After another fine oatmeal breakfast, I packed up and headed back through Butte and after a quick coffee stop As I rode on the day was heating up and I was looking forward to some warm weather. My plan was to stay on the trail for a bit and then connect to Highway 43 and ride west towards North Fork and then along the Salmon river and finally to Shoup. I rode Satans tongue for a few hours until I hit North Fork and when I got off my bike at the gas station, the heat nearly knock me off my feet. I drank a couple of drinks and picked up some fruit and a Mike Hard Lemonade to celebrate my first visit to Idaho.
The sun became hotter and as I rode along the river I started looking for good places to go for a swim, and just a few miles before Shoup I saw a great spot. I pulled in and pretty well jumped into the water.
The temperature had to be over 90 so I was in no hurry to leave that little spot, and as the afternoon wore on I started to unload my gear and scope out firewood. I spent the rest of the day snoozing and swimming
and when it started to get dark I lit a fire and had dinner
Around 10 pm I noticed big black clouds looming over the hills to the west and eventually I could see flashes in the mountains. I threw a bunch of wood on the fire and started moving my sleep gear away from my bike and trying to guess where a lightning bolt may strike. After moving my stuff around a bunch of times I just figured to hell with it, and sat back down by my fire and waited to be incinerated. I am an electrician, and I think about lightning sometimes and I have seen what electricity can do to things, including people. I also have an active imagination and that combination can be problematic to relaxation while in the proximity of an imminent lightning event. With the thoughts of larryboys' lightning adventure fresh in my mind it made it even more real.
The clouds moved off and the sky was left clear and black with the best star scene you can imagine. I lay there till about three in the morning watching shooting starts and thinking. It is definitely good to be amongst the living on this day.
The morning was bright and sunny and as I packed my gear up a little bird came out of the bushes and walked right up to me with one wing sticking out kind of funny. I grabbed a couple of raisins and tossed them on the ground but he turned an skittered off. I went back to packing my bike The bird came back so I followed him and he hopped away again, with his wing sticking out and as I turned he came back so I followed him and threw more peanuts and raisins on the ground. He hobbled away and I noticed that both of his wings seemed broken. I followed him again wondering what I could do to help him and then he flew up into a tree. As I turned away to find a rock to kill the little faker he flew off. This would prove to be a pivotal moment.
I realized that I hadn't drank my Mikes in all the lightning excitement the night before so I left it on a little perch for the next traveler to find.
I climbed on my bike and hit the road on down to the Shoup store and got some gasoline from the gravity pump,
and went inside.
Sandra made me a great breakfast and we chatted about the area. I asked her if this was the only gas station in Shoup. She looked at me funny and said that this gas station was Shoup. I also found out that they have their own water wheel that produces their electricity. I couldn't talk the fellow into showing it to me as he was preoccupied watching an early morning duster on his scratchy looking TV. You can also rent beds there, and buy just about anything you need. This is also the first time I have actually heard anyone call a "creek" a "crick" outside of watching Dukes of Hazard.
I got a bunch of directions from Sandy and promptly took off in the wrong direction and cruise south towards Challis. After about 25 miles I thought to myself...you are going in the wrong direction....and promptly turned around and headed back to Shoup and bought gas from the gravity pump again. The duster watching guy was somewhat unamused. I guessed he didn't have a PVR.
I started climbing up into the Bitterroot National Forest loving every minute of the ride. The trail was fast and fun. This is one of the very few pictures I took of this whole leg.
Notice the tree that has been struck by lightning on the right? The trail is windy and climbing with very steep drops to the side. One miscalculation and you could have a very long day.
I decided to turn off at Painted Rock Lake and head north a bit to find gas and ended up in a small town name unknown that had a pub and fuel. I spoke to a fellow there that told me that if I was following a GPS track i had downloaded off the internet in to the woods, I was crazy.
When you think about it , it does sound kind of ludicrous. I drank my beer and tried not to make eye contact any more.
I rode back south and took Nez Perce road back to meet up with the tracks I had downloaded from the internet...by myself...stupid guy in the pub.
I roared along the Magruder Corridor with all thought processes focused on staying on the road. There is a bit of everything on this path, and it seems to climb for ever and then descend and climb again.
This is truly a great ride!!
I started to meet people coming the other way and I realized that it was coming up to a long weekend and also Elk Season was on its way. There were quite a few people out scoping elk.
I stopped for a moment at the top of a pass and I thought I heard hounds baying, so I shut off my motor and I realized that it was an Elk trumpeting very close by. I also saw a mom bear and two beautiful shiny and healthy black bears heading into the woods. I love black bears.
It was starting to get a bit cold and cloudy and I was ripping up one of the few steep and somewhat rocky sections of the trail when I came around a corner to meet up with a fellow cross way on the path on an FS800. I came to a quick stop and lifted my visor and could not stop grinning. I was having that much fun. I could see that the guy was pretty haggard and not enjoying the ride. He asked me how much further was it till the road stopped being shitty. Man I was just starting to have fun!!! He really didn't have to far to go and he wanted to know he was on the way to the Magruder. He must have got his GPS tracks off the internet or something.
I carried on and the road started to descend and I stopped to talk to a fellow that was camping in the back of hos pickup. I could tell he was happy to be out in the woods. I asked how far it was to Elk City and he told me it was down the road quite a bit, and I told him I thought I might camp down by the Crick. He said that was a good idea cause it was getting to be roundabout dinner. Then he offered me some gasoline if I needed it. I said I would be OK and he said you make sure now.That made me feel so good.
Well I rode on and ended up in Elk City at about 9:30 at night and for the first time in ages the hotel was full. BigDog had talked about about this place in his story and I wanted to give it a go, but I ended up asking a guy for directions to a camping spot and he told me to hed down to Red River road and camp anywhere by the crick. So that is what I did.
I rolled into a little spot and noticed a couple of families camping in trailers. I stopped to ask them if there was a good spot and they directed me to a place across the road. It was pitch dark so I found the fire ring and leaned my bike against a tree and went looking for some fire wood up the road. I came back with a few dry twigs and when I went into my campsite, the people from across the way were there with a huge arm load of firewood and kindling and paper. They even offered to light it for me! I almost cried.
This is what I learned that day.
I really do think when you travel alone,
that it not only allows you to open up to others
but it makes it easier for others to approach you.
To make sure you are OK.
To be kind to others, to be helpful, what a concept.
Maybe a lost art in some places.
Not in the back hills of Montana and Idaho.
I know this to be true.