A Solo Dirty Loop Through Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by avejoe, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. StayFrosty

    StayFrosty Mid Life Crisis -Wish it happened 20 yrs ago Supporter

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    I say that as I drive by some old farm houses - remind me of the movie Burnt Offerings.. still gives me chills.
    #61
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  2. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    On previous trips I’ve found myself passing something and saying I should stop and check that out, but I keep going. On this trip I took the time to stop and “smell the roses”.

    Near Hwy 89, I passed a complex that caught my eye. It looked pretty secure with lots of barbed wire, fencing, and cameras. I turned around to check it out.

    Upon closer inspection, I got a pretty good idea of what it was. I confirmed it with a little research when I got home.

    Minuteman missile site. Yikes.


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    #62
  3. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    I intersected Hwy. 89 at Sluice Boxes State Park and turned right to Monarch. In Monarch I turned left back onto dirt on Hughsville Road. It’s a very scenic road along a stream with some good camp spots. Saw another missile site.

    As I continued down Hughsville Road I started to notice the road was deteriorating. It narrowed, got a little rocky, and had pretty steep climbs. Ok, cool. I got Shinko knobs and skills. I throttled up the hills pretty easily.

    Then I hit the saddle and looked down on a long, steep, loose rock, exposed, descent. My sudden pucker echoed through the canyon in front of me. I thought to myself, “make good decisions and don’t go down something you can’t get back up. Let me remind you I had not seen a soul for at least two hours.

    I turned of the ABS and started down the hill. I quickly realized I bit off more than I should have. It was an old mining road with lots of loose rock and cambered right to left off a steep cliff. A drop here could be really bad.

    I stopped to figure out what the hell I was going to do. Turning around was still an option, but would be difficult given the rock, camber, and narrowness of the trail. I was getting really concerned.

    A voice inside my head said, “Hey, how’s it going?” It’s going really bad right now. The voice in my head was incredibly clear and I realized the voice was not in my head, it was in my helmet. I turned to my left (I was hugging the uphill side of the trail with everything I had), and there was a guy on a dirt bike behind me. I asked him if the trail got worse. He said no, but it didn’t get better for awhile either. He also added the were some stair steps ahead. I quickly blurted out asking if the were steps up or down. He said down. I can do that. I asked if he would mind riding behind me until the hill bottomed out. He said no problem.

    Knowing I had someone behind me to either lift the bike off of me or notify next of kin, was a huge relief. I’m sure he got a kick out of my skills. I outriggered and bounced my right pannier off the uphill side of the trail a couple of times, but we finally made it down.

    We made formal introductions at the bottom of the hill after I was able to release the firm grip my posterior had taken on the seat. His name was Dave. He is an angel. I will love him forever.

    DISCLAIMER: The terrain shown in the following photos does not even come close to representing the actual extreme ruggedness. Being solo on a loaded GSA in the middle of nowhere multiplies the difficulty factor several times.

    Not too bad here. Felt comfortable enough to get off a snap some pics.

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    Looking down the hill was concerning.

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    My hero. Dave.

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    Back to our regular programming. Pretty green meadows and farm buildings.

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    #63
  4. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    I was able to relax finally and I headed east towards Hwy. 87.

    I always get a bit bummed at this point in my long trips. This was the point where I was as far away from home as I would get. It means my trip is half over geographically speaking.

    I stopped in a couple of towns where it seemed time had forgotten them.

    Had dinner at the aptly named Hwy 87 Casino, Bar, and Grill. The prime rib sandwich sounded good. I ate the whole thing, but calling it a prime rib sandwich was pretty generous.

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    It was getting late and way past my 7:00 find a camp spot rule. I throttled on through Utica and found a perfect camp spot along the South Fork of the Judith River at Hay Canyon. It had been a long and interesting day.

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    #64
  5. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Woot...glad to see this continuing. That last shot you posted of the dirt road winding in through the grasslands and hill - awesome :thumb
    #65
  6. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    :lol3 :lol3

    Fantastic update @avejoe, how completely random to have a fellow rider show up at the exact time you needed someone to watch your 6. And man, that terrain is great. I wouldn't want to ride a big bike down something like that, but would really enjoy hitting it on my little WR.

    Glad you made it down that stretch and got to hang with a fellow rider for a bit, that's pretty damn neat :thumb
    #66
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  7. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    I got up in the morning and was riding fairly early. I headed southwest towards Hwy 12. I made a wrong turn and got in 10 miles of bonus dirt. A left turn through some small towns and into Big Timber.

    I had noted the Greycliff State Prairie Dog town on the map. I thought I’d check it out. I was underwhelmed. I really don’t like Prairie Dogs it seems.

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    #67
  8. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    Somewhere near Quebec I turned onto dirt and ended up in Absarokee.

    Saw a big Gopher Snake and another old schoolhouse (Stockade School 1917-1946).

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    #68
  9. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    Somehow they day got away from me and it was getting late. I needed some dinner and a place to stay. Just outside of Absarokee I saw a Sheriff sitting in his car in a school parking lot. I turned in and asked for some dinner recommendations. He suggested a place just down the road. I ordered pesto pasta. It was really good and a welcome diversion from my previous dinner choices.

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    I decided to head towards Red Lodge to find a camp spot for the night.

    Off my right shoulder and over the mountains a really black thunderhead was moving in. As I entered Red Lodge I noted a couple of mediocre camping options. I decided to hang at the brewery and have a beer before I chose where to pitch my tent. As It continued to get nasty outside, I made a call to y travel agent (wife) and asked her to book me a room at the Quality Inn. Twenty minutes later I was checked in.

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    While I was really looking forward to not going through the whole camp setup/breakdown, I was a bit disappointed in myself in hotelling it. I did use the opportunity to use the laundry and also wipe down my bike.

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    #69
  10. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    Ya know how some people are “people people”? Me? Not so much. Even less so as I get older.

    But I had to do it. I can’t not go to Yellowstone and the Tetons. They are spectacular. Even with the hordes.

    So the next morning I loaded up on the continental breakfast and set sights towards Beartooth Pass and Yellowstone.

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    #70
  11. Phoenix101

    Phoenix101 Long timer

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    dude... you broke the adventure rider rules by "wiping down the bike" the rules say you are to drag the mud and dirt all over and not remove it until returning home! It is in the fine print :lol3
    #71
  12. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    My screen, headlights, and Clearwaters were covered in bugs!
    #72
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  13. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    The trip through Yellowstone was as I expected in late July. Slow. I did get surprised by a cow elk crossing right in front of me. I rode by the geyser basin and to Old Faithful. It’s a tradition. I have to see Old Faithful do it’s thing.

    I was not alone.

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    #73
  14. rjnutt

    rjnutt Desert tortoise

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    Holy Crap, that is a shit ton of people!
    #74
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  15. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    On the way out of Yellowstone I stopped at Lewis Lake for some lunch. I took off my backpack and hung it on my right highway peg. I walked down to the lake and enjoyed a nice quiet lunch of smoked oysters and saltines.

    I hopped back on the bike and headed to Colter Bay to see if I could get a camp site. I was feeling great. Really free. Unencumbered. BACKPACK! Son of a B! I looked down and my backpack was still hanging off the highway peg. I stopped and made sure the bottom had not been worn off of it. It was good and I strapped it on and headed out.

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    I love the Tetons. That first glimpse of them always is breathtaking. I pulled into the campground at Colter Bay only to see a “Full” sign posted. I rolled up to the kiosk and was going to ask it I could just ride through the campground (I was intending to see if I could double up with another solo rider), but the kiosk guy started to fill out some paperwork. I asked what he was doing and he said they still had some hike/bike spots open. Sweet! $12, even better. I found a nice spot, but unfortunately it was pretty close to the bathroom which would prove very noisy. Oh well. It certainly beat bandit camping in grizzly country.

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    After setting up camp I headed up to Leeks Marina for pizza. Be forewarned that food quality in Yellowstone and the Tetons is horrible. It’s just like cafeteria food only 4x more expensive. The Leeks Marina pizza is the only decent food. While I was there I snapped the best picture of the trip IMHO.

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    The next morning a took a few more as I headed south.

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    #75
  16. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    Had I not been on a moto I would still be trying to get out of the parking lot.
    #76
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  17. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Great capture of that gopher snake, and good job not rolling over 'em. Really pretty country you're going through, do you know the story behind the Bozeman trail marker? Like that it's fenced off, but almost looks like a tiny cemetery.

    And yeah - I'm with you on the people bit...at least a large chunk of tourists. I like the folks I generally meet in the small towns or places I visit, but could do without the rest of 'em...lol.

    Enjoyed the update, reading the one on Yellowstone and Tetons right now :thumb
    #77
  18. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Damn @avejoe, the 1st few shots you posted in this update are phenomenal. That 3rd shot of your bike and the road winding off into the distance - that's what riding through Yellowstone should be IMO. Brilliant.

    Ditto to @rjnutt's comment - that's way too many people :lol3 :lol3. I think it's great that so many folks are getting out to see our national parks, but fack...couldn't handle it personally.

    Enjoyed the updates man, keep 'em coming :ricky :ricky
    #78
  19. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    The last full day of my trip would prove to be very interesting. I headed out from Colter Bay and south through Jackson. On past Bear Lake and into Utah. I’ve always wanted to visit the City of Lights. Honestly, I was expecting much more. It looks so different in person.

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    #79
  20. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    I rode into Logan and headed west. I had a plan.

    About 8 years ago my wife, two daughters, and I made our first trip to Yellowstone. That trip started our passion of the Tetons and Yellowstone. We flew into Salt Lake City, rented a car, and drove to Yellowstone. On the return trip we detoured to Preston to see sights from the movie Napoleon Dynamite. Saw the high school, the tetherball courts, etc. We stopped to get a sandwich and were told one of the twins from the Happy Hands Club work there, but wasn’t on shift. Damn.

    As we left, I told the family we had one more stop before the airport. We were going to visit the site of one of the most seminal events in American history. Yes, hang on to your hats, we are going to PROMONTORY POINT!

    The location of the 1869 joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads marking the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad!

    Crickets...

    Ok, whatever. I’m going there and I’m driving.

    We raced to the Golden Spike National Monument.

    Out in the middle of nowhere. No trees, no shade, no nothing. But the history!

    While we were there I learned about the historic byway along the old railroad bed. It skirted the old bed across the north side of Salt Lake. All my wife heard was “make sure you have spare tires because there’s lots of sharp objects on the byway”.

    I shall return, I said to myself.

    For the past 8 years I have told my wife I was going to do the byway. She always responds with “you’re going to get a flat tire”.

    So this was the year. All systems were go for the byway. But first some history.
    #80