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Old 08-01-2010, 11:07 AM   #1
tele-steve OP
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Joined: Sep 2006
Location: The Peoples Republic- Rocky Mountain Edition
Oddometer: 266
2,000 miles: ID, OR, NV, ID (again), WY, & CO

We just got back from a 9 day adventure of traveling from Boise, Idaho back to the Denver, Front Range. We had 9 days of riding off-road exploring the remote and less traveled areas between. The trip was incredible, the people we met memorable, and places we saw unforgettable.
Not being the best writer, I'll rely upon the 300+ photos to fill in the blanks of the narration.

Here is the map of our tracks to give you all an idea of where we've been.



The players (left to right):
Me (steve) on a 2005 KTM 640 Adventure
Carlos- 2005 DRZ 400
Greg- 2007 BMW X-Challenge





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Old 08-01-2010, 11:20 AM   #2
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In the begining...

We started talking about this trip over a year ago. All of our lives were in some sort of transitional state: new kids, new jobs, lack of jobs, etc. The conversation settled on some sort of week long trip during the summer of 2010 and as the months started pealing by, a plan started taking shape.

Greg was planning a road trip to Boise to visit family which gave us the opportunity to have the bikes trailered out west from the Colorado Front Range. This gave us the perfect opportunity to weave our way back home over the course a week or so.

We looked at maps and picked out all the areas along the way we wanted to visit. Many of the areas we chose were extremely remote and seldom visited. Distances were variable and obtaining gas unknown (at least for the Nevada section).

We seemed to hit every possible terrain type on the trip: rocky single track, high speed bladed dirt roads, buffed double track, etc.
But it was not without some mishaps along the way.

Here's a preview.

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Old 08-01-2010, 11:32 AM   #3
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The day before Greg and the tribe hit the road heading west, Carlos and I got our bikes down to Golden and loaded up on the trailer for the ride out to Idaho.



A week later, Carlos and I started our trip out west in a more civilized fashion.



Once reunited in Boise, celebrations were started...



and packing for the morning departure commenced.




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Old 08-01-2010, 12:19 PM   #4
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Location: The Peoples Republic- Rocky Mountain Edition
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Day 1...

...starts with a good ol' Idaho breakfast...



and departure photos in the street.



It does not take too long before we are on dirt and making our way towards the Snake River.



Our route took us across the Snake via an old railway bridge. Unfortunately, the trails did not go through, but the bridge itself was pretty impressive.








Looking at the GPS, we decided to head north along the river to the main highway crossing a couple of miles up. The dirt road was a beat to hell. Somewhere along this 2 mile stretch of dirt road, Greg's camera fell out of the map pocket on his tank bag... shit. I had left the battery for my camera back in Boulder, so now we were down to one camera for the whole trip.
We spent a good hour riding and walking this one 2 mile stretch of road in 90+ degree heat to no avail. The camera was gone... probably bounced off the bike and down into the river. It was a bummer to only have one camera for the trip, but the real loss was all the family photos still on the data card. That was going to be a tough one to explain...

Shaking off this slow and ominous start to the day, we finally made it into the mountains.



Our route took us south towards Silver City. Gaining altitude, the temperature dropped to a comfortable 80 degrees and the riding was fantastic and buoyed our spirits.







Yup, that's the trail heading up off into the distance and over the hill.


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Old 08-01-2010, 12:45 PM   #5
achesley
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Looks like it's gonna be a FUN trip. Making me miss my old KLR lots.
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Old 08-01-2010, 01:05 PM   #6
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Day 1...

We came across thousands of mutant crickets migrating across the road. These things were huge, ugly, and about the size of your thumb.





Ya, all the dark spots on the road are crickets, not rocks. They were all going the same direction; from the creek to the dry side of the road.


We made it down from the hills and into Jordan Valley. Filling up with gas I could not figure out why everyone was waiting around for someone to help them fill up there tanks... looking at the map is finally clicked, somewhere along the route we passed into Oregon. I just don't think I'll ever get use to someone taking the pump out of the cradle and handing it to me.
After gas we ducked into the JV Club for a quick lunch.



We hit our fair share of small town diners and bars on this trip and this place did not disappoint. Nothing in the place had changed in about 30 years.

Our destination for the night was Steen Mountains and Alvord Desert. The route we picked was just from the maps as long as it avoided highways and pavement. We had no real idea of what it would be like. We were guessing it was just going to be fast ranch roads but that thought was quickly erased.

This was the beginning of what the map called the 'Old Ion Highway'. It started in some ranchers front yard. He was out filling up his gas tank in the back of his truck and we all expected him to step in front of our path as we headed for his back 40, but he just gave us a waved as we went by.





The 'highway' quickly disappeared into the grasslands as we made our way through pastures. Obviously not many people travel this route. The track was faint, but still pretty easy to navigate. The grass was just tall enough to hide the basketball sized pieces of basalt lurking in the trail. You would find yourself getting complacent and checking out the view when all of a sudden.... WHAM!!!







The temperatures had climbed back into the 90's but as long as kept moving it was tolerable. The route had a few surprising moments and a short nasty climb. After an hour or so, we descended into another ranch compound and crossed the Owyhee River via another old railway bridge.



We jumped across the 'new' highway continuing to follow the track of the 'old' highway, which became less and less traveled (i.e. impossible to see).



It was becoming clear that maybe we should begin looking for an exit plan as the riding was becoming more tough and we did not want to rip up a bunch of sagebrush on some ranchers land with our excuse being "...but our GPS says there is a road here".



There was a few times on this trip that I felt like an ass for following the line on the GPS. I kept thinking about the lady who is trying to sue Google because she drove into a lake following the directions the map gave her.
On the other hand, by following our route in the GPS we had mapped at home we got to experience some surprising and incredible country.
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:32 PM   #7
tele-steve OP
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Location: The Peoples Republic- Rocky Mountain Edition
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Day 1...

We crossed another highway and got our first glimpse of the Steen Mountains.



The riding got dustier and we began to spread apart to avoid asphyxiation and to try and save our air filters.








Stopped for a quick visit to the Mickey Hot Springs.





As we came along into the playa, a train of Rovers and Tacomas all kitted out for an extended safari rolled past us going the other direction. These guys looked ready for a month of travel. We came to a stop and let them roll past as the dust made it impossible to see a damn thing.

We found a familiar looking camp site that was hard to beat. Shady, views of the playa, cold mountain stream, etc. Someone had even left a clean roll of TP for us stashed in the rock under the tree.





Full moon rise over the playa.



Total mileage for day 1: 219
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:58 PM   #8
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AWESOME! I'll follow along, and Welcome to our Playground. Your the first folks from out of state to mention the ION in a very long while.
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:14 PM   #9
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:24 PM   #10
tele-steve OP
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ION Highway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Idahosam
AWESOME! I'll follow along, and Welcome to our Playground. Your the first folks from out of state to mention the ION in a very long while.
Ya, what a surprise that was. We loved it. All of the riding we did in Idaho was incredible. One of our best days was in the Southern Hills... but there are several days to go before we get there.
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tele-steve
Ya, what a surprise that was. We loved it. All of the riding we did in Idaho was incredible. One of our best days was in the Southern Hills... but there are several days to go before we get there.
My riding playground Looking forward to the pics
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:41 PM   #12
KDouble
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This is great!!
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:38 PM   #13
tele-steve OP
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Location: The Peoples Republic- Rocky Mountain Edition
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Day 2 started with a scream...

...literally.
I was just settling into a nice cup of coffee and some oatmeal when we hear this yelling from just up the hill. The yell was then followed by litany of profanity minutes long.... it was Carlos.
As I was getting into my morning routine, Carlos wandered up the hill with a roll of wipe to perform is own morning ritual. With sleep still in his eye, he almost stepped on this...



Nothing like a real western experience to wake you up in the morning.
Needless to say, his routine was delayed a bit.

A few minutes later, this was followed by another utterance: 'No... fucking... way', this time by Greg. He found is camera.
Greg was cleaning out some of the sagebrush and tumbleweeds that had found their way into his bike when he saw this...



Remember we had lost this thing just outside of Boise and spent an hour walking around in the heat looking for the damn thing. It somehow bounced into his lap, off his left knee, fell between the exhaust pipe and the engine and landed on the swing arm.
The damn camera then stayed there for another 200 miles of rough off road riding.
The rear LCD is busted, but it turned on and seemed to take photos.
Things are looking up!!

We packed up camp and rolled back down to the main road.



We headed south towards Fields Station for fuel and real breakfast, making sure to check out the hot springs and find time for some hot laps out on the playa.









Self timer shot of the crew.


And another with the mountains as a backdrop.


Next stop was little piece of home-coming for Greg...
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:24 PM   #14
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:13 AM   #15
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Day 2 continued...

On they way down to Fields Station, you pass through the 'town' of Alexander. On the side of the road is a one-room school house. This was were Greg had attended 1-8 grade.



The school had shut down several years ago. Now all the kids in the valley go to school down in Fields. It was a pretty unique experience and certainly WAY different than what Carlos and I experienced in the golden gettos of the Bay Area and north side of Chicago growing up. We certainly did not have the 'Bring Your Horse to School' Day.
Once finished with 8th grade, the kids are shipped off to Jordan Valley for high school. They spend all week in Jordan Valley and come back to the Alvord for the weekends.

After that brief break, we booked it down to Fields Station for gas and a real breakfast.



It was going to be huge day, so we packed it in. The plan was to make it Bruno's in Gerlach for their famous raviolis. Our route was anything but straight forward and we hoped we had enough gas to get us there...
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