The Small Stuff, Idaho Style

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mars, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. mars

    mars Starbucks anyone?

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    Looking at a huge mountain of work I had on my plate last April, I had planned to get much of my backlog cleared that weekend. I was covering two positions with the Air Force and taking over a new business in town along with moving it, I was a little swamped.

    William, a very good friend of mine, was always reminding me that you should never sweat the small stuff, and by the way, it’s all small stuff!

    Not two hours I saw a ADV ride being putting together for the weekend starting in Bruneau to Murphy Hot Springs then following the Idaho Centennial trail to the Bruneau overlook. They were planning to leave Friday evening and ending up on the trailhead of the north fork of Lime Creek section Sunday evening for the first section of this adventure. Agonizing about the unmovable set of issues in front of me I did the right thing. “Where are we going to meet?” I said.

    As usual the adventure starts in my garage, gearing up my trusty dual sport motorcycle for the 350 mile trip. We had to pack everything including food, camping gear and water. I met 5 fine gentlemen and fellow adventure riders in Bruneau and we started our journey to the Wickehoney Stage Stop ruins a few hours past Bruneau. As usual we went to great lengths to stay off the pavement.

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    What an incredible piece of history, we were lucky enough to meet one of our local Mountain Home experts Connie, she was also camping on the old property, she told us a little about the history of the ruins. Connie works at Carlos’ Mexican restaurant and is quite a wealth of knowledge. Here is my trusty dual sport machine in front of the Wickehoney ruins.
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    The old house was built in the 1890’s by the Dow Dunning family and was standing until a few years ago when it burned down. The ruins showed signs of running water pipes and two stories; including this old oven.
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    What amazes me is that everything had to be hauled to the site in wagons over who knows how many years or months. There was a spring fed cattle tank behind the old ruins and running water next to the old ruins.
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    There is a small gravesite behind the house with a lone Jack Rabbit as a sentry
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    We found a good camping spot and settled down for the evening.
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    Then it was time for the evening refreshments and good conversation. My camping chair was well worth the extra weight and brought a few digs about not roughing it, they tried to shame me into giving it up, no way!
    The next morning we headed out on what I think was the old stage road on the way to Jarbige Nevada.
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    As I rode away from the ruins I thought about the great time I had last night, telling stories about past adventures and our future plans.
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    I prefer to travel by myself but when its time to stop and socialize nothing beats a campfire and good company.
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    The trail was getting harder to follow and then I came upon a herd of horses keeping their distance. When the trail fades away this usually signals the middle, it quickly started to turn back into a road in about a mile. The group passed one of the Air Force test ranges then grabbed the access road back to main highway; the access road leads to hwy 51 then it was about 100 yards to Grasmere.
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    What a step back in time this place is. I rode for another ½ mile then turned onto a road that leads to Jarbige.
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    Traveling along this area is about as good as it gets, along some beautiful desert roads. It was decided that a detour to the Cat Creek area was necessary.
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    This is a scenic overlook of the area. Sam had done some research about the canyon and there was supposed to be an old homestead at the bottom, off everyone went looking for the trail. It was soon found.
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    Our youngest and most fearless member tore off down the steep road as the rest of us sized up the task. One by one the riders skidded down the trail arriving at bottom.
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    At the bottom laid the old homestead and a nice meadow by the river. I took a quick power nap realizing the ride out would be a bit dicey. The way out was a quite a bit more challenging; riding over hard rock covered with various sizes of gravel ranging from marble sized to softball size can be tricky.
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    There was one area that had a step up after a 90 degree turn that was going to slow every one down, the trick was to keep the momentum. I started first the lost momentum and had to turn around for another try, I made it the second time. The team pulled together and made it to the top without any significant problems, except one. I could see that one of the members was starting to look dehydrated from the climb out; from personal experience I know this can ruin a great day. Not carrying a camelback or some type of hydration equipment is just asking for trouble! He didn't have anything but a few bottles of water tucked away in his luggage.
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    Not three miles later disaster struck as Phil let his bike veer into this ditch then into an impossible situation that led to this. Fortunately he was not hurt but the bike lost one of the panniers. The bag was strapped back onto the bike and off he went. Behind most of the accidents I have seen during adventure trips, dehydration is usually part of the equation.
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    The group rode on for several more hours and then arrived in Jarbige. From what I was able to find out; Jarbige sprung into existence in 1909 when gold was discovered and swelled to almost 1500 during the following years. It was also a focal point in the 2000 Shovel Rebellion where folks from the northwest protested government land use policies.
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    After fuel, a meal and some serious re-hydration by one of our group, the group headed for Murphy Hot Springs to camp for the night.
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    Of course a visit the springs was in order.
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    Camping was needed for another night of telling stories.

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    Next the Nevada trailhead for the Idaho Centennial Trail
    Enthusiast everywhere live for the moment when it all comes together and you get in your groove. Golfers, hikers, hunters you name it, wouldn’t waste their time if it were not for that brief moment when you hit the sweet spot. Down inside, all competitors know they will only succeed when they hit an area of complete concentration. In motorcycling it has nothing to do with being faster or showing every one how tough you are but it’s knowing your limits and feeling confident enough to push it to that limit.
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    A little background now; the starting grid at Texas World Speedway (TWS) 2004 I am picture right on the blue bike. I had the fortune to attend a number of road racing classes that year, this completely solidified my enthusiasm for the sport; the moment it all came together. A very smart instructor took an interest in helping, he probably thought I was too old to ride and wanted to make sure I would walk away. I had my own road race god for the entire day at TWS. He said, “Today you are going to ride all day without using the brakes, I will be right behind you so you better not try to use them! It’s all about being smooth and relaxed, you will never be fast if you are pushing yourself.” I took a big gulp and off we went for the first session. By the end of the day I was passing everyone in my class and lapping many of them. At that point, I realized what this was all about.
    This was a month later at Cresson Motorsports Park on my Aprilia.
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    The ICT trip was one of those days for me! Now back to the trip.
    After an evening of noise from a number of motor homes that appeared late in the night, we broke camp and headed for the Idaho Centennial Trail head near Murphy Hot Springs and the Nevada border. We all delighted in waking them up as we packed our bikes and rode off.
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    After a bit of searching we found the trail, thank goodness for GPS navigation. Two of the group were hesitant to ride the road down to the border, the rest of us headed down the hill to the post we could see several miles away.
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    We took a picture for proof then headed back up the hill and started our 86 mile journey to Winter Camp. I led this short section and doubled the pace, realizing this was going to be a great day, I was in the groove.
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    This was the type of terrain my KTM was built for. I could tell the KLRs were struggling with the pointed rocks and ruts the trail presented. I rode sweep or last the rest of the day, except for a few short sections taking breaks to allow myself to ride my pace. My preparation had paid off in spades. I was having the time of my life!
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    Above left, one of the other riders was a mountain bicycler; I could tell he was feeling the second wind also and having a good time.
    The evenings spent running or bicycling had conditioned me just enough to spend the entire day standing on the pegs. Not standing was one of the mistakes my fellow riders were making. My bike was designed with little compromise to be ridden while standing. They had all set their bikes up with comfy seats, tank bags and the controls set to be used while sitting, big mistake in my opinion, sorry guys.
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    For myself, one of the requirements for being loose and precise is to first hit a point of exhaustion and then having the endurance to hit a second wind. The first two days got everything in line mentally and physically.
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    For professionals this trail was a freeway but for an old duffer like myself this was so sweet. Hitting large rutted sections and knowing exactly how my bike was going to react, I started to relax. Every time I rode through a technical area I wanted to go back and do it again; I knew there would be another great area just around the corner. I stopped many times to let the group travel at their pace and was absolutely awe struck; looking around for as far as I could see, nothing in sight. I might be a little claustrophobic but what a feeling of freedom.
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    The ICT trail markers were mostly there and with our GPS navigation, there was never a chance for us to veer off the track or into something we shouldn’t! We traveled on the designated trail roads and never tore up any of this spectacular grassland.

    The day wore on and I just kept feeling better and better. There were a few crashes at the front of the pack, they were competing a little too much from what I saw. I also was in charge of litter control.
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    I did pick up a few parts and pieces that broke off the KLRs as they struggled through.
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    Sam not feeling too good about his bike shedding parts along the trail.
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    Getting a few comments about buying some high-strung foreign rally bike during our bench racing sessions at night surprised me. I could tell they thought I “didn’t get it”, riding a bike that had an uncomfortable seat and vibrated too much, were some of the comments, what ever. The higher seat means there is less distance to move your body when standing, this conserves energy. As for the vibrations, more power is a good trade off, especially when you need to launch out of a sand wash or climb a hill.
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    If you have traveled through the Owyhees you quickly learn what a rock garden is. These are Cat Head sized rocks growing out of the ground, lots of them. They are dense enough that you can try to ride around them but finally just give up and blast through. There was a speed on my bike that it seemed to float over them or just skim over the tops, you better be “on your game” as they tend to deflect the tires a little from side to side. You don’t want to take a spill on these rocks; it would be like trying to survive the spin cycle inside a giant washing machine.
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    There are a few gates on the ICT, we always left them closed. Other obstacles are ruts, big ruts like these. Riding out of one of these man eaters can be risky, as the tire tends to slide back into the rut as the bike tries to continue. The result is falling down, usually going over the bars and smashing your face into the ground. I suspect this happened more than once with the group at the front. The best thing is to ride them out; I started to drop into them just for the challenge.
    In what seemed like just a few minutes we arrived at Winter Park for a rest, the official end of the ride.
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    Ryan broke out his water filtration system, this is on my must have list for the next trip, we took nasty creek water and turned it into very good drinking water in just a few minutes. One of these devices is absolutely necessary for traveling the southern part of the ICT. I graciously refilled my camel back while downing a few power bar gel packs and took a quick power nap while the rest of the group fixed themselves some lunch.
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    In spite of the issues many of them were overcoming, it was 5 guys grinning ear to ear like kids on Christmas morning. For myself, motorcycle trips like this are all about conquering those little fears and sometime big fears.
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    We were just a few miles from a main road and the rest of the group was starting to quickly fade.
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    I convinced them to find the trail from Winter Camp to the Bruneau Overlook, there is a re route of the trail that we fell into so we missed part of the original route. I plan to complete this section in the fall. We struggled to find the trail for a while but ended up at the overlook 18 miles away. The two members that were left wanted to head back so we split up and I rode the 25 miles back to Mountain Home and ended the day feeling recharged and ready to attack my private life with the same passion. Unfortunately, at work the next morning I was greeted with a Nurse Ratched clone, this was just a temporary problem.
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    I like your Idaho style!! Excellent report and pics, thanks for the posting :thumb
    #2
  3. ryanwilliamcantrell

    ryanwilliamcantrell Get Out and Ride!!

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    Sitting was more comfortable - being that it was a 200 miles trip. I seem to have gotten through the toughest terrain we faced - and being the only one who didn't unpack all gear before entering it?:confused Some guys like to ride light, some like to ride heavy. :nod

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    I don't remember folks making comments about the LC4 - but then I wasn't around the campfire for all of it either. Sorry if someone offended you. :dunno


    Nice report. :thumb

    I enjoyed riding with you.

    We're looking at hitting the same ride agian, in the fall when it's cooler.
    #3
  4. mars

    mars Starbucks anyone?

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    Ryan, It's good to hear from you, I have been conditioning myself for the Nevada Rally Experience next week by installing a new set of 908 RR’s in the garage this afternoon in 104 degree heat. This is like living in Texas again. I just finished a front to back service of the bike and added 15 mm of spring preload to the front forks, I want to be ready more desert style riding. You should ride Idahosky’s new bike, he thought it was running poorly. I am about 205 and it kept trying to lift the front end in 2nd gear and I was leaning forward.
    #4
  5. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    Nice. Thanks, John.
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  6. tvbh40a

    tvbh40a PSUViking

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    Beautiful ride you guy's took. Maybe I can keep up with my little 990adv sometime.:lol3

    Ryan did you retreive your bike yet?:D
    #6
  7. ryanwilliamcantrell

    ryanwilliamcantrell Get Out and Ride!!

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    Jeez, that's my kind of DS!! :eek1

    Hope you have a great time - you've surely earned it with all the work you've done lately.:nod
    #7
  8. ryanwilliamcantrell

    ryanwilliamcantrell Get Out and Ride!!

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    Ya. :tough

    Left Nampa at noon, and got back at 2am. Sucked.

    I'm taking it to Carl's this week, to see if it's the CDI or the coil... either way, it's still under warranty (5 year extended).

    You should come with us this fall to run it again when it cools down. I think Sam was looking at late Sept. or early Oct.? I'd like to leave early, and make it to Elko and back on the Jarbidge road... and join the group to head north out of Murphy Hot Springs.
    #8
  9. Idahosam

    Idahosam Set Adrift

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    Mars, Very nice job! I have not heard from you in quite sometime now, I know you had a very full plate earlier in the year; perhaps things are leveling out enough for you to take in some fall riding.

    About comments of your ride, if memory serves me, most were only in jest while around the campfire since we were pretty envious of that well setup machine of yours, so I am sure none of us intended to be malicious. And yes KLR's are what they are, good work mules, not great by any since of the word.

    Hope to see you out there sometime. Again good to hear from you.
    #9
  10. mars

    mars Starbucks anyone?

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    Good to hear from you Sam. My current job is 7 days a week right now, I am looking forward to the NRE next week and a break from work.
    #10
  11. tvbh40a

    tvbh40a PSUViking

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    Sam? ride report and pic please....
    #11
  12. tvbh40a

    tvbh40a PSUViking

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    15mm preload to front springs= need stiffer front springs. That much preload will make initial travel to stiff. Sucks on the stutter bumps.:deal
    #12
  13. Idahosam

    Idahosam Set Adrift

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    I'll get something going today/tonight sometime.
    #13
  14. ryanwilliamcantrell

    ryanwilliamcantrell Get Out and Ride!!

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    2 failures in 40,000 miles. I'm starting to frown on mine - that being said, few abuse their in the fashion I'm accustom to, either. But... they're both electrical... so I don't see the relationship.:(:
    #14
  15. mars

    mars Starbucks anyone?

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    Precision Concepts in Temecula Ca. are the ones that recommended the added preload, I think I will stay with their advice, thanks for the suggestion. I installed the 52 springs that are the stiffest they had for these forks, I didn’t install the added preload and the ride was actually stiffer and they tended to pack up as they were traveling in the lower end of the stroke.
    I rode one of the 660 KTM Dakar bikes last year and that ride is my benchmark. After a 40 mile test ride yesterday I am closer, but it will never be quite that good.
    #15
  16. mars

    mars Starbucks anyone?

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    I just got back from the NRE and this is a good example of the technical sections, my suspension worked great. I had about another 3/4 of an inch of travel left for emergencies according to my fork scraper rings.
    It tracked great in the open desert areas too.
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    I shot over 2 hours of helmet cam video of the event course and will post it soon.
    #16
  17. Stephen

    Stephen Long timer Supporter

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    Way to go, John! :thumb

    Great report, and as always, great pics. :nod

    Hope Mountain Home's newest geek and nerd shop is a success. :lol3
    #17
  18. boxertwin

    boxertwin Long timer

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    Good post Mars!
    #18