bwhip's phototastic two-wheeled adventures thread

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by bwhip62, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. shuckinator

    shuckinator Adventurer

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    Another great update. I've really enjoyed your post over the years with your excursions into WA and OR. I've spent a little bit of time in that part of the world on work related jobs in Baker, La Grande and Umatilla. I've flown into both Boise and Portland with days added (PTO) to get a little local feel. Hard to go wrong in that neighborhood. Great country, bikes and photography.

    I've made it as far west as North Fork of the Salmon River on the way to Glacier on my MG Stelvio. My skill set is strongest in the culinary arena so maybe one day I can pay my dues at that rental. Nice crib!
  2. bwhip62

    bwhip62 Been here awhile

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    Thanks! We felt very fortunate to have it clear up a bit while we were there. Right after we loaded up the bikes on Sunday night, the raindrops started to fall, so it seemed as if our timing was quite perfect.
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  3. bwhip62

    bwhip62 Been here awhile

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    Thanks very much. The house was really amazing. I didn't love the dirt/gravel road making my bikes all dusty :D, but that was a small trade-off for how huge and comfortable the place was. The kitchen was particularly nice, and pretty well equipped with what I needed.
  4. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Frickin' awesome bwhip! Definitely some of my favorite asphalt stomping ground, especially the rip from Ukiah through Granite to Sumpter, etc. I absolutely love the forest road that winds through the old burn - truly something special.

    We passed a group of riders on Hwy 218 as we were leaving Fossil and heading toward Antelope for a dual-sport ride last weekend. Your post said you didn't make it there, but was a smaller part of your group heading east on 218 toward Fossil at any point Saturday? Bet we looked pretty funny to the sport riders - bunch of knobby tired dirt bikes riding the twisties...lol.

    Great shots and a fantastic weekend to be on 2-wheels!
  5. bwhip62

    bwhip62 Been here awhile

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    Thanks! That whole area is just fantastic. So much variety, so many fun routes - and virtually nobody out there, ever! We didn't make it anywhere west of Spray, so it must have been a different group. It was fun talking to all the guys about their most favorite parts of the trip - each mentioned something completely different from the others.
  6. bwhip62

    bwhip62 Been here awhile

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    “So, you did a 900 mile ride over the past two-and-a-half days. How was it?”

    “I got rained on quite a bit. It was mostly really cold, with lots of wet roads. Even got snowed on a little bit!”

    “Sounds like it wasn’t much fun.”

    “No way! It was completely AWESOME!”

    And so it was. FANTASTIC! Huh? Even with rain, cold and snow? Absolutely.

    Now that October is upon us, for those of us in regions that have four seasons, that means riding season is drawing to a close. Always a bummer. Knowing this, I definitely wanted to try to find a few days where I could go for another ride before the weather starts to get too cold. I thought it would be great if I could see some nice fall colors along the way, too, which always makes for beautiful scenery and compelling photos.

    As the weekend approached, and I thought my work schedule might allow me to get away for half a day on Friday, I considered various routes that would have decent weather, be reasonably close to home, and preferably something I hadn’t already done this season. I settled on a loop that would take me on about 900 miles of favorites, much of which I hadn’t yet done this year.

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    I was able to sneak out around 1 PM from work on Friday, which enabled me to ride the 250 miles or so from my home near Boise, out through Lowman, Stanley, Challis, and on to Salmon, Idaho, near the Montana border.

    They call this spot between Lowman and Stanley “Grandview.” Easy to see why.

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    Last time I was in Stanley was six weeks or so ago, on the ill-fated flat tire trip on the Aprilia. It was so smoky from all the forest fires, that I didn’t really take any photos of the scenery, which is usually spectacular. Fortunately, this time was more typical. In fact, there was already even some snow on the Sawtooth Mountains. As I approached Stanley, I just had to stop to take a few photos.

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    I continued along the incredible road (Hwy 75) between Stanley and Challis, along the Salmon River. One of my favorites in Idaho, it’s super twisty and fun. Just don’t let your concentration falter – a mistake would mean you and the bike would be swimming.

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    As Hwy 75 comes into the Challis area, and meets up with Hwy 93, there is a particularly gorgeous section of rocks along the road, with big signs warning drivers (and riders) to watch out for Bighorn Sheep on the road. I’ve never seen any, though it would sure be cool to see them.

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    I headed north through Challis and on to Salmon. Another absolutely spectacular road for motorcycles. Beautiful canyons, pretty trees changing colors, and hundreds of great corners. Fantastic. I wanted to take even more photos, but it was getting pretty late, and I wanted to get there before it got too dark.

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    The next morning it was pretty cold, and the forecast where I was headed in Montana and Idaho was calling for a few showers here and there. I was really glad to have heated gear, because as I climbed the beautiful mountain highway near the border of Idaho and Montana, the temps were dropping into the high 30’s. At least it wasn’t raining. Yet.

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    On I went up into Montana, up through Hamilton and ultimately to Lolo, where I turned to the west to traverse the always incredible Hwy 12, back down into central Idaho. The skies ahead looked really dark and heavy. I pulled over to move my camera from my canvas tail bag (somehow I managed to lose the rain cover it used to have) to my hard side case on the Ducati, to protect it from the rain. I put the radar detector in there, too, since it’s not designed to be water-resistant. Of course this meant I had to be careful not to speed. Hahahahahahaha, I tried to write that with a straight face, I really did. :D

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    Despite the rain, I had to make the obligatory stop for a photo at the classic sign.
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    My timing was perfect, as less than a mile ahead it started to rain on me. A lot. For hours, and hours. It wasn’t raining that hard, and the sun kept trying to peek through, but it was very wet. And pretty darn cold (low 40’s at best). I stopped at a little riverside café about 20 miles in, to have some lunch, and mostly to dry out and warm up a bit! It helped a lot.
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    Thankfully, my Klim GoreTex gear really did a great job of keeping me dry throughout the trip. It was really nice not to have to keep putting on or taking off rain gear, as I’ve done in the past. This stuff is expensive, but totally worth it.
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    One good thing about this sort of weather is that it often leads to really great light conditions for photos, and cool, dramatic skies, which I always love. There was also almost no one on this incredible road – cars, bikes, police – nobody! I was having a ball, zipping through all the thousands of corners, trying to be as smooth as possible in the wet conditions. It was completely wonderful. Only saw just a couple of deer, thankfully.
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    The 99 miles flew by, seemingly faster than the other few times I’ve ridden this road. I just loved every minute. The scenery was breathtaking. I stopped a bunch for photos, and it was tough to avoid stopping even more. It was just so perfect.

    I stopped for fuel in Kooskia, and decided to travel out toward Elk City, on another one of Idaho’s best motorcycle routes. Once again, virtually nobody on the road at all. 60 miles or so each way, of just flying from corner to corner, taking in the beautiful scenery while being completely at one with my bike. Incredible. So much fun.
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    I decided I needed to grab a photo of this sign for Mrs. Whip – the Golden Retriever lover. I’m sure it must be her favorite name for a town ever. I think the population of this town is about the same as the number of Golden Retrievers in our house – six.
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    I was really glad to be able to go out and back on this road to Elk City. It’s just so beautiful and fun!
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    I headed back toward Kooskia and then north along the Clearwater River to my evening destination of Orofino. I went a little out of my way for two reasons. First, this road (Hwy 12) along the Clearwater is fantastic, and I also love the hotel where I’ve stayed before along this route. It’s the Best Western Lodge at River’s Edge. It sits right on the river. Check out the view from my room balcony – so great! They have a nice restaurant there too. Super comfortable, and not at all expensive for how nice it is.

    Looking up river from my room:
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    and down river:
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    On Sunday morning when I went out to my bike, I found there were two complimentary bottles of water next to the bike, with stickers on them which said, “Have a safe ride, with compliments from Best Western River’s Edge.” Really nice of them! I’ll definitely be back, that’s for sure.

    Forecast for Sunday’s route, heading south through Grangeville, McCall and back to home was generally pretty cool and wet. I was really glad for the heated gear once again, because at least half of the ride was around 40 degrees or less! Early on, I wasn’t sure it was working, because I was feeling pretty chilly. But it was, thankfully, otherwise it would have been unbearable.

    More beautiful scenery along the Clearwater River
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    It got colder as I headed up the hill toward Grangeville. This road is super fun, but I had to take it pretty easy, because I thought it might even be icy in spots. When I got to the top, it was just 35 degrees.
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    The skies were sort of trying to clear, and I was hopeful that this meant I’d have super dramatic skies when I got to the top of White Bird Summit, which has an absolutely incredible view. Sure enough, it was pretty great. I couldn’t rip my gloves off fast enough to get to my camera. Unfortunately, they’d put concrete barriers up along the edge (they weren’t there a couple of years ago, last time I was up this way). This made it impossible to get a good photo with bike and the view, but I still managed to get some pretty good images of what a spectacular vista this is.
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    As I descended the massive grade (2,700 feet in seven miles of road), the temperature went up ever so slightly.
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    I rode on through the beautiful canyon along the Salmon River into the cool little town of Riggins, home of lots of outfitters for rafting and fishing. I stopped for fuel, and found a nice espresso café where I could warm up and get a hot drink and some food. It definitely did the trick.

    I got back on the bike and headed south toward McCall. The roads were still soaked, and although the sun kept trying to get through the cloud cover, it wasn’t really happening much. As I climbed the mountain from Meadows toward McCall, it got colder and colder, and next thing I know – it was snowing? Yep. 33 degrees, and light snow. It was even sticking to the trees a bit, but thankfully, not to the road. I had to stop for a pic, since I don’t often (okay, never) ride in the snow.
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    About halfway through the little resort town of McCall, the sun came out a little more, and it was mostly dry the rest of the way home. I got home early enough on Sunday afternoon that I had time to wash my now-filthy bike (sorry, baby!), and check out my photos.

    So, although the weather was a little crazy, it was still one of my favorite rides of the year. No question that part of the reason had to be how much we riders cherish every moment of those final rides of any season, knowing that soon the bikes will be put away for a few months, replaced by snowboards or work in my case.

    Again, I’m so grateful to live and ride in such a beautiful part of the world – warm or cool, dry or wet!
  7. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    A big thanks for suffering in the cold just to get us all those awesome pics:D

    As much as I prefer sunny days with mild temps, I have also had some memorable rides in crappy conditions. I once led a ride on snow and ice covered roads that I'm sure no one on the ride will ever forget. It also does create some different conditions for photography.

    Glad you were able to get out and ride and have a great time. Hopefully there will be another opportunity before winter sets in for you. Thanks for another great report and pics:clap:clap:clap:clap:clap
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  8. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Another outstanding addition to your reports bwhip! All the pics are great, but the photo of your bike parked next to the river with the rain coming down and sun/blue skies partially in the background is truly awesome. Great capture, that.

    Been on several of the roads you highlighted, though never in those conditions. Have great memories of staying in Orofino on a ride many years ago, though not at the Best Western. There's a small family run place called the Konkolville Motel (at least it was a family run place back when we were there). One of the best parts of staying there was the grill your own steak deal, we thoroughly enjoyed that.

    Hope you're able to get out again before the weather turns. Do you have a dual-sport or off-road bike? If not, good way to extend the riding season all year.

    Thanks for all the great shots and write-up :thumb:thumb
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  9. bwhip62

    bwhip62 Been here awhile

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    Thanks! I had a dual-sport for a while (KTM 350 EXC). It was great, but I just didn't use it enough to justify keeping it. Definitely more of an asphalt guy.
  10. bwhip62

    bwhip62 Been here awhile

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    Sometimes you just gotta play hooky! *

    * especially when it's a Wednesday in mid-October, and the forecast is calling for mostly sunny with high 60's, and the forecast for the next couple of weekends is cold and wet, and your desk isn't quite as cluttered as usual, and your Tuono Factory is calling your name loudly and lustily.

    Trackday time! Well, my "street" version of a trackday. Throw the bike in the back of the truck, drive a couple of hours to a spot in Oregon which has an abundance of great riding options, all of which will be free of any sort of traffic whatsoever, with the possibility of some nice fall colors along the way. I picked a very twisty and fun route that would lead me to 276 miles of speed, tire edge shredding opportunities, and beautiful scenery.

    Most all of the route was on roads we'd done on various days during our recent NW Touring adventure, starting from Baker City, snaking north to Medical Springs and over to La Grande, west to Ukiah, east to Sumpter and Unity, then back over Dooley Mountain Highway to Baker City.

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    Really interesting to see how much the scenery has changed since we were there just a month or so ago. Beautiful fall colors all around, and even less people on the roads or camping than we saw before. In other words, almost zero! Several points along the way it was almost eerie, and I knew I'd better be reasonably careful, since it might be a while before anyone else came through.

    I wound up stopping a lot for photos, because the scenery was just so pretty. I travel very light on the Tuono, since I don't have any luggage for it, and didn't feel like lugging around a backpack all day. I just shoved the Fuji camera in my jacket pocket, and kept my fingers crossed that I wouldn't need a flat tire kit or any tools. Or especially the most important items every responsible motorcyclist should travel with. You know - bike polish and clean rags.

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    After spending a couple of hours at the office early in the day, I left the house around 9 and got to Baker City around 11 (10 local time). The first hour or two were still pretty cold, with temps in the low 40's! I had to stop in La Grande for a cup of coffee to warm my frozen fingers.

    Once I headed toward Ukiah, the scenery got even better.

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    Yes, standing in the middle of the highway because there was just no one out there.

    In the higher elevations between Ukiah and Sumpter, there was actually a decent amount of snow along the road, which I wasn't expecting! And I don't much like the reminder that my riding season is almost over.

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    The new forest growth through there is really pretty, as they rebound from brutal forest fires several years back.

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    And it sure was nice to have the air not be filled with smoke this time!

    The Tamarack trees really jump out versus the other pine trees this time of year.

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    I got some fuel in Sumpter and headed toward Unity. I always love this view along the way.

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    Here's the same spot when I went through there back in April on the Multistrada:

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    I like this old barn north of Unity:

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    This was my first trip in a couple of years along the Dooley Mountain Highway, and the first time I've seen it since the devastating forest fire. Shocking! I cannot believe the transformation. The road has always been incredible to ride, but you could never really see the road off in the distance, because the trees were all so tall and thick. Not anymore! Unbelievable, and really sad.

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    I made it back to Baker City around 5, and loaded up the bike and drove home. All in all, just a fantastic day of riding. It never really warmed up as much as forecast, so it was quite cool all day long, but it didn't matter. I rode as fast as I wanted -- er, I mean comfortably within the speed limit, enjoyed every mile, and soaked up the beautiful scenery.

    The Tuono is just so completely SICK!! I can't get enough of this little beast. So tiny, so ridiculously powerful, amazingly comfortable, and with a sound that's downright holy (or is it devilish?). Anyway, I'm incredibly grateful to have had one more opportunity to get a fun ride in before the coming several months of winter!
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  11. oldoval

    oldoval Energy Vampire

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    Phenomenal stuff as usual. That Tuono is eye candy!
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  12. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

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    As a native Idahoan, I'm madly in love with those roads and scenic views. Thanks for posting!
    My own pic of Whitebird a couple years ago . . .

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  13. cmcteir

    cmcteir Adventurer

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    Just read through this on my lunchbreak - you are a very lucky man and talented with a camera to boot!
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  14. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

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    Congratulations bwhip, great reporting. You capture the beauty of your rides perfectly. It's great country and good fun and it comes through in your reports. It's what Playboy tries to be, great photos and interesting text. Fantastic!
    Cheers, Mark
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  15. MUDHWY

    MUDHWY Featuring understanding emotions

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    Ahem, just don't tell Brian's wife he reminds you of Playboy! :yikes
  16. bwhip62

    bwhip62 Been here awhile

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    Thanks so much! Feeling very blessed for sure.

    Haha, thanks very much! I try to keep it classy and not too lewd, too. :D:beer
  17. oldenuf

    oldenuf Long timer

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    Your thread was a very nice find for me today, setting here in the cool and rain. Great job with the lens. A lot of work there, but well worth the time and all it adds to a ride. I'm 71 and have rode since I got my license at 16, and many of the rides and roads are very familiar to me, and I yearly trek to John Day and make the most of the many roads to and around the area. I don't push my luck much any more and have switched from various sport machines to a big old mildly worked over Honda XR650. There are so many ways to explore our country and now I like to get into Forest Service maps and plan out rides. It's all good exploring.

    Art
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  18. bwhip62

    bwhip62 Been here awhile

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    Cool, but decent weather yesterday here in the Boise area. The Tuono has been calling me every time I go out into my shop, saying "Come on, just one more ride before winter!" What a seductress she is. So, with some interesting clouds in the sky, I decided to take a quick ride over to Bogus Basin Road (the super twisty 18 mile route up the mountain to our local ski resort). It got cold in a hurry climbing the hill, but it felt fantastic to hear that snarling, glorious V4 howl. Very much worth the frozen fingers. Of course I had to snap a few photos while I was up there.

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    Will it be the final ride before I put some fuel stabilizer in the bikes and put them away for winter? We'll see. You never know when we might get a nice couple of 60 degree days in November. Either way, I can't complain! It's been a fantastic and memorable season. Thanks to all who have come along for the ride! :)
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  19. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter

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    Very nice, as always!

    Mike
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  20. MUDHWY

    MUDHWY Featuring understanding emotions

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    Had to put my girls to bed up here in CDA. We've already had lasting snow on the ground here although it has since warmed up and melted. Spring seems so far away!
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