CannonTrek.ID - Big Bikes in the Idaho Backcountry

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Cannonshot, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks Mark! So much riding to do in Idaho! Looking forward to hearing about your latest trip there. I left a lot of unfinished business there so I'll be going back. :D

    No, but I think I read something about it when I was doing research last winter. Idaho has a relatively small population as a state and of that around 1.4% are of Asian origin. Nationally that number is around 5.3%. I bet if I looked back in the books I read I would find some more information about what happened with the Chinese over time.

    I know you appreciate what a grade, curve, and trees mean in a situation like that. Let's add a crosswind for a little more fun. :D

    Thanks. Glad you are enjoying the report. I have a track for the Challis - Custer road in my original Idaho file but I had to trim it off for this ride. No doubt I'll pick that up, and a lot more, when I come back to deal with some unfinished business. :D
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  2. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Elk City to the Lolo Creek Campground - Part I

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    The Civilian Conservation Corps built the Magruder Corridor during the 1930s. The MC proper is 101 miles long. No services, no turn-offs. It really isn't much different than so many of the other paths we rode. The USFS literature has the following information:

    "Road Conditions This primitive one-lane road is rough, steep and winding, with few turnouts for passing oncoming vehicles. It is suitable for high clearance vehicles, pickup trucks, motorcycles and mountain bikes. The Forest Service does not recommend towing trailers because there are several hairpin turns along the route. Motor homes with low clearance should not travel the road. Snow begins to fall in early October and persists into July; however, snowstorms are possible at any time. Four-wheel-drive is recommended when the road is snow covered or muddy. Remember you are traveling through an extensive undeveloped area with no services for 117 miles. Be sure you start with a vehicle in good operating condition, a full tank of gas and a spare tire. At all times be alert for other traffic, washouts, fallen trees and other debris on the road. The road is becoming more popular for ATV travel during the summer months and can be very busy during the Idaho hunting season (mid-September through mid-November).

    Travel Time Travel time varies, but it takes eight to ten hours to travel from Red River to Darby without rest stops. The average speed will be 12-15 miles per hour. A two-day trip is ideal with an overnight stay at one of the dispersed or primitive campsite locations. Take your time, absorb the solitude and enjoy the remoteness far from the hassles of crowded highways." [I think their travel time estimate is for cars and trucks. It is much shorter for motorcycles.]

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    This guy had a dog riding on his luggage rack.
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    The USFS literature talks about the fire history of the area.
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    We visited the Green Mountain Lookout.
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    It was built in 1956.
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    It is still maintained for emergency use.
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    Nice view from up here.
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    A popular overlook.
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    The road ahead.
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    Chatted with these guys for a bit. Interesting conversation. Most are seasonal workers. I read a few books about wild land firefighting over the years so it was nice to be able to dig a little deeper about the details of what these guys do. They have packs on their truck so they can hike in to a fire site. Most are lightning strikes. They said they could work two days to take care of a small lightning strike fire that wasn't much bigger than their truck to make sure it was completely out. Lots of hard work involved. The current Wilderness Fire Policy is more about management than it is about trying to put out every fire.
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    Slow going for trucks.
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  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Elk City to the Lolo Creek Campground - Part II

    The corridor is named for a well respected packer named Magruder. In August 1863, Magruder loaded up his 60 mules and headed for Virginia City (MT) with a load of goods. He had four wranglers with him to help move the mule train through the wilderness. Along the way they met three travelers and they all rode together for mutual support. Magruder sold his goods for about $30K in gold dust. When Magruder was ready to head back to Lewiston, the three travelers (who had gained his confidence on the way over) signed on for the return trip. A fourth man, not connected with the three, also signed on. At an overnight stop near here, one of the three bad guys went to get some firewood for the campfire. He took the axe with him. When he came back with wood, he snuck up behind Magruder and buried the axe in his head. The three bad guys then killed Magruder's four wranglers and dumped their bodies over a precipice. The fourth man, who was deemed kind of harmless, was allowed to live but was scared into silence. The bad guys even killed the 60 mules.
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    When Magruder failed to appear in Lewiston, some people suspected foul play. When the four suspicious characters left town on the Walla Walla stage, they were carrying gold. Following a hunch, a friend of Magruder checked the stable for the gear the four rode in with. He was able to identify a mule, a saddle, and a shotgun as being Magruder's. The friend went to the Sheriff, got appointed as a deputy, got a warrant for the four, and took off after them. At Portland, the bad guys took a ship to San Francisco. The deputy went overland after them. A wire to San Francisco led to the apprehension of the four. The friend brought them back to Lewiston in chains. The fourth man, who was not involved in the killings, ratted out the three bad guys. The three were hung. This was the first trial in an Idaho court. These were also the first legal executions in Idaho (others had been lynchings). In the spring, the friend visited the site of the murder and found the evidence and bodies that verified the testimony of the fourth man.
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    Once you get to Montana, it is a pavement run to jump ahead. We stayed at the Lolo Creek Campground.
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    We ran about 306 miles today with a moving average of about 32 mph.
    joenuclear and Troyba like this.
  4. siyeh

    siyeh unproductive Supporter

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    Eagerly waiting your next post. Me loves me some Idaho.
  5. ABuck99

    ABuck99 0.0

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    Edward- Jump on your 950 and head East- we're doing the ride in September.
  6. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Lolo Motorway to Pierce - Part I

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    Heading to Lochsa Lodge for gas.
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    Looks like a reliable gas point.
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    Once we got on the Lolo Motorway it took us about 5 hours to get to Pierce.
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    The Lolo is another 1930s CCC built road. It traces the Nez Perce Trail and the route that Lewis and Clark took on their stroll west.
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    A lot of drop-offs around here.
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    Indian Post Office
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    I did NOT leave a "Cannonshot Was Here" rock. :D
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  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Lolo Motorway to Pierce - Part II

    Aerial of the area.
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    ATV traffic.


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    More ATV traffic.


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  8. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks my friend, on the way! :D
  9. DiggerD

    DiggerD DougFir from SuperDuke Days

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    The Lolo Motorway section is going to be hard to beat in my eyes.
    My fav part of your trip so far....maybe because I rode it .....but dang.....sure looks like the land that I dream about.
    For the most part of that ride, the only thing you see man made is the road.
    Just like before the euro's got there.
  10. ABuck99

    ABuck99 0.0

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    Cannon- Really appreciating the history ( and excellent photography) you've baked into the ride report. It elevates the route to a higher level knowing the history of the surrounding area. I'm guilty of rolling past some spots to "make time" or having too much fun in the throttle to slow down. Your interest and curiosity uncover and add the meaningful historical points are what will make the route better for all of us who run it or dream of running it. When we ran the Heart of The West route put together by Tony Hugel, there was a lot of history baked into and provided for that route which really brought the experience to life, 150+ years later. These adventures become more than a scenic ride from one end to the other knowing the roots of these routes.

    We'll be running the IDBDR it next month and keeping your notes in mind.

    Thanks!

    Andrew
  11. Wansfel

    Wansfel I'm not lost! The world is just a bit misplaced.

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    The four fire fighters you met on the Magruder...The second from the left is my next door neighbor's son. Stationed in Elk City.

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  12. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Pierce to the Blue Cabin

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    Slide clean up. Some really slick tar snakes on this road.
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    Water truck keeping the dust down. Heavy trucking on this road.
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    We all ate the same food in the same restaurant. At the same time we all had an urgent need to stop and head off into the woods. Coincidence or bad food?
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    These guys from British Columbia were riding the BDR south. We warned them about the restaurant.
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    Evidence of logging.
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    These heavy trucks take up much of the narrow road and they move right along. If you see one coming, best to pull over and wait.
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    This guy was chaining down a load of logs he just picked up.
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    I'm sometimes a little put off by people that say we shouldn't have motorized trails in these working forests because they tear things up. :dunno
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    This bus was full of cables and rigging for dragging logs.
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    Bridge over part of the Dworshak Reservoir.
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    The reservoir is 54 miles long and covers about 19,000 surface acres of water.
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    The dam holding all this back is the tallest straight axis dam in North America. You can read about the controversy, plusses, and minuses of all this here.
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    Some big and maybe even old growth trees around.
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    Blue Cabin. First-come, first-served. Leave it better than you found it.
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  13. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    I agree that the Lolo is really nice. It is beautiful and has a lot of interesting terrain to deal with. I have to admit though that some of the obscure contour roads are quite a nice ride even though they are a bit less developed. In some places it seems like you are constantly in a turn or setting up for one. Even the "straight" stretches have kinks in them. For a while I didn't see a straight stretch that remained that way any further than I could throw a baseball. When you ride something like that on native soils you realize you are pretty much constantly actively steering. Takes a toll on the upper body after a while.

    Thanks Andrew. To me knowing the background of some of the things I see is really important. Even a set of switchbacks is much more interesting if you know that some young fellows from the CCC were out there building it using mostly hand tools and hard work as part of one of the best programs we ever came up with. To me, the idea of taking a trip somewhere is in part to explore and experience places while at the same time enjoying a great motorcycle ride that is also entertaining. A mix of touring and sporty riding makes for a rich trip. I could never understand why someone would race from one end of something like the Great Divide Ride to the other without pausing to take things in along the way. Without the added richness of the points of interest, scenery, and history a trip could quickly devolve into just another ride along a series of gravel and dirt roads. I also mentioned about preserving man and machine on long trips. Pausing to check out things along the way makes for a more comfortable ride. I would burn out if I tried to ride hard and fast day after day just to quickly complete a route.

    As far as the photography goes, I have to admit that once we got going on the BDR I put away my DSLR and did most of the picture taking with one hand on the fly using a waterproof point and shoot. I keep the camera on a retractable lanyard so that if I have to drop it to grab the bars I don't lose it. I mentioned that battery life is a shortfall on those small cameras. My solution for that in the future will be to carry about 10 batteries so I don't have to worry about trying to charge them in the tank bag.

    I hope this report helps you with your trip. When I write a report like this I have it in mind to catalog a lot of information that will help the next riders more easily plan trips for themselves. One reason why I have so many pix and video clips (I hate videos BTW) with road surfaces and features in them is that I discovered in my own research that I had no idea what some of these roads might be like and what bikes might not work so well with them. With enough pix/vids of the roads on each segment, people will have a much better idea of what to expect. The end state is that I hope to encourage many more people to enjoy these rides by making it easier for them to see what it is all about ahead of time.

    In the case of the BDRs, the BDR folks do a great job laying out routes and helping with logistics - fantastic work that is much appreciated. Adding detail like what is in this and other reports compliments their work and adds to the references available for those thinking about riding the route.

    As I said in the first post of this report, huge tanks to the BDR crew!

    That is pretty cool. Small world indeed. Tell your neighbor his son is a good ambassador for the USFS!
  14. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    On to Avery and the Tunnel Road.
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    Running along the St. Joe River.
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    During the monster fire of 1910, which we'll look into shortly, a lot of people came to Avery to catch evacuation trains that would take them to places like Missoula. Avery damn near burned up in the ordeal but some back burns saved the place. Avery was a headquarters for fighting the fires in this region.
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    Avery was also once a big rail town when The Milwaukee Road had operations here. They ran some electrics through this area.
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    When rail was humming along through here, the place had about 1,200 people. Now they are down to about 25 as there isn't a lot of reason to live here anymore.

    They do have a nice store and gas though.
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    We headed up the Tunnel Road to find a place to camp.
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    Two options here. On the west side is a road that goes through 3 tunnels. On the east side of the river is a more two track like road that winds along. Both are great. We took the tunnels, crossed over, and then rode back down the other side to find a place to camp. If you can't make up your mind, just ride them both as it is only a short distance anyway.
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    Tunnel 1
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    The alternate on the other side.
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    Tunnel 2
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    Tunnel 3
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    To find the campground, don't go over this bridge to the other side of the river. Go under it and cross a bridge further to the south.
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    Basic campground. I think Zed found a pool in the river to rinse off in.
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    About 234 miles today with a moving average of 26.4 mph.
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  15. Wansfel

    Wansfel I'm not lost! The world is just a bit misplaced.

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    I read the book "The Big Burn" this past year. Great insight to the creation of the USFS and what happened in the Avery/Wallace areas. Very interesting having motored through that country.
  16. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Great book. The American Experience did a nice documentary on it as well. More about all that in future posts.
  17. siyeh

    siyeh unproductive Supporter

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    I am heading to Colorado in a few days. After viewing these pics I should have gone to Idaho. Great pics mr cannon. imho those roads would not be there if there was no logging.
  18. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Loving this Bryan!!!
  19. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Avery to Wallace Part I

    Breaking camp on another nice cool morning.
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    Heading up the alternate road opposite the tunnel road.
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    Crossing over to the west side of the river.
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    The bridge I mentioned to go under not over when looking for the campground.
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    Heading north.
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    Nice rail trail now.
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    There is an excellent book that come out on this entitled The Big Burn that is worth a read.

    The American Experience (PBS) also did a documentary on it that you can watch some of on-line.

    Eddie Pulaski heroically saved most of his crew by dashing into an old mining tunnel. At one point Ed had to pull a pistol to keep panicking miners from trying to leave the cave. Ed got messed up from the fire during this incident.
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    Amazing story.
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    Ed developed this wild land fire fighting tool (coincidentally named the "Pulaski") which is still used today.
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    Back later to get into some interesting tales about Wallace. I'm at the Central ADV Rally and have internet access shortfalls so I'll have to pick this up in a bit.
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  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks my friend! I think Idaho is a great destination for us.

    Thanks Shaggie!


    Sorry for the delay on posts for a while but I have been tied up with meeting related work and travel and getting up to the Central Rally.