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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    A side trip to the Yankee Fork Dredge and Custer - Part II

    The run from the highway to Bonanza, Custer, and the dredge.
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    I would bet that a lot of riders have seen these rock piles along waterways but never realized that they are the result of a giant dredge working an area.
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    Even on small streams, dredges could operate since they float in their own small "moving" pool of water.
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    Bonanza and Custer started up with the discover of gold in the area. Eventually the two towns kind of grew together into one. This is the boot hill type cemetery at Bonanza.
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    Richard and Lizzie King, of London (England), moved to Bonanza in 1878. He set up a real estate business and she set up a billiard saloon and dance hall. They became friends with Chuck Franklin who founded Bonanza. Lizzie, a "golden haired beauty", spent a lot of time with Chuck - mostly without her husband.

    In the mean time Richard's real estate business partner shot and killed him over a business argument. Chuck and Lizzie picked out a plot in the brand new cemetery as Richard was about to become the first occupant there. Chuck also bought two more plots (one for him and one for Lizzie) since he thought he and Lizzie would eventually marry.

    In the mean time Lizzie hired a dealer for her saloon that swept her off her feet leaving Chuck behind. Six days after the dealer and Lizzie were married they were found dead.

    Chuck buried the two in the plots he bought next to Richard but did not include Lizzie's married name on her marker.

    Everyone thought Chuck capped the two but he was never arrested. He moved to a claim near Stanley. Some years later they found his dead body in his cabin clutching a picture of Lizzie in a gold locket. He was buried next to his lonely cabin.

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    Bonanza burned twice. After the second fire the water works were shot so they didn't rebuild. People moved to Custer instead. There are only about 7 buildings left in Bonanza.
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    This is said to have been the most efficient dredge in the world. After figuring out that there was still about $20M in gold around here, a company bought the dredge and went to work. The dredge weighs 988 tons, is 112 feet long, 54 feet wide, and 64 feet high. It requires 11 feet of water to operate in. It can dig to a depth of 35 feet. Each of the 72 buckets digs up 8 cubic feet of material. The dredge was built by Bucyrus-Erie of Milwaukee which still makes large mining equipment.
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    The dredge started up in 1939 and ran pretty much continuously until 1942. It started up again in 1944 and ran until 1949 when a rock ledge held them up.
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    J.R. Simplot, the potato king, got involved with it until 1951 when he ceased operations for good. Simplot donated the dredge to the USFS. No funds to develop it as a museum until a friends group went to work on it in 1979. Now you can tour the dredge.
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    Tony Beets, a Yukon miner that appears on the television show Gold Rush, bought a 75 year old dead dredge like this. He disassembled it, moved it to his claim, reassembled it, and got it running again. I think he will make a lot of money with it.
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    Aerial of the dredge at the Bonanza site.
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    Zed searching for gold?
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    Custer burned as well (mostly). They have a few buildings left and are rebuilding some replicas. The town site is laid out with trails that go to markers with pictures of what used to be there.
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    Custer did not allow the Chinese miners to live in town.
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    The General Custer Mine was named after Georgie.
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    Initially people and supplies had to come in here via mule train over a rocky trail. Eventually someone put in a toll road to Challis. It took 5-7 pairs of oxen, horses, or mules to pull a load on the 35 mile trip that would take four days to complete. Eventually they got a stage that would charge $5 for the 8-9 hour daily trip.
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    The town peaked at about 600 in 1896. By 1911 it was a ghost town.
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    They have a museum in town.
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    We hit some isolated, but significant, rain on the return run.
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    Took cover on a porch until the worst of it passed.
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    Stanley has gas, food, and hardware.
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    Gas stop.
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  2. kpinvt

    kpinvt OLDnSLO

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    Thanks for the info on the bikes.
  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thank you! Glad you find it interesting.

    Thanks! I hope you enjoy this one too.

    We took on extra miles on this modified version of the IDBDR. I think it took about 7 1/2 days to run the border to border BDR portion. By the way, some of the contour roads hold your speed down quite a bit so it is very difficult to estimate time and miles like we usually do. The laws of physics sometimes restrict our big bikes to 15 miles an hour taking into account slope, traction, mass, momentum, corners, and drop-offs. Even winding but good gravel roads can limit your speed. I think the daily moving average ranged between 26 and 37 miles per hour according to what I took off my GPS each day. It is difficult to estimate without something like the GPS calculating it for you. Obviously there are stretches where you can make good time.

    You are welcome sir.
  4. Wansfel

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

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    Epic ride. The more I ride in Idaho, the more I discover I need to return. Just finished up the BOM MT1000 for 2015 and covered some of the same country. I agree, the IDBDR is great for what it is, but there are so many undiscovered areas along the way that beg to be explored.

    BTW. We met in Coolidge in 2010.
  5. Pitchfork

    Pitchfork n00b

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    Love the reports about big Trailies in the back country. Page one and I've taken the bait,
    and the hook has been set!
  6. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Loman to the Clear Creek Crossing

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    Bump to 1080 if you like.


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    Stream crossing. Uneven bottom. Round rolling rocks.
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    I was first to cross. I waded in with the bike and then decided that with the uneven bottom it would be better if I got off and walked it across. I wanted to prevent stalling and possibly tipping into the water.


    Druid was behind me and he rode across. He waggled around a bit with the uneven bottom.
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    When Zed arrived at the crossing I told him I walked it across and he chose to do the same.
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    On these long rides one has to ride to preserve both man and machine. Tipping the bike into the stream, even though it was only knee deep at the deepest spot, would not have been a good situation with the air filter or worse. Best to be conservative and be able to ride on without interruption. After all, this is where we were at - not a lot of parts or assistance available. :D
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  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks for tuning in. There certainly is a lot of explore. I think I remember meeting you back then. :thumb

    Thanks for following along! Hope you enjoy it.
  8. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer Supporter

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    Caught up.. Great RR. As usual. I've got several buddies riding Idaho right now. I was supposed to be along.
    This is actually making my missing the trip worse. Such a great place to ride. I like riding out and back also, but a 650 might be a little easier on some of the stuff you've shown. I've often wondered if there is a ride out there as good as Docking Pilot's Forever West, this looks pretty good!
  9. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan from Scottsdale Supporter

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    I like your style of caution so you don't ruin a 2 week trip and turn it into a month long extraction of dead equipment. I always try and err on the side of caution too. But every now and then I am too impatient! Most of those times it is OK, but there are a few that give me the shivers looking back. My riding buddy is much more of a free spirit about those things. It has worked out so far with only a few snags now and then. Nothing enough to stop the trip so far. Great RR as always, but I think this one is tops. Very informative and the vids are helpful too. Thanks
  10. Solaros1

    Solaros1 Long timer

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    I've really enjoyed your ride reports - and when I recommend the ADV site to other people I always tell them to be sure to read your threads about your adventures.
    Your way of blending the local history into the rides is outstanding. I've been looking at the IDBDR and now I really want to go there - its just so far from Georgia.

    Keep up the great work - thousands of us are waiting for new installments.
  11. DruiD

    DruiD riding too fast

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    Holmen, WI



    It's a long ways from Wisconsin, too!

    Do it!
  12. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Clear Creek to Yellow Pine

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    Eventually you cross a mountain and drop down to the Deadwood Reservoir.
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    The Deadwood Reservoir sits at a little over a mile of elevation. Cool Cal Coolidge approved the project in 1928.
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    Lots of recreation here as well.
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    Camping too.
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    They had to clear the reservoir ground. They built the dam between 1929 and 1931.
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    The site required some substantial road building to get in here to work. You'll note the road to Yellow Pine is well developed as compared to others in the area.
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    Not much left at the Deadwood Ghost Town.
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    The road from the reservoir to Yellow Pine is kind of a milk run, but the gravel and corners still keep you from traveling very fast.
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    I took some shots along here on the fly as I was trying to catch how beautiful it was following the river. Never really got it as it is hard to take it all in with a camera.
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    Another fish project.
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    As we passed this campsite, I thought it would be a scenic spot to stay. Turns out we came back and stayed here.
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    Yellow Pine started up around 1906. Some people envisioned a much more substantial community than what evolved. There are around 30-40 people that live here now. Seems to get a lot of recreation traffic. The Harmonica Festival is the first weekend of August each year.
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    After getting a few supplies, we dropped back south a few miles to the campground along the river.
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    I think one of us tried walking in the river. More difficult than one would expect with round rocks and current.
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    About 275 miles today. Moving average about 37 mph.
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  13. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks! This is a wonderful ride. Sorry you had to miss the current trip, but I'm sure you won't have much trouble putting together a group to ride it sometime in the future. Well worth the ride out and back. I agree that a 650 would be a good choice.

    Thanks, I'm glad the report is informative. I usually try to share plenty of pictures and information so that others can more easily put together a trip of their own and have a good idea of what is involved with the route.

    Thank you. That is a very nice compliment and I appreciate it very much. Gives me a little more motivation to keep going on the ride report. After a while doing the report turns into a pretty time consuming chore. It is worth it though to build a catalog of information that will help out some others and maybe enrich their trips with a little background and history. I'm glad you have enjoyed my reports in the past as well - thanks!
  14. LittleWan

    LittleWan You can do it!

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    Thanks for the details about the dredge - I took one photo of it in 2012, but I didn't think we had stopped.
    According to BigWan, not only did we stop, we might have taken the tour. At the very least, we went on board and walked around.
    Really? :scratch Wow, I have no recollection of that at all. No pics, so it didn't happen. :lol3
    Anyway, thanks for the refresher, Cannonshot! Now I feel like I've been there.



    Hang in there, you're doing great!
    There are never enough big bike reports on ADV, your hard work is appreciated. :D
    PDX Alamo likes this.
  15. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    Time-consuming chore only because you do an incredible amount of research and treat each one as though you're writing reference material, which you are. Everybody loves a Cannonshot ride report.

    John
    Troyba likes this.
  16. davesupreme

    davesupreme grand poobah

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    yessir!.... :bow :thumb
  17. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Yellow Pine to Big Creek Airstrip

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    Getting ready to pull out for the day.
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    Back in Yellow Pine for breakfast. I left a tag.
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    Sometimes I leave a CannonCard like this one on a bulletin board in places where another ADV inmate might find it. It is always fun to hear from someone that came across one of these cards. In fact, just yesterday an inmate contacted me about a card he came across in a general store in Missouri that I left there a number of years back. These cards are also handy for when someone asks about the trip, or becomes part of the report, so I can direct them to the web site where they will find a report on it. Just hand that person a card and tell them to check the site in a few weeks.
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    Breakfast.
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    Gas available at the general store.
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    I suppose someone will call this number just to see who answers. :evil
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    Obviously a very old sign.
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    Heading north.
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    Over the shoulder shot.
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    I had a side trip planned to check out the old cinnabar mine near Stibnite. Stibnite still has an active mine. I skipped the out and back trip. Every day I would carefully assess our progress and the time remaining for the trip to make sure we had a comfortable and entertaining ride while still respecting that Doctor Zed had to be back home by a certain date. Cinnabar has a lot of intact structures associated with the mine. The down side is that they are all contaminated. Cinnabar is a source for producing mercury. If you dig around on the web, you can find some pictures of what remains there.
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    Big Creek Airstrip
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    Places like this kind of interest me. Being a pilot, I like to look things over and think about all the considerations that must be made to fly in and out of a place like this.
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    I must admit, one consideration I never thought of was a sprinkler system down the center of the runway.
    - OPEN TO SKI EQUIPPED ACFT IN WINTER; ACFT USE SIDES OF RWY DURING SKI OPNS.
    - BE ALERT FOR SPRINKLERS ON RY.
    - NO WINTER MAINTENANCE.
    - +30' TO +60' TREES ADJ TO BOTH RY EDGES & RY ENDS.
    - NO TELEPHONE AVBL AT ARPT.
    - BIG GAME ANIMALS ON & INVOF ARPT.
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    About halfway down the runway is a forest service station. I noticed they had a couple of fuel tanks there with aviation fuel.
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  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks LW! Glad you enjoyed the refresher about the dredge. I've been doing more and more on the big bike and have really enjoyed it. As you well know, sometimes we might take them places where they don't really belong, but the majority of the time they make for a great ride. :D I have a 500 EXC that I still enjoy riding and scouting tracks with. I need to get some more miles on that this season as well.

    Thanks John! Hoping this encourages more people to take this ride.

    Thanks!
  19. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Big Creek to Elk Summit and some fun 50" trail.

    I put in another side trip from the standard IDBDR. This one took us on some fun 50" ATV trail.
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    This was a fun trail. It had a lot of entertaining features. It might be my favorite from the ride. That is kind of hard to tell since there are so many gems along the way.
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    You need to add a little more caution when riding this segment. There are a bunch of small stream crossings that are built up to handle higher volumes of water. If you catch one unexpectedly on a big bike it could give you trouble.
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    My oversize windscreen was so dirty with dust that I had a difficult time seeing through it to recognize obstacles on the trail. I'd have to look over or around it.


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    Stream crossing.
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    The guys were kidding me about slipping this tasty section of trail into the route. At first I told them I thought it was part of the original BDR. Now that I got the map out I'm busted. :D
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    On toward Elk Summit on a "regular" road.
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    I think that when you get up further ahead to Elk Summit it is the peak elevation for the standard BDR track.
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  20. Critic

    Critic More or less!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
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    2,010
    Location:
    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    Kelly said it, "Thanks for the details about the dredge." I really enjoyed that bit, well all the mining bits.


    "I need to get some more miles on that this season as well."
    Remember, I have one too!