Wandering from my meandering (Latest: White Bird Grade ID)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by ScotsFire, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    930
    Location:
    Here and there... but more there than here
    July 21, 2019: IDBDR Section 2 (continued) - Lowman-ish, to Pine

    I woke up MUCH warmer than the previous day. A very pleasant and easy morning ensued. I'd been hitting it hard for quite a while and had actually wanted to have a short day or even a full rest day, but the ride times and locations just didn't work out. So I actually got more stuff out and had breakfast and coffee at a relaxing pace before packing up and hitting the trail.

    The fire from yesterday was hiding under an inversion in the valley in the distance.
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    But the camp site was pretty nice.
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    Nimrod of the day! Today's award goes to whomever decided that building a fire, with new and complete fire ring, in the middle of the road was a good idea.
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    Especially given that there was a large opening next to the road.
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    It was another great weather day, though it felt warmer as the elevations were lower in the valleys.
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    A bit of a challenge here. The culvert had washed out, leaving a pretty good drop into the creek crossing, around three feet.
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    From the other side.
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    But I took a swing at it.
    (video 32 seconds)

    I think that going this way, North to South, made this pretty easy, even with a loaded ADV bike. I don't imagine that I'd have gotten it back up that drop off going the other way.

    This sign was for that road, for those traveling northward. No signage or anything from the other way.
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    The next ways were pretty nice. Clear skies, if a little more hazy due to smoke, and good roads. Not quite as scenic it seemed, at least for a little while.
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    Maybe it was more sensory familiarity or something.
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    And still the very frequent burn scar.
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    Going up towards Trinity Lakes Recreation Area, the traffic increased a lot. Which is really to say there was some. But that just gave me an excuse to stop for pics more often.
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    The campground was pretty nice. Or I though so since it had a timely toilet, and good fresh spring water available to refill my mostly empty bottles. And a nice view.
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    The ride down from here to Pine was pretty easy. Lots of elevation loss and temperature gain. I did swing through Featherville on the way, or at least not too far out of the way. I didn't find anyone at that town of RV parks if it was called Featherville since the name Tickletown had already been taken.

    Pine has a nice café/tavern, though it was camouflaged pretty well. They'd just put fresh "log" siding on and all the signs were still off the building. Only the neon beer signs gave it away. Decent enough sandwich, though once again pesto seems to mean something in Idaho other than what I expect. After fuel and an ice cream bar from the convenience store, I continued south.
  2. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    930
    Location:
    Here and there... but more there than here
    July 21, 2019 (cont.): IDBDR Section 1 - Pine into the Great Basin

    Needs satiated (a bar in Pine was not exactly where I would have imagined Negro Modelo being on tap) I continued south. It was not cool leaving Pine, being in the mid-90 degrees F. I felt like I wanted to get a few more miles in though, to make the last stretch the following day pretty easy and completed early. A heat warning was in effect for Jarbidge NV, the end/start of the IDBDR, and a whole lot of riding in triple digits wasn't really what I wanted to do.

    The route takes the "back way" around Anderson Ranch Reservoir. This is a well maintained gravel road mostly running along the west shore.
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    For the record, a motorcycle on this road can get down the lake faster than a pontoon boat, even with the curves into the inlets/ravines.

    The road crosses the dam that creates the reservoir.
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    From there, the terrain become less vertical, though still some hills and elevation change. Great Basin is a pretty arid place for the most part. Parts are technically desert, though grass and sage are seemingly omnipresent.
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    The basalt is pretty common too.

    I only did around 70 miles of Section 1 this day, stopping pretty early in Glenns Ferry. To me, this is a very Civil War sounding place. But in reality has more significance due to the Oregon Trail passing through.
    I got a room at the Redford Motel, apparently named for a red Ford. It was dated, but extremely clean and well maintained. Laundry, supper, and a light summer beer, some regional wheat ale, capped the evening, along with using the very slow internet to upload pics for this report.

    The next day would conclude the stripe down Idaho.
    simbaboy likes this.
  3. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    930
    Location:
    Here and there... but more there than here
    July 22, 2019: IDBDR Section 1 (continued) - Glenns Ferry to Jarbidge NV.

    I didn't rush out in the morning, though I didn't mess around too much either. I was wanting to get the ride to Jarbidge completed before the highest afternoon heat. I had a little over a hundred miles to complete, but per the map it's mostly straight lines through the "desert". Having lived in the Sonoran Desert for a while, this area seems more like grasslands than desert.

    The first areas I went through were being used as croplands given that the Snake River was nearby for irrigation.
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    This quickly became more grazing pasture for ranchers.
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    Some mountains to the south though.

    Sunflowers had been planted along the roads. I hadn't seen this before, but it was not uncommon in the area.
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    It made the riding a little surreal at times.


    It must be a desert. Roads are the same as in southern Arizona. Straight lines till you would hit a terrain or geograpic feature, then turn for another long straight line.
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    There was burn scar here too, but this one won't be noticeable next year.
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    Clover Creek wasn't exactly running high.
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    But the precious water within did make a difference.
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    Grass and sage was totally taller.

    The mountains got closer but the roads no less straight.
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    I did make good time though.

    The snow on the mountains was kind of teasing. It was into the nineties at this point.
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    And then the ride changed. The last twenty or so miles into Jarbidge are in the Jarbidge River canyon, first on the east fork then the main river.
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    The temperature surprisingly dropped in the canyon too. It was just over eighty degrees when I rode into town.
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    I had lunch at the Outdoor Inn. Even though they tout the homemade pie and ice cream, I'd have to say that as far as backcountry community eateries, it wasn't exactly the highlight of the trip. But it filled the void, and gave me the time to consider my next steps.

    I had considered continuing south and doing part of the Nevada BDR, but despite feeling amazingly comfortable in the heat (apparently living in 114 degrees for a while sticks with a person longer than a year...) more desert riding just didn't sound cool. Literally or figuratively. So I ended up turning back north. First goal was to get up towards Twin Falls.

    Pulling out of the Jarbige River drainage.
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    The Salmon Falls Dam. Another dam that the road passes over.
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    I pulled into Twin Falls mid-afternoon to triple digit temperatures, and other than being ready for a little break and some cool water, felt pretty comfortable with the heat. A quick search found a reasonably priced room in Jerome. The reason it was reasonable was due to being next door to the stock yards. But it didn't smell (inside anyway) and the AC was a welcome feature.

    Overall a great conclusion to the IDBDR, though a little more adventure awaited for the trip north.
  4. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    930
    Location:
    Here and there... but more there than here
    July 24, 2019: Galena Summit and Custer Motorway

    Let's just say that there's not a lot to keep a traveler in Jerome. A reasonable start time north on US93 let to making some decent time towards the Wood River Valley, otherwise known as Sun Valley. Not much to report on this stretch north. It was very Great Basin like, with grasslands and basalt piles scattered about. The storm system that had followed me north from Jarbidge had gotten excited and created a little bit of a lightning bust. I saw a handful of smoke columns in the area. These were pretty small for the most part, the largest fire being probably a hundred acres. In these fuel models and this area, that's not insignificant, but not much to write home about.

    It was a little hazy from this activity though. The Sawtooth Range crept closer.
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    I had purposefully neglected to have breakfast or coffee, figuring that I ought to be able to find an un-masculine European coffee somewhere in Sun Valley. I was correct, but it was harder to find than expected. Java on Fourth was a block off Main St, amazingly enough on Fourth Ave. I will say that the raspberry sour cream muffin didn't disappoint.

    After that break, I started north on ID75 towards Stanley.
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    This passes over Galena Summit, a nearly 9000 foot pass. Riding north, I was struck by how nice it smelled. It was vaguely evergreen, but something else too. It wasn't till I stopped at the summit for pics that I saw the source.
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    The lupine was blooming wildly. I've never seen this particular one that has three different colors on one stem.

    The views at this elevation don't suck either.
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    Stanley is northward, around the right end of that range.

    It's a little hard to see here, but the weather was picking up a little bit, with more precipitation headed this way. Usually not the best time to be at the highest elevation around.
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    The walk back to my scooter had some distractions though.
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    Therefore, the rain was closing in fast.
    (video 6:15)


    After fuel, lunch, and a very leisurely coffee in Stanley (STILL no one in Idaho seems to understand that pesto is supposed to have green stuff in it rather than being a vague mostly white coloration...) which allowed the rain to get ahead of me, I rode thirteen miles or so east on ID75 back towards US93, but turned off at Sunbeam onto Yankee Fork Rd, the start of the historical Custer Motorway.
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    This was another area that saw a gold rush and extensive mining. It did seem to be a going concern for longer than most, being well developed for a longer time period, well into the 20th Century. It did however leave it's mark.
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    The gravel piles on either side of the road were tailing piles from dredging operations. Mostly from this monster of a machine.
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    There were other mining activities, including hard rock.
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    The main activity in here now was some tourists and RV-ers checking out the abandoned ghost towns and mining operations, and some state led work to rehabilitate the Yankee Fork waterway. But once past that, it was truly back into the wilderness.
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    I think I saw two other vehicles in the remaining forty or so miles to Challis.
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    It climbed pretty high, going over another pass at nearly 9000 feet, this one a dirt road. The bad part about letting the storm get ahead of me was that at these altitudes it rained relatively hard, so it was pretty wet, muddy, and slick. But fortunately this was only for a handful of miles as the road transitioned from the Yankee Fork drainage to Mill Creek, on the eastern slope. The rain shadow effect was rapidly apparent.
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    The final drop into Challis.
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    From there, feeling the need to get home, I bombed up US93 to Missoula, only stopping in Salmon for fuel. And construction on both sides of Lost Trail Pass at the ID-MT border. After a night at a really shitty motel, I got back to the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area pretty early the next day.

    This was a nice cap to the IDBDR trip. It did however leave me wanting to do more riding in the Bitterroots, especially between Challis and the Salmon River. I've fought fire in that area a few times and would like to see it not under a cover of smoke, though that always seems to be somewhat temporary in Idaho.
  5. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    930
    Location:
    Here and there... but more there than here
    August 12, 2019: Just an observation...

    I have some business in Ketchum ID this week and rode down today. I wasn’t going to make a deal of it as all I did was mostly slab it there. BUT, US93 south from Missoula, especially south of Lost Trail Pass, is such a pretty and fun ride.
    I went past the turn-off for ID-75, that most take to get to Ketchum, and took the Trail Creek Rd through the Sawtooth Mountains into the back side of Sun Valley.
    I wasn’t even in the mindset to stop for pictures, so just a quick note here, but this was such a pleasant riding day! Not challenging at all, though I did have to keep backing off the throttle in the canyon sections along the Salmon River. Mild temps, little wind, light traffic, beautiful scenery... it was a sweet day. Even having done a good chunk of this recently, it’s a favorite route.

    I’ve recommended US93 to a couple of folks (including you @simbaboy) and continue to do so.
    Oldschoolrocker and simbaboy like this.
  6. simbaboy

    simbaboy Lansing MBS Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    4,909
    Location:
    Lansing, MI
    Beautiful country, pictures and narration.:clap

    Imu
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  7. River-Runner

    River-Runner Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    571
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    We went on up the hill last summer from the Yankee Fork Dredge and dropped into Loon Creek eventually. Was a fun ride with a lot of mining sites. We camped in a FS campground on Loon Creek, which is a tributary of the Middle Fork Salmon. There were a couple of Salmon Biologists checking the river for redds, salmon nests. They found a fair number which is great. Salmon coming up that high in a small stream is just amazing.

    There are some really big superfund sites in the area due to mining interests walking away from their problems......I sure hope we are now requiring adequate bonding from the resource extraction firms to pay for cleanup.
    ScotsFire likes this.
  8. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    930
    Location:
    Here and there... but more there than here
    August 14, 2019: White Bird Grade

    Having finished what I needed to in Ketchum (No, it was not a court appearance. Gimme a little credit.) I went back north via ID75, ID21, Banks-Lowman Rd, ID55, and then US95. Again, not much to report other than a nearly perfect riding day of sunshine, lots of great scenery (though not the entire way), and many sections of twisties, often along a stream or river.

    However, there is one short section that was the primary reason for taking this route. Long time readers will remember how put out I was when my friend Brett was a little under the weather (seasonal affective bottle disorder) and wouldn't turn around when we discovered by accident the White Bird Grade. This old route of US95 is on the National Registry of Historic Places as an engineering marvel. More info here. What I really new, even from seeing it from the "new" highway last September, was that I wanted to ride it.

    Where US95 veers away from the Salmon River, I turned onto the Old US95 route.
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    This area is one of the gateways into the Salmon River as it meets up with the Snake in Hells Canyon. So lots of rafting and jet boat vendors in the area.

    The US95 bridge, literally running over the entry to the Town of White Bird.
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    Passing through White Bird. (video 77 seconds - it's not a large place)

    The recreation business seems to keep White Bird afloat, as it appears in much better shape than many towns bypassed by the highway in the 1970's.

    But the main attraction, for me anyway, is this.
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    The ride up. (Video 10:31)


    After riding to the top of the main section, I went back down a little ways for some more pictures.
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    Obligatory flower pic.
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    Some graffiti I can actually appreciate.
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    The "new" grade nearby, already nearly 45 years old.
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    Other riders liked the route too.
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    The actual summit is on another section that goes off the main highway.
    (video 3:15)


    This section, only a total of 22 miles from White Bird to Grangeville, is an awesome stretch. Alone, I don't think it's probably worth a special trip, but if you're in the area, it's a must ride. The nice thing is that there are many other awesome rides relatively nearby, such as ID14 into Elk City. For me, it was well worth taking this route "home" to finally check this off the list. And I may have to drag Brett down here just to rub his nose in it a little more.
    Oldschoolrocker and Ducatijim like this.