Lewis and Clark Trail, 8 yrs of it...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LewisNClark, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    As I told another AdvRider from Oregon you are in the backyard of some of the best places to scout out... If you're in east Oregon, the grave site of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (infant son of Sacajawea) is near Jordon and Danner, Oregon.

    #61
  2. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    I've never met anyone who read a book about Lewis and Clark that didn't say that they felt like they could not put the book down..same here.

    Part of the real genius of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was Thomas Jefferson's insistence for L & C to document their travels down to the detail, times, weather, temperatures, mineral, rock, mountains, creek, etc that they saw on the Expedition. Clark's maps are estimated to be within 20 to 30 miles in accuracy, and were used for the next 100 years and lead the pioneers to the West. Lewis discovered and documented more plants, animals, fish, etc than anyone else in histoy. They were a well oiled machine that a dozen of the members made the Expedition possible.

    But you can read a lot of books but there is nothing like standing at something like Clark's Overlook Rock (just above) standing where Lewis calculated how far it was to the Pacific, and standing in their footsetps, and seeing what they saw...books just can not do that view and experience justice.

    250cc is what I'll probably take out this summer. Smaller is better.

    #62
  3. gremor

    gremor RS'er

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    Better than any history class I have ever had!


    Keep it coming.


    Thanks

    G
    #63
  4. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    But you can read a lot of books but there is nothing like standing at something like Clark's Overlook Rock (just above) standing where Lewis calculated how far it was to the Pacific, and standing in their footsetps, and seeing what they saw...books just can not do that view and experience justice.

    I felt that way about many of the places in the West that I roamed dirt roads and camped up until about 10 years ago. Many of my roamings were solo and on DR350s that I carried in a trailer behind my old buick, left it at a safe place in some town and explored for a week or so.
    To sit there at a littel campfire , alone and thinking about how it was even a hundred years ago much less 200. I spent a lot of time amazed.
    Thanks some more. Love the updates.
    #64
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  5. nichloasjerry1

    nichloasjerry1 Adventurer

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    I got a lot to catch up so I better start reading ur stuff but as far as I read it is pretty good and I am kinda interested in it but only read the first half page and plus I am subed to this thread :freaky
    #65
  6. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

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    Awesome report. I read Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose a few years back. Your report is inspiring me to check out some of these places on the bike. Awesome. keep it up.
    #66
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  7. longslowdistance

    longslowdistance Long timer Supporter

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    This a fantatastic report, thank you for all your efforts. Really good job.

    One little detail I would alter: York was Clarke's slave, not servant. Lewis owned 24 slaves in Albermarle. Not trying to tar anyone, just keeping the historical record accurate. Those were different times.
    #67
  8. bomose

    bomose Long timer

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    As in reading " Undaunted Courage", I can't stop reading your report. It is fascinating seeing the sites. I can only imagine standing on them. I've been to several of them, but hope to go to more. Thanks for your efforts.
    #68
  9. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Clark and his scouting party were led by Old Toby through today's Salmon, Idaho up along what they named “The Meriwether Lewis River”, today locals have renamed it the Salmon River.

    The below map is a broad view of their route.

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    Following their trail today you pass Sacajawea Visitors Center an monument, and the ever so popular Seaman.

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    Sacajawea plaque.

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    Words believed to have been written by Lewis about his trusty companion. A must read sign for us dog lovers.

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    Heading north out of Salmon, Idaho is a favorite campsite. Heading west Clark passed this creek and on their return in 1806 his main party camped here to celebrate the “4th of July”.

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    About 100 yards down 4th of July Road I hear a “yelp'. Then a yelp, yelp, yelp. Looked to my right and there's the attack boxer dog.

    Meet “Ringgold”.

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    Six months old and probably never seen a motorcycle Ringo was on attack. I pulled over, took off my helmet and Ringgold could not get enough petting. Really cute dog.

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    Leaving Ringgold it was a short 2 mile ride to Clark's “4th of July” campsite. At this campsite during their Return home journey they had no whiskey to celebrate but at least they were back eating deer and buffalo and no doubt Crussette was playing his fiddle to celebrate the 4th.

    4th of July campsite

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    Locals are really into horses. Leaving the 4th of July camp almost every house has horses and many were Appaloosa. From Lemhi to Moscow, Idaho to the west is the birthplace of the Appaloosa breed.

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    Back on the main road out of Salem are more western route campsites.

    First sight is of an American Eagle sitting on a tree top. Appropriate for 4th of July Creek Road.

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    Known campsite.

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    Another known campsite:

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    Heading north on the main highway I see 40 or 50 people crowded around an intersection. A local rancher and his son had organized a local memorial for Old Toby, the L & C guide. Just by coincidence I was passing by on Sept 2005, 200 years after the L & C expedition went up the North Fork of the Salmon River, where I was headed. This day was the dedication of the marker.

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    This bronze marker had been torn down years earlier and the local rancher had it stored in his barn until funds were raised to move the memorial to this new site.

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    The marker also includes the names of each of the members of the Expedition that passed by here.

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    At the Old Toby monument intersection is the road into to North Fork of the Salmon. This road parallels the original trail Old Toby led the Clark party up. This is the road Old Toby lead Clark and his scouting party up to see if this fork of the Salmon (aka Lewis River) was passable as a water route across the Bitterroot Mountains. Both the Shoshoni Chief and Old Toby tried to convince Clark that the river was impassable but by drawing a map in the dirt with a stick and piling up mounds of dirt did not convince Clark.

    Start of the North Fork of the Salmon, an amazing road.

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    Sights along North Fork of the Salmon....I think these are Mountain Sheep.

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    Not a big deal to the locals but I was impressed...counted 54 sheep in about two miles.

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    The North of the Salmon River.

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    After a few miles these were the banks of the North Fork. And Clark still was not convienced.

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    Clark, crew and Old Toby camped beside this creek running into the North Fork.

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    The North Fork is really a beautiful river....a short 32 miles to a dead end. I've done it three times and plan on doing it again.

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    Ran across these two pedestrians and stopped to let them pass. The one in front raised his front legs and bounced his horns off my front tire before I could get my camera out quick enough, plus I was busy keeping the bike upright at the time.

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    Old homes dot the landscape along the North Fork every few miles.

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    Standing at this site Clark finally saw that there was no way a troop of 32 men could ever make a voyage up the jagged rocks of the river and camping on the banks each day would be impossible. He gave the river a new name, “River of No Return”.

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    This marker marks the spot where Clark sat down and wrote a short letter to Captain Lewis. The jest of his letter was “buy more horses, buy a horse for each and every man', since Clark now saw that they would be crossing the Bitterroots on hooves.

    Clark picked the fastest running in John Colter and had him take the letter back to the Lemhi Pass where he was doing another portage of their cargo up the Lemhi Pass mountain, his third trip over the pass.

    This marker is where Clark and his party turned around and headed back down the North Fork of the Salmon.

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    This marker is not the end of today's the North Fork Road. The road follows the narrow banks of the North Fork River 32 miles to the end.

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    At the end of the road is a rustic campground. Electricity is powered by a water wheel and their US Postman comes by three times a week.

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    On Clark's route back down the North Fork River he takes in a sightseeing side trip. Old Toby had told Clark (by drawing pictures) about some unusual rock formation near their route back.

    Heading north from Salmon, Idaho and south of North Fork is Pyramid Rock. These rock formations are only easy to find if you watch for a road sign “Pyramid Rock Road” (or Tower Road) on the right side of the road heading north from Salmon, ID. Just a few miles down the road are the pyramids, which Clark named.

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    There is also a well maintained campsite across the road from the pyramid.

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    Marker about Pyramid Rock.....Clark had three ways to spell pyramid, none were correct.

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    Probably the most interesting thing about Pyramid Rock is so few know about it or have ever heard about Pyramid Rock, even the locals.

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    As I was riding back to the main trail I stopped at this restaurant just before sunset and the waitress told me I should take a side trip to see a guy named Bill, Bill the Hermit. So I did.

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    I was well aware the Gibbons Pass was part of the Clark Return trail but it was at the top of a mountain running along the Continental Divide. Pulled into this road to Gibbons Pass at dusk and decided I'd better wait for daylight.

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    Next morning I'm headed up Gibbons Pass to find Hermit Bill about 10 miles up the pass.

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    Bill lives on Social Security and the land by hunting and fishing. He walks down the mountain about every two or three weeks, primarily for smokes and beer. His trailer looks to be 10x6 and is stuffed from all ends. Where he slept is beyond me. He thinks he is on federal land and says he only sees other people every couple of weeks. His pure bred Black Lab is his companion.

    I found this hard to believe until I saw it! Bill had taught his Black Lab to retrieve....not birds but trout. He would sitting by a stream next to the trailer, like in a “point” and when he saw a trout he'd dive in, catch the trout and drop it on the bank. Bill would go down to the creek and retrieve the trout at the end of the day. Failed to get a picture of the dog so maybe it didn't happen.

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    Spent about two hours with Bill. He made my “Readers Digest Top 10 Most Interesting People I've ever met”. I was back on Gibbons Pass this past summer (2013) and he was no longer there.

    Gibbons Pass is a single lane road that winds up the mountain across a true western cattle ranch to the city of Wisdom.

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    Gibbons comes down the below mountain.

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    Open Range cattle.....

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    No less than a 1,000 cattle free range grazing on the flat plateau of Gibbons Pass. Saw at least six real cowboys herding cattle down the mountain.

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    Huge population of Pronghorn....jumped up at least 50 pronghorn at a plateau at the top of the Pass. Largest Pronghorn I've ever seen.

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    Rest stop on the Continental Divide at the top of Gibbons Pass. North goes to Big Hole Battle Field and south goes to Lemhi Pass. The road (single lane road) is what other AdvRiders have done as the CDT. A buddy and I rented these WR250R's in 2013 for a 6 day trip on the L & C Trail. Within 28 hours of getting back home I picked up a used WR....such as great little off-road go anywhere dual sport bike.

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    On the Return Journey home Sacajawea told Clark about a short cut over Gibbons Pass that saved days of travel over the infamous Lost Trail Pass that Old Toby took them over in 1805 heading west. This trail is part of the CDR.

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    I passed Tendoy, Idaho on a Sunday and some place I can not pass was Mrs. Angle, it should be Angel. She was closed on Sunday morning.

    SOP for me in Montana and Idaho is at all Museums, Markers, Bookstore, etc. if you have a question about Lewis and Clark and want an answer the typical answer has always been, “You need to stop by Mrs. Angle's store in Tendoy!” I did this 8 years ago and every time I go through Idaho like a homing pigeon, whatever bike I'm on, it is going to Mrs. Angle's store.

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    My riding companion and I pulled in to the Tendoy Store/PO Office.

    Meet Mrs. Angle,

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    What can I say! Mrs. Angle is 95 or 96 this year. She and her husband pulled in to Tendoy in the early 1940's. Raised a couple of kids but she spent most of her life teaching elementary school to the local Shoshoni Elementary School. With no formal education she spent her life teach at this little elementary school. She has no doubt that she taught ancestors of Sacajawea.

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    Her little store, with the base of Lemhi Pass out the backdoor, is a front! It not really there to sell milk and eggs.

    I was there for 4 hours and only saw her sell a coke and maybe, maybe two candy bars...She is there at her little store to answer questions about Lemhi, Agency Creek Road, Lewis and Clark, the Shoshoni's. She was an eye opener.

    When I first stopped at her store we talked about the road up Lemhi Pass. I assumed that road I rode in on was Lewis and the boys came over the Lemhi Pass on. Made since to me. Then Mrs. A told me about watching the mules and plows make the first vehicle road over Lemhi Pass when she was in her 30's. Then showed me how to find the road Lewis and Clark marched over in 1805. Where the stagecoaches were still going over the mountain when she was a kid. The first Lewis and Clark campsite in Idaho.

    This lady came in and interrupted our important conversation to pretend to be buying a SNICKERS, but her real reason was to find out how to get to Agency Creek Road (the real road L & C came down the Lemhi Pass on).

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    Mrs. A took me on a tour of her local history on a back wall of the store. These are few pictures of the 50+ pictures of her life in her 30's and 40's. She enthusiastically allowed me to take pictures of her pictures.

    Believed to be the last stagecoach go come down Agency Creek Road beside her store.

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    A Shoshoni Chief, and friend of Mrs. A, in full dress at a local Indian meeting.

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    Excuse the glare of the pictures, hard to take a picture of a picture behind glass.

    Mrs. A with her students in the early 50's.

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    I left Mrs. Angles' store with more information than I had anticipated. The rest of these pictures are a series of places Mrs. A sent me when leaving her store.

    Birthplace of Sacajawea.

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    Sort of spooky....standing where the Shoshoni tribe used to camp, where Lewis and his scouting party ran into 20 Shoshoni warriors galloping in at full speed on beautiful Appaloosa horses....I see these two boys coming out from behind some bushes.

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    Heading out Mrs. Angles back door you are on Agency Creek Road....this a road to real history. I would have not found it until I left Mrs. Angles store.

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    First stop is one of the last, maybe the last, active stagecoach station.


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    I'm riding on the man-made Agency Creek Road, to my right is the trail or road used by Indians, animals and probably Lewis. From the picture it is just a line horizontally at the bottom of the hill. Lewis and his scouting party came down Agency Creek Road, Clark's party came down Lemhi on another road to the north.

    A few days ago I rode up to the top of one of the hills on the east side of Lemhi. The below picture is the same hill from the WEST side of Lemhi.

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    The very first Lewis and Clark campsite west of the Lemhi, in Idaho. A Lewis campsite since Clark was still back at Clark's Overlook Rock north of Dillon.

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    Another view of Lewis' first campsite in Idaho. Beside a clear creek (Agency Creek), against a barrier to make it easy to defend. Here Lewis, Drouillard, Shields and three other camped and still had not found the Shoshoni warriors and horses.

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    Exhausted from looking for those damn Indians, Lewis still found time to sketch, describe, and assign a Latin name to this flower he discovered on Agency Creek Road. No one knows what he used but Lewis carried some type of press to preserve plants, something similar to a book. Most of his plants that survived were stored at the University of Virginia, a gift from President Jefferson.

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    Agency Creek Road leads back up to the top of Lemhi Pass into Sacajawea's Memorial Park pictured about three pages back. Going up Agency Creek Road is a steep road a steep climb up a rocky road....at the top of the far distant hill.

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    ...and not for a heavy loaded bike.

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    Mrs. Angel became an official dealer of my book and sells it in her store and sold out the first year. I will go back to her store this summer but dread the day I walk in and she's not there. Yesterday I met Bill the Hermit and today I met my second “Readers Digest” award winner.

    If you are taking a Lewis and Clark adventure and are on the west side of the Lemhi, stop in at the Tendoy Store. The COKES and SNICKERS are great.

    More coming…..... with Lewis coming up the Lemhi and still trading for more horses.
    #69
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  10. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    It's a sensitive and sore subject in our history. I was looking at a Clark letter a few weeks ago and Clark referred to York as his "manservant". In his Journals on the Expedition he referred to York as his "manservant". Probably a fancy word for "slave". According to Clark's brother, General George Rogers Clark, York was about 6 months older than William Clark and their father gave William Clark a gift of York before his death when William was just a few days old. York was his playmate and aid/servant/slave while he was on military duty before the Expedition....and when he was living in Clarksville. During their journals York was like a regular soldier, pulling hunting duties, rowing, scouting and did provide first aid care for and with Clark when soldiers got cut or sick. But York never got a penny or a land grant (300 acres) for his work on the Expedition like all the other soldiers /member of the Expedition.

    After the Expedition, York asked to be freed but Clark refused but helped York set up a drayage (freight hauling) business so he could be self dependent, giving him a team of mules and heavy freight wagon to haul freight. But eventually "freed" him but he is believed to have died of colora just a couple of years after freedom.

    I'm always open to hear and learn but I think you may have the 24 slaves mixed up with Pres. Thomas Jefferson, he did have 24+ slaves at Monticello and fathered a number of kids with one of his slaves.

    Lewis and his mother were near paupers when Lewis' father, Thomas died, pretty sure they did not ever have slaves. When Lewis left the Expedition he immediately moved and lived in Missouri his remaining short life never moving back to Virginia. Died 3 yrs after the end of the Expedition.
    #70
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  11. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    As I mentioned above, T. Jefferson set up the rules asking L & C to document their daily travels...might have been for his benefit but no other exploration was so well documented...Clark spent most of everyday measuring how far they traveled, which side of the river or trailthey they camped on, calculating mileage from campsite to campsite, describing every creek they passed, elevation, gps coordinates, sketching rocks sticking up out of the river, etc...things that are still there today...that we can follow.:deal
    #71
  12. fuhgawee

    fuhgawee Thats a road?

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    Was just riding up along the MO river. Nodaway, Oregon and Rulo.

    Enjoying your RR
    #72
  13. MiddleAgedMissile

    MiddleAgedMissile Long timer

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    Excellent report Mr. LnC!
    Couldn't stop reading once I started the first post. The story of the Lewis and Clark expedition is one of the two most inspiring accounts of discovery and adventures I've read. True heroics. The other is "Hero", an account of the life and adventure of T.E. Lawrence.

    Did you ever wonder if you were born decades too late?
    #73
  14. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Been there got the T-Shirt...guess the Lewis Steamboat is still at Rulo. Clark hit the shores at Rulo up towards Nodaway...:lol3

    and he and a 1/2 dozen troops wanted out of the boats and waded through mud and swamps the rest of the day picking berries. If my memory is right Mound City is across the river. All good farm country.

    #74
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  15. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    "Did you ever wonder if you were born centuries too late?"
    Fixed:

    Think that on a daily basis....

    but then someone reminds me of hot water, dental care, and running water. I wonder if two wheels is modern day man's (and women's) escape for a horse.

    I've met a couple of major authors of L & C books and both learned
    everything from books. Following in L & C's foot prints was been so much more of an education.

    #75
  16. ADK

    ADK shut up and ride

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    How many reports on these guys are you going to write? STALKER
    #76
  17. MotoJim

    MotoJim Been here awhile

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    On the Garmin 24K Topo map Agency Creek Rd is listed as 'Lewis and Clark Hwy' and follows Agency Creek all the way to Lemhi Pass. I rode up it on a loaded R1150GSA but I dared not stop in the steep section because I doubt if I could get the beast going up again after a stop.

    Lemhi Pass is just one of those places. 'Mystical' is the word that comes to mind.

    Can't get too much of this stuff.

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    #77
  18. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    Hooked! great read. One of the most fascinating ADVentures. I would like to travel more of it. Both sides of my family migrated following L&C. My Mother is 101 yrs old. Grew up on the homestead (still in the family) near Onawa,Ia. The farm is on the North side of Blue Lake state park. As a child she planted many of the seeds that make up the trees that stand there today. That lake was made from the river rechanneling of the river. Floods caused by the Whiteman trapping all the beaver. The beaver dams controlled the flooding. Those slew lakes were created from the environmental catastrophe of removing the beaver. My Mother told me stories that her grand parents told her of the floods. I have camped on some of the trail. need to do more.
    Other side homesteaded near Hamilton,Mt. Did Gibbons pass last time I was up there, and the lolo as well.:clap
    #78
  19. redwine65

    redwine65 Been here awhile

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    Great ride report!:clap
    I have allways lived in Omaha and never knew about half breed road.
    Your report makes me think I need follow this trail from Omaha west.
    your report also made me think of a place near here called desota bend.
    it's by the mo. river but I don't think the explorer desota got this far north, so I'm not sure why it was named after him.:huh
    #79
  20. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    If it's the same Desota Bend, (pretty sure it is) it is a small state park you overlook from Council Bluffs memorial...if it is, L & C and the boys, and Seaman camped in the Desota Bend Park for 4 days waiting for a "council" (meeting) with some Indians. You can see Council Bluffs Memorial from the Eppling Airport Terminal. When at the Council Bluffs Memorial on top of steep hill, if you look down toward Omaha from the Memorial you will be looking at the Desota Bend park....at the bend in the river.

    Thats how Council Bluffs got it's name...after the "council" L & C had with the local Indians.

    You should go by the Western History Museum in Omaha, great place to browse thru and have a vey active history club there...picture of Museum on page 2 of this RR.

    #80
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