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Old 07-27-2013, 03:26 PM   #1
FlyingPenguin OP
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Black Rock Magruder and Jarbidge

Day 1-

I found myself with a week to kill right after the 4th holiday. Darn, what to do? Where to go? I'd always wanted to do the Magruder Corridor, so I packed up the Magadans, filled the extra tank, stuffed the tank bag full of beef jerky and Clif bars, spooned on a new Heidenhau and headed out the gate. Turning left I opted for the forest road instead of I 80. When I got to the end of the asphalt on my street I was very pleased to find the county was busily pulling the ditches and grading out all of the potholes. Turns out this was a very good omen for the rest of the trip.

DOG VALLEY ROAD-


DOG VALLEY-


Too soon the forest road dumped me onto I 80 for a quick trip into Reno and last stop at the KTM shop. Then it was north on the Pyramid Highway and onto Gerlach and the playa.

RENO (aka: Drano)


PYRAMID LAKE


NEARING GERLACH




THE PLAYA


We'd had a little heat wave the week before but that had broken when the monsoons blew in from the south. The resulting rain had washed out the road in several places and there was still a few sticky spots on the playa and the occasional small rain rut. But mostly the playa surface was sry and a just a little loose on top. After leaving the playa I headed north on the Soldier Meadows road. Freshly graded, there had been just enough four wheeler traffic to brush the loose rock out of the wheel tracks. I'd planned on camping for the night around Soldier Meadows but I'd made good time and decided to push on to Denio. I didn't go a mile past the SM ranch when the freshly grading disappeared. The rain had washed right down the wheel tracks on every hill and I was up on the pegs riding from the ditch on one side to the other looking for a smooth line. Once in a while I was out of first gear and once or twice I may have even hit 3rd but my progress had slowed considerably and it looked it was going to be dark before I even hit Hwy 140. And then the grading Gods smiled on me. When I hit the border of the Summit Lake Reservation the road had been graded smooth enough to run a flat track on.

SOLDIER MEADOWS RANCH


SUMMIT LAKE


COOL WINDMILL


Dropping down out of Indian country I started seeing lots of wild burros. Most of them were well off the road but these two deigned to pose for the camera.


I rolled into Denio Junction 15 minutes after the restaurant closed. The gas station is closed until further notice. They let me pitch my tent out back though. So after 7 hours and 287 miles I dined on a half package of beef jerky and a power bar all washed down with a beer, and called it a day.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:09 PM   #2
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Day 2

The "hotel" was no vacancy and bartender had told me it was fine to set up my tent and even suggested the "grass" in front of the "bungalows". Anyone who has been to Denio Junction will understand the " ". As the night before it was still quite warm and with clear skies I left the fly off for better ventilation. Yep, you know where this is going. Just about day break I started hearing rapping tapping sounds, the sort of sound that one hears when large drops of water strike sheets of corrugated roofing- like possibly the metal roof over the porch of what the bartender creatively referred to as a "bungalow". Quickly fumbling with the zipper on the tent door, I leapt out onto the grass dragging the sleeping bag with me wrapped around my feet and ankles, and pulled the tent 20 feet to the shelter of the metal porch roof. Luckily it was about this time that the rain stopped because in my haste I had managed to empty all of my gear out of the tent and left a trail of socks, riding pants, boots etc....

The restaurant opened for breakfast at 7 and I was waiting at the door with the bike packed and ready to go. The bacon, eggs and pancakes were fine and surprisingly not very greasy. The nice waitress lady even let me fill my Camelbak and extra water bottles in the kitchen sink, and then it was north into Oregon. Right on the border is the town of Denio.I always like poking around these small towns since there is usually some cool old trucks and equipment parked off in the corners. Denio had fewer than most, but I did find this cool old RV....



Some new tyres, a windshield and maybe 20 gallons of varnish and she'd be ready for Burning Man.

When I found the restaurant at Denio Junction closed the night before I had asked the bartender if there was any place to eat at Fields. It was only 20 or so miles up the road and I was fueling up there anyway. "Nope, ain't nothin in Fields 'cept gas" was her reply. Well she was wrong. Turns out there is a nice diner in Fields that had been serving until past 8 the night before. And there was a very nice grassy field to camp in. Sigh....

Heading north out of Fields 30 miles or so I turned west on the Steens Mountain road. This is a great gravel road that runs right up to the top of the ridge and then loops back down coming out on the highway 20 or so miles north. Here's a view to the west from about half way up.



The view point is right on the edge of the ridge and at 9000' is just about a mile above the Alvord Desert to the east.



The top of way over tree line and there was lots of grass and flowers.







Coming down the north half of the loop road I found the loose gravel had been replaced with a smooth and hard packed surface that was nearly dust free.

After hitting the highway it was pretty much a drone all the way to Idaho. I didn't have time to take the dirt roads and in any case it was getting pretty hot. I did find a nice little local diner in Burns that is worth stopping at. RJ's Drive In had ok burgers and a great chocolate shake.



Just before the Idaho border is Vale, Oregon. This was a big stopping point on the Oregon trail and many of the buildings have commemorative murals painted on them.


While the plan was to head up towards McCall and find a campsite, Mother Nature convinced me that I need to stay in Weiser. I pulled into the first motel I found just as it started raining. As it turns out, the Colonial Motel was clean, quiet and comfortable, even if they do say "Yes to Dogs and Hogs".




Miles today, 320.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:06 PM   #3
MasterMarine
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I guess nobody told you about the "world famous" shakes in Fields?
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:14 PM   #4
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Sadly no, I had no idea about Fields. Somehow in my pre ride research I missed it. A nice shake would have capped off the previous day nicely. Actually, dinner would have finsiged the day nicely.
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:03 PM   #5
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Hey, I remember talking to you at some little town (at the gas pumps) north of Helena on day 2 of our trip. I was the guy on the other Orange and Black 990. Sorry, yours is a 950.
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:04 PM   #6
Bob
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Nice trip!
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:59 PM   #7
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Hi Lycan

Yep, that was me. I'd just ridden part of the CDR north from Helena and come out at Lincoln at the gas pumps. I hope I'm not the one who convinced you guys to ride all the way to Helena....lol. Although riding north at least it was quick and easy. Perhaps it was rougher heading south.
I've been enjoying your RR- gives me lots of ideas for where to go after the KTM Rally.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:08 PM   #8
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nice pics, nice ride.............
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:01 PM   #9
Lycan1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguin74Q View Post
Yep, that was me. I'd just ridden part of the CDR north from Helena and come out at Lincoln at the gas pumps. I hope I'm not the one who convinced you guys to ride all the way to Helena....lol. Although riding north at least it was quick and easy. Perhaps it was rougher heading south.
I've been enjoying your RR- gives me lots of ideas for where to go after the KTM Rally.
Yes Ian (The guy on the DRZ 400) did make some comment about it not being so "quick and easy". I wanted to Cowboy camp at the Empire Mill site but Ian had no food with him, so we humped it to Helena. We Hotel-ed it so it was no big deal. That section from Lincoln (thanks I could not remember the town name) to Highway 12 was fun for sure. It was a nice mix of fast gravel and a few short sections of rocky, rutted, and one soft fresh-graded bit.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:23 PM   #10
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Day 3

I headed up Hwy 95 out of Weiser towards New Meadows. Nice smooth road through across the farm lands and into the hills. At Tamarack the road bisects a lumber mill. There were forklifts crossing back and forth carrying milled lumber to the dryers. What was amazing though was the smells. I grew up in a town with a mill and when I was a kid there were logging trucks everywhere. As I got close to Tamarack I followed a loaded logging truck and the smell of the fresh cut pine brought back all sorts of memories.

At New Meadows there is a great little coffee place with free wifi.


By lucky happenstance while I was sitting out front watching the trucks drive by I ran into a local who informed me that my planned route from McCall north to the Salmon River wasn't going to work. Seems the county road dept had closed it for the day to repair some culverts. Damn. While Hwy 95 north of New Meadows along the river is fun, I was looking forward to the dirt road out McCall. In any case when I hit Riggins I turned right and went up the Salmon River to the end of the road at the wilderness area boundary. Lots of rafts floating down the river and this really cool old bridge with the cables anchored straight into the canyon walls.


North of Riggins is White Bird. Not much as towns go, however the old road to the top of White Bird Pass is classic. It switchbacks up the mountainside in an endless cascade of turns. Perfect getting some wear on the far sides of the tyres.... There is a short stretch of the new road near the top, and then its back on Old White Bird Hill Road over the top and down to Old 95 into Grangeville. A much nicer ride than the multi lane slab.
A few miles outside of Grangeville Hwy 13 drops down to the Clearwater River and Hwy 14 turns right towards Elk City. This is the South Fork of the Clearwater and while a particularly large river, the road twists and winds up the river canyon for 40 some odd miles to Elk City.




Starting life as a mining town, it lived off of logging for years, but the mill shut down a few years ago and all that is left is a large vacant lot. Now it is mostly tourists, summer homes and in the summer, mushroom pickers. The big news in town when I was there was the hot springs had been closed down by the county health department. Seems that the caretaker/managers were devout Rainbow Family followers and the whole place had been infested by Rainbow Family. Rumor has it that it took 5 sheriff cars to haul everyone away....

So ends Day 3. A short day of 260 miles

Tomorrow, the Magruder!
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:49 PM   #11
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Day 4

Day 4 starts with a hearty breakfast at the Reno Club, located right on Main Street in downtown Elk City. This also doubles as the local pizza emporium and it is the place see and be seen if you're involved in Elk City nightlife.
I ordered breakfast, 2 eggs, bacon and short stack of pancakes. The waitress looked at me over her glasses and said, "Honey, have you seen our pancakes? Y'all might just want to try one to start with". And sure enough, out came a huge single pancake.



The Magruder starts 15 or so miles out of Elk City.





The road starts out well graveled for the first 14 miles. Actually too well graveled.... the sides of the road were pretty full of marbles and which made for flat track turns....



After the first campground the gravel disappeared and the road was good hard packed dirt. Mostly smooth for the most part with the occasional rain rut or small rocky section up to then top of Dry Saddle. This is where the fire was burning last year and the next 20 or 30 miles had a lot of burned forest.





I rode with a GS rider for most of the Magruder Road. While I like solo travel, it was nice knowing there was someone else out there. We ran into a few cars and pickups, but no other bikes until the top of Nez Perce Pass where we caught up with a plethora of KLR's.







I'd pulled out of Elk City at 8.30 am and at 2 pm I was eating lunch in Hamilton. Not a speed record by any means. The road is good shape and only a couple of slow sections, mainly due to rocks. I hates rocks, especially loose ones the size and shape of grapefruit.

After lunch I headed east on Skalkaho Pass Road out of Hamilton. This is paved well up into the canyon and then is very well graded with what looks like Mag Chloride on it for dust control. There is a lot of traffic on it in the summer since it is the fastest way to I15 from the the south end of the Bitterroot Valley. For the most part though the traffic is very cordial and though the road is narrow with blind turns, everyone I saw drove sanely.

Skalkaho Falls


The end of the day found me pitching my tent at the KOA in Deer Lodge Montana. A nice clean place, though at 24$ a bit steep for a tent site. Deer Lodge is the home of the Montana State Prison, and the old original penal institution is right on the main drag on the edge of downtown. It was also a major railroad town, at least until the Milwaukee Road went belly up in the 1980's. They have a couple of locomotives on display including this cool electric drive called Little Joe.



Sporting 5500 hp, Little Joe, named for Josef Stalin, was one of a batch built right after WWII for the Trans Siberian Railroad. However when the Cold War heated up, Uncle Sam wouldn't let GE send the locos to the Soviet Union and many of them ended up in Montana.

260 miles and 11 hours.
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