A Long Dance With the Devil

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by birdcool, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. birdcool

    birdcool Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Intro and summary:

    On July 22th, I started the 7 day, 1600 mile, Challenge Point (CP) version of the Tour Of Idaho(TID) ( http://tourofidaho.com/TID.htm ) going solo.

    To get a quick picture preview of the route with some of the geo-tagged pictures I took, you can click here. Zoom in a few levels and follow the pictures from South to North.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/albumMap?uname=110463443140572948933&aid=5907389833533572129#map


    Background:

    I am a middle aged trail rider, not a racer or an athlete . I either end up in the mid pack novice class or the emergency room every time I tried to race. This event fits my idea of fun though. I wanted to see if the Average Joe (My name is Joe) can do this thing by the plan if he takes it seriously. The challenge point version of this route is more of a rugged, remote survivalist event that takes a lighter dirt bike than something like a TAT or a BDR. So I lost 15lbs and did train for 4 months at some level to make sure I did not pass out. Since I was going solo, I did get solid support to fund my 2007 KTM 400 bike preparation from my wife, who luckily wanted me to get back alive. I found the solo part of this added motivation to the need for preparation and added intensity to the sense of adventure during the ride. I preferred it, but would want to go with others on future runs. The emotional highlight was cruising along a smooth ridge road near the end of day 4 with the sun setting such that the shadows of the trees flashed past me and I found myself singing "Born to be Wild" from Easy Rider with a powerful sense of freedom. Like so many parts of this, you just had to be there to understand what it was like.

    THANK-YOU to "The Man" Martin and all the MANY people that provided the valuable input in my preparation. Wazzu-Wade was my role model and first adviser. Idahombre-Jimmy and Blake were a fountain of enthusiasm and laughs. Other TID veteran contributors were Big Dog-Mark as a friendly source of experienced tips. Idahoman-BruceC and TimR helped me make my final decisions and adopted me as team managers of sorts. Then the non-TID vets were James Renazco, who was my bike builder, but didn't know it when he setup my bike for himself before he decided to sell it. Then there is my highest ranking Angel, my wife, who had the confidence and support to let me do this hair brained idea and put up with my 9 month obsession.

    I will post the report in sections to make it easier to consume and follow with my gear review/preparation. Here is Day 1 and Day 2:
    #1
  2. birdcool

    birdcool Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    The final pre-ride staging. My wife and daughter saw me working on my Tour Of Idaho pony in the 95 degree sun so they setup this shade cover for me. I am so spoiled. I used the tailgate of my grandson's john deere electric truck as a work bench. I enjoyed the setting.

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    The send off committee of my wife, son and dog. My son tagged along with me on part of day 1. I was glad to make him a part of the event, but he agreed he could not help me to protect my solo status:[​IMG]

    Day 1. Utah to Pocatello:

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    The stateline, my first Challenge Point (CP). Only 64 to go!:
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    Nice view suddenly emerges from the tree below Weston Peak:

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    WW I flying Ace likes this flying high at Oxford Ridge CP:

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    Spring flowers and scenery at Oxford Basin, Day 1:

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    Flying past a nice view Challenge Point:

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    Another sweet view CP Sedgwick Peak, rough jeep trail hill climb to get here:

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    Fun woods trails can be found even in So Idaho at S.F. Inman:

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    This is Blackrock 1 CP. Getting here is where my first real grief happened and I failed to take any pics while struggling. First off, the Blackrock trail that started off the dirt road was very hard to find even wiith GPS tracks. But I saw some dirt bike tracks and followed them, but I did not choose wisely. I found myself pushing thru some Hawthorn bushes so now I had new bloody scratches on my face. The tracks faded so I stopped and walked around to find the real trail since I knew the GPS tracks were close. I found it on the other side of the stream. It was too steep to cross, so I had to push my way back thru those bushes to get over to the other side. Then the blackrock trail was so so faint and blocked with treefall that I could not follow it, so soon I was bushwhacking my way again to get to the top of the hill, following the GPS track the best I could. When I got to the top, I was sweating and hot. I had passed the challenge point (CP) so I did a u-turn, but I tipped over trying to make the u-turn. When I picked my bike up, it was flooded and the battery quickly died. What!? I could not generate enough oomph to kickstart past the flooding, and I could not bump start it since I was running the Z-Start auto-clutch. But luckily, my ProBilliet kickstand was strong enough for me to stand on the pegs while kick starting and I managed to clear it and get it going. At the end of the day, I went to Pocatello Power Sports and my fancy Sycl battery had failed when the shop tried to charge it. So I bought a stock brand battery. Aaah. Its' good to be back to stock. This is the only part I replaced on the entire journey:

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    Blackrock 2, CP, no dab allowed to get point old school style. Turn out on steep hill climb at CP that I came back to:

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    The "Admiral's" headquarters and final CP of the day. Signed register and I'm off, it's about 3:30PM after a 6am start:

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    Day 1 trip stats. My shortest day of the Tour:

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    #2
  3. birdcool

    birdcool Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Spokane, WA
    Day 2, Pocatello to American Falls (the long way) then on to Arco(the slow way):

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    Day 1 caused blisters to start on my palms, so this is how I started days 2, 3, and 6 under my gloves. Worked great.

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    After eating last night's carry out for breakfast, I got a predawn start to get some miles in before it gets too hot (96 degree forecast):

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    Sunrise, Day 2, at first CP, Gibson Peak. Life is Good:





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    Pretty country at midnight creek:

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    Golden waves of grain along Mink Creek area:

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    High country Desert View hill top. Almost to American Falls where I paused for food and gas at mile 100 for the day:

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    The next 30 miles were soft sand which I am not used to. I was proud of my little 4-hunny here. I made the darker arching mark on the sand dune at the top. It is much larger than it looks here. I was hooting and grinning as I came down. I had passed this dune, but it called me back to make a run at it, even though I tipped over again trying to make a u-turn to get back to this.

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    Bonanza Lake. The sand was like soft sugar and I got stuck 3 times getting to here. I eventually had to tell myself " Go fast or go home".

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    Several desert water tanks, that all looked dry when I could see in:

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    Big Southern Butte. It took forever to get here:



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    On my way to Arco from Big Southern Butte, I met Dave on the road. Dave is the local water truck driver adjusting his air pressure to work better in the dirt. He commuted to Big Southern Butte from Arco on this bike. Note the 4 wall light switches. I didn't ask him what all the Hillbilly light switch rework was about. He was sitting on his windshield because he takes it off to see the rocks better when he is on dirt roads. I think he could do the T3 on this thing. The TID was more than just the ride and scenery. What an Adventure!

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    Here are the riders from California that I met in Arco doing their own version of T1 with a chase truck. Fun friendly crowd that even offered to let me sleep on their floor when all the rooms in town were full. This old body can't do floors. They let me use their shower though.

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    The bikes are in a huddle getting the plays set for tomorrow. Notice all the trials tires we all kept seeing on the trail. I was waiting around for a "maybe" motel room of my own, but it did not work out.

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    Day2 end in Arco, Filling up on 3.5G of extra gas for long Day 3, getting ready to head out and find a hammock camp site

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    In the TID spirit, after finding that all of Arco was booked, i headed out of town on the Day 3 route looking for trees to hang my hammock. No trees! So i adapted and used the fence posts of a cattle gate part open and slept as you see here last night. Bike is blocking opening so cattle dont get put. I had a 1.5lb summer down sleeping bag as well as the hammock for a sleeping kit, plus a 2 man e-blanket for rain or dew if I needed. I used the inside of elbow pads for a pillow. I slept comfy in all my gear except boots and helmet but did not get to sleep until 11PM after all my time in Arco. This is actually sunrise of day 3:

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    Day 2 Stats while still in Arco.

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    #3
  4. davesupreme

    davesupreme grand poobah

    Joined:
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    Location:
    palm harbor, fla
    keep it comin'..... just my style.... :ricky
    #4
  5. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    Location:
    Now serving just Snohomish County
    That is a great idea. Way to adapt! :clap
    #5
  6. 400psi

    400psi Cropdusting

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
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    816
    Location:
    Weaverville NC
    Awesome! I would love to do this ride!
    #6
  7. dieselcruiserhead

    dieselcruiserhead Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
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    1,678
    Location:
    Park City, Utah
    subcribe.. awesome!
    #7
  8. Gunslinger1

    Gunslinger1 GIVE'R

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    658
    Location:
    Rolla, MO
    :clap...........Thanks for sharing your Ride.............Nothing average about riding the T1 Solo as laid out.......................................:huh....Nothing.....
    #8
  9. birdcool

    birdcool Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Day 3, Arco to Old Saw Mill:

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    I scrounged water from these people after spending night in my hammock so I did not have to go into town in Moore..I had plenty of gas.





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    Back country desert crossing:
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    Headed into infamous Massacre Mountain Loop. This was the most difficult section to do as a soloist. [Ominous music here]
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    I didn't take any pics of the rocky switchback climb, so here is a stock photo of that trail.
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    I managed to stay on the rocky sidehill trail, roosting around the hairpin switchbacks without issues. When I got to the top, I found the California group at Swauger Lake. They headed down the middle jeep trail, but I had to find the challenge point trail.
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    I had a hard time finding the right trail out of here. I started to follow one that was close to the GPS track, but it was just a fisherman lake trail that ended. So I cut across towards where I thought the trail might be and it got steep, so I layed my bike down on the hill side and hiked around to find the trail before I got myself into trouble. I spotted the trail, but after hiking on the hill side for a while, I could not find my own bike laying down! I had to hike that steep hill side in my MX boots for another half hour before I finally found my lost bike laying down in the sagebrush. Good Grief Charlie Brown.

    You call this a trail?

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    The trail goes thru here somewhere. I tipped over here once but a sharp rock broke my fall.

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    Curse you Red Baron!
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    Made it out out Massacre Mt uninjured, so I am back on the road now. Not much growing up here, I can't see why it would be a horse heaven.
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    Headed into Pahsimeroi Valley. This was an optional side trip on the tour. I decide to take the optional side trip to get the full meal deal and I thought I had plenty of gas. I may not be this way again and came to dance.

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    I needed a panorama camera here. Pahsimeroi Valley was amazing.
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    End of trail into valley.
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    Out of the valley and on the desert road again.
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    The long roads led to Little Boulder trail area, another tour highlight. I had forgotten to clean my filter skin after spending night in hammock, and now I noticed I was getting low on gas just before this trail started, so I cut back on road and scrounged a couple gallons from a farmer named Wayne who had a big elevated heating oil tank full of gas with a gas nozzle hose on it. I gave him $20 and we both felt like we got a great deal.

    Little Boulder trail was rough in places but do-able.
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    I was sad I did not get a video of my struggle crossing Boulder Creek at the frog lake camp ground. That thing was filled with snotty basketballs and I had walk it thru. Frog Lake was sweet and remote. I'm glad I got that extra gas. This trail was a work-out.
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    Ghost Town on the way down:
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    Then it was time to climb. Snow? 10,300ft. Almost up to China Wall viewpoint.
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    The lights from above. The scenes orchastra music was made for:
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    China Wall, the pic does not do it justice.
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    You make trail from what you have available. French creek trail on the way down.
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    Home sweet home. Fully furnished 3 bedroom Mobile Cabin in this case in Old Saw Mill. I had a panic here. I was working with my GPS ,saving and deleting the days tracks, when I somehow got it into factory reset mode and deleted "all user data". When it rebooted, i only had an outline of the world, no map or tracks to follow. Aaarg. So I started to setup by backup GPS and epoxying the mount that was broken on day 1. When I got done after more than an hour, I investigated the original GPS more and I had only reset all my configuration setting, and my data was still in there when I looked harder and fixed settings. Whew.
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    I got here right after the cafe closed at 8:30, but they made me a sandwich anyway. Nice folks. Glad I got an early start.

    Day 3 was huge. It was the largest single day's effort and scenery reward in my life.

    Since I accidentally deleted the day 3's trip stats along with my settings, I don't have pictures. But I remember that it was 12 hours moving and 15 hours total for the day, and about 245 miles with optional side trip included. Of course the high altitude was 10,300-10,400ft. All with no gas to refill if I had not scrounged from Wayne. I got to bed late fighting the GPS panic, but I knew tomorrow was going to be shorter, even with the extra leg to Challis, so I thought I was OK on time. I would be wrong.
    #9
  10. wazzu

    wazzu Pocky

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
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    25
    Location:
    Bend, OR
    Great job Joe, this is bringing back some memories.

    Keep it coming! :clap
    #10
  11. birdcool

    birdcool Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    I've got day 3 submitted, but it is stuck in moderator review process. I guess I'm too much of a noob to mega-post without review.
    #11
  12. birdcool

    birdcool Been here awhile

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    Spokane, WA
    Yay, the Day 3 post passed review and is now live.
    #12
  13. badcherrys

    badcherrys Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Essex in the U.K
    Looks and sounds amazing!!:clap
    #13
  14. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan from Scottsdale Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
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    12,493
    Location:
    Scottsdale Arizona
    Gee Birdcool...This report resonates. I think you are bolder than me, though. Maybe it's the xtra years.

    Here is what strikes me so far. You are highly aware of your skill level (which is very good), but don't mind pressing it some when the adventure goes as they do. You are probably a little impatient and take chances when pressed. You LOVE the unknown aboard a motorcycle. You like depending on your native resourceful talents.

    Birdcool; You know how to do a truly great adventure. Last most, you have a really nicely assembled scooter for the job. Plus you have such a small kit! I think you could add a Big Agnes air mattress. It packs the size of a cheap paperback novel, and your body doesn't have to fear floors. There are a few pretty nice blow up pillows out there too. But your solution has intrigued me. I might even try it! :lol3

    Jeepers! I'm all in for this RR. Thanks
    #14
  15. birdcool

    birdcool Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    You got me pegged on that one. I did more bike preparation for this ride then normal though and what-if planning. But I wanted to avoid as much pre-running as possible to leave open the experience of discovering and overcoming obstacles as they happen with what I had at the moment. In the end, I did pre-ride more than I planned. I purposefully rode 80 miles of day 1 just to correlate the difficulty comments with my skill levels, but then I cleared about 40 miles of trails on day 6 using a chainsaw mounted on my bike since I live near there (if you can call a 6 hour drive "near there") since they were still blocked in the USFS records and I was anxious to get the ride going before fires blocked the route. That fire concern was fulfilled too since major portions are already blocked by fires since I went thru. I'll post day 4 now and hope it gets thru the moderator review quickly.
    #15
  16. birdcool

    birdcool Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
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    161
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Day 4, Old Sawmill to Challis to Salmon.

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    After a nice hot breakfast at Old Sawmill (good ol boys run that place) I headed out. As soon as I got started I realized that I had no back foot brake! I had lost my left hand rear hand brake during day 3 but did not need it. I hit the trail anyway with nothing in Old Saw Mill to fix it with.

    This was an early scene called Aspen Creek:

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    Followed quickly by Buster Lake, which is was blocked by forest fire within a week after this.

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    The Lombard trail was fun even though it dumped me once on a steep skinny hillside section near here. With no back brake I washed out my front tire doing a descending turn. Luckily I fell uphill and only had to drag my front tire back up on trail and then angle up my rear to get it back up too.
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    I made it to Challis and none of the few mechanics were any help with my brake, so I built a brake back bleed kit from the Farm and Ranch store using a livestock syringe and some hose. Here I am back bleeding brake in Challis in car wash for shade and easy cleanup, but an air bubble was stuck in the system somewhere and it did not work! So I headed out on the rest of Day 4 with no rear brake. But I took the bleed kit and brake fluid with me.

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    The BLM fire crew blocked access to the Twin Peaks CP, and told me how to bypass it and get back into course via Darling Road and Trail. This unplanned route also gave the Devil his dance card so serve up the unknown.

    This is an example of the long Darling Creek tree fall. The real trail goes to the left of the standing tree, but there was a detour track from others going up and around the treefall. I was pushing in the soft rocky soil to get to this point near the end here:

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    I thought while I rode that I might need to use dead engine braking on a steep down hill, if only I did not have this auto-clutch. I remembered that I had packed an extra clutch plate to install that would disable the auto-clutch feature and give me manual clutch back. I mentally patted myself on the back for being so prepared. So I stopped when I was exhausted from tree/rock hopping and close to the Darling Creek to install it. But when I pulled the extra clutch plate out of my saddle bag, it was very bent from being crushed by my tip-overs and useless. I was worried, but I decided my body and bike were doing well, so oh well, Press on... I came here to dance. Then when I went back to the Darling stream to get one more free drink before I left, I saw a nicer trail on the other side of the stream!...I had missed a split in the trail and I was heading into trouble. A surge of gratitude hit me and I wondered if my deceased Dad was helping me. Thank you for cutting in, Angels!

    This was the prettiest piece of dead stump wood I have ever seen so I took a pic along Darling Trail.

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    After I got back onto the official TID, I would have to backtrack down into a valley to get a Challenge Point due to the fire bypass, and decided to do so even without rear brakes. It was a nervous decision. But I again decided that my bike and I were healthy enough so "Lets Do This!" It was a slow careful descent with bike in first gear, but luckily never so slow or steep that the front brake was not enough.

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    Snoopy is glad we made it here and can ride back uphill for a while now.
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    Safely back to the Darling Creek intersection and moving forward.

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    Gooseberry creek with more forest fires in the distance.

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    Tree blockage on the trail and the first time I use my Sven Saw. Side note, the required saw wing nut was gone. I thought I had prepared for this and teathered the wing nut to the saw with fishing line and a swivel, but it still vibrated off and appearantly broke my fishing line teather. But I had noticed this earlier and bought a new nut in Challis, so it was in my pocket now.


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    Back up into the trees at the Big Hat CP. Don't see why they call it Big Hat.

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    I thought this was photo spot so I stopped and took the pic:

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    Old Abandon Mines filled this valley along North Fork Iron Road.

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    Another photo moment. I like old trees.

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    Old forest fire highway sign in the middle of nowhere.

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    The ridge road gets fast and smooth now for a few miles and the sun is setting and the tree shadows zinged past me. I had a surge of feeling free and fast. I found myself singing "Born To Be Wild" from Easy Rider. LOL.
    Here is my attempt to take a pic of my bike's shadow cruising along near sunset to capture that moment.

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    Baldy Mt, near last CP of Day 4. Just need to descend down into Salmon for the night.

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    These are the moments when it is good to be a WW I Flying Ace, headed home after a successful day's mission. I can almost taste the root beer and pizza at the French cafe next to the landing strip.

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    Here is an example of how well the Squadron LED headlight works as I ride into Salmon for a landing.

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    I found the hotels were booked again in Salmon due to firefighters gathering, but one motel still had a room. It was right next to a steak house-bar so I was hopeful. The steak house had closed, but the bar girl got me a Prime Rib End Cut anyway with all the fixings. It was a nice mental refresh. Life is Good.

    Day 4 Stats:



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    #16
  17. birdcool

    birdcool Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Day 5, Salmon to Lowell:

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    I bled my brakes again the next morning after cutting the brake snake to get more throw from the pedal, and they started to work. But then at my first stop I found that my front brake was gone now? So I went to the Salmon Yamaha/Honda dealer to get this fixed. They were busy, but the very cool mechanic named Wes loaned me a pan and a torx bit to bleed the rear all the way up to my LHRB. I found that the front brake issue was that a tip-over had jammed my front brake clamp sideways such that the front brake line steel end was binding and causing a leak at the banjo bolt. I re-adjust the brake clamp removing binding, and it worked fine again. I bled it anyway since I had the kit there. Now I had both brakes again and off to Day 5 with a late start after an oil change and filter skin cleaning as well.

    Historical Mining Ghost Town called Leesburg:

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    Cool setting for a house along the river:

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    I really like this valley around Shoup:

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    Antique gravity gas pumps at Shoup. The new operators were nice and reported several bikes coming through.
    The big news was that he warned me that they were threatening to close Magruder road at any time due to fires. Closing Magruder road is a 300 mile slab reroute or a show stopper because it is the only way thru the huge Frank Church Wilderness!

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    Top of dam in MT as you get into the Magruder trail. I was accidentally off course to get here because I missed a turn on the vwindy and fun pavement, but I was glad I did since this was dam was cool. The lake behind the dam was pretty too.

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    Warning sign about fire ahead on Magruder road at Idaho/Montana state line. I had my opening speech all prepared to get them to let me thru.

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    There is trouble ahead:

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    Made it this far! Fire crew at Kim Creek, notice how they wrap signs to protect them from fire.

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    Fireman interview. This is Doug. He said fire was only .25 miles to the south, but had been close for 3 days. They were here just to protect custom resources and let the fire burn.They let me past, I was much relieved. The devil was close, but arrived too late for this dance.

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    A look back at the Gold Pan fire near Kim Creek.

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    These good ol boys had parked their quads on the side of the magruder road next to a trail, so I stopped to see where the trail went and found this sweet scene of them watching the fire works and drinking brews.

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    Pretty Meadows abound along the road, but much of it was burnt from old fires.

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    After the Magruder road, there is a few miles of twisty ATV trails that I would have enjoyed more but I was riding sloppy and feeling run down. These trails had several treefall obstacles, but none that were a problem to either hop or go around. But I made the mistake of thinking about the fact that I had not tipped over all day, so I soon tipped over from sloppy riding and had a new bite in back for the rest of the trip.

    One of many trail sun sets along the Tour on Day 4,5,& 6 . My lights worked great and I was warm enough and getting close to the town when these happened, so these after dark finishes were serene.



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    Came into Lowell with my only reservation on the tour at 10PM. But contrary to the agreement of my late arrival, I found my room locked and the office closed since they go home. But there was two middle aged fun loving couples on vacation on the front porch that said they knew where they lived. But they tried their room key on my door first, and it worked! So I was in! They fed me a nice dinner too since all the cafes were closed and I was down to my last Power Bar. More angels watching over me. No good pic of them, but this is a morning shot of the Wilderness Inn at the far end with their lawn chairs and little SUV there.

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    Day 5 Stats:



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    #17
  18. birdcool

    birdcool Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Day 6: Lowell to Wallace

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    While eating breakfast snacks at the 3-Rivers convenience store in Lowell, I met this couple in thier 60's doing a Trans-America bike tour. They had been on the road for 3 months so far, sleeping on picnic tables, or rest areas, where ever. They did 100 miles a day when it was more level and 50 miles on these mountain roads, and said they raced in Europe. They spoke with broken english with some strong accent. I wish I had gotten their names because I suspect they are famous in EU cycling circles. They thought my 7 day ride with a powered bike was cute.

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    Fill-up to max carry (7.5G) and headed out for day 6. Note how well knobby tire is doing.


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    Ready to take on one of the most anxious trails of the tour, Fish Butte. I thnk they should move the CP to the Lookout point at the top of the hill, majestic view up there.

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    Great views from this trail too:

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    Narrow trail with steep side-hill dropoffs at times.

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    Views were a distraction for soloist not allowed to make any mistakes:

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    Whew, made it down the trail with switchbacks that forced me to get off bike twice, but now I am all the way to 12 Mile Saddle on Lolo motorway about to start Windy Ridge trail, which I was familiar with since I sawed it out a couple weeks before to get the Tour ready and loved it.

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    This video reminds me of how I felt taking a break, then charging thru this section of trail. LOL.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrqLec24cYM

    This 24 mile single track trail was my favorite for riding style. It should be a National Recreation Trail. It made me feel so good I started to think that I had hit a threshold and could go on for many more days. (That feeling did not last to the very end though.)

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    OK, you sick twisted adventure types, here is what you really wanted to see...carnage and grief...aka...Dancing with the Devil. How did i get myself into this pit? Well I was celebrating after my favorite riding style trail, Windy Ridge, which let pride creep in, which handed the devil his dance card. I had decided to celebrate a bit and take a video of myself riding across the 4th of July bridge, so I started the smartphone video camera on a tripod, then rode back across the bridge to video myself riding back across in victory mode. But when I went to make a y-turn on the other side, my back tire slipped off the ledge and things happened fast to end like this.

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    Luckily i was prepared by Godfather "M" and had my upgraded 4:1 pulley system that worked great but the bike was still snared by the rocks. So rather then tear it up, I was humbled and repented of my pride, and thus found two elderly men that were hovering at a nearby campsite helped me by pulling on my pulley rope while i hoisted the parts of the bike that were snared.

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    Here is brothers Jack and Bill. Bill is my wife's deceased Dad's name and Jack is my deceased Dads name (shorter one). They were hesitent that they would be able to help when I met them, so they told me to sit down while they finished lunch and fed me too. When we were all done, they pulled on my ratcheting pulley rope while I dislodged the bike to keep it free. They gave me needed gas too (I lost ~3 gallons while it layed there) and refused any pay. Dont tell me angels weren't involved.

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    This is the 4th of July Creek Bridge where the action happened. I was out of video screen when the crash actually happened though so we don't get to enjoy the crash. Just a long pause and then you see me walking back across the bridge to the camera. Good Grief Charlie Brown.

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    Feeling lucky and pressing on, this is Gospel Hill:

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    I barely saw this tree across the road. I was standing cruising and looking down at the ground, when it caught my eye and I ducked just in time. You can see my sven saw in the log on the left as I cut the tree to prevent the next guy from meeting my near fate:

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    The next trail was my last technical section of the day, Simmons Hellar divide and Simmon Creek. The early part of the trail gave me my only visible injury from the trip. It was not right here in the picture below, but a windy rutted trail section got me to tip over at low speed and I fell on a stump or rock that bruised my hip.

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    But I made it through and here I am at the trail end, bleeding my brakes again after the long downhill since I saw fresh brake blood leaking and I didn't want new air to enter the lines.

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    Here I am tying to make myself look like I was cruising past this section of Stateline trail/road. It was starting to get chilly as the sun set, so I had put on my "Wind Shirt" here:

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    The World War I flying Ace is cruising past Quartz Mountain at sunset, dreaming of a rendezvous with Fifi, his beloved French Poodle.

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    Day 6 stats (picture taken the next morning so date says July 28)

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    #18
  19. Chris K

    Chris K Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    920
    Location:
    Northumberland, UK.
    Really enjoying this.

    :1drink
    #19
  20. birdcool

    birdcool Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Day 7. Wallace to Canada and out,

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    This day was planned as a mostly dirt road day except for the fine Independance Creek National Recreation Trail, which I had ridden several times before since I live near here. So I was relaxed and cruised down the roads and met this pair of Dual Sport Riders along the road. We chatted, compared plans, and sniffed tailpipes. They were amazed at how well my tire was doing with 1300 miles on it at this point. Nice guys to hang with.

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    I enjoyed Grizzly Ridge road, but kept wondering if I could make a more interesting route thru this section someday being a local to this area. Here is the "Big Meadow" next to the Mageee ranger station and airstrip:

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    Note: My front brake lever was not bent when I started this tour. (remember day 5 front brake leaking). Maybe I should have upgraded to Aluminum hand guard frames instead of these lighter composite models.

    I did not get any pictures of Independance Creek trail, but it is not to be missed if you can do narrow single track with plenty of smooth river crossings. Then I got thru down the road to Athol for gas, food and called my wife to estimate my pickup time in Priest River that evening. After Athol, I got up to Hoodoo Mountain with out any logger issues like others had for a sweet view"

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    Then this picture moment on the way down to Priest River:

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    I gassed up in Priest River, called my wife to update the time we would meet, then headed out on the last leg to Canada ready for victory. But the Devil had one final dance for me. After I got north of Priest Lake, I was suprized that the GPS tracks took a turn into a trail. But I saw telltale trials tire tracks and this was definitely the GPS route I was supposed follow to get around Floss Creek. But this is what the trail looked like as I got into it:

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    I fell several times pushing thru the brush, downed logs and erosion ditches. I would park my bike, walk thru the brush to find where the trail continued and push thru. I knew I was on the prescribed GPS route, saw tracks and pridefully thought that if others had done it, so could I. But eventually the trail was completely blocked wiht large logs and the tracks had disappeared. Now i had to go back UP the nightmare I had just fought my way down. Thunder and lightning had started in the sky around me, but no rain yet. But I was now soaked with sweat.

    Here is my GPS track log in blue and the published navigation track in red. I was ~0.6 miles in before I turned back.

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    Here is another typical pic of the "trail" out:

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    I was not at all sure I could do it, but I managed to fight my way back out. Attitude is a powerful factor. My emotions hit bottom because I thought I had been unfairly sucker punched so close to the end. When I got to the road, I devised a route around to get back on the course, but my engine was now making a bad knocking sound as I drove so I worried it would die or get damaged worse. I had to decide if I should continue since I now doubted my bike would keep running, and my wife was waiting for me in Priest River, with no way to know my status if I had to spend the night out here. I knew I would at least be late getting to Priest RIver now. I sent a Spot message OK, just in case she got worried and called back home to ask about me. I decided that I had done so much to get here I might as well press on while the bike was running and try to get to the end, going easy on the gas. I started to shiver from cold, being wet and the sun setting now, and added my trash bag wind shirt but it only helped a little. My bypass worked and I hobbled it to the end, well after sunset and took some pictures with no sense of celebration, but gratitude for making it and worry about getting out to my waiting wife:

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    I wrapped my sleeping bag around me to try to warm up. Now I had to get out, so I devised a new route to get back to Priest River that I thought would be shorter. I put on my backpack over the down sleeping bag to keep it on while riding. The thunder and lightning fulfilled their threat and it started to rain on my way out, soaking the only source I had to keep warm for the night if the bike died on the way back. I had to stop several times, questioning my route back, but I managed to get to Nordman, 35 miles north of Priest River, which was the beginning of the paved road and had a payphone. My pony had carried me to safety, even while wounded. Job well done. So I stopped and called my wife who was luckily in cell phone coverage to come get me in her warm and dry car while I sat under a porch in my wet sleeping bag. She got there and we loaded the bike to get home to Spokane at 2AM after a stop to eat.

    I later investigated the blocked trail around Floss Creek and the author denied there was any mistake in the track except for "normal GPS drift". I could not get him to find it. This track too perfectly follows the closed road to be "GPS drift". Fair, or not, I foolishly fell for the error too much. If I had not been such a rule follower, saw others tracks and so prideful that I could do what others had done, I would have turned back sooner. Lessons learned. I felt I had been protected by angels along the route, but I needed to be humbled that this was all I set out to do, so I was reminded of my true dependency. My body was whipped and my bike was fragged. Just the way they said it would be when you complete, The Tour Of Idaho Challenge.
    #20