The Great Western Enduro Challenge - 5,500 miles of dirt out west

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by CoyoteThistle, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Day 5 – June 2

    Slept well and got up and started the morning routine sometime before 5 AM. Woke to a few splatters of rain overnight and the tent fly inside and out is a bit wet. Once the sun rose over the mountains I spread it out to dry. Got some coffee going and slowly got all the kit together. Chilly morning.
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    I was packed and on the road before seven.

    I guess this is as good a time as any for a brief aside about something new I tried for this ride: I made some notes about road difficulty based on what I could see in Google Earth aerials and elevation profiles for each leg of the trip. On past rides, I’ve found that one of the challenges of riding into the unknown is that when things get difficult, I have no idea if there is another 20 miles of tough road ahead, or if it will get easy just around the next bend. More than once, I’ve bailed and turned around when salvation was just around the corner. There’s also just a psychological weight to being solo on tougher roads with no clue when things will get easier. So, I thought by making some simple notes like this:
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    I’d have more of an idea where I was and what lay ahead. Now, I typed these up when I thought I’d be going clockwise, so they are backwards. But I just have to read them in reverse but it should still work. So, yesterday I finished by riding the 47 paved miles to Steamboat Lk. Now I have 175 miles of good dirt plus some pavement into Wamsutter, WY. My definition of “good dirt” was good forest service roads or those county roads from yesterday. Narrow forest roads, two-tracks, and roads you can barely see in GE should not be included in this category. Maybe you see where this is going.

    Anyway, back to the ride. Based on my handy notes, I figure I can make it to Wamsutter for lunch. I started off at a leisurely pace on the road that leads north towards Three Forks.
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    Beautiful morning and area. Soon I’m humming along at a good pace. In 2017 I missed a turn and wound of staying on this road until it hit a highway. Somehow I didn’t check my GPS for 10+ miles that day (it was a long day as I recall). Need to rectify that oversight and complete the correct track into Wyoming. Off of Forest Route 129 and onto 129B. It quickly becomes more of a two-track (good notes!), but is easy and fun. I cross the state line pretty quickly. Beautiful country
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    Disrupted a couple marmots getting into the spirit of Spring on the side of the road. Sorry guys. It’s pretty wet up here still. Lots of mud puddles, but most could be avoided around the edges. Gooey stuff where it couldn’t be avoided. Lots of downed trees across the road have been cut, some pretty recently (can still smell the sawdust). There are some fairly recent ATV tracks, so I’m guessing the road will be clear.

    After not too long, the road got tougher. The name seems to have become Stock Rd. Lots of use by stock, that’s partly why it’s so torn up. Some steep descents and climbs, mostly pretty rocky. Pretty challenging for my abilities, but nothing horrible. Then I came to the first water crossing.
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    That’s the West Branch North Fork Little Snake River. It’s pretty deep, flowing fast, and the main channel has pretty big rocks. Not an easy crossing I reckon. There is a little bridge just upstream. I go back to check it out. Meant for hikers I assume as the footings have a ~2-foot step up. Industrious ATVers have piled up stones to make a steep little ramp and are clearly are using it. Muddy approach and an awkward looking transition back to the road on the other side, but looks better than the creek. Mounted the bridge without drama. Eyed the exit. Made the drop, squirmed through some mud and made a 90-degree turn back onto the road. Steeper than it looked and full of loose rocks. Trying to keep some momentum I just hit the gas and hope for the best. With no chance to pick a line, I’m all over the place and almost go down multiple times. Somehow I make it up. Sheesh.

    Slow going as I scout most of the bigger mud holes without workarounds. Then I looked down a steep hill at a bigger one with no way to avoid it.
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    The hill is too steep to easily stop and scout it and I don't feel like hiking. Here we go. It was indeed deep and soft. A little too much of both. Almost made it, but went down, luckily on the grass on the uphill side, not into the drink. Front wheel on dry ground, rear wheel almost out of the mud. My left leg was pinned under the bike pretty good. I work it free and then pick up the bike without letting it slip back deeper into the water. Successful extraction and I’m rolling again. At the top of a little pass, I pause for a snack and a rest.
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    45 minutes to cover the last 7 miles since I left the actual “good road”. Starting to wonder about lunch in Wamsutter. I looked at the map. This road merges with a forest service road in just a mile or so. Often a sign that road conditions will improve. The highway looks like it is still eight or 10 miles away.

    After a snack and after the adrenaline settles down a bit, I headed out. I reached the forest service road after a steep rocky decent. Road conditions don’t change much. More water crossings and puddles. The stream crossings are all easy as the ground was firm. The puddles were anywhere from easy to kind of a mess. Eventually I came over a rise and looked down on the biggest creek yet I thought I’m probably doomed now. I went down to take a look it was twice as much water as the last one but I saw something through the trees upstream, yet another bridge! I walked up to check it out. It would be similar to the last one, a bit tricky but probably doable. Got over (the Roaring Fork) and back on the trail.

    From here the road started getting a little easier. And eventually I was rolling right along again.
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    Made it to the highway and took another break, had a snack. Only 140 more miles of good roads before lunch!

    A few hundred yards of highway and I’m headed north on a wide forest road. I rode through here in 2017 and camped here, good memories. Right around here,
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    The trees just end. Won’t pass many more for a couple hundred miles. Other than some pretty nasty washboard, the riding is pleasant, until
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    They paved the road! This was dirt in 2017. Very disappointed. Soon made a left turn and back onto county roads
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    Still snow hanging in there on the north-facing slopes. Things are nice and green. Lots of antelope. I was soon on to some BLM roads passing in and out of the Red Mountain Wildlife Area
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    I’ll take that left fork in the distance and work my way west. Roads are pretty good but are constantly changing from clean hardpack, to rocky, to sandy, to silty – just enough to keep me on my toes. Making good time, but not flying along. That’s fine though, it is really beautiful out here.
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    As I continue west, I’m dropping in elevation and the vegetation is getting sparser. Still no cattle though, I think I’m still in the wildlife area.

    In the distance, I see the barren badlands, of the Red Desert, that’s where I’m headed.
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    I haven’t seen another vehicle all day at this point. I’m feeling very remote and isolated, when, as tends to happen, I come upon on an ATV. Pretty cow girl out checking on the herd? Well, no cattle so I don’t know what she was doing. Maybe something wildlife related, should have stopped and chatted. Passed her truck and trailer in a few miles and a few miles later I was at Hwy 789. Guess I wasn’t as out there as I thought. That was Wild Cow Rd. I cross the highway and it becomes Wamsutter Rd. I could take this and be in Wamsutter in 30 miles. Instead, I have a 75-mile loop to check out before coming back to this road 10 miles or so north of here. It’s 10:30. Looks like it will be a late lunch…
  2. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Day 5 - Part 2

    Instead of turning north towards Wamsutter, I continue west towards an area generally known as Adobe Town. It’s all BLM land, some of it a Wilderness Study Area, a big chunk is a Horse Management Area, and lots of it is a vast oil field. Roads started off good and I’m south of most of the oil operations. Lots of wild horses and more antelope to keep me company. The wild horses out here look very healthy. They spook too early to ever get a photo. Lots of different shades of greys including some dark ones that were stunning. Getting closer to the badlands.
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    Roads are deteriorating steadily
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    as I continue south and west. I cross West Branch Willow Creek and eventually I reach the rim above Sand Creek.
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    This is the main drainage for the area, but it’s more sand than creek. This marks the southwest extent of this little excursion, time to start moving back north. I mentioned deteriorating roads, eventually they were almost disappearing.
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    From here though, I could see the first oil well ahead. Roads should get better in a hurry once I get there. Sure enough. Wide decent roads lead me back to Wamsutter Rd. Fifteen miles of good road and I reach town just before 1PM. Mexican American Restaurant is the only gig in town. I’ve been eating a lot of Mexican food and I’m craving French fries, so I opt for a club sandwich. Waiter dropped off chips and salsa and the salsa is amazing. I probably chose poorly. Sandwich came on what must have been Wonder Bread. Fries were good. If you stop here, try the Mexican food.

    Filled up gas and worked on a plan for tonight. I’ve go about 60 miles of what I actually know will be good fast dirt up to Hwy 287 and Jefferson City. From there it’s a long highway leg deep into Idaho. I’ll pass through some National Forest near South Pass at the southern end of the Wind River Range. I’ll shoot for that as a camping spot.

    Sure enough, fine roads
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    Those mountains in the distance mark the northern extent of Great Divide Basin (in day-glo below).
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    None of the rainfall here ever gets to an ocean. The Continental Divide kind of splits around the eastern and western edges. I feel like I'm in the divide as opposed to crossing it. Early emigrants moving west avoided this area. Too dry. The Oregon Trail follows the Sweetwater River to the north, crossing the Continental Divide at South Pass. The Overland Trail skirts it to the south, crossing the divide at Bridger Pass. I'm headed perpendicular to those routes today through the middle of the arid sink. Then I'll follow the Oregon Trail for a while as I start working my way west in earnest.

    At some point along here I knew I’d cross my 2017 route, which would complete the route through Wyoming. I thought it was here
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    But looking at it now, the actual completion came several miles earlier when I passed BLM Road 3217. The initial Wyoming route should be complete! First state done, that took a while.

    Hit Jefferson City. Not much to it. There is gas, but I just stop long enough to air up the tires and watch some baby goats running around. It’s about 70 more miles to my planned camping area. It’s about 4PM.

    Hwy 287, as I mentioned earlier, more or less follows the route of the Oregon Trail. There are several historical markers along here. I stop at a few since I feel more like stretching my legs than getting to camp early. Most interesting was Ice Slough. Water flowing under the peaty marsh would freeze in winter and then be insulated by the peat and not melt until midsummer. Early settlers would stop here for ice if they were early enough in the season. Must have been a treat.

    Eventually a left turn takes me south on Hwy 28. Getting to the greener and more inhabited part of the state now. This is a view down Red Canyon. "Inhabited" is a relative term in Wyoming of course.
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    Found a campsite with a reasonably level spot for the tent and a stump to use as a table (yes, back into the trees!). Best feature though by far, was the refrigerator!
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    No warm beer tonight!! Not to mention chilled whiskey.

    I waited patiently for the drinks to chill and set up camp. The signs are telling me to “Be Bear Aware!” but I don’t know what that means around here. I carry a 50’ length of 1/8” cord so I can hang my food. They can’t say I’m not bear aware, but I don’t know if I’m being silly or not doing a good enough job.

    With everything set, I retrieve my beer. Little fella has been riding along since Tonopah and is the last of his mates. Oh yeah, ice cold! Sipping away and reflecting on the long day, I declare it a top five beer of all time. I'm not sure what that really means, but I remember sincerely feeling that way at the time :scratch
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    Tale of the tape:
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    230 miles or so of dirt

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  3. flying.moto

    flying.moto Earthbound Misfit, I Supporter

    Joined:
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    This is always, ALWAYS more awesome than chilling beers tied to a hotel AC unit, shoestrings or not... :lol3

    Now, sack-drowning a six-pack in a glacier runoff is pretty cool too....

    Regardless of method...

    :beer
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  4. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
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    227
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Day 6 – June 3

    Today is mostly highway. I’ll catch up to that record heat I’ve been dodging. I have about 15 miles to complete in Idaho and that state should be done too.

    Another chilly night and morning. Coffee on the boil as I get packed up.
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    I’m rolling by 6:30. Out to the highway and I soon turn north on Lander Cutoff Rd., which as a nice surprise turns out to be dirt. Up the western flank of the Bitterroots.
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    Somewhere up there is the high point of Wyoming, Gannett Peak. I was hoping to camp up in the mountains, maybe even take a day off to hike around a bit, but from what I can tell, it’s still too early in the season and things haven't opened up yet.

    Hit the tiny hamlet of Boulder and got gas. Pinedale isn’t far and looks like a proper town. I’ll hope for a good breakfast there. Found the Soul Café and surprised myself at how much I ate. I guess with just a smoothie since Wamsutter, I was ready. Today or tomorrow, I need to find a new front tire. I’ll be doing a bunch of highway so what’s left of the knobbies won’t last long. And, I’ll be going through some proper towns that might have something. Once I get to Washington and back on dirt, it’ll be back to small towns.

    The nice cool morning was turning into some real heat as I worked my way towards Idaho Falls, where there are several motorsport shops. Sign at the bank says 92 degrees. Got a tip from an inmate that looked like a good place to start. It must have been the kid behind the counters first day on the job. It took 20 minutes to figure out they had street tires or MX tires. I hand out in the corner of the place and make some calls. This is the first heat of the year up here and guess they are not ready to fire up the A/C. Sweating away, I eventually find one lead but he doesn’t know about mounting it today. The thought of doing it myself in this heat makes me nauseous. The thought of sitting around waiting sounds like no fun. There will be other opportunities, I’m rolling west towards Arco by 1:00pm.

    I rode across here on a hot day in 2017. It’s a pretty bleak ride, but I knew there was a rest stop about 2/3rds of the way across that had some shade. Happy to see it. Feels hotter than 90 now. Sure enough
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    I had it good back in 2017:
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    I like that they track radiation (the world's first atomic energy plant is out this way). it was 15 times higher in 2017 - should I have been worried?? Either way, the heat is the issue today. Boise Idaho will break its all-time record for the day by an impressive 5° with a high of 102°.

    Got into Arco. Too hot to think of eating so I just gassed up and headed out. Clouds ahead promise cooler temperatures maybe. 60 or so miles up Highway 93 and I'll get to my turn off. I tried two different routes through here in 2017 and 2019. Neither worked out great, but by connecting the better parts of the two, the Idaho route will be complete.

    As I head towards Willow Creek Summit (7,100 ft), the roads are wet. I have to stop and close all the vents on my jacket – temps have dropped 30+ degrees. Feels good, but I’m a little worried about road conditions once I leave the pavement in a few miles. Over the summit things are a bit drier and I turn right. Out and back 5 miles or so then 10 miles or so west of the highway. I can retrace my track and continue north on Hwy 93 after that. Rocky little two-track went pretty quick.
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    Headed back west. Wet over here, but the cool temps and the smell of fresh rain on sage has me enjoying this little detour. Little ponderosa pine forest and I get a nice nose full of fresh rain on pines. Nice.

    I’m climbing pretty steadily up Road Creek Rd and I reach a saddle at 8,200ft. Just dodging mud puddles on nice firm road up to this point. At the saddle, that all changes. The road surface becomes a dark clay that is super slick. I stop and look closer, it’s only the top inch or so that’s wet. It looks like kind of steep decent ahead. I need the next couple miles to compete Idaho. I flash on the idea that this just won’t be ridable. The Idaho route has been difficult to get done. I was just thinking the clouds and cooler temps were maybe, somehow, Idaho’s way of letting me off easy in the end in a very sportsmanlike way. Turns out it was a setup and this state is still trying to kill me.

    Well, gotta try. It is slick and steep. I try a slightly grassy line on the edge of the road but the less compact mud there is worse. I’m only going 10mph but balls of mud are flying all over the place. I try to stop at one point but the tires just lock up, not good. Gotta keep rolling. At some point it occurs to me that there is no way I will bet back up this thing. Hope the road improves rather than deteriorates.

    Several close calls but after less than a mile, the road starts to dry out a bit. Big sigh of relief and soon I close the loop at the intersection with Walker Road. Idaho is complete!
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    Knowing I can’t get up what I just came down in its current condition, I consider heading out Walker Rd., but it looks dark and wet. It takes me a second or two, but I eventually remember I have a third option. I can head down towards the East Fork Salmon River like I did in 2019, then turn right instead of left and get back to Hwy 93 at Challis. I head off and as I drop down, temps rise and I see some shade on the side of the road and stop. I expect the bike to be caked with mud, but there’s barely any. I find a few balls of semi-dry mud that have landed in various nooks and crannies. Strange stuff.
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    It’s about 5pm now. I’m tired and figure it’s time for a town night. Challis seems like a nice little town, will be nice to see it not shrouded in smoke as in 2017. I liked staying in Salmon in 2019 though. 50 miles further north. If I make the push, that will make tomorrow that much shorter.

    Hwy 93 curves endlessly along the Salmon River. A pleasant ride but I’m tired and sore in lots of different places. Very happy to roll into town around 6:30. I know the Bear Country Inn, where I stayed last time, has laundry, so that’s where I head. Unload, shower, and I’m ready to find some dinner. I walk towards downtown and all the restaurants have closed for the day or had gone out of business. Businesses, especially restaurants, in touristy towns seem to have been hit pretty hard by the pandemic.

    I had my heart set on pizza. Just closed. There’s a Mexican place but it gets just awful reviews. Chinese, closed. Brewery, shut down. I continue north and I can see the end of town before I finally see the Lantern Bar. Yes, they have food. I have a wonderful IPA while I wait for my order. First indoor beer in over a year! Top five beer? Maybe.

    The sandwich was excellent and a side salad gave me some needed roughage. Stocked up at the grocery store for tomorrow. USB chargers all going full bore to get the electronics back in shape after not plugging in since Salina. Temps are supposed to cool significantly in the coming days. Bed feels pretty good and I sleep like a rock.

    Tale of the tape
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    40 or so miles of dirt

    The little brown bit at left completed Idaho:
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  5. JoToPe

    JoToPe JoToPe

    Joined:
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    Henly, Texas
    Bravo!
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  6. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Day 7 – June 4

    This will be another highway-heavy day. I’ve got some dirt sections to ride just east of the Idaho border in Montana then I need to pioneer a route from Rock Creek Rd to Ovando, MT. If I can get all that done, Montana route will be done.

    First things first, I got a load of laundry going. Just about everything went in. Walked across the street for a big coffee and an everything bagel with cream cheese to go with it. Munched and drank as I got all the kit together. Clothes bag is the last thing to pack so once everything was out of the dryer, I was rolling.

    I saw a Yamaha shop as I was rolling into town yesterday. Figured it was worth stopping and checking on a tire. He only had MX fronts but suggested I try a auto tire shop outside of town, he thought they might have some bike tires. I was dubious, but thought it was worth a look.

    Went in and asked the gal behind the counter and she said nope, no moto tires. We started chatting and somehow got to the topic of people from the big cities moving into rural areas and driving up housing prices. This seems to be a widespread problem. I heard about it in Oregon and Nevada too. Not that housing prices are reasonable anywhere as far as I can tell, but I got her point. She also had a pretty negative view of these new people bringing their different expectations and attitudes to her town and expecting locals to adapt to them, instead of the other way around. I can imagine. Then she made some disparaging comment about Californian’s in particular. I mentioned that I’m one of those and that we are actually a pretty diverse lot, etc. etc. She went on for a bit how bad we all are but was still as friendly as can be to me as I eventually made my excuses and headed out.

    Gonna head north on Hwy 93 to North Fork, where I’d make a left turn and follow the Salmon River for a bit before heading over Horse Creek Pass and into Montana. I came to the road over the pass (Spring Creek Rd.) from the other direction (via Shoup) in 2017. It was a cool bit of riding and again, something I wanted to see without the smoke. With the extra heat lately, spring runoff is high and so are the rivers up here.
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    That’s the main fork Salmon running bank full.

    Spring Creek Rd is quite a road, it climbs from 3,500ft at the river to over 8,500ft at the pass in about 12 miles of. Not really steep, but quite an impressive road and the views are great. The top of the pass is the headwaters of the West Fork Bitterroot River. The plan was to follow that down until the road is paved and then detour to the west to wind down some dirt roads towards Hwy 93 and eventually to Darby, MT. Those roads were closed in 2017 due to a fire further west and it was pissing rain in 2019. Should be no issues today.

    First things first though, Spring Creek Rd. is in better shape than I remember it. But the continuous switchbacks were familiar.
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    The views already satisfying. Higher up, I started seeing some snow.
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    But the fact that the trees that fell over the winter seemed to all be cleared, gave me hope that the road might go through. By about 7,500ft I was starting to worry a bit.
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    And at around 8,300ft, it came to an end.
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    I’m not far from the summit, but that’s still feet of snow on the road. If I had realized that this road was so high, I might have thought better of this little detour. As it is, it’s an hour or so back to Hwy 93.

    The highway climbs up over a 7,000ft pass and eventually drops back down and I reach tiny Connor, MT. Still no gas here. I head up Rte 473 past Painted Rocks Lake where I pick up my dirt route and head back down towards Hwy 93. The roads are in good shape and I eventually earn some nice views.
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    And then a rest in the shade and a snack.
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    Still warm at around 5,500ft, but not bad. I wander back to a fork in the road I just passed and saw a locked gate on the other road. Whew, I thought, glad I’m not going that way. I roll on and, right on que, I hit a locked gate of the forest service variety. Crap. Forest Service in Montana seems to have a thing for locked gates, but much more on that tomorrow. Back to the issue at hand. I consult the maps and I don’t any way around. I do notice that I could easily ride around the uphill side of the gate. Even if I did though, good odds I just hit another locked gate at the other end. And probably some downed trees that would block my way. I really didn’t want to back track though. I make my decision and remount. Yadda, yadda, yadda, I come to another gate which can also be ridden around. Yadda, yadda, yadda, I’m on route and back to Rte 473 for a mile or so before heading north on Trapper Chaffin Rd., which dumps be back to Hwy 93. That little section is finally done. Headed north I pass through Darby (an official GWEC gas stop) towards the larger town of Hamilton, where I think I might have a chance at that front tire. It’s down to the center row and outermost rows of knobs. The other two sets are gone (do D606 always wear like this?).

    It’s about 2:30 as I roll into town. Get some fast food and search for moto shops. Call a couple and eventually Al’s Cycle said they have several dual sport front tires, come on down and check ‘em out. Sweet. I get there and the guy takes me in back to check out the selection. He’s a little surprised by how little they have. Most aggressive is a Shinko 700. That’ll have to do. We walk back to the shop and one of the techs says he can mount it up if I bring him the wheel. Done. They lend me a stand, I set up in the shade, and take them the wheel. I find a chair inside and enjoy the A/C. Mid to high 80’s out still. In chatting with one of the guys there, he told me Sheep Creek Pass usually doesn’t open until July 4th. Good to know. I also asked about camping up the Skalkaho Hwy. He says there’s lots and, by the way, I’m in luck, it just opened today. That is lucky! Saved me from a big highway/interstate leg through Missoula. Another reminder that it is early-season up this far north.

    After less than an hour, I’m mounted and balanced for $100 out the door. Perfect.

    Some road construction delays heading out of town but I’m eventually headed up the highway. Someone today told me that this is the “last unpaved state highway in the lower 48”. Though it was said with a bit of a chuckle so I can neither confirm nor deny this fun fact.

    I rode the upper part of this in 2019 in the fall. Skalkaho Falls was a nice stop then:
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    It was a different beast this time:
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    Pretty impressive. I’m ready to find a camping spot and up and over Skalkaho Pass, I come upon some spots along North Fork Rock Creek.
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    This will do nicely! And best of all, yep, that’s more snow banks/refrigerators! Woohoo!! I get set up and once again enjoy a wonderfully chilled beer as I sit and listen to the creek. No one else around.
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    Shiny new front tire was a real pleasure on the pavement and seems fine on the gravel.

    I boil some water for one of the two freeze dried meals I started the trip with. Not exactly “emergency rations” but quick meals that don’t include any cleaning of pots and such. Went down well and I again hung my food (Be Bear Aware!).

    Tale of the Tape
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    70ish miles of dirt

    New part of official route in brown
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  7. spuh

    spuh Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,384
    Been following along silently here and thought I'd comment thanks to your conversation with the gal at the auto parts store. I too live in what was once a perfect little town. Well almost perfect, but as close as I've ever found. Of course, it's been ruined by wealthy city folks taking over. So I can understand her frustration. Although I hope in my ranting and foaming at the mouth phase, I don't become as insensitive as she did with you. Sure, there are "good" city folks (even from California :D) who can and do adapt to small town ways. Unfortunately, the vast majority don't and in fact stridently resist, since they've just paid a premium to buy in to the "lifestyle", so they're entitled to force their ways on us. So, I understand her frustration. And one sure sign of gentrification is the locked gate. Ahem!

    Too bad you didn't make it over the pass, you were all of 200 feet away. One other benefit of not going alone here would be the doubling (or more) of labour available to shovel a path through that snow. And push/pull/winch the bike through. Them's the trade offs. Does this mean you'll just have to return again? I hope so.:ricky

    Thanks for taking us along.
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  8. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

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    Ventura, CA
    Yeah, I heard lots of grumbling in all the small towns if I brought the subject up. I'm a little surprised how widespread the exodus is being felt. Salmon, ID or Burns, OR I understand as a destination for these folks, but Gerlach, NV? Well, it will be interesting to see how it plays out over time.

    On the topic or returning, I'm kind of wondering, if/when I finish the route, I'll be motivated to try to ride the whole thing in a single push. It would be pretty tough so if I do, I'd likely want to do it with one or two others for the reasons you listed. Guess I'll have to find some local ADV mixers and make some rider friends if I do :-)
  9. spuh

    spuh Long timer Supporter

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    Oddometer:
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    I wonder if you're on to something there : like a tent space registry but for riding buddies.
    CoyoteThistle likes this.
  10. Dirtnadvil

    Dirtnadvil Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,184
    Location:
    Inside the Orange Curtain
    Great ride report. Lots of beautiful country.....
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  11. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Day 8 – June 5

    No rain overnight but the clear skies meant a pretty chilly night. Little frost here and there

    [​IMG]

    Made some coffee. Didn’t think to pick up anything to eat for breakfast while I was in town yesterday so got to skip that step. Rolling nice and early again. Skalkaho Hwy turns to pavement briefly but I soon torn left and head north on Rock Creek Rd., which starts off as a fine wide affair through small ranches
    [​IMG]

    After f few miles the ranches give way to national forest and I get my first look at the creek
    [​IMG]

    In 2019 this creek was full of wading fishermen. Not today. Just about out of its banks. The ride down the creek was much the same as 2019. The road deteriorates to a slightly beat up two-track then slowly improves as I inevitably approach I-90. Just before the interstate I know there is a little shop that should have something to eat. I stop in and find a friendly guy tying flies. He says there’s a restaurant next door at the campground and suggests the breakfast burrito. That sounds better than a snickers bar.

    I settle in and the waitress comes over. I order the breakfast burrito. She asks me how I want my eggs. Huh? Never been asked that for a burrito. “Scrambled?”, I say. She writes it down. She comes back a few minutes later and asks if I wanted a side of scrambled eggs with the burrito? “No, just the burrito.” Turns out it’s her first day. She’s a little flustered. Burrito is just okay.

    Head up to I-90 for a short jaunt east to Beavertail Rd. I tried to go north here in 2019 but got shut down by an apparently private road. This time I’ll try south through the national forest towards Phillipsburg. I climbed up and up on good roads until I hit a locked gate after about 15 miles. Crap. I consult the map and it shows a maze of alternative routes to get back on track. Okay, good. First attempt looks questionable as a thru-route
    [​IMG]

    and it soon dead ends at a power line tower. I look at the map and realize I missed a turn. I don’t remember seeing any roads. I backtrack and see the route I need. No longer a route. Six-foot tall trees growing on what looked like it was once a road cut. Back to the main road and I stop again for a map check. It’s clear that the majority of roads shown on the map have been abandoned. I need to get south and/or east. Everything to the east seems to dead end. There’s a possible route if I head back west that will open up a path to the south. I decide to give it a try. The gate at a three-way intersection is open so I give it a go.
    [​IMG]

    Good road but not well traveled. My expectations are low. It’s pretty and the riding is fun so I just roll with it. After a bit, I’m far enough back west that I get a nice view down into Rock Creek where I was this morning.
    [​IMG]

    The road mostly stayed on contour and wound in and out of canyons. I usually have a pretty good sense of where north is and what direction I’m travelling but this road had my head spinning. I have no idea if I’m headed in a useful direction any longer. I’ve just been following the only road where the map shows many. I’d like to get over there I think
    [​IMG]

    After 10 miles or so there’s a side road that I think is headed in a useful direction (south). I consult the map. Yes very promising! I head down the new road and hit a locked gate after 100 feet. Damn it. Back to the other road. After another three or four miles I come to a gate. It’s open. It also looks familiar. Yeah, I just did a big loop pretty much without knowing it. I have to laugh. I’m giving up on crossing this mountain.

    Here’s what all that futility looks like
    [​IMG]

    Back down to the interstate for a major re-route I guess. I take a look at northern route again but the makeshift “Not a Thru Road” sign from 2019 has been improved and looks almost official now. I stop at Beavertail Pond, which is packed (must be a weekend?). Sheesh, already 1pm. The map shows a frontage road from the next exit that heads east and eventually hits Hwy 1. This would get me within a few highway and ranch road miles of my route. If it’s all paved, my Montana route is screwed. I don’t see any other options really. A few miles to the next exit and right after the offramp, there’s the frontage road and it’s dirt. Good start. Next crux will be where I need to turn off the frontage road. There it is. Mullan Rd. I think it’s called. The “Not Maintained…” sign is a good sign that this is a real road (and not paved). The sign didn’t lie. It started off as a rutted mess. This might be unrideable if wet. Fine today though. A deer and fawn cross the road. The fawn is the smallest I’ve ever seen. Still wobbly-legged as it pauses to stare at me. It stumbles off before I can get the camera out. The road gradually improves.
    [​IMG]

    Cattle of course. Pretty country though
    [​IMG]

    Looks like I’m headed towards those antennas. High confidence the road will go through from there.

    It does and soon I hit Hwy 1. A few miles to the tiny hamlet of Hall (no services that I could see) then onto some ranch roads that turn to dirt and soon I’m pack on my planned track. Lucky that all worked out. I’m briefly tempted to follow my track backwards up into the forest and see if I could make the route work that way, but I’m deep into this tank of gas and need to get to Phillipsburg. More roads that might be messy if wet
    [​IMG]

    but good and fast today. I wind my way up into the national forest again as I head south and eventually drop back to Hwy 1 just north of town. I gas up and fill the water bladder. It’s 3:30 and I have 90 miles of dirt to ride if I want to get to Ovando…
    Fast1, bomose, GringoRider and 3 others like this.
  12. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,486
    Location:
    MN and NM
    I just found this thread. Two great ride reports. Long rides like this west are one of my favorite types of riding. We have done about 10 of them but concentrating in the southwest: NM, AZ, UT, CO, NV, CA. I am getting some good ideas for future ones from your reports.

    I immediately recognized the location of the Warm Springs hot springs pool. We stopped there on a Death Valley loop trip in 1979. The bar and restaurant were open then. The owners were happy to let us camp out around the hot springs pool. A big topic of conversation around the bar was the owners telling about their prison experiences kind of like in the Blues Brothers.
  13. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Thanks, glad you found it! Yeah, meeting folks at remote hot springs is rarely dull. Probably even more so in the 70's! That sounds like an entertaining night.

    I tend to prefer the southwest states you listed too, but I did quite enjoy WY and eastern OR.
  14. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Day 8 - Part 2

    After filling up the gas tank, I sit down and study my route a bit. My working hypothesis is that forest roads over about 7,000ft will still be closed. Looks like my planned route tops out at almost 8,000ft. I don't see any likely alternates through the forest that don't go over the high point. Well, only one way to find out. I ride through downtown Philipsburg, which is just adorable. A smaller version of Telluride with about a million fewer people. One thing the two towns had in common was quite a few fancy jeeps. Noted.

    I head out of town to the north and east and soon find out what those jeeps were about. It’s a horribly rutted and rocky road with a few steepish climbs mixed in. Slow going. After three or four miles though, the road improves and soon I’m down to Boulder Creek. Right turn on Princeton Rd. and soon I’m on a forest road headed up. After just a few miles, yep, locked gate. I don’t see an alternate through the forest. Looks like back out Princeton Rd. to Hwy 1 and north. Looks like a road that will get around to my route again up by I-90. Gird Creek Rd. might provide a short cut to that road. Headed in the right direction
    [​IMG]

    Nope, the road I need turns private while this main road dead ends up in the forest. Back to Hwy 1. Looking for my road, I turn off the highway thinking I’d found it. There’s a road name on a sign and it’s in about the right place. It passes a house a couple hundred yards up and seems to continue. A sign by the road goes on about this being a “Stand your ground” property and “no warning shots fired”, etc. Thinking this was my road and annoyed by what I thought was another dumb attempt to keep people from accessing public roads, I carry on. Not far up the road, I realize this is a driveway. Oh crap. Very quick u-turn and back to the highway, keeping my head down.

    Not long until I come across the right road. If it’s paved, I’m kinda screwed. I make the turn and am relieved to see Douglas Creek Rd is a nice dirt county road. It winds its way up into the forest and past several private inholdings. I grumble at the No Trespassing signs made to discourage you from carrying on. At one point there is a length of 4” PVC pipe laying across the road. WTF? I’m confident that I’m on a legal road and carry on. Eventually the road tops out and I can see where I’m headed
    [​IMG]

    After about 20 miles of nice riding I’m back to I-90 at Dunkleberg Creek Rd. It’s a quarter to six. I’ve got over 50 miles to go to Ovando. First two-thirds of that are what I think will be national forest so I figure I might stop and camp if I see a good spot. I’m pretty tired at this point.

    I speed off down the frontage road north of the interstate and it becomes obvious I’m not paying attention as the road does a 90-degree left turn and it doesn’t register until much too late. Stopping from 50mph on gravel takes a minute. Both wheels locked up I go straight, drop down a 15ft embankment (still sliding), and through what is luckily an opening in a barbed wire fence (still sliding), where I finally come to a stop. Shit a brick.

    Better shake off this mental fatigue and pay attention to the task at hand. Adrenaline pumping all of a sudden, I climb back onto the road and carry on. A climb up into the forest but it soon becomes apparent that this isn’t national forest. Lots of homes scattered through here. Won’t be any camping. Ovando or Bust.

    Spring Creek Rd. is windy and a bit rough but not difficult.
    [​IMG]

    Gotta get across that valley in the distance still. Sun is getting low. After about 25 miles I hit Hwy 271. Half dozen miles north I hit Helmville. Not much to it. Post office, school, a few houses. I’ll turn north here on Ovando-Helmville Rd.
    [​IMG]

    12.2 miles to Harry Morgan access, where I plan to camp. Probably ride into Ovando for dinner. It’s been breezy all day, but down here it’s really blowing. Cold front coming through that is supposed to cool things down for the next week or so. I like that, but right now the wind is killing me. When I head into it, I can barely hold 50mph. When it’s a side wind, it’s pushing me around. Made for a long 12.2 miles. When I reach the North Fork Blackfoot River, I notice it too is running very high. “Hope my camp site along the river is dry” I think to myself. Well,
    [​IMG]

    Camp sites are under a foot of water. The only other camping I know of is along Hwy 200 west of Ovando, but those are all along the river too. While pondering my next move, it occurs to me that since I camped here in 2019 and the route north of here is complete, this may be the finishing point of Montana. With all the re-routing today, I won’t know for sure until I get home and clean up some GPS tracks and do some math.

    I ride into town and stop in at Trixi’s. Saturday night so it’s somewhat lively. I ask a couple guys at the bar about any camping nearby. The drunk guy wasn’t super helpful, but he was entertaining. His buddy mentioned the spots along the highway but guesses they will be under water. But, he says, you can camp in town! Turns out this is a stop on the Great Divide mountain bike route (and I assume the route that motos follow too). The riders are good for the economy of this little town so they are doing whatever they can to encourage riders so stop here, including designating parts of town as camping zones.

    I thank the guys and ride a few hundred yards into town and set up my tent in one of the designated areas where there was a little shelter from the wind. Excellent!
    [​IMG]

    I ride back up to Trixi’s for dinner and a well-earned beer. It’s dark by the time I get back to camp. Wind is dying down finally and I sleep well.

    Tale of the tape
    [​IMG]
    250+ miles of dirt

    Lots of turn arounds and improv on the route today
    [​IMG]
  15. DrHeinrich

    DrHeinrich um.... huh. Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2015
    Oddometer:
    341
    Location:
    "upstate" NY
    Very cool. That's a lot of lifting to find a set of tracks that will work. Appreciated and curious to see how they turn out and if you are happy with the sections. Glad the tumble was a non-issue.
    CoyoteThistle likes this.
  16. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Day 9 – June 6

    Slept well again and crossed the street to the Blackfoot Commercial Company looking for some breakfast. Well stocked little store. Found some fresh fruit and yogurt. They have biker-friendly supplies too and I scored some baby wipes and Advil – one less stop later in the day. Oh, and like last time, free coffee!

    Chatted a bit with the store owner. Seems the high water in the rivers is keeping the fishermen away here as well. Not good for business. I’ve bought as much as I can fit in my luggage and a nice hat – first GWEC souvenir maybe.

    Today is another mostly highway leg. Need to get to southeast Washington. Chance to finish another state today if it all goes as planned. Hwy 200 west to Missoula. Temps have dropped a lot. If my down jacket wasn’t a pain to get to, I would have happily added it to the double layer of thermals under my riding jacket. By the time I get to Lolo I’m able to shed a layer and switch to regular gloves. A new episode of WTF helped pass the time up until now.

    Next leg is Hwy 12, which eventually follows the Lochsa River, which is running very high as well. Lots of rafters and kayakers. Looks like a blast. Then I see a couple guys walking up the side of the highway with surfboards. I gotta see this.
    [​IMG]

    Sure enough. Guys with the best skills were getting 30-second plus rides on this little standing wave. They’d jump in just upstream and paddle in just like a normal wave. When they got flushed out, they’d paddle up the eddies or walk back 100 yards or so along the highway. Good stuff.

    Lots of interpretive signage along here also gave good excuses to stop.
    [​IMG]

    Amazing how green and lush it gets all of a sudden compared to the more rain-shadowed mountains I’ve been through the last few days. Stopped for gas in Lewiston (or was it Clarkston?). It’s about 3pm. Temps are wonderfully mild – low 70’s? I’ve got about an hour of riding to get to the start of the dirt route. Then it’s 130 miles of mostly dirt through the national forest then down into Dayton, WA. Should find camping up there before I get to town. I’ll pass through the little town of Pomeroy, maybe find dinner there. That’s the plan.

    Passed through Pomeroy on my way to the start of the dirt just to the north. Not much open on a Sunday evening. I’ll do a loop and pass back through here soon and I can take another look. After a long day of highway, this was a welcome sight
    [​IMG]

    New York Gulch Rd would take me south back to Pomeroy. One place was open that looked like pizza and sandwiches. Bit early for dinner so I just carry on. Headed south on Peola Rd. through the Palouse (more on that in a bit) and I eventually turn off onto Pataha Creek Rd, which is soon gravel and takes me closer to the Blue Mountains.
    [​IMG]

    Climbing into the trees past the last few houses
    [​IMG]

    And into the national forest. The road gets steeper and rougher for a while before merging with a nice forest road, which takes me up to 5,500 ft and then heads down to less than 2,000. Then, you guessed it, back up again via a steeper and rockier road. Nice scenery.
    [​IMG]

    Back up close to 6,000ft and there’s some snow, but mostly fine roads now.
    [​IMG]

    Soon a sign piques my interest
    [​IMG]

    Short side trip and I find the warming cabin
    [​IMG]

    It’s got some supplies inside, some wood, and a stove. Tempting, but the dirt floor doesn’t look fun to sleep on. I’ll carry on. Soon come to Clearwater Lookout, a very tall fire lookout. As I’m leaving a see a guy and a dual sport hanging out across the way. I stop and chat. He’s from Clarkston (or was it Lewiston?) and up scouting out camp sites on his shiny new Husky 701. He says the road I just came here on was still snowed in recently. I asked him about camping options. He mentioned one campground but scoffed at it. I didn't follow up but figured it would not be my style. He told me about another warming cabin and offered to show me where it was. Short back track and there was another, smaller, little cabin. Situation inside was similar. He headed off and I pondered my next move. The thermometer on the cabin said 38 degrees. It’s about 5pm. It will be a cold night up here I reckon. I need to get to lower elevation I decide. Start my way down as the sun is getting low
    [​IMG]

    I pass a campground at the edge of the forest but it's packed with big RV's. I can almost hear the generators as I continue on by. Probably the place that scoffed at before. Good taste in camp sites that guy.

    Since I’m out of the forest and back into the endless wheat fields of the Palouse, I think I'm destined for a town night. Now then, the Palouse, you ask? Not a perfect example, but it’s a geology that looks kind of like this:
    [​IMG]

    Beautiful rolling hills that actually stretch out over a region mostly north of here beyond Spokane east and into Idaho, over 19,000 square miles. I rode through that northern area in 2019 when the wheat was mostly harvested. This time of year, it was mostly brilliant green
    [​IMG]

    The origin of these hills is complex but related directly to the area’s glaciation back in the Pleistocene. The glaciers scraped away at bedrock and formed fine-grained dust, known as loess. This was left behind as the glaciers advanced and retreated for a couple million years. Wind (note windmills) then blew this dust around and formed the hills that characterize the Palouse. The great Missoula Floods of the Pleistocene also played a role by eroding and depositing fresh loess that could then be blown around and further built up the hills. Interesting stuff. The result is a stunning landscape.

    The low light was beautiful on the hills. If I was more interested in photography than finding dinner there would have been some gems to capture. Beautiful way to end the day.

    After rolling through the farms on fine gravel roads for a while I roll into a very sleepy Dayton, which along with a few towns in Idaho, has the distinction of being visited on all three of my GWEC rides. It also means that Washington should be completed! It will have the highest proportion or pavement of any state I think, but it's a pretty good route in the end.

    There are two old motels on the south end of town. I choose the one on the right for the second time in a row. It’s only 6pm but it’s been a long day and I’m beat. Only restaurant that looked open is the Mexican place next door. I’ve eaten there twice and was truly disappointed both times. Third times a charm? No. The food just has no flavor or spice. I asked if they have an IPA on tap. Waiter says yes. What I got was probably a Corona or Bud Lite. Fine, but he kept going out of his way to call it an IPA. Strange. I put a can of my traveling beer in the freezer back at the room so I’ll go to bed satisfied.

    Tale of the tape
    [​IMG]
    100 or so miles of dirt

    [​IMG]
    Brown Section should finish Washington. It’s all south from here now.
  17. spuh

    spuh Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,384
    Hey! You passed up the Lolo Motorway. Or was it still too snowy? Anyhoo, a great way to end the riding portion of your day. And I notice : NO gates, locked or otherwise!

    I've been though Dayton many times but never spent a night (sounds like a good choice). I wonder if the lack of spice/flavour in the food has evolved to meet the expectations of the locals? But the hop free Bud Lite masquerading as an IPA? Did you ask what IPA stands for? I recall one labelled an Industrial Park Ale.
  18. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    I rode the Lolo in 2017. It was great and it's another spot that I'd like to see smoke-free. But yeah, I thought the chance of snow/gates was high enough to not take the chance. And that section of Hwy 12 was about as nice as highway riding can get scenery and traffic-wise.

    Yes, no locked gates! That was really just a Montana thing. I'm guessing they were seasonal closures for snow, but I can't say for sure. WA, UT, and ID were happy to let you ride/drive through snow or turn around when you reached it. If anyone has a guess as to what's up in MT with the closures, I'd be curious to hear.

    Ha ha. No, I did not ask what IPA stood for. Maybe "It's Pilsner Actually"? I asked the brand when I ordered and he mumbled something. Asked again and I still didn't get it. Now that I think about it, the reviews of the Mexican place back in Salmon that I skipped mentioned lack of flavor too. Maybe you're on to something.
    GringoRider likes this.
  19. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Day 10 – June 7

    Lazy morning as I get things together. Had to make a decision to re-ride the leg from here down to I-84 or just take the highway. I was waffling a bit until I realized I don’t have the track in the GPS. No sense in getting lost in the hills. I finally leave town around 8:30. After about an hour and a half of chilly riding (I remembered to add the extra layer this time), I get to a travel plaza thing at I-84. Well stocked little store provides some more coffee and some breakfast. This is where I decided to abandon in 2019 in the pissing rain. I remind myself to note how rideable the roads the rest of the day would have been in the wet – see if I was a wuss or smart.

    I shed a layer or two and head up the interstate for a few miles to the Summit Rd exit. This is the route. It turns immediately to rough dirt for a mile or so until hitting the tiny hamlet of Kamela, situated right on the Union Pacific line. I cross the track and head up towards the national forest. After a few miles I reach the point where I abandoned in 2017. The trees are noticeably taller.
    [​IMG]

    Lots of logging in the past along here. Once I reach the forest boundary, I get some nice views
    [​IMG]

    Nice gravel roads so far. After not too long, I’m on to secondary roads. Still in fine shape
    [​IMG]

    One pretty rough little connector road went on for about 7 slow miles. Called 125 on the map, the sign says otherwise.
    [​IMG]

    That bit probably wouldn’t have gone in the rain for me. My handy route notes, which have been just about worthless still, say 79 miles of mostly good road to the John Day River. Technically true so far I guess.

    Good gravel road (054) leads me to Hwy 244 which I cross to keep on the dirt. Soon turn off onto a secondary road and see the first people since I left the interstate. Couple campers who give a wave as I cruise by. Only people I’ll see over an almost 100 mile stretch today.

    After not too long, I come to a novel sight
    [​IMG]

    Not so much a road. I’ve gotten myself unknowingly into a bunch of ATV trails. This could go sideways in a hurry. Lots of dead trees to fall across the trail. What are the chances they are cleared? Guess I’ll find out.

    Eventually I come to a sign saying “Whoop De Do Trail” with an “easy” rating. It lived up to both. Lots of big rolling water bars and a few rocky bits is all
    [​IMG]

    In a little post-trip research it looks like that trail was cleared as of June 3. Lucky timing again. Back on proper roads I’m expecting to hit the John Day River soon. Lots of elevation to lose. That’s it down there somewhere
    [​IMG]

    Looks like there are two ways to get to the bridge over the river. A long gradual descent on this road, or a cutoff that drops directly to the river then follows it to the bridge. The latter seems more scenic but the road drops almost 1,000 feet in a mile and a half or so. I choose the scenic route. The descent is very steep in places and very rocky. It would be a bit dicey to come up, but going down I find pretty good lines and avoid the worst of the rocks.

    I follow the river and explore some of the side roads. Nice camping areas here and there. Another place to come back to with the fishing kit some day. Eventually get to the bridge and take a break.
    [​IMG]

    Notes say 36 miles of good roads to Granite. After that, I think the route into Sumpter will be a bit dicey.

    First things first. The road quickly climbs up again and there are some views for the first time in quite a while.
    [​IMG]

    Roads are mostly good and pass through some meadows
    [​IMG]

    and endless forest. As I climb above 6,000 ft there’s still some patches of snow about and lots of puddles. Some are mud holes, which are all avoided around the edges. Others are fun
    [​IMG]

    The game soon changes to dodging pot holes. After a bunch of hard hits, I finally relent and slow down a notch. About this time I realize I’m pretty tired physically and mentally. Relaxing the pace feels kind of good.

    It’s about 4PM when I come to the turnoff to Olive Lake. I take a quick look. Campground is meh. One family setting up. Looks like it just opened for the season. I’ve decided to make this a short day. The marathon days (by my standards anyway) have taken their toll. I decide to keep rolling for now though.

    Another dozen miles or so and I come to tiny Granite, OR.
    [​IMG]

    Not much to it. An old mining town that has just held on. The road is paved from here that leads southeast to Sumpter, my next gas stop. My route is supposed to head out the back of Granite and then back down to the pavement for a bit then it follows a maze of old mining roads north of the pavement. It all looked questionable during my planning, but I give it a try.

    First bit gets rough real quick and soon I get to a landslide covering the road. That’ didn’t last long. Back through town and I try the next section of dirt. After a few miles, it gets quite rocky but not bad. Then my route looks like this:
    [​IMG]

    Trees in the “road” never a good sign. I consult the map. It really is a maze of roads and it’s obvious some have been abandoned. Map shows lots of mines, probably a fun place to explore, but not today. I continue on the mainish road as it looks like it heads back to the pavement eventually. I concede the final 15 or so miles and head to town. I don’t expect that the little gas station there is open 24 hours so that’s my first stop. 87 octane only IIRC.

    It’s only 5:30 but I’m ready to call it a day. I passed a campground a few miles back. I ride back up but to my surprise it’s full. I know I want to eat in town, I’ve only had snacks today and no real breakfast. I decide to get a room at the Depot Inn. Head next door for dinner and settle on a pizza. Lots of leftovers that will serve me well.

    Tale of the tape
    [​IMG]
    100ish miles of dirt.

    [​IMG]
  20. spuh

    spuh Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,384
    So? , ..... What's the verdict? Wuss or smart? :lobby

    I've done a lot of road riding in this area with a bunch of guys who won't even ride the gravel of a parking lot. So I'm looking forward to seeing what the area looks like.

    But I never came across Kamela OR. For your next trip, the Great Whitehouse Enduro Challenge : Kamela to Joseph?