. And they can experience the same awesome time I did when they sign up for a weekend at the Argo Anywhere Tiny Lodge.
Okay, okay, fair warning up front: The Argo Anywhere Tiny Lodge is booked solid until the end of the year. But when they were available, the weekends were able to be snatched up by anyone (anyone who acted fast, as they were booked in a matter of days).
If you know anything about Argo, you're familiar with their XTVs, the unique amphibious vehicles that can take on trails, water, ice, and just about anything else you can drive them through. I got to, for the first time, get behind the handlebars of one of these things, and it's no wonder why Argo is so eager to give folks a chance to do the same.
Once you drive one, you get it.
Opportunity of a lifetime
Here's how things worked when the bookings were available, and how they'll pan out when the opportunity opens up again soon:
As long as you're 21 or over, can arrange your own travel to the pristine land in Northern Wisconsin, and sign a few waivers, you're eligible to book a three-day, two-night stay at the Argo Anywhere Tiny Lodge.
When I was invited to book a stay, I quickly checked the Wisconsin hunting season dates, with hopes to arrange a duck hunt on the property's pond (the same one that I hoped to ride the XTV into). Retrieving a downed duck with a vehicle that both drives and swims would be the ultimate use of the machine, right?!
Though I didn't get to execute that dream (the XTVs are just a little too loud and cumbersome to stealthily enter and exit when more ducks could be on the way!), riding around on the Avenger while actively hunting was something I won't soon forget.
I learned a lot about the vehicles, like the fact that they aren't meant for use on paved roads at all (which caught me off guard, but I accepted as pretty neat in the long run). The steering mechanisms are driven by applying brakes to either side's wheels, and there's zero suspension system at work. That makes it a bumpy ride, but proper tire inflation (with less pressure than most all-terrain vehicles require) helps.
Needless to say, careening through curves and flooring it through straightaways became second nature right away.
The Avenger handled well once I got the hang of it, and I could easily see how outdoorsmen of all kinds would benefit from owning one. It isn't just because it can easily cruise into a waterbody (though that was indeed cool!). It was more the fact that they're capable of doing everything an ordinary UTV can do, and then some.
The property that the Argo Anywhere Tiny Lodge sits on is actually open to anyone with public hunting documentation, but I only encountered a few walk-in hunters the entire time I was there.
That was a surprise, mainly because this land was prime habitat for not only ducks (wood ducks and mallards), but also grouse. Almost every other turn I made produced the site of a grouse bolting for the thick woods on each side of the trail, and I was almost able to drive right up on a few of them.
What I neglected to remember was the speed and sneakiness of ruffed grouse; I got about half a dozen shots off, to no avail.
I was more successful during my one morning duck hunt, even though I managed only one hen mallard. When she cam in to check out my decoy spread I was more than ready, and though I could see more flying in the vicinity, none gave me any other opportunities.
Do it all
To add to the hunting exploits, the Argo Anywhere Tiny Lodge offers fishing as well, and though I wasn't successful in catching anything during my time there, I can see how a non-hunting outdoorsman or woman could still get their kicks.
If neither of those things are your idea of a good time, Argo knew how to make things even more entertaining.
The Tiny Lodge itself was equipped with all the things you need, and none of the things you don't No Wi-Fi, no phone, and no tech-based entertainment made for a relaxing and enjoyable time.
Plus, just riding the trails turned into a hunt in itself, as the Lodge host made me aware of on my first night. There were three large, black, silhouetted Bigfoot figures, each hidden within sight of the trails. If you can find them, they're worth a little something extra during your stay. That was a neat addition, and even though I had all three searched out before the first night ended, it was still fun to be on the lookout for Sasquatch while enjoying the scenery.
The only catch
There really wasn't anything I could put my finger on that disappointed my anticipation or let me down; the Argo Anywhere Tiny Lodge is one heck of an idea. It's like they know that if they merely get someone to drive one of their off-road vehicles, that person will become an Argo fan for life, and likely an Argo owner when the time comes.
Any hunter, angler, or outdoorsman could get great use out of either an Avenger or Frontier, and Argo's four-wheel quads aren't too shabby either. But it's the excitement of driving something different, mastering it on your own time, and going literally anywhere that's so appealing.
The one single catch that I came up with was this: Now that I know what it's like to stay in a Tiny Lodge in the wilderness, I'm in the mood to make it my permanent way of living. Buying an Argo Avenger might just be the beginning...