Trippin' in and out of the Rednek Republik

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by N-Id-Jim, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

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  2. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way...

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    I'm stoked for you! Thanks for the route tips you gave me a few weeks ago. It was one of the best tours I've done yet.
    Cheers!!
  3. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

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    Looks like you have fun ahead.
    N-Id-Jim likes this.
  4. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

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    Zubb, thanks.... BTW I am still looking forward to seeing a report on your trip..

    Bug, I will hopefully report back here with a picture or two...........
  5. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way...

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    I want to, and will likely do a very brief one as I've started a new career and the schooling part has me buried. Hopefully soon.
  6. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

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    Ok so it took me over 4 months to post up this little ride, so sue me! I have just been really busy this year and just have not gotten around to putting the ride report together, so here goes.

    Way back in June beginning on Fathers Day, I took off on a little trip, i have the story for you here. I was bummed as on the second day my camera died, and while i thought i had a good charging system rigged up i failed to make it work, so i got a few picture here and the rest is just a bunch of blow hard words describing the route i took and the places i saw.

    Here is a linky to the route

    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/47....6b2!2m2!1d-115.9779188!2d46.1448942!3e0?hl=en

    June 19th 2016.

    So I finally did it. I had been planning to take off on a head clearing romp on the VFR for a number of weeks…not to just ride off into oblivion for a number of weeks, that would be too good to be true…. I had just been hoping for well over a month to get out on a good muti-day scoot, and for whatever reason, weather, schedules, commitments, family stuff, etc. etc., you name it, the trip that is, just kind of kept slipping away from me out into the distance somewhere. Damn it. I cannot recall a year in recent years when I haven’t been off on at least one moto-camp-gallivant before the first of June, but here it is, Father’s Day, and it still hasn’t happened… at least until today… Fathers Day.

    So my chance finally came. Or maybe I just fabricated a chance. My sister told me she would be in Boise for a couple days as of June 19th, so I figured that would be a good time to go have a visit with sissy Janet. The way I figured it, it would be easy to map out a twisted route from Coeur d’Alene to Boise which would require about two days of riding, and one night of camping in the middle. Then maybe two more days of riding to get home again. As it usually typically happens, I managed to pin down this date of departure at the last minute and then after springing my newly hatched plan, I spent several evenings in the garage prepping my gear and doing any needed mechanical maintenance. That pre ride ritual does several things. First and best, it gets me all geeked up mentally to head out on the road, it assures me my kit is all mechanically sound, and it never fails to get under the skin of my S.O. that I am blasting off alone, again.

    Being a Dad, and as of lately a grand-dad too, I left Coeur d'Alene after a fine Father’s Day breakfast feast with my two boys, their wives, my grandchildren, and Sue. A big old breakfast of eggs benedict and loads of coffee is a great way to start any day, but its’ even better when shoving off on a little adventure. My initial heading is for a trip to Catherine Creek State Park in Oregon, which isn’t really all that far away, but with some creativity I am pretty sure I can make a full day’s ride of it. So I left Michael D’s on the east side of Coeur d’Alene, taking an easterly route along the north edge of the lake. I chose my path along the curvy Hwy 97 on the sunny east side of Lake CdA. It was a pleasantly cool day with broken clouds making holes for the sun to illuminate the hills and waves with a patchwork of varied blue and green hues. The stiff breeze was pushing a frothy crest over the waves up the lake. Being a bit up in the trees I was protected from the wind and the ride was sublime while watching the constantly changing moods of the fast moving sky.



    I rode straight through to Harrison, where I often like to stop, but being a bit early for beer, continued on down toward St. Maries. This is a perfect road for this morning as the challenging nature of it is providing the needed test. My viffer has a completely new suspension set up that I've been anxious to sample with a full luggage load. The bike worked as well as could be expected, maybe even better. It seems smoother yet firmer and holds a clean line in the turns, even on chattery pavement. I test blasted my way to St Maries and then kept grinning southward on down the scenic White Pine Hwy 3. The nonexistent Sunday morning traffic allowed me to carry a brisk pace as I worked my way through the spiraling climbing and descending curves of the forested byways. At the junction I elected Hwy 6 toward the tiny hamlet of Emida knowing that just beyond the village the tight asphalt arcs up and over the White Pine Summit await me. This path never disappoints, and today is no exception.

    The ride was cool but not cold, and it was breezy, and the sky was moody with the clouds breaking into blue. I could see the sky to the south was going to be beautiful as I continued from the summit of the white pine highway down through Harvard then turned where the arrow pointed for Deary. I haven’t been down through Kendrick and Juliaetta in a while and since it is such a pretty ride during the blooms and greenery of May and June, I hang a left onto Hwy 9 to head that way. The town signs of Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford along here always crack me up as I tool through the vast forested nothingness of north central Idaho. I have passed maybe six vehicles in the last thirty miles. I can only imagine how remote it must have been when the young college trained engineers came here over a hundred years ago to build sawmills and railroads. I am guessing it took a bit of adjustment on their part to adapt. Hwy 9 now slices through this part of the land as a railroad engineer would have it, straight and to the point. There are only a few curves along the line from Harvard to Deary where I reconnect with Hwy 3, so it doesn’t take me long to highball through that corridor.

    Back on 3, I am headed for one of my favorite places the Kendrick grade. The view from the top of the grade is/was gorgeous.




    I stopped for a photo or two and admired the grit of the swirling swallows residing in the sandstone cliffs.


    Then I just rode right into the postcard scene drifting down the hill and into the Kendrick Valley that is created by Potlatch Creek. The ride continues down through Juliaetta and the long lazy creek canyon until it meets the Clearwater River. Highway 12 rolls along the Clearwater River past the garish indian casino, then by the huge Potlatch paper mill as it eases into Lewiston. I always eye the busy mill across the river with great curiosity as a construction project there is why I came to work in Lewiston, Idaho in the first place back in 1991. I worked on a plant expansion there for about eighteen months. I still have an odd affection for that crazy place.

    It was warmer in Lewiston, maybe 70 degrees now. About noon. I don't think I saw any temps warmer than 70, which is odd for this neck of the woods at this time of year. Normally you would brace yourself for the blast of heat you get in your face from the solar collection and reflection of the basalt all laid bare here. So it was kind of fresh to roll through town in the cool breeze. Not wanting to stop today I motored straight through town and on down into Asotin Washington, where I refuel the bike and a have short break of chocolate milk and peanuts before heading up the Anatone grade. I always look forward to this next section of road as it is just a blast to ride whether on a bicycle, motorcycle, or a skateboard. I have two of those three, have gotten road rash at times from both so I never got into the skater crap. Amped up to ascend the ridiculous curves of the Anatone Grade, I clicked into gear and started up the hill, but today however, there were fresh and slick tar snakes on the road, all over the road in all Ziggy zaggy manners, up the grade and the traction was a little bit treacherous. Getting on the throttle and leaned over a bit my tires stepped out numerous times, un-nerved I just cooled my jets and enjoyed the views as I wound my up around the points and in and out of the deep draws. I hope they get those things sanded off before I come back!

    Up the big grade and across the high Camus Prairie plateaus it was a lovely ride but those snakes were wicked. I topped out on the steep grade and rolled up the long slopes to the little Berg of Anantone. I always get a big kick out of the town’s welcome sign as it announces how many cats and dogs live there as well as people and horses. Further up on the high plateau above Anatone you come to Field Springs and the edge of the Grand Ronde River Canyon. From the top of the canyon the escarpment just drops away. It is a six or seven mile plunge down the snaking road known as the rattlesnake grade into the bottom of the canyon, then once across the bridge the fun begins again for the up the climb up the Oregon side of the canyon. At the bottom, near the bridge, is Boggan’s Store which supposedly has wonderful milkshakes, but oddly enough I have never stopped there.


    After working some more of the rubber off the sidewalls of my trusty Michelin PR4 tires on the long ascent back up to the top of the rimrock, I stopped at the Chief Joseph Canyon overlook. This is great place to stretch and get some cool and scenic photos before continuing on down to Enterprise. While I was there several other riders pulled in to admire the view. I tried to converse with a couple of BMW riders but of course they would have nothing to do with the likes of me, a lowly Honda guy. As far as I am concerned they can ride straight off one of those switchbacks. Lotsa luck bitches!

    From Chief Joseph lookout it is a brilliant ride down the tree lined two-lane highway which descends toward Enterprise with the stunning Wallowa Mountains rising up as a backdrop. The scene is just stunning. It is hard to keep your eyes on the road as you want to stare at the magical snowcapped peaks, but it is best to keep your attention on the roadway as you roll down there at 75 miles per hour. Into Enterprise, of course I had to make a quick stop at the Terminal Gravity brew pub. It would be a huge missed opportunity to roll through here on a sunny summer day such as this and not sit by the pretty tree shaded creek and enjoy a cold beer. Inexcusable! So I dutifully stopped for necessary adjustments...


    With my thirst slaked by the ice cold beverage, I soon remounted and headed westward up highway 82, with La Grande just an hour or so away.

    Highway 82 west out of Enterprise winds across broad expanses of green swaying grassy meadows bookended by the frosted caps of alpen-like Wallowa and Blue Mountain Ranges which accompany a rider for many miles through this part of Oregon. The going is gentle at first along the graceful meandering curves of the Wallowa River, but the route soon becomes exhilarating canyon walled sweeper bends for a good number of entertaining and car free miles. Then after the Wallowa River flow turns toward its meeting at the Grande Ronde confluence, the tarmac forks away and begins a rapidly flowing asphalt ascent of the Minam River canyon up and out of the bucolic Wallowa valley. Out of the canyon and blasting across the upland grass lands, the miles melt away at a brisk clip until the vast valley of La Grande in the upper Grand Ronde River Valley spreads out below in splendid full frontal view. Then the geology drops me again down into the fertile place that was the dream of so many pioneer travelers of the Oregon Trail.

    My mind always races and churns out so many images of what it must have looked and felt like to come over the crest of the hills from the south and what must have gone through their minds when the scene of the fertile Powder River Valley unfolded before them. I know that I love it every time I see it. For them, the lucky ones who survived the continental crossing ordeal, it must have been like arriving in heaven. When the waggoneers arrived here they hoped to find some clean water to drink, grass for the stock, and maybe some venison to cook over a fire…. I am going to stop for some ice cold beers to compliment the handy camp provisions already in my saddle bags. Not wanting to deal with the scene in Walmart, I settled for a little convenience store where I filled my up fuel tank, got a six pack of beer, ice, and a Hostess cherry pie for desert while in camp. Oh, and I always grab a pint of chocolate milk for my morning routine. I don’t think that was an option back in the day.

    With my provisions stashed on the Honda I left La Grande for a short 5 mile blast down the interstate freeway to the Highway 203 exit which heads east again towards the settlement of Union. Along the way I took a quick curious peek at the hot springs campground which is just about halfway between La Grande and Union. A leisurely soak in the mineral hot springs sounded nice but the setting just didn't look like my kind of place. I thumbed the starter button and motored on into Union. I am always impressed with the appearance of Union. There is more here than what one might expect to find. Stately masonry buildings line the short main street and there are several cafes and a hotel. It looks like a place where I would like to stop and spend a little time, sometime, but I just meandered through and continued to make my way on down to Catherine Creek State Park.

    So my Sunday ends here where I am camped next to a lovely and crackling fire. A gorgeous evening is settling over the hills as the suns glow is starting to fade, I expect that tomorrow will be yet another Bluebird day too. Catherine Creek State Park is a terrific little place to stop and spend an evening. The clear and fast running creek flows create a terrific and peaceful environment as the water courses its way down through the rocky obstacles of the canyon. The cascade sounds echo through the trees and wash away the last of any ringing road noise in my ears. There are some nice little hiking trails here that would be worth some time to explore. They're never seems to be enough time to just experienced everything that is available. I had the usual camp dinner of noodle doodle with chicken and of course plenty of beer. I am now enjoying the campfire as the evening turns past sunset and the stars are beginning to peek out between the treetops.


    Entertaining myself, I voice babbled this memo into “notes” on my cellphone:

    I am camp firing at Catherine Creek and enjoying myself maybe more than I should. I told myself that I would make it till midnight. I have logs on the fire that will certainly last, I don't know if I can though. It is now maybe 10 p.m. and I am mentally fading but the fire is still bright. Deep in my mind I am still willing but not sure that I will physically make it to the official witching hour. Next time I need to bring whiskey, the beer is good but it just doesn't have the bite that I would like to have to put me in the final sleep mood. Regardless, it's a grand evening. The stars are out, the fire is blazing, and I am enjoying this peaceful wellness in the solitude. I'm looking forward to riding down into Hell's Canyon.
    PNW Buttercup likes this.
  7. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way...

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    Nice to see your update.
  8. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

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    Thanks Man! Stuff just seemed to get wildly busy this year, added two grand-babies to the litter, a college graduation, and tons of crap at work that just sorta makes all your time go poof! I will try to get the rest of the story posted soon...........
  9. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way...

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    No worries... we all know the drill. Life is good, and being busy isn't bad. It often beats the alternative.
  10. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

    Joined:
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    Day 2 was going to be a long one, but i didn't know it yet...........

    June 20th, 2016 started clear and cold. During the night in my sleeping bag I rolled around tactically trying to keep the cold draft out and the chill off me. It only kind-of worked. It wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t in a hurry to roll out into the brisk morning air either. Thanking myself for the forethought, I hastily arranged some small pieces of kindling and tinder in the pit and quickly got some warming flames flaring up. In a few minutes more, my jet-boil was hissing a vapor trail of steam into the sky, and it was time for that magical first cuppa. All beanied and bundled into in my little camp chair in front of the crackling fire the day was arriving before me. Watching the dawn grow into daylight as the sun slowly illuminates the trees on the ridge from shadows to backlit silhouettes and finally to warming rays on my face is always a pleasure.. it could be cold, drizzling, and miserable, but my lot in life today includes cobalt blue clear skies.

    I don’t really have too far to go today so I am dawdling and poking about. After a short hike on the hillside trails accessed by the footbridge across the rushing creek, the morning chores of reorganizing my camp gear back into a compacted travel kit, were all done in about an hour. By 0930 it was time to douse the last of the coals in the fire-pit and roll out of the campground onto Oregon Hwy 203 southward toward Medical Springs.

    More logging trucks traverse this byway than any other category of vehicle. That statistic is purely my own. This region still produces a lot of forest products, that is why there are roads here in the first place. When riding in these areas it is prudent to keep these notions in your head as it can save your life. The right of way is always narrow and challenging and the big rigs are long and cumbersome. As a result, the truckers tend to cheat across the centerlines on curves and drag their axels in the gravel on tight right handers. That combination can cause a big surprise to a motorcyclist if you don’t pay attention. So pay attention!

    Rolling out into the bright morning sun, the shadows of the deep forest play games as the trajectory of the road varies from ascending straight into the glaring orb to dropping into deep shade. I have traveled this road before and thoroughly enjoy the varieties it serves up. A short ways down the road I passed by the defunct mill town of Pangosa where I stopped a few years ago and visited with the elderly proprietor of the unique old general store.. Not being in a hurry I should have stopped in to see if she was still kicking and keeping the shelves stocked with the bizarre variety of inventory I saw before. I am still kicking myself for not pausing as I know that she will not be there much longer and when she goes that store will go too. What’s the hurry anyway? Shit. Did I turn around and correct my error?? No! WTF?

    Just a few miles on down the Hwy 203, aka the Medical Springs Hwy, is the Miles Bridge Road, also known as the Keating cut-off road. This is a stretch of rural Oregon backroad that creates a shortcut from the Hwy 203 to Union over to the Hells Canyon Highway 86, bypassing Baker City in so doing. Not that I dislike Baker City. Quite the opposite actually. Baker City is awesome and I have stopped and stayed there numerous times, but today I am not low on gas, tired, thirsty, or hungry, and I have never taken this short-cut before. The only reason for avoiding this stretch in the past because is the map indicates the asphalt ends and turns into gravel for a few miles along the way. But how bad could it be? It’s only a few dirty miles out in the vast pucker brush of rural eastern Oregon. Nothing to worry about, right? Well it was no problem and the Viffer gobbled the gravel up with aplomb, as it always does.

    In fact, I had to stop on two occasions along the way to just marvel at the stunning views and take pictures of the VFR in the middle of the road to nowhere. It was sublime.


    I may have a new favorite road. Actually, my favorite road is usually the one I happen to be riding at the time. Ha. Anyways, I digress, the alternate route worked out great and in short order I found my self merging onto the two lane Oregon Hwy 86 and heading east and down into Hells Canyon, one of my favorite places. Sheesh me and my favorites, huh? Oh Boy! Hwy 86!


    It is sixty miles, give or take, from the Keating Road to the Oxbow Dam. It is a dreamscape on a moto. The mileage could be done in forty minutes on a sport bike, easy, if one were so inclined, but I like to drink in the environment, so it takes me fortyfive minutes. Just kidding! It is that kind of roadway. What a blast! I have been across here numerous times and it is always fantastic. The route crosses a couple high divides and swoops through a few curvy creek meadows along the way. High plains, canyons, and bucolic valleys. It is some of the best country that eastern Oregon has to offer. I satiate myself of it along the way as I roll down to my meeting with the Snake River at Copperfield. Upon entering the Canyon, proper, I always get a bit nostalgic as I spent several awesome seasons working on various projects down here. I enjoy drifting along the waterfront road skimming the west edge of Oxbow reservoir, which then bridges across into Idaho at the base of Brownlee Dam. It is a splendid ride along the water’s edge of the lakes.




    Not being in a hurry I stop for a break at Woodhead Park on Brownlee Reservoir. (There is a lot of history to explore down here in the canyon from the mining days, to the building of the hydro-electric dams, to the crazy river rafting trips available. If you are curious you should GOOGLE it, cuz I am way too lazy to go into those details in this article) After swilling my left over beer from last night and eating some trail mix on a park bench in the shade of a big honey locust tree while admiring the view of the glassy reservoir, it is time to motivate toward my planned rendezvous with Sissy Janet in Boise. Damn I hate being schedule constrained. Funny to hear that for a contractor dude, huh?

    Back when we were working in the canyon there was always a lot of bragging about how long it did or didn’t take to drive from the Gateway Café up to Cambridge on Idaho Hwy 71. Highway 71, into or out of, depending on your direction, is a bitchin motorcycle road no matter how you do it. Watch out for deer! The twenty five mile stretch from Brownlee to Cambridge first climbs up a crazy canyon maybe for 2000 vertical feet of curves, and then weaves and bobs through coulees and grasslands, all on smooth pavement that begs you to continually increase the fuel burn rate. It is a fun affair to be sure. Arriving in Cambridge it is time for me to re-fuel, and I take advantage of the funky liquor store to buy some whiskey in anticipation of a drinking competition later on with Janet. That and I was wishing I had some whiskey last night. Sheesh, what a lush!

    After adjoining Idaho Hwy 95 at Cambridge there really is not much riding excitement to look forward to between here and Boise, a hundred or so miles away. It is a grind along long and straight roads with the afternoon traffic volume increasing with every mile as I close in on the City. The afternoon is starting to burn down and as it usually does around here and it is getting pretty warm out. In fact it is getting hot, the kind of hot that it gets down here in Boise-Angeles. . Fucking hot. It isn’t too bad cruising down Hwy 95 at a nice seventy mile per hour clip with the zippers opened up, but stops and delays are getting to be sweaty affairs. I elected to veer off the main drag at Payette and travel along the secondary road that routes through Plymouth, Emmett, and then down toward Eagle on the way into Boise.

    The highway somehow morphs from a quiet rural byway into an eight lane wide swath of hot asphalt chaos named State Street as it nears the heart of town. At this point I am cursing my route decision. Riding from stoplight to stoplight in wall to wall traffic my motorcycle is heating up to maximum operating temperature. The Honda mechanics are working their magic though and my trusty vfr perseveres the bullshit situation I have put it in. It is now nearing five o-clock and the traffic and late afternoon heat is reaching its zenith. Sweat is running down the crack of my ass in a steady stream from my helmet down under my leather jacket and riding pants. Oh what joy! I love urban metro traffic. With an extra dose of patience I finally swing around the last few city blocks into the shade of tall buildings and find a suitable parking spot just steps away from an open air pub. Oh god give me a cold beer and a cool breeze!

    While cooling my jets and parched throat the knot of stress slowly subsides from my brain while I survey the local hipster brew pub patrons ayt the adjacent table. They probably think I look a bit rough, but I think they look like a bunch of fags, so we are even. My mission is to find Janet here, somewhere, as she is attending or working an educational conference here in town for a couple days. So with one pint down the hatch my text is sent off to her over the Ethernet and I keep one eye on the phone screen for a reply. I really didn’t feel a need to immediately leave the cool breezes of my shady spot as knew the late afternoon heat in the streets would roast me as soon as I got back out there. Bing, the message arrived with an invitation to meet her at the reception being held in the Grove event center. With construction barriers pretty much barricading all sidewalk access into the Grove plaza I had to ride a couple laps around the one way grid city blocks cursing and looking for a suitable place to park. Not fun.

    Up onto the curbed island of designated moto parking and eyeing my camp kit secured with compression starps and the local street urchins I knew I had to carry all my crap. At least my panniers locked securely. Wearing all my riding kit and schlepping a dry bag, helmet and gloves I trekked the three blocks in one hundred degree heat toward where I thought the entrance was. At the barricade I backtracked a couple blocks went down an alley and final found a door. The rush of cool conditioned air was a welcome sensation and dripping with sweat and road grime I made my way across the room where I deposited myself into a heap on a nice clean lobby sofa. This must be the place. Several hundred people were milling about having flirty conversations, cocktails, and party snacks, (not sure if I could spell hors d’ouveres), so this looked like the place, but where is Janet… Ha from my side-line heap I spied her across the room so I thought I would call her up and ask here where she was and if I was in the right place…. It was pretty fun watching here spin around in her skirt looking for me as I described the togs she was wearing..

    In no time we were shooting the shit and having a drink, free drinks because her friend doesn’t do alcohol and gave me the extra drink tickets… and also stuffing a few snacks into our faces. An ice cold gin and tonic in an air conditioned room never felt or tasted any better. By now it was getting to be about 6;30 or so and we all decided it was time to head for the hotel lobby and get checked into the room before finding dinner somewhere. Of course that meant retrieving my moto and moving it into the parking garage for the night. Ok that was easy, we just rode around the blocks in Janet’s truck to my bike and we were into the garage in no time at all. I took the elevator up to the sumptuous Grove Hotel lobby and waited as Janet had a quick errand to run. Minutes later she was back and at the check-in desk. I was ready for a quick shower too, maybe over ready as nobody sat near me.

    Janet was having a lengthy conversation with the check in clerk and not looking too happy about it. It was one of those days, I guess. I entered into the fringe of conversation in time to learn that since she didn’t show up to stay there last night as per her reservation the room had been resold. In addition there was a huge soccer tournament in town, a teachers convention, and several weddings…. June you know.. There were no rooms to be found anywhere within a considerable radius. As all this was sinking in to my brain, my fate for the evening was becoming clear. No bed, no shower, no plan. Perfect. Time to drink. We hauled our baggage back to her truck and walked a few blocks to dinner. We had a some good food and drink while cursing and laughing about the situation as there was no changing it. Janet was going to drive two hours home then back again in the morning for her conference, and I was going to ride out into the dark and try to find a place to throw down my sleeping bag. I have a “no night riding policy” but I was fucked. I rode out of town on Idaho Hwy 21 toward Lucky Peak Reservoir trying to peer through the gap under my dark tinted visor.

    To start off, on the way out of town I almost forgot to fuel up, that would have been brilliant. Even though it was solstice, the longest day of the summer, the daylight was gone. The bugs are always worse at night and they seemed to effortlessly find the gap in my visor, then my eye socket. Blinking and pissed, I flipped my lid closed and plodded along through the darkness at thirty miles per hour terrified of a wildlife encounter that I might never even see.. Beyond the limits of town there isn’t a lot of traffic on hwy 21 after 9pm, but the rigs going my way on the road came up fast behind me. I don’t often have to hit the shoulder on my Honda to let faster traffic by, but I did tonight.

    A sign informed me that a right turn onto a lakeside lane leads to a marina. I rolled along the dark water line of the reservoir looking for any potential place to hide out for the rest of the night. The lights of the marina came in to view just up ahead and I pulled into the parking area thinking maybe I would find a suitable spot. No room at the inn there. But a couple walking their dogs advised that just a few more miles out on the side road there was a nice campground. A hundred yards out of the marina the pavement ended, and the viffer chugged along through the dark on the gravel. As promised a couple miles later came the signage for the campground, and guess what? On a Monday night, that place was full. I rode around looking for a place to park while shining my headlights into sleepy people’s eyes along the way. I walked into a few areas that looked promising to find darkened tents, ooops. Then I spied the day use picnic area which was not in use, since it wasn’t day any more. Tired and stressed, with whiskey bottle in hand I walked down to a picnic table by the lake to stew on my next move.

    It was probably past ten o’clock by now and my tolerance was waning, but I did have some whiskey. The lake was glassy in the still air, and then the full moon began climbing up over the east hills. Solstice and a full moon over a glassy lake! If you don’t believe me check it on an ephemeris. If you don’t know what an ephemeris is then you can google it. The scene was stunning, and this is about when i discovered that my newly installed usb phone charger was not working, so my dumb-phone was now completely useless.. The celestial orb rose in its fullest glowing glory and tracked in a big arc over the length of the lake right in front of my picnic table viewing spot. The campground was pretty much quieted down by now and I figured I could probably roll out my sleeping bag and sleep under the perfectly clear warm sky until daylight without being disturbed by a rude rule enforcing campground host. About that moment is when a rustling in the brush behind me snapped the trance and a skunk started scouting under the tables and in the fire pits for scraps all around the picnic area. Well maybe I won’t sleep on the ground here after all…. the docks looked like a better option.

    The portion of the dock closest to shore was not visible from the parking area, so that was it, I figured I could sleep there until first light, which would come early on June 21. I dragged my sleeping bag from the dry bag and settled in. The inflatable pad remained unused in the kit for two reasons: first I didn’t want to make a bunch of noise on the dock inflating the thing, and second I wanted to be able to make a quick stealthy get-away in the morning. My fifty-six year old back didn’t really appreciate the comfort level afforded by the aluminum dock planks, but sleep finally came to me and it was getting light out before I knew it..........
  11. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    where elephants roam
    Day 3 was nice.....................

    June 21, 2016:

    Caffeine is requisite to de-fogging my mornings, but I awoke with an adrenalin rush of urgency to get out of there and making coffee just wasn’t in the cards. Too bad too, as lingering in the picnic area watching the sunrise over hills beyond the lake the lake and soaking in the warmth with hot steaming brew in my mitts would have been glorious, but i thought it best to make myself scarce there. I knew that Idaho City was just a thirty-minute ride up the highway and hot coffee would be there, so I lashed my kit back on the Honda and quietly motored out of the grounds. The still morning lake views were perfect as I crunched along the gravel on the way back out to the main highway. My dead camera didnt magically capture any shots.

    You read more about Lucky Peak Dam and reservoir here, if you are so motivated.
    https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/lucky-peak


    It might be a hundred degrees or more in the zenith of the afternoon, but Boise desert nights can get chilly, and the higher up in the hills you go the chillier it gets. Hwy 21 climbs steadily away from the reservoir valley enroute to Idaho City and the rising suns rays don’t reach down into the bottom of the steeply walled canyon where the road grade is until much later in the day. My temperature gauge was stuck in the forties and dropping as the elevation was rising. It was cold out, and since I was not planning on riding in the dark or at six-am, I had summer gear on. As a result, I was freezing my ass off, and my hands were going numb. I would have stopped to pee, but there was no way I could even find my own dick with such frozen stiff digits. The canyon finally broadened out into the flats that are home to Idaho City and the sun was on me, shivering I pulled into the general store which was the only place open at six-thirty. Fortunately, he had opened early and the coffee was ready.

    The coffee was hot and tasted mighty good in the sun while sitting on the store’s front porch bench. Eyeing the passing local traffic was my amusement while waiting for the towns only restaurant next door to open at 7am. Idaho City is a former mining capital and was perhaps a makeshift State Capitol for a short time. The heydays are long gone and today tourists are attracted to the nearby mine relics before the locals mine their pockets in the trinket stores. You can buy a polished garnet or maybe a piece of silver ore, I am guessing because I am averse to shopping in such places. Regardless, as I slowly drained the styrofoam cup that was thawing my fingers, I witnessed the coming and goings of local flavor in all types of vehicles in various states of repair. I wondered to myself how many more miles of rough mountain dirt roads some might tolerate, as I’m sure most of the cabin dwellings were well off the grid, or at least it looked like that was the probably the case.

    Pretty soon a couple of well-worn Subaru’s were parked in front of the diner and the sign switched from dark closed to bright orange open. I promptly took the cue and found a seat in the warm and friendly dining room as last night’s booze and dinner with Janet now seemed like a long time ago. The graciously friendly service was heartwarming and the food was good too. I took my time to chat and sip coffee while allowing the sun to arc just a bit higher in the perfectly blue Idaho morning. It never fails, a good breakfast and a sunny day gets me giddy to get on with the day’s ride. Even though there was still no clearly fixed destination goal for the day yet hatched out in my mind, I knew the road from here to Lowman was epic and it was time turn and burn.

    Idaho City to Lowman on Hwy 21 is a moto rider’s treat. The first ten miles or so sweep and bend up through an ever tightening granite outcrop lined canyon through dense coniferous forest. The surface is decent pavement, better than what one might expect in such rural terrain. Once onto the big divide hill, the tarmac twists, gyrates, and switches back on itself sharply and steeply for a good 15 miles. After leaving the Boise River watershed, the grade descends sharply through a seemingly endless series of tight bends and finally bottoms out in the Payette River canyon. Looking at it, it is easy to see why the Payette is such a whitewater enthusiast destination. Just across the bridge is Lowman Proper, and the intersection with the Banks - Lowman which traces the old mining route from Lowman to Banks along the Payette. Hwy 21 continues east for a spectacular ride up and over to Stanley and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

    The portion of the river canyon through the Lowman area is home to numerous natural mineral hot springs. Some are easy to find, others not so much. The easy targets are of course popular and usually well populated which can be a bummer if one is looking for a peaceful soak experience. I turned east toward Kirkham hot springs which I had been to before, but by virtue of being within view of the highway it can be a zoo. Given it was only nine thirty am on a Tuesday, my bet paid out as only two other people besides me were in the hot pots. I finally got my long hot bath and washed off the grit of the two previous sweaty days and nights on the road. With the hot out-flows being right on the rocky riverbank there are rock bottomed pools of flowing crystal clear mineral water varying from scalding to icy. In some spots there is room to lie down completely immersed and divert both cool and hot water over yourself for the perfect bath. Get too hot, move left… get cooled off, move to the right.. A hot natural hot bath in the warm morning sunshine…..ahhhhhh. While toweling off and getting into some clean dry clothes my mind wandered through the days remaining possibilities. If you wanna see cool pictures, just GOOGLE Kirkham Hot Springs.

    I could easily get home late this afternoon if need be, but I wasn’t really feeling the need or an extreme sense of urgency to just haul ass home. Ponderosa State Park in McCall is a place I had visited before, that might be a nice place to camp. Then it occurred to me there are lots of nice little free first-come-first-gets riverside camp sites along the Salmon River just north of Riggins. Lots of possibilities exist for wasting another evening under the stars. Regardless, there were also a couple hundred miles of terrific motorcycling roadway between Kirkham and Riggins which would occupy my attention for the next few hours.

    The next thirty three mile writhing river canyon stretch of the FS Rd 17 to Banks was awaiting the howl of my exhaust, clicking into gear my heading was west. The raw remote ruggedness of the steep canyon can transport you to an imagined trek through Nepal, or maybe Appalachia as you pass through downtrodden mining / timber towns of Garden Valley and Crouch. Stunning scenery and a brilliantly engineered road transcend any passing negative images, as around every bend lays more pleasure to the senses. In places the natural beauty demands slowing just to soak it in. It almost seems a shame to hurry through at a sporting pace, but who could resist the teasing tug of those continual curves?

    Emerging from one Payette River canyon at Banks you immediately enter another. Out of the South Fork and now heading upstream along the North Fork on Hwy 55 the scenery is just as good, but this highway carries a lot more traffic, so my rate of flow is impeded just a bit. Not so much for the river currents though. The frothy rapids are cascading swiftly through the steep sections of the rocky channel. I take a time-out to clamber down the river bank to stand on top of a huge boulder to admire the action and enjoy the roar of the gusher while also enjoying a cold beverage. Refreshed and more relaxed, the slower pace of the traffic stream felt smooth and easy the rest of the way up the canyon. Just enjoying the scene is sometimes best, as a state trooper was taking pictures at the upper end of the draw and I watched him light-up the guy about 2 cars behind me. He must have been going just a little too quick.

    In the past I have noted the LEOs tend to keep a pretty close eye on speeders along this stretch as I have seen them many times through here. It is funny how you can ride a thousand miles and not see one cop, then three appear in a twenty mile stretch, why is that?.. Crossing into the mile high broad green meadows toward Cascade I felt lucky to have avoided that encounter with the patrolman and just maintained a safe and steady pace into town.

    There is a service station (are they still called service stations even though you cant get your rig serviced there any more?) and convenience store at the south end of town that has all manners of unhealthy fried snacks in a deli case that smell irresistible when you walk in the door, as well as all the usual aisles full of shit foods, and walls of glass cooler doors that enclose todays myriad beverage selections. Out of all the possibilities I pick out a pint of lowfat chocolate milk, my go-to road break snack. The day has grown into a hot one as the sun has reached the peak of its arc across the clear blue sky. Sipping my cocoa cow while standing in the shade on the concrete apron around the building I watch the comings and goings of all the traveling hoonyaks and wonder where everyone is from and where they are off too. No doubt everyone has a story.

    With the plastic bottle in the overfull trash bin and my fuel tank topped up, I merge my Honda back onto the north bound lane toward McCall and the big Ponderosa State Park. The ride up Hwy 55 through the big swath of land that makes Valley County has pretty scenery off in the distance, but the road is completely boring and heavily trafficked. It is just a ride to get done with. All the good riding here is done on a dual sort off toward Yellow Pine, Deadwood Reservior, and other such hinterland backcountry targets. I plod on into the crowd infested town that edges its way around Payette Lake, and follow the signs to the big State Park. My annual State Park Pass (only $10 with and Idaho vehicle registration) gets me free day use, so I meander on down to the beautiful picnic area in the shade of tall pine trees at the lakeshore. It just so happens that my little ice cooler still has one cold beer left in it and it tastes pretty good with trail mix while gazing across the blue waters.

    I had considered calling it a day here, setting up camp and then frittering away the rest of the afternoon exploring around the park and maybe getting dinner somewhere in town. But at just 1pm, it seemed way too early to quit, and it would be a long ride to the office in the morning. Oh yea, that reality was staring to creep into my consciousness too. So I started thinking about other easy campsite options further down the road and motored back into town and made my way through traffic to the highway north. North of town the riding starts to get a lot more interesting again too, as the Boise – McCall traffic dissipates and the rolling landscape and river canyons start throwing a few curves into the mix. Except where there is road construction and one lane constrictions with gravel surfaces.

    The bitchin little curvey canyon stretch that drops away from the base of Brundage Mountain toward New Meadows was under construction, so that was pretty slow going, but once past that little disappointment the fun started anew and I was soon ripping down the Little Salmon River canyon toward its confluence with the Salmon River, proper, near Riggins. The river bottom land here is raw and strewn with rock and tree debris from the frequent scrubbings of springtime run-off floods. The roadway is patched here and there from where it has been obliterated as well. The wild water is still running strong now in late June, but not at the volumes seen a month or so ago. It is obvious that Mother Nature still makes the rules in this part of the world.

    The pace slows while passing through the fishing and rafting mecca of Riggins. Summer is on, and the place is busy with tourists, trekkers, floaters, and sportsmen. Riggins is a fun place to spend a bit of time, but I am moving along today. Looping around the river bends north of town I cross the “time bridge” and collect a free hour back into Pacific Time from the Mountain zone. It is a perfect summer afternoon to roll through the deep canyon along the Salmon River and enjoy the next thirty miles of sweeping bends until the river turns west to meet the Snake in Hells Canyon. It is a free flowing stretch for both river and rider as the LEOs are seldom seen here. The afternoon has turned nicely warm and I am happy to be wearing my new perforated leather jacket and fully testing out the ventilation properties at speed. Blowing past all the turnouts and highway riverside camp sites, I make a stop at the pretty Skokumchuck rest area for a short break and to soak my tee shirt for the evaporative cooling effect. Some folks just down from Lewiston could barely slow the kids down as they were bolting from the hot car toward the cool river and the sandy beach. I can understand that enthusiasm as I have stopped here for a swim myself on previous visits. We all exchanged grins and then me and the highway go north out of the Salmon drainage.

    In Idaho, most-times, when exiting a significant watershed a big curvy hill-climb is encountered and no exception is granted here. The Whitebird grade ascends the escarpment from the river at about 1600’ above sea level up to over 4200’ at the tippy top of the pass, and there are two ways to get there. The Old Hwy zig zags its way through about fifteen or so switchbacks as it crisscrosses the grassy historical Whitebird battlefield where the Nez Perce put up a blistering defense to the US Calvary. It is fun to slowly traverse the hillsides watching the scenic valley disappear far below and imagine the chaos of the battles. Or if on a bee-line to somewhere, just stick to the newer stretch of the main Hwy 95 and scale the hill at seventy miles per hour and enjoy the sweeping views and well engineered bends. Having been up the battlefield route previously I opted for the fresh air of the speedy route.

    Fresh it was, and chilly too. The wet tee shirt was now freezing me as the thermometer dropped about twenty five degrees since leaving the bottom of the river canyon. In the parking lot conversation the folks had mentioned it was a cool sixty degrees and raining when they passed through Lewiston. Very unusual here this time of year. The cold air mass was now settled onto the high Camus Prairie and I was well chilled until the dampness finally left my gear, even then it was still quite cool, but by no means intolerable. The miles drifted by as I motored across the high rolling green hills of endless agricultural operations. I shortcutted around Grangeville on Johnston Road, which saves a half dozen boring miles and the delays of town traffic, then rowed through the gearbox past the landmark tall silos on the rail siding of Fenn, then the small towns of Cottonwood and Ferdinand and Craigmont sailed past. Signage announces the town of Winchester, an interesting hamlet just off the highway, and also marks the cusp of the prairie plateau where the roadway begins a long descent from nearly 4000’ at Winchester down into the Clearwater / Snake valley at 750’.

    Last night’s lack of rest was starting to sneak up on me and I was beginning to feel the subsequent fatigue of a long day. Lewiston is a familiar place and the vision of relaxing by the Snake River at Hells Gate State Park was appealing. The cool weather was enhancing the thought. Down the long hill I went looking for the turn off to Webb Road which is just north of Lapwai. Webb climbs up a rocky grade then drops down to the Waha Road before rounding the bends out by the fairgrounds. I know the route well as I have ridden it on a bicycle dozens of times. Just past the round-up pens is the Tammany Creek Road junction which will lead me down a pleasant and quiet canyon to the Park entrance. Smiling along the way I drift past the ranches and smell the aromatic hay fields lining the creek draws that all eventually end at the Snake.

    The Park Entrance is obvious and easy to find, and being a Tuesday afternoon there is no issues or delays in finding a suitable tent site under the tall Cottonwood trees down in the southernmost loop. The long June afternoon is perfectly clear and lightly breezy, just enough to put a riffle on the river and a rustle in the leaves above. My site is nicely shaded and the friendly camp-site neighbor has parked his chair in my site for an afternoon nap. My approach startles him out of his dreamy trance, we both salute, and all is good in the hood. In no time my temporary riverfront view homestead is settled and ready for occupation, all I need now is a quick trip to the grocery store for a few necessities, like ice cold beer and some fried chicken from the deli counter, maybe add in a chocolate bar and some chocolate milk for the morning and then it is back to my little piece of bliss. I like it here at Hells Gate SP! Especially today as the weather is perfect and the park is quiet. After the sun has dropped below the crest of the Clarkston Hills and the afterglow has faded it is lights out for me.

    In the morning light the oatmeal and coffee is especially delicious, and I savor the last of my freedom. However, the tent is soon rolled and packed with the rest of the gear and I am just two hours from the office and the reality of my daily grind. The end.
  12. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way...

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,625
    Location:
    San Diego
    Well done sir. I do love Idaho and the routes you described. Thanks for giving me a mini vacation in my mind. Good write up.
    N-Id-Jim likes this.
  13. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    where elephants roam
    Thanks Zubb,
    It seems of late like i am on a permanent mental moto vacation in my vacant mind!
    Looking at a map now, in fact.... hmmmmm maybe over there.........

    btw, give a shout if headed this way again, seems one of my boys may be moving to Boise soon, so that may necessitate more frequent trips down thataway.
  14. Nice Goat

    Nice Goat higher is better

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    Oddometer:
    820
    Location:
    Alabama
    You've got some excellent photos in here. Keep it up!
    I can't wait to get out west again.
  15. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    where elephants roam
    Nice Goat! that makes me laugh! be careful in Montana and Wyoming!

    Thanks for you comment! If you plan a trip out here, let me know i can give you some route ideas near here....
  16. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way...

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,625
    Location:
    San Diego
    Oh I will. You hooked me up good on route suggestions there this summer. I'll be back at least once a year. I do have a hankering for the IDBDR next time as I'm GS'ing now.

    Boise is just an iron butt away and my beloved mother lives in Palouse Wa. So it's pretty easy to see a good Idaho ride together. Just need the time.

    Cheers.
  17. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    where elephants roam
    Ok this fall has been a little crazy... I had some commitments that kept me off the bike a bit, but it wasnt all bad....................

    I took a little fishing trip into Northern Ontario with my brother and a couple cousins....
    We did manage to have some fun!




    Then i did a little bike ride in Mexico!
    the road to San Javier....





    Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to all... hope to keep on riding!
    TheAdmiral likes this.
  18. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    15,441
    Location:
    Spokane Valley, WA (the dry side of the mountains)
    Nice to see you have been having some fun.
    N-Id-Jim likes this.
  19. jorrie

    jorrie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    147
    Location:
    NELSPRUIT,MPUMALANGA,SOUTH AFRICA
    Nice RR I ride the same bike and colour happy riding
  20. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    where elephants roam
    The Viffer has been a great bike for me and i enjoy it immensely.

    jorrie, you live in an amazing part of the world i hope to visit one day...

    thanks for looking in on the thread!

    Cheers!
    TheAdmiral likes this.