“As of Tuesday July 17th, 2012 the Tour is closed for the 2012 season”

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Staxrider, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Staxrider

    Staxrider dirt dauber

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,047
    Location:
    Fourth Chickasaw Bluffs
    If you haven’t heard of Martin Hackworth’s creation he calls the “Tour of Idaho” everything you could ever need is right here . His site is so addictive I couldn’t stop thinking of how I could prepare to take on such an adventure. I had planned over the winter to attempt to cover as much as I could of the trail knowing full well the bike I was using, a DRZ 400S, was classified as unsuitable for the task of covering this 1300 mile challenge. The descent into Oxford basin, which is so well captured by Martin on you tube, became a daily watched video over the winter. The sand dunes west of American Falls also filled my attention. Nevertheless the Suzuki was the bike I had and as Mr Hackworth points out on his website woe to all dualsports who enter the kingdom of the Tour of Idaho challenge.

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    Idaho/Utah border

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    Exiting Dry Canyon

    Day 1
    As I have on previous western trips my family tagged along, not so much as a support vehicle, but more as a chance to see another part of a state none of us have spent much time in. The Tour is set up for hotel stayovers anyway so this would favor lighter travel and I could ride as light as a DRZ could be, which is sort of like off roading an old Crown Victoria. I could remove a little weight but it was still a 300+ lb beast.

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    Sideroad before Weston Peak

    The first day is set up to provide challenges in ascending difficulty until the biggest challenge, Oxford basin is reached. Coming down off of Weston Peak I get a small taste of just how steep these trails can be. It felt like a freefall for about 20 yards until the trail snaked back into the woods. Loose rocks made traction on the downhill nonexistent. At the base of the final climb up Oxford Ridge I had a decision to make. Climbing has not been a problem for the bike but we are about to attempt a far steeper and longer descent. 20 degree pitch, brakes locked as you slalom through the trees as you test the laws of gravity. I retreat off the ridge and cross over the valley at Clifton and headed north towards Sedgwick peak. The climb up to Sedgwick was great riding and I have the trail to myself.

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    Retreat off of Oxford Ridge before the final climb.

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    View to north from Sedgwick Peak.

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    Descent off Sedgwick

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    Hot pools at Lava. Really nice garden and footpath on the east side.

    Outside Lava Falls I gassed up at promptly became frustrated trying to reconnect with the dirt. The pavement up Beach Hollow ended in a cul de sac and I couldn’t see a way past the houses built at the end of the road. On the map the trail appeared to follow the valley up into the NF but I couldn’t find a gate or trail. I retreated and tried the next road to the west in an attempt to reach the trail but I only encountered no trespassing signs and locked gates. As I neared Inkom I started seeing fire closure signs. I sped into Pocatello and enjoyed being reunited with my family and some good Mexican food at a place called El Herradero. I’m failing miserably at following the trail but the scenery is so fantastic that I don’t care.

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    Fire closure in Blackrock Canyon
    #1
  2. Baja Ho

    Baja Ho Momentum is your friend

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    981
    Location:
    Central Coast, CA. USA & Cabo San Lucas, Baja Sur
    Sounds like fun, but can't see the pics. :D
    #2
  3. Staxrider

    Staxrider dirt dauber

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,047
    Location:
    Fourth Chickasaw Bluffs
    The trail resumes west of downtown Pocatello on, appropriately enough, Trail Creek road. As it ascends it gets rockier and rockier until a single track branches off to the south. Following a creek then climbing back in to the forest it eventually leads to Mink Creek road and cross the valley towards Knox Canyon only to be blocked by fire closure. The fire crew didn’t know how far north or south the closure extended only that I couldn’t pass through here. I headed north towards the Snake River and the heat of the desert.

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    Trail creek

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    Rockier

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    Narrower until finally,

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    singletrack :clap

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    Crossing the Arbon Valley

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    No access to Knox canyon

    At American Falls I again had a choice as to the next challenge, the dunes west of here. The 30 miles of sand is not something I really want to do as the temp climbs close to 100 degrees and I wander through the sugar beet fields and enjoy the cooling air offered by the sprinklers 10 feet off the ground. Back on the trail and heading towards Big Southern Butte there has been recent rains and every 100 yards there is water ponded. I stop and check for tracks and find cat prints. Climb the butte after circling around to the back and it has the feeling of a volcano that has eroded on one side. An abandoned fire look out occupies the top and I notice a grass fire to the east with grey plumes. Ride into Arco with light fading and enjoy dinner at the pickle restaurant.

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    Ice cave road

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    Fresh tracks

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    Big Southern Butte

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    Mormon trail

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    Looking back at the trail.

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    Back down to Arco
    #3
  4. The Breeze

    The Breeze Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    424
    Location:
    The Rockies
    Very interested in the RR.....but I can't see the pix:cry:cry
    #4
  5. Staxrider

    Staxrider dirt dauber

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,047
    Location:
    Fourth Chickasaw Bluffs
    Privacy settings adjusted, I'm hoping this works.
    #5
  6. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,428
    Location:
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Nice!
    #6
  7. Staxrider

    Staxrider dirt dauber

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,047
    Location:
    Fourth Chickasaw Bluffs
    After the heat of yesterday I’m glad to be heading up into higher elevations. I choose to double back over Beaverland Pass and follow the valley until I reach Pass Creek and follow the road over into the Little Lost River valley. I had no illusions about attempting the Massacre Mountain loop but had wanted to at least get to the last switchback before the scree. Maybe a picture of the trail. A sign announced Swauger Lake closure and I continued north. I was soon at the entrance to the Pahsimeroi Valley and had the trail to myself. Other than the occasion pick up there was very little human activity to be seen. At this point Challis is maybe 30 miles away but the tour calls for heading west to Livingstone mine and the Chinese Wall. Climbing Railroad Ridge the sky darkened to the west and I knew it was stupid to be above the tree line with the sky looking like that. The trail follows single track down French Creek but I returned the way I came and followed the East Fork and rode to Challis.

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    Towards Beaverland Pass

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    Over the pass looking at Big Lost River Valley.

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    Maybe evidence of a "Centennial Farm", a farm that has been in the same family for over a hundred years. This house still had a sod roof.

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    Fast road over Pass Creek.

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    Massacre Mountain loop closed.

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    Slo Elk crossing

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    Entrance to the Pahsimeroi

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    Pahsimeroi river. Smooth bottom and not too deep.

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    What's on the other side of the river crossing.

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    Dry Gulch

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    Road Creek

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    What is it, what is it?

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    It's a Ford.

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    Railroad Ridge
    #7
  8. slickwill

    slickwill Exhiled

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    Oddometer:
    209
    Location:
    Ohio
    Cool stuff. I wasn't aware of the "Tour" but I grew up in Pocatello and have ridden a lot of the Trail Creek, Mink Creek, Pocatello Creek areas. I've also been all over the mountains near Lava and Inkom but always on skis or by foot.
    #8
  9. Staxrider

    Staxrider dirt dauber

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,047
    Location:
    Fourth Chickasaw Bluffs
    The further north the tour travels the more single track trail is included in the challenge. I had decided to camp on this section and increased my weight with a Wolfman saddlebag set up and camping gear. No single track for me. Instead a side trip to the Yellowjacket mine and only to find only the foundation of the famous hotel is left. There is snow on some of the north facing crevices and the air here is cool. No gas at Shoup although they are building a new bridge. Traffic delays with this. A lot of car traffic here, it’s dusty with rafting outfitters ferrying boats and customers. Gas at North Fork and I’m over Horse Creek pass and camp on the Bitterroot River. I spend a cold night after forgetting my sleeping bag but at least I had a pad to keep me off the ground. At first light I pack and worry about the grey skies to the north and east.

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    Hotel at Yellowjacket

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    Yellowjacket

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    Almost gone

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    Outside Shoup

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    Beaver lodges

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    Camp along the Bitterroot river.
    #9
  10. Swampy

    Swampy Mayor of Swampyville

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    707
    Location:
    Yo Mommas House!
    We did it back in '09. A bunch of Florida Boys having a great time. It is a lot of fun. Some challenging things along the way, but nothing too difficult, which surprised us. It made for a great week of riding, and our Day 2 (Pocatello to Arco) and 3 (Arco to Challis) rank in the top 5 of my riding experiences, and I've been riding for 37 years....

    Staxrider, I saw some of the same spots you stopped for pictures as we did!

    Here's our ride report if anyone is interested...
    #10
  11. Staxrider

    Staxrider dirt dauber

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,047
    Location:
    Fourth Chickasaw Bluffs
    I think I watched your video of the Pete King Trail about 500 times. The Tour evolves each year and for 2012 this trail wasn't included. I found other single track to get into trouble on.
    #11
  12. Staxrider

    Staxrider dirt dauber

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,047
    Location:
    Fourth Chickasaw Bluffs
    The clouds turn out to be smoke from an active fire to the east. I cross a huge staging area near Coal Creek. Helicopter, an army of tents, all spread out in what used to be a ranchers pasture. I climb above them and see blue sky to the northwest. I’m soon on the Magruder trail and it is every bit as amazing as I expected. I stop to chat with a group with mules when I realize this is the site of the famous massacre. When they find out I’m from Tennessee they share that their mules are from Polk County, Tennessee. I don’t recognize them but wave anyway and wish them a safe trip. I’m soon enough in Elk City and over to the Selway river. The trail has been recently graded on the descent to the river and it is remarkably sandy. And green. Moss is hanging from some of the trees and ferns are everywhere. The skies have remained clear and I have left the fire closures for the rest of the trip. I meet up with my family at the Three Rivers Resort in Lowell and spend the rest of the day at the beach.

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    Along the Magruder.

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    Magruder massacre site.

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    North of Elk City

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    Selway river

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    All the ammenities

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    The cats grow big here

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    Lots of interesting stuff

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    Nice end to a perfect day
    #12
  13. fastredbike

    fastredbike back on the loose

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    640
    Location:
    Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
    very nice! :thumb
    #13
  14. JNXPILOT

    JNXPILOT Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Central NC
    I've got to do this! Before I get like this...:gerg
    #14
  15. Staxrider

    Staxrider dirt dauber

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,047
    Location:
    Fourth Chickasaw Bluffs
    This next section after Lowell would take me up to the ridgetop on the Lolo Motorway via a single track trail known as #142. My first clue to trouble should have been the change in flora from the added moisture that was available here. There were ferns everywhere and a lush undergrowth obscured the trail. It did not appear any bike had been through here in a while. As I continued to climb I forget the obvious danger of traversing a tight turn and kept my weight neutral when I should have been weighting the inside peg relative to the slope of the hill. When I hit the two stones hidden by the ferns I stupidly put my right foot down only to find there was no earth. Over we rolled with me coming to rest about 15 feet down the slope with the bike upside down 10 feet above. The pegs and handlebars have dug into the soft ground. Dribbling gas from the tank vent I knew I needed to get the bike upright now. I still don’t know how I managed to drag the bike up to the trail but it felt like front wheel one inch, rear wheel one inch, repeat 100 times all the while watching my gas drain out. Once up on the trail I used the rocks to pivot the bike around and pondered my good fortune. If this had been the Pete King trail I might be dead. At some point the trail had to leave the fern cover but I couldn’t be sure there weren’t more surprises ahead. I retreated back down the trail and motored to Powell to replenish the gas I had lost. Back to dirt I rejoin the tour at Cayuse Junction and miss most of the Lolo Motorway. Soon there are hundreds of downed trees across the trail with some cut through and some not. This would be hell if this were single track as it appears ATV riders have cleared most of these trees where their rigs would fit but nothing more. Anything less than a chainsaw would take a very long time. As the day wears on I am increasingly aware of a sharp pain in my right lower back that doesn’t improve no matter how I change position. I plot the quickest route to Wallace and can barely dismount the bike in Avery for gas. Over Moon Pass I am soon enough in Wallace and off the bike. Thinking walking and ibuprofen might improve my muscles we explore the center of the universe, Wallace’s nickname, before the pain becomes unbearable. For the next two days the only position of comfort is flat on my back. Time is running out and I’m in no shape to ride and my tour comes to an end.

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    Lightning took out the martini glass that used to be on top

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    You might think you are banned until you read the fine print.

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    After dragging the beast back on the trail

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    Well camouflaged

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    The way back down

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    Every shade of green here

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    Bear grass

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    Cool in the shadows

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    :eek1

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    If you lean your bike waaay over you can fit.

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    Fresh cuts

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    Can't remember name of this creek

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    More stable than it looks

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    Gas at Avery

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    Wallace
    #15
  16. Staxrider

    Staxrider dirt dauber

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,047
    Location:
    Fourth Chickasaw Bluffs
    My back eventually healed with rest and looking back I can see why riding in a group would have its advantages. As usual all of my problems were self inflicted. I knew pretty much after the first day my bike was way too heavy for some of the trails. Mr Hackworth is pretty adamant on this point and he is 100% correct. Even a plated dirt bike is pretty heavy if the grade is 20%. I froze because I forgot my sleeping bag. I missed the Lolo because I wasn’t familiar with the maps. And I had a really great time.

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    #16
  17. waylongway

    waylongway madmax Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,889
    Location:
    NorCal
    Thanks for posting!..Headed out that way in 3 weeks for 10 days!!!..:ear
    #17