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Old 02-24-2011, 05:05 PM   #4
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Travels with Gumby
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Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Kelowna, BC
Oddometer: 241
Day 3 August 3rd, 2010

We were up early and on the road heading south on Hwy 3 to Bovill where we would catch Hwy 8 out to Elk River so we could get back on our planned route. Hwy 8 was another of Idaho’s excellent paved twisty roads, which end in gravel. Travelling on road bikes we would have likely given it a miss. I’m glad we didn’t as it was a great way to start the day. The weather was clear and cold and there was virtually zero traffic and it made for a great morning ride. We arrived in Elk River chilled and hungry for breakfast. The Elk River Lodge was the logical (if not the only) place to stop.

While waiting for breakfast we broke out the maps and checked out possibilities for today's route.

Now that’s a breakfast! Huckleberry pancakes are a house specialty. Tom seems pleased!

After breakfast and topping up the gas tanks again, we returned to our gravel route heading south on Elk River Rd. An hour or so down the road, we found ourselves high above the Dworshak Reservoir. It was warming up a lot so it was time to strip off a layer or two.

This is an active logging area with lots of truck moving at a high rate of speed sending large clouds of dust into the air. I rounded a left hand corner only to find a very large log truck bearing down on me. On the plus side we were each on our own side of the road, but for a few sphincter tightening moments, I was riding completely blind from the dust. It was more good luck than good management that I was able to keep the bike on the road. I had to stop and remove the seat from my a$$.

As soon as Elk River road started descending to the reservoir we hit nice new pavement. It amazed me to see wide paved roads and suspension bridges on what are essentially logging roads. We crossed the Dworshak Reservoir over the Dent Bridge.

From the bridge, Wells-Bench Road is a well paved twisty bit of country road that climbs up the mountain ridge on the way south to Orofino. We managed to chase down some of the log trucks that had gone by us earlier. It was a lot less dusty this time.

The road continued down to Orofino on the Clearwater River for another gas stop. We had climbed from 1700’ to 3200’, then back down to 1000’ in less than 24 miles. Our whole route would turn out to be a series of ups and downs.

We had adopted a policy of gassing up wherever possible as we found that some of the “towns” on our maps were not so much towns as they were wide spots on the road. I had the longest range of the bikes. I’ve managed 500 km on a tank before, but Adrian’s GS seemed to need fuel at the 350 km mark. It seemed prudent to stop whenever we could after 200 km or so.

Leaving Orofino we opted for Gilbert Grade Road on which we climbed way up onto the central plateau. There were lots of great views of the Clearwater valley from the road.

We popped up out of the valley onto the top of the plateau. It felt like riding through Saskatchewan with the wide open rolling farmland. It was quite a change from the forests north of the Clearwater River.

The temperature was well into the 90 degree range so we stopped for a drink in the only shade we could find in the center of Nez Perce.

From Nez Perce we found our way southwest on secondary roads to Cottonwood. At this point Tom was really feeling the heat so he opted to shortcut straight down Hwy 95 to Riggins. Adrian and I would take a less travelled route and meet him there later in the day.

After Cottonwood Adrian and I took Graves Creek Rd and Rocky Canyon Rd down to the Salmon River. We crossed the River at Rice Creek Bridge. At this point the pavement ended and gravel began again.

From the Bridge, Center Creek Road wound up a beautiful valley climbing over 3000’ back up onto the plateau, this time on the West side of the Salmon River. At this point we turned onto Canfield Road and were rewarded with a spectacular view south east over the Salmon River Canyon.

Canfield Road, far below.

Adrian heading down Canfield Road from Post Pile Saddle.

As we twisted back and forth down the hillside, I was amazed as some of the beautiful homes scattered over the mountainside, miles from any town. It would be a wonderful spot to live if you didn’t have to commute to work. Can you spot Adrian below the house?

I would ride a ways, stop for a picture, ride some more stop for another photo and so on.

We finally arrived back on the shores of the Salmon River near the Hammer Creek Recreation area.

I had another set of routes laid out on the west side of the Salmon River down to Riggins, but once again the clock was ticking. It was already 6PM and we figured there were several hours of riding yet if we took that route. We’ll have to leave that for another trip. So we crossed the Salmon River at White Bird and took Hwy 95 south for a quick run through the Salmon River Canyon to Riggins.

We quickly spotted Tom’s bike in the lot at the Iron Horse Motel. We pulled up next to his bike but there was no sign of him. We were only there for a couple of minutes before a fellow approached and asked if we were looking for Tom. We were told that he was taking a shower, but he had a couple of complimentary beers for us. It seems that riders staying at the Iron Horse Motel are entitled to such. You have to like that on a hot day.

After dinner, Tom demonstrated his renowned camping technique. This was the only way he planned to use his tent on this trip.

Route and Stats for the day:

More to come.


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