2018 - Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route / Death of a KLR650

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by relichunter, Feb 12, 2021.

  1. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    This is an account of a solo ride from August 2018. Some of it may be true.

    June 2018 I tried out a ride through Southern Utah that was amazing but hot, really hot. After reading an excellent report from 2015 (https://advrider.com/f/threads/idbdr-why-bother.1090392/) I decided to try out the IDBDR. My plan was to leave Orem, Utah at 6am to beat the Interstate 15 rush hour traffic through Salt Lake City and beyond. Because I can’t wait for the start of an adventure I found myself ready to leave at 4am. There is one advantage of riding solo.


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    My bike has a lot of hard miles on it and it has had problems on almost every trip. Every time I think I’ve got it fixed another appears. Now this bike was supposed to be a one adventure bike to fill the gap between selling my KTM 990 Adventure and finding a slightly used Africa Twin but the Africa Twins took a long time to hit the used market so here goes my third multi-day ride with the KLR.


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  2. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    In!
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  3. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    I fuel up at Glenn’s ferry. A guy on a Harley stops me and we talk for a while. He tells me he is from Chicago and that he camped alone last night. While sitting by the fire he decided to try out his bear spray. Just as he sprayed it the wind shifted and the caustic mist hit him in the face. He said he spent much of the evening appreciating the powers of bear spray. While he and I are visiting a couple of KTM 1190s pull into the gas station so I head over to say hi. These guys were not nearly as chatty and seemed to be on an IDBDR mission, if there is such a thing. I’ll see them a few more times up the road but after getting unsolicited advice on my bike and my ability to complete the BDR I decide to avoid their negative energy.

    The first road onto the IDBDR has a road closed barrier across it. There had been wicked fires in the last week but it looked like the barrier was a left over so I carried on.

    The landscape on both sides of the road was charred.
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    The Dam for the Anderson Ranch Reservoir is a mighty gateway for this trip. Smoke hung in the air as Idaho once again burns.
    #3
  4. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    I blasted down dusty roads past Featherville and the Trinity Lake turn off. The temperature climbs to the 80s and the bike starts losing power in the higher rpms. I find an amazing camping spot on the Middle Fork of the Boise River. I pull over to let the bike rest and make a late lunch. If I had been with a group of riders I would have been tempted to stay here but there are still plenty of hours of riding so I head out after 45 minutes.

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  5. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    Next I come up to what I think is the famous 50” bridge. Hmmm. It looks like the same bridge. The forest service must have moved the blocks to get trucks to all of the fires. By now there is so much smoke in the air that there are few views and the air smells like an old ash tray.



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    #5
  6. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    Heading to Banner Ridge I run into a wash out that prevents me staying on the BDR. I turn around and head down the National Forest Development Road 312 until I run into a Road Closed for Fire Sign. The smoke was thick, so this time, I’m pretty sure the sign is legitimate. Once again I turn around and head down crooked river road to catch highway 21 into Lowman. Highway 21 is a beautiful bypass. I get into Lowman right around dinner time but it looks like almost everything is shut down. Most importantly, the gas station is closed. A handwritten sign on the door says something like – had to leave for a family emergency – back in the morning. I was getting low on gas so I found an amazing campsite right next to the river at Mountain View campground. I washed up in the (south fork of the Payette) river, made dinner then hiked around the area before darkness fell. It was a long day, the sounds of the river brought sleep on quickly.


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  7. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    Day 2 – In the morning, I pack up and head down to the gas station. When I get there it still isn’t open but a truck pulls up with the owner inside. He is super friendly but unfortunately, he can’t find the keys to the fuel pump. I’m in no hurry so I hang out while he looks everywhere. After a short time he comes out of the store pleased that he has discovered the keys. While filling up the owner tells me that the trail I’m planning on riding was recently dug up by the forest service and would be a rough ride. With fresh gas and some oil to replace the oil the KLR is burning I head up clear creek road bypassing the hill up to the hippie bus and the creek crossing. Looking back I should have taken the trail but here is a fine line between doing something hard and doing something stupid. When you ride alone the line shifts towards caution. Clear creek road meets up with the BDR at the creek crossing.

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    Another smoky day riding through past burns.

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    #7
  8. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    I come upon Deadwood Reservoir quite by surprise. I’m use GAIA GPS on my phone. Sometimes the topo map disappears and only my track shows. The reservoir is amazing. It’s lunch time so I stop and relax for a while taking in the cool breezes off the water. What a great spot to camp but the timing is off, the bike is running well so I head out.

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    #8
  9. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    The next stop is Yellow Pine for Fuel. The place is a ghost town. Pictures on line show that it can get busy but I walk into the bar to see 3 locals talking to a woman behind the bar. She asked what I wanted and I ask her about gas. She shews all three guys out of the bar then takes me across the street to get gas out of a small above ground tank. She eyes me when she tells me that gas is $4.00 a gallon (sounds like a bargain). We return to the bar to pay. A dusty woman with an English accent wearing bicycle riding gear walks in and asks for a burger. I am on no adventure compared to her! The road out of Yellow pine climbs into the hills next to a beautiful river. The road down the other side is even more spectacular.


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  10. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

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    You meet all kinds of people on the trail, just like anywhere. Most are friendly and enjoy trading stories, at least where I come from, and some won't give you the time of day. Their loss! Keep the story coming...
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  11. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    At Yellow Pine, I noticed the smoke was letting up resulting in spectacular views for the next few hours.

    Something that is interesting about the IDBDR is that you get glimpses of far away roads that turn out to be the ones you will be riding in an hour our two. Sometimes it is astounding!


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    It’s starting to get late in the afternoon and the bike is running rough again. Is it bad gas? Maybe a spark plug is fouled? The bike is burning oil but I’m staying on top of that. The way down to Elk Summit Pass to the bridge over the south fork of the salmon river is pretty easy though there are some steep drops off the side. On this stretch I run into the only Motorcyclists I’ve seen in hours, a friendly couple riding WR250s. They are heading South. I’m surprised I haven’t seen any other motorcycles on the trail all day.
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  12. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    Climbing up the other side of the Snake river proves to be tough on the bike. I have to keep the rpms very low or the engine loses all power. The ride gets very slow at times and faster than I’d prefer at others. I’m beginning to seriously consider what it might be like to hike out of here. Maybe the problem is an air problem? I started the ride two days ago with a freshly cleaned filter. I’ve never had a filter clog in two days, especially riding by myself. If it was the filter why would the bike run fine sometimes and others it would just bog down? Maybe it is the filter but I press on in denial. By the time I come to Warren I am emotionally spent. My bike is running so poorly that I decide to ride on while assuring myself I’ll come back and take some time exploring here another time.

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  13. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    Its still day two of my trip and I feel like I’ve been on the road for a week! My loose plan for today is to stop near the Burgdorf Hot Springs for the night. When I arrive, there are a lot of people and really, hot springs on a hot day didn’t really sound that great. There is a campground just up the road and it looks nice but I can’t stop thinking about the bike. It is now early evening, the gravel road away from the Burgdorf Resort looks lonely for a solo rider on a questionable bike so I decide to head into McCall, gas up with good gas and put in some fuel additive. Besides, the week before the trip a friend said I should check out the town so maybe it will be a good choice.


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    The side trip was worth it. Payette Lake is beautiful. I get new gas, a few cold snacks and some fuel treatment. McCall is humming with tourists so I decide to head up highway 95 and find a good campground. Heading north, the bike seems to be running better. Maybe I’ve fixed the problem! I’m watching all the campgrounds on my map pass by. They are either closed or completely deserted. There appears to be a lot of fire activity in the area. All of the power poles have some kind of metal or foil wrapped around their bases. Roads leading off the highway have tape across them with closed notices posted. As falls, I occasionally see glimpses of fire off in the distance. I then come upon a fire base roaring with activity. Now I’m afraid to camp anywhere by myself for concern I might get in the middle of a fire or in the way of the activity. I press on. Its now dark and the bike starts to loose power again. On some of the climbs I slow to 35 mph. I’m hoping the few cars on the road see me. The bugs are plentiful and my visor fills with their dead bodies. A couple quaint motels look promising but I decide to head to the town of Grangeville. The map shows that there is a motorcycle shop and some car parts stores that I can hit up in the morning. When in range, I call ahead and reserve the last room at the Grangeville Super 8. I arrive filthy, sooty and smelling like oily exhaust around 11pm. Once in the room I immediately take a shower fully clothed to wash off my Klim gear. Then, I eat the last of my packed food and went to sleep. Early in the morning I head out to the bike to find a fresh cut piece of towel on the seat of my bike. Someone from the hotel must have seen the filthy bike and thought I could use the rag to wipe it down. I thought this was incredibly considerate. I rolled the bike into a corner of the parking lot and decided to check my air filter.

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    #13
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  14. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    So that’s a problem! I pulled out the filter shocked that it was so full of dirt. I replaced the filter with a fresh spare, checked the oil (down a lot), lubed up the chain and wiped down the bike with the towel. During the maintainence a guy from the hotel came over and asked if I could use a hand. I was grateful and a little surprised to find out that he was being sincere. We talked about motorcycles for a while then he headed back into the hotel. After a decent hotel breakfast I put on my still wet Klim jacket and pants and packed the bike. The motorcycle shop wouldn’t open for another hour so I bought a couple quarts of oil at the car parts place, got gas, put air in my tires and headed back to the IDBDR.

    It is now the third day of the trip. A good nights sleep, some hotel food, and a bike that is fixed (fingers and toes crossed) result in a peaceful ride up State Highway 14 along the south fork of the clearwater river into Elk City for an Early Lunch. No longer worrying about the KLR I am now into adventure mode. What a relief! After breakfast I backtracked to Red River Road to check out some old mine ruins.


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    Back behind this cabin there is a much larger building hiding in the woods. The old bridge washed out long ago so I try to walk across the river in my new water proof SIDI boots but I can’t find a way that is shallow enough so I give up and head back to the bike.




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    Red River Road eventually meets back up with the IDBDR, I don’t know what I missed but I’m glad I took the detour. Next on the list was the Mcgruder Corridor. At this point (see photo) the next gas, and services for that matter, is about 120 miles away. The road starts off smooth and fast.


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  15. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    Around the middle of the day a couple of thunderstorms roll through. I was glad for the cooler air and some relief from the smoke that was once again filling the air but I also was aware that I was crossing over mountain passes with little cover.


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    In many parts of Utah this kind of rain could have meant slippery trip stopping mud but in this section of the IDBDR there is tons of gravel so traction posed no problem.

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  16. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    This was the first time I’ve ridden a motorcycle in Montana! What a fantastic day of riding! At this point it is late in the afternoon. The weather has been rainy off and on but ahead things are looking very dark.

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  17. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    My Klim Badlands gear was overkill and hot for most of the trip but it pays off here. It starts raining hard just as I reach smooth tarmac. I don’t know what time is but the storm clouds made it look like dusk.

    Driving North in moderate rain with woods and fields flashing by on both sides, one of my favorite experiences of this trip unfolds. I glance to my right to see a herd of 15 or more elk at full gallop heading towards me. Before I can slow down, they change course and cross the road less than 50 feet ahead. This was a magnificent display of speed and strength! Once across the road the herd jumps a low fence into the well-manicured front lawn of a house. Then without slowing down they all turn large chunks of turf rocketing through the air. Just like that they were gone leaving only a destroyed front yard as evidence.

    As I pull into Darby the rain slows and the skies begin to lighten. I get gas, then stop at the McDonalds in Hamilton to search for a campsite and check in at home. I take my time because I am confident that Blodgett campground only 6 miles away will be my bed for the night. After dinner I head up to the campground. It’s a nice place but filled, actually overfilled with people that look like they have laid permanent claim to the place. Uh oh. Now it is almost dark. How about riding quickly through the foothills in the dark to the next campground. Camping spots left and right all day now nothing. I head north dodging deer and small animals for 30 miles to Charles Waters campground. I pull in with just a glimmer of light. Fortunately, there is a spot and I take it. I end up setting up the tent in the dark.


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    #17
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  18. bykemike

    bykemike "ready to navigate" Supporter

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    Thank you this thread, nicely done
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  19. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Great photos and I love the human interaction narrative. :thumb
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  20. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Super Ordinary

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    :lurk

    (I wound up with a KLR for similar reasons--main adventurer was in pieces, it was cheap, needed something for a trip.

    Still have it. :dirtdog )
    #20
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