Along the Magruder Corridor and More...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Kodanja, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    Between the 1.2 million-acre Selway-Bitteroot Wilderness and the 2.3 million-acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness lies a road called the Magruder Corridor, a 101 mile primitive road, built by the CCC in the 1930’s. The two wildernesses make up the largest “unroaded area of land in the lower 48 states and are nearly twice as large as the combined states of Delaware and Rhode Island.”

    It was this historic road that prompted our desire to ride it and even though we would only see a small portion of the vast wilderness area, the corridor was fascinating and filled with many points of interest. The Magruder wasn’t the only road out there however; we navigated our way south to Shoup on the Salmon River and onward along Panther Creek to Challis. We would split up at Challis and I would head back to Warm Lake via Bear Valley along the Landmark-Stanley road.

    You know you had a memorable ride when you can’t get it out of your mind. I keep thinking about the great experiences I had on this short ride and I’m yearning for more! Riding 250 miles of dirt roads in 2 days, getting to know your riding buddies, meeting people along the way (not just meeting them, but getting to know who they are, where there from, etc.,) primitive camping (and camp cooking....a first for me!,) and challenging myself with Burnt Knob....and more!

    Here are some starter photos for you.

    At the top of Burnt Knob Lookout
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    In the Corridor
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    Along Panther Creek
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    Along Morgan Creek
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    #1
  2. katbeanz

    katbeanz earthbound misfit, I

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    :lurk :thumb
    #2
  3. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Our plan was to get to Elk City, get on the Magruder and camp when daylight fades.

    From the left, I'm on the GS, Gary the KTM950, Becky a Suzuki350 and her husband Kelly on the KLR.
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    I've ridden north on 55 along the Payette River up to McCall so many times I must admit that I don't take the time to re-shoot photos for every ride report, but you can see some of the scenery on my ride report below titled Idaho West Mountains - Payette River. Once past Riggins the trip really got started for me.

    Just north of Riggins, crossing the Salmon River and into Pacific Time Zone.
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    We decided to take the old Whitebird grade to Grangeville instead of the 4-lane super highway. A couple of quick shots passing through Whitebird....
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    You can see the switchbacks lined with fence posts.
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    Looking back down toward Whitebird
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    At the top of the summit
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    Along the Mt. Idaho Road.
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    And along the South fork of the Clearwater heading to Elk City.
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    I always wanted to ride this road and it was very scenic and twisty. I barely saw this waterfall as I passed by doing 50, but a quick turnaround yielded this photo.
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    The Southfork of the Clearwater River
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    I had seen a photo of this rock outcropping before and kept my eyes open for it.
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    Here are my friends waiting for me up the road.
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    I told you guys that I'd be stopping for photos along the way :D

    So we made it to the Elk Creek Station for fuel before venturing into the Corridor. Kelly isn't so sure that the fuel is any good.
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    So he decides to put Diesel into Becky's bike.....just kidding.
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    Shall we get a few beers for camp tonight? You bet!
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    During our fill-up a couple of locals and their dog pull in and are waiting for us to finish up...
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    I think we're in the back country now. I strike up a conversation with them and they get out of the truck to look at the bikes. But they don't know what to think when I ask for their photo. This is the quintessential image of Elk City and the Idaho backcountry.
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    You can see on the far left of the map where Elk City is located. We would make camp for the night at Camp 2, Granite Springs Campground. Burnt Knob is No. 5, so we'd ride up there in the morning.
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    I'm ready for it!
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    But before we get on the Corridor, let's check out Elk City ....
    #3
  4. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Cool!!! :thumb

    I've been thinking of riding this same ride. :wink:
    Now I get a sneak preview.

    I was out at Panther Creek and the Challis NF two weekends ago -Nice area.

    OK. Ready for more. :lurk

    Q~
    #4
  5. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    Boise, Idaho
    OK, let's look around Elk City. Well this sign is a good place to learn about the town.

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    And here a brief explanation about the Nez Perce Trail. Pretty amazing to know we would be riding through the same country that the Nez Perce indians and trappers used. We would travel about 100 miles through the corridor in a day and half....I wonder how long it would take on foot!
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    A known landmark
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    The hotel has a small gift shop. This is the Owner who has lived in Elk City for 35 years. Came out here with her boyfriend from California on a motorcycle and never left. She was very friendly and told us about the Magruder Corridor and the mining that went on.
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    Then I walked in the back room and noticed a couple models of a mining structure (I love miniature models.) So I asked her about them and they are replicas of the stamp mills that were used at the mines. The stamped crushed ore is washed over mercury coated copper sheets and the fine gold particles form with the mercury and is separated.

    Then she said, "would you like to see it work?" Huh? The model actually works! Then she flips a switch and the power belts start turning, stamps start pounding and the ore trays start vibrating ....pretty cool. It even had a miniature lamp so you could see!

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    So if you visit the Elk City hotel, be sure to walk in the back room and see the working models.

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    Before we left Becky had to check out the liquor store :1drink
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    It was starting to get late and we still had to make camp. Here is the start of the dirt road....looks like we have 18 miles to our campsite.

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    This way.
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    Here is our camp at Granite Springs. The guide to the Historic Magruder Road says this site has drinking water, so you would assume there would be a water spicket. We looked all over and finally Gary found a small creek down the hill. Gary and Kelly would fill their water bags later on at Poet Creek, so we set up our tents and Kelly started a fire, we ate dinner and sat around the fire talking.

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    We had a great first day riding into the Corridor. Tomorrow we confront the road up to Burnt Knob lookout.

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    #5
  6. StinkyCheese

    StinkyCheese Red or Green?

    Joined:
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    Outstanding! I grew up in and love that area. Ride safe!

    :clap :clap :clap
    #6
  7. katbeanz

    katbeanz earthbound misfit, I

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    Thanks a bunch for posting! At westfest from Darby with a late start we went as far as Maguder Ranger station. Made another attempt but only went to Dry Saddle and up to Burnt Knob Lookout.
    It was stormy and unsure of the fuel situation in ElK City we headed back to Darby.
    It was my first time in Idaho, but won't be my last! :raabia :thumb
    #7
  8. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Still "IN"! :lurk

    Standing by....

    Q~
    #8
  9. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    Boise, Idaho
    It was a bit of a chilly night and one thing I learned (but not the only thing) is to bring a beanie cap to keep your head warm!

    We awoke to a beautiful but cool morning. Slowly everyone got up while Kelly started the fire. As a matter of fact, he started every fire....thanks Kelly!

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    We sat around drinking our coffee and hot chocolate, had some breakfast and started packing up.
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    See....everyone has a beanie but me!

    By the time we were off, it was 10:30a but it had felt good to just take our time with no pressure to rush off.

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    Kelly and Gary needed to fill their water bags so we'll stop at Poet Creek this morning. 6 miles to go.

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    Gary and Kelly, the REAL outdoorsmen, filter water out of Poet Creek while I made sure they did it correctly :D
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    Poet Creek, by the way, was very nice and I would recommend this campground over Granite Springs. It's lower in elevation, a bit off the main road, the creek sounds nice, there are picnic tables and pit toilet.

    So, we made it to the Burnt Knob turnoff
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    Doesn't really look toooooo bad....
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    There was no way Becky was going up that by herself and I couldn't believe it when she went 2UP with Kelly
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    Get ready, get set, GO!

    And up they went
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    Gary followed and I started up the road and stopped to take a picture of easy part (I know....nothing new to you seasoned rock climbers, but this would be the most technical terrain I've been on!)
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    Focus, concentrate, up on the pegs, use your legs, relax.....Aaaagh!
    #9
  10. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    The mile and a half up the rocky incline to the lookout was challenging but not threatening. There were hundreds of small and large fixed boulders to maneuver around and a few ruts and washouts to keep out of. Kelly and Becky got to the top in time to take a few photos of Gary and I navigating up the 4WD road.

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    Gary at ease
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    And me? Not too bad.
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    Made It! Notice anything wrong with my bike?
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    I lost one of my PIAA 510 lamps...screws vibrated loose along the way and finally fell out...broken glass somewhere down the grade I imagine. Check those screws!
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    A fun climb and beautiful area with shear vertical granite cliffs and lakes below.
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    Now, let's look around Burnt Knob. The lookout was abandoned, but still in pretty good shape.

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    It rests precariously on stacked rock foundations
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    The lakes below. Although the timber had been burnt, it was still beautiful.
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    I felt good when Kelly praised me for getting the GS up here, but kudos to him for doing it 2UP!
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    The 950 in its realm.
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    And a poseur shot....yeh it's all about the bike :D
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    Kelly and Becky headed back down, Gary followed and I brought up the rear.

    A parting shot on the way down.
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    Well look what Gary found! Thanks Gary :clap
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    The lamp was still in tact but had cracked.
    It still worked
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    By the time we finished our exploration of Burnt Knob and made it back down, the temps had warmed up. I surprised Kelly when he caught me taking this photo of him changing his shirt.
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    It was around 1:00pm so we just had snacks for lunch before headed further in the Corridor. Next stop Dry Saddle.
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    #10
  11. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    Further up the road we stopped at Dry Saddle.
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    Some of the scenery at the top of the summit
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    The deer are friendly up here, I think because of all the horse camping that starts from here at the Dry Saddle Trailhead.
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    We continue down the summit to Sabe Saddle
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    Here is a view back up toward Dry Saddle.
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    While stopped to check out a trailhead up to another lookout, an older couple who volunteer their time managing the corridor stopped to talk with us.
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    In several areas older burn sites line both sides of the road, ironically allowing a view through them to far off vistas. If the trees were still here, well, we'd see only trees.
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    This sign is located along side the road and indicates a 5 1/2 mile trail. We opted to stay on the road :D
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    Read all about it....
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    The Magruder Crossing Bridge is the only place in the upper Selway drainage you can drive across the Selway River. The bridge was built in 1935. We stopped along the river and had lunch.
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    We reach the summit of the Nez Perce Pass on the border between Idaho and Montana.
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    Another couple coming from Missoula are there on a 1150GS and 650GS and we get our picture taken on the border.
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    Gary took us on a shortcut to Painted Rocks Lake along Rough Creek road and we came in on the upper end of the reservoir. The water was down exposing all the tree stumps.
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    A shot of the lake showing the paved road on the other side we would soon be on.
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    After a hundred miles, it felt good to lean into the twisties along the reservoir, but that would soon end.
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    We had hoped to make it to Shoup, but since we still had to traverse Horse Creek pass and all those switchbacks, there was not time to make it by dark, so Kelly found a nice spot off the road down by a creek to camp for the night.
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    Kelly builds the fire....of course.
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    Gary preparing a gourmet meal of pasta and shrimp with carrots and pea pods. Since he offered to share some, I put my dehydrated stew back in my bag. :wink: And Kelly...homemade spagetti :nod
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    Later on Kelly and Becky prepare roasted marshmellows!
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    And we enjoy the evening until the fire burns out. I wish I had a beanie....
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    #11
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  12. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    Enjoying your pics and story--------check out my campfire beanie.

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    #12
  13. Idahosam

    Idahosam Set Adrift

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    Looks to me your having a great time. Bet the mornings a quite chilly, good thing you have a dedicated fire starter:D

    Glad to se your out riding. :lurk
    #13
  14. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    Damn....I should have gotten one of those when we were in Shoup!
    #14
  15. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Boise, Idaho

    Yeah, I stayed in my bag until I heard the fire crackling in the morning :rofl
    Looks like you've been all over the place this summer. I've enjoyed your reports.
    #15
  16. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    Today I need to get to Warm Lake and our typical departure is late, around 10:30a

    Looking bright this morning
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    Getting Breakfast started
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    Yesterday we were talking about freeze dried food. Kelly said what ever you do, don't buy the scrambled eggs and ham!....yuck. This morning I pull out my "scambled eggs and ham" and everyone wants to see the look on my face when I take a bite.
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    I'm a little reluctant to post this video, but it's kinda funny...
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    After packing up we proceed down the road to Shoup passing by a nice little piece of farm land.
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    At the summit of Horse Creek Pass heading toward the Salmon River and Shoup. The road down the summit was pretty rutty with a lot of switchbacks, but in pretty good condition.
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    The far mountain range is on the other side of the Salmon River.
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    A quick stop for a pic of the switchbacks further down the road. Unfortunately, the trees were too thick to get a better photo.
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    We hit pavement at the Salmon River junction to Darby, turned right and just a few miles to Shoup.
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    I guess I was expecting a small town but this was it....a cafe with gas and a few rental cabins. But what I learned inside was that Shoup was in fact a large town of around 3000 people!
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    Here is a photo of a photo that was on the wall inside. The road along the river was lined with shanties of miners. The bridge of course is no longer there, but you can still see the concrete abutments.
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    And here is photo of an old service station with hand pumps.
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    Inside we talk to the owner and it doesn't take us long to decide to have lunch here and some huckleberry ice cream.
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    Great burgers and Homemade Chili (with cheese and onions)
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    Huckleberry Ice Cream....yum, the best.
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    And Huckleberry shakes too!
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    You can even turn on the TV from inside the bathroom :rofl
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    Outside we fuel up with gas from the hand pumps. We've all seen pictures of these, but it was cool to actually see them in action. Mike, the owner, pumping fuel. A nice guy, but I had to wonder what he was like years ago. I would find out a bit more about him later.
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    Pump to the top, gravity flow to the tank. Mike let me hold the gas nozzle...silly I know.
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    Mike and Kathy were great and we really appreciated their hospitality. They just purchased the cafe last year after moving here from Missoula, Mt. I asked for a business card and their e-mail read shovelhd78@wildblue.net. So I asked Mike if he had a 1978 Harley Davidson in the back garage and he said "Sure do". It gives you an idea of a part of their life.
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    So we get suited up and ready to leave when we notice this in the back of Kelly's tire.
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    #16
  17. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Boise, Idaho
    Kelly did a great job patching the tire. We all helped with the little things like: hold the valve stem, get me the wrench, step on that side of the tire, do you have a file, how about an air compressor? Had one, but Mike the owner had a better one :thumb So after two hours having lunch, getting to know the owners, fixing a flat and waiting a bit for a passing thundershower, we get on down the road along the Salmon River.

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    After a few miles, we take Panther Creek Rd south to Challis.
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    With all my photo stops, the group was getting way ahead of me.
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    I come around a corner and the group is stopped in the road looking up the hillside at these...
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    Gary was in the lead and when he arrived here, the mountain sheep were in the middle of the road! Been seeing some nice wildlife this trip.
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    Closer to Challis there is some beautiful agricultural land
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    And nice rocky hillsides
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    Panther Creek Road turns into Morgan Creek Road as you near Challis and there is a spectacular canyon to run through.
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    We fueled up at Challis and I had to leave the group to get to Warm Lake. It was about 5:30pm and I wanted to make it there before dark. Gary, Kelly and Becky were headed out on the Custer Motor Way and to find a place to camp. So I'm on HWY93 ripping down the pavement to Stanley with a quick stop at Lower Stanley for a shot of the Sawtooth Mountains (in shadow this time of day)
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    After Stanley I take the Landmark-Stanley Road through Bear Valley. The evening light was playing nicely against the old burnt forest. This photo is shot looking back to the southwest. I was headed due east and the sun was right in my eyes....not good when you looking out for deer.
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    Just past Bear Valley the fire base camp was still here. Even though the fires are out, they still keep watch for any re-occuring hot spots.
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    The light was getting in the golden hour before sunset and made a nice capture of this lone horseman. I keep telling myself, "don't stop for anymore photos...you need to get to WL before dark!
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    The sun was below the mountains in this valley. I was hoping for a sunset shot of Warm Lake from the Landmark road, but I don't think I'm going to make it. Geez, I just had to waste time getting this photo.

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    The headlight was starting to shine on the road and my instrument cluster lit up. I still had about 20 miles to go. The road is in great condition and with some long straight stretches, so I pump it up to 55mph.

    But as I came over the summit and down the highway I was met with the sun just setting as it cast it's orange glow on the clouds. I had only a minute to quickly pull over, take off helmet, get camera, get ND filter. I snapped off two quick shots and the readout said, "Disk Full." Aaagh! Grab another memory card, take out full card, insert empty card, start shooting.
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    What a great ending to the day....and the trip! It was dark by the time I got to Warm Lake, about 8:30p after traveling about 260 miles. As I pulled up, the steaks had just been placed on the grille! :wings No freeze-dried scrambled eggs and bacon tonight. I still can't get the trip out of my head. The end.
    #17
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  18. WoodButcher

    WoodButcher Long timer

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    That sunset picture is fantastic. The others are good too, but the sunset really stands out.
    #18
  19. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Agreed. Great pictures.
    Q~
    #19
  20. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Nice trip.
    My daughter and I did almost the reverse in early July. I think you need to do these trips in both direction to see all the sights.
    #20