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Old 09-07-2010, 06:35 PM   #1
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Questor goes exploring Idaho's Historic Gold mines

Hello All.

Just this May I moved out to Idaho from New England.

All I can say is "Wow" what a difference in terrain.

In New England you were lucky if you had 20 miles of dirt and a view of 20 miles.
In Idaho, there seems to be an unlimited amount of National Forest, and BLM land with limitless places to explore, and open spaces that are often hundreds of miles across.

It's paradise for a KTM 950!

So this Labor Day Weekend I took a two day trip of 575 miles and went over the the Chailis National Forest to see some of the abandoned Gold Mining towns and the wide open deserts of Idaho.

From Idaho Falls, my route looked like this.



Here's what the National Forest section looks like on Google Earth.
"D" is the Yellow Jacket Mine area, and "I" is the big Yankee Fork Dredge.
A VERY remote area full of deep canyons and tall mountains.


Highlights included:
- The river of no return.
- The 1905 Yellow Jacket Mining town
- The huge dredge in the Yankee Fork near Bonanza and Custer
- The wide open 'High Desert' of Idaho north of Arco.

A few Teaser Pics:






This is going to be a picture intensive Ride Report, so stand by.
201 pictures to be exact.

But I assure you, there are some great sights to be seen, as well as some interesting history.

Q~

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Old 09-07-2010, 07:25 PM   #2
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Day 1

OK.

Here we go.

All packed up and ready to head out.
GPS is all programmed, double checked with Google Earth, and this should be good!



I-15 headed North.


Me and my shadow...


Were headed over there, to the North West - into the mountains.


Self portrait at 70 mph.


Silo advertising....


Ooops. Speeding a little. Bad "Tiger".


Headed due West with the morning sun at our backs.


High plains desert - sage brush as far as you can see.


This is what a Yankee like myself is not used to.



Those mountains, some 100 miles away are where we are headed, in search of gold and history...


2 hours of wide open spaces...


Not a cloud in the sky.....


Even at 75 mph, it takes a long time to get anywhere...




Finally a town. A town called LeadOre....



Don't bilink...
You just passed it....


The road goes on....


2.5 hours...
It's just SO BIG out here....

Q~
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:28 PM   #3
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This is gonna be good.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:01 PM   #4
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Getting near the Chailis National Forest that contains all the historic Ghost towns and Gold Mines....

But Oh No, looks like rain.

That's not good. We've got over 180 miles of National Forest dirt roads ahead of us.


Should we quit?


The town of Salmon.




If there has been lots of rain we're screwed...

Let's fill up with gas.
Tiger can hold 6.0 gallons.
At 35 mpg, we will be cutting it close....
GPS says 190 miles to next gas in Chailis Id.

That's 20 miles to spare... Better not get lost.
Good thing it's 'real' 100% gas...
Won't loose 20% for ethanol.



Let's head into the National Forest up near North Fork, ID.




Here's the canyon entrance. We just burned 20 miles of fuel...


Easy so far...


The canyon starts. Entering the "River of no return"....


Salmon river on our left.


Road turns to dirt.
Go Tiger Go!!!


Canyon gets deeper.
Roads are in good shape.




Shoup Store.
They sell gas! Looks a little old though....


Cross the wooden bridge.


Looks like this from the cockpit.


KTM "Tiger" prOn!
Pretty Tiger!!!




More to come....
Q~
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:40 PM   #5
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:36 PM   #6
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:20 AM   #7
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Panther creek

Okay, back on the bike.
Headed down the dirt road into the canyon following the "River of no return"...




Let's stop for lunch.
This looks like a nice spot.

And, Oh look! What a pretty motorcycle!


and a group portrait.


Back on the bike, headed downstream.




Here's the left turn to Panther Creek.


In Panther creek.






Looks like there was a forest fire here a few years ago.






Next intersection.
We need to turn left to get to Yellow Jacket.




Gaining elevation for the past 30 miles. We are now up at about 7000 feet.


Moving right along at a good speed.


Ah. Here's the turn to Yellow Jacket. GPS says about 18 miles and over one ridge into the valley beyond.

Q~
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:58 AM   #8
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Another great report Questor!

Good to hear from you.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:03 PM   #9
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Towards Yellow Jacket

So off the National Forest road we go.


Gaining elevation, we cross over the ridge and look town into the valley below.


Continuing down the road, it gets narrower and appears to get little use.


As we get close to the town, I notice a "pathway" on the hillside.


It turns out to be an old Ore Cart track.




It was used to haul ore from the mine to the crusher.


Some research reveals:
Historic Yellow Jacket, Idaho, is nestled in the backcountry of the remote Salmon River Mountains.At the turn of the century, Yellow Jacket was a bustling mining outpost, complete with a five story hotel, general store, post office, the largest stamp mill in the country, and a lively red-light district.

Here's a picture that shows the size of the stamp mill building.


Ahead I see the old hotel and other buildings.


The whole area is now private property, and I didn't want to trespass, but I did get some good pictures.

Here's the 5 story tall hotel from the front.


In 1905 it looked like this.

And here it is from the side.


And from the back.


In 1905 it used to look like this.

(Historic Images from: Idaho State Historical Society Digital Collections.)

A view further down the valley.


Q~

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Old 09-08-2010, 12:25 PM   #10
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Great area to ride...Keep it coming.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:26 PM   #11
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I love this stuff, but, you know that.

GREAT JOB!



More please.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:33 PM   #12
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Heading out of Yellow Jacket to Challis - to get gas.

So after checking out the old town of Yellow Jacket, its time to head back to civilization and get more gas for the second half of the trip.



Back on the National Forest Road.


Heading south.


An old ranch.


A forest section of road.


Stopping to enjoy the scenery.


Going down the valley.




The valley becomes a canyon.




A nice canyon!


Yeup. Waay different than New England.






I'm so delighted to live out West.


Finally, after 175 miles, back to pavement.


Must, find, fuel...


Eventually we roll into Challis, and fill the thirsty Tiger up.
I get two cold beers, and we head off down the road to Custer, our next historic gold mine town.


Q~
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:08 PM   #13
LittleWan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Questor
KTM "Tiger" prOn!
Pretty Tiger!!!




More to come....
Q~
Wait - we aren't allowed to write out "P-O-R-N"?

Rut Rogh!

hee. Just teasing.
Seriously - it looks like you and Tiger are getting pretty comfy in Idaho. I can't believe how many enticing Idaho ride reports there right now (this one included, of course) - Lucky you!

Looking forward to seeing the rest of this one.
And you know,
we're all going to be expecting a lot from you and Tiger from now on...
Show us what that KTM can do!
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:25 PM   #14
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Okay, I now know who to get for a tour guide next time out there.
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilot
Okay, I now know who to get for a tour guide next time out there.
I'd be honored to show you around.
Praise "Bob"!

Q~
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