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Old 08-05-2012, 04:30 PM   #1
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Wasatch county
Oddometer: 734
My Idaho mosey on the mighty 250

A couple weeks ago I took off on a 10 day solo ride thru Idaho, exploring some of those back roads I had always wondered about, camping along the way except for a couple visits with friends. I rode my 2010 Yamaha XT250.

A couple comments about gear. I installed a seat concepts kit before I left. Very nice, I rode 11-12 hours a day so I needed it. I also spooned on a new set of Michelin T63's right before I left. I really like the way these tires handle, they feel more planted on gravel roads than the bridgestones I had before. By the time I got home they are feeling and sounding like something is getting out of round. I have to investigate that yet, I don't know if they are wearing funny, or I may have a bent rim for all I know.

The total mileage was 2262 miles. I made it as far north as the Clearwater River country. The first two days weren't a mosey at all. I covered 750 miles in those two days. I just wanted to put the desert behind me and get to a friend's cabin for the weekend. The rest of the trip I averaged about 200 miles per day, give or take. -al
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:43 PM   #2
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Wasatch county
Oddometer: 734
Day 1

I planned on an early start from my home near Heber City. That rarely works out. So it was about 9am before I was on the road. I started the trip heading west on the pony express trail. Everyone's ridden that and seen the pictures, so I'll just post this one. You can cover ground fast out there. 4th and 5th gear all the way to Nevada. Somewhere out there a guy in a yellow Xterra flagged me down. It was inmate Gunner45. He saw my ADV sticker and just wanted to say have fun.

I gassed up in Wendover and rode north past the Bonneville race track and along the west edge of the salt flats, thru Lucin and Grouse Creek.

This is barren country, but every once in a while there is a little oasis.

At Oakley, Idaho I grabbed a hostess fruit pie for dessert to go with my mountain house spaghetti, turned west up Trapper Creek road and found a place to bed down for the night. Total miles that day was right at 400.

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Old 08-05-2012, 05:21 PM   #3
Deseret Rider
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Joined: Mar 2008
Location: East Central Utah (Deseret)
Oddometer: 248
The mighty 250---yeah!

Did you ride over Guardsman pass to get to the Pony Express trail? Good start----look forward to the rest of your report.
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:30 PM   #4
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Joined: May 2012
Location: Valencia, ca
Oddometer: 1,454
Very nice, great pics so far, looking forward to the rest of them.

How many miles were you getting before having to hit reserve? and a few close up pics of the way you have your bike set up would be nice to see too.
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Old 08-05-2012, 06:40 PM   #5
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Wasatch county
Oddometer: 734
I just rode down Provo cyn and thru Lehi.

I get 65 to 70 mpg, so that's 130-140 to reserve. Occasionally I get 75. I strap a 2gal rotopax onto the tail so that gives me a 300 mile range.

I have a happy trails rack with wolfman saddlebags. No top rack, I just strap stuff on top of the tail. I put some big pegs and a ricochet bash plate on it. Moose handguards. Tusk riser. That's purdy much it. -al
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Old 08-05-2012, 06:56 PM   #6
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:25 PM   #7
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Wasatch county
Oddometer: 734
Day 2

Rogerson, Bruneau, Idaho City, Crouch, Smith's Ferry.

In the morning I continued west up Trapper Creek and over Magic Mtn to Rogerson.

From Rogerson I rode west to Three Creek, then north on Clover Creek road to Bruneau. This was straight, fast gravel road thru the desert.

Clover Creek

A range fire burned 234,000 acres this summer.

Bruneau River canyon.

Cow jam.

From Bruneau I rode slab up thru Mountain Home and then north onto dirt again towards Prairie, Idaho.

Crossed the south and middle forks of the Boise River.

Finally in the woods!

North of Arrowrock reservoir I had to change my plans. I intended to ride thorn creek straight down to hwy21 and then up to Idaho City. But at the pass there was a shot up sign laying on the side of the road that said...


Well what does that mean exactly? It didn't say it was closed. And it was obvious there was ATV traffic going down it. So I rode down to have a look. The road was in bad shape, lots of washouts, and eventually the road just ended when there was a creek where the road used to be. So I backtracked a couple miles and rode FS203 up to a lookout on thorn creek butte and then down 304 to hwy 21 and Idaho City. It was a really nice ride mostly up high on a ridge that probably added a couple hours to my day.

Sitting in Idaho City at 8pm I knew I wouldn't make it to my buddy's cabin at Smith's Ferry before dark, but I wanted to get there so I could spend the weekend with him, so I decided to just ride into the night. Up thru Centerville and Placerville, down Alder Creek road to Crouch, where it got dark on me. I rode up the middle fork Payette river and Scriver Creek to round valley and over to Smith's Ferry. I rolled in about 11:30.

Camp for the next two days.

Total mileage that day was 350.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:40 PM   #8
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Utah, USA
Oddometer: 188

Hey there

It was nice meeting you out there. I was out there with my son working on one of his merit badges. He has asked me every other day for the last week if AlinUtah has posted a ride report yet. Looks like you had a good ride. Looking forward to the rest of your report.

"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast"
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:27 AM   #9
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Wasatch county
Oddometer: 734
Day 3 & 4

Yellow Pine, Big Creek. 180 miles

I didn't ride on day 3, other than just a little puttering around the local logging roads. Mainly we just slept late then sat on the porch all day drinking Coronas. We covered all the W topics, including women, wolves and wankers in Washington. But I think we got all the world's problems solved.

I started day 4 with a big breakfast and some more porch sittin and coffee drinkin. About 10 we rode to the top of east mountain with my friend Tim on his quad. There used to be a lookout up there but it burned down at some point. Now there is a flag erected in honor of our men and women in the service.

After some lunch we parted ways and I continued north. I dropped down to clear creek road and rode to warm lake. Then north along the South Fork of the Salmon River, where I had a soak in a really nice hot spring.

After a dip in the river to cool off, I rode to Yellow Pine and had some supper and topped off the tank. Yellow Pine has their annual harmonica festival, which is a big gathering of amateur musicians and pickin party, the first weekend of August, so I just missed it. I'll try to get back there for that some time.

Out on the road there was a sign that said


I verified with the waitress at the bar that tomorrow was the 30th, to make sure that I would get thru. I didn't want to have to turn around and backtrack a couple hundred miles all the way to McCall. For the next couple hours I skirted the edge of the Frank Church wilderness and made camp near elk summit.

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Old 08-06-2012, 11:47 AM   #10
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Wasatch county
Oddometer: 734
Day 5

Warren, Burgdorf, Riggins, Cottonwood, Clearwater River. 220 miles

Day 5 started with a descent down to the south fork of the Salmon River. I played chicken with a little buck, and chased a family of chukars down the road.

As I approached Warren, there was a barricade and sign across the road that read...


Oh Crap. Did I miscalculate what day it was? Did they decide to start early since there is no traffic thru here anyway? I rode past the sign and a mile down the road there were trucks and earth-moving equipment preparing to put in a culvert, but they hadn't dug up the road yet. It's probably a good thing it was early in the day.

Warren is basically a ghost town now. Once a gold mining town.

Past Burgdorf, then down the switchbacks to the Salmon River.

The river rafters camp out on the white sandy beaches.

After some lunch and fuel stop in Riggins, I climbed up out of the canyon to the west, up Race Creek. Here's a view back down towards White Bird.

The Salmon and the Snake are less than 10 miles apart at this point. I rode north on the ridge between them. You can't really see down to the Snake but there is a boat launch down there.

I continued north between the rivers, then dropped back down to cross the Salmon again. Came out at Cottonwood. After riding thru some beautiful farmland, rolling wheatfields mixed with groves of Ponderosa Pine, I hopped on hwy 95 for a few miles, then took a short cut north to the Clearwater River where my friends Fred and Carol live. I guess I forgot about my camera during this stretch. They fed me and gave me a bunk, complete with laundry service. -al
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:56 AM   #11
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Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Vagabond Hippie
Oddometer: 2,620
Nice Ride Report.

I didn't realize you were in Heber. I was there Thursday dropping off some stuff at the Four Seasons Fly Fishers, and then fished below Deer Creek Res for a couple hours (that construction zone sucks...sitting in the heat).
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Old 08-06-2012, 02:20 PM   #12
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Oddometer: 799
Good stuff, keep it coming.
"Can't never could."-Grandma Belle Marie Bullock-Shuflin
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:14 PM   #13
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Wasatch county
Oddometer: 734
Day 6

Orofino, Elk River, North Fork of the Clearwater River, Kelly Creek. 200 miles

After breakfast I tended to some basic bike maintenance: blew out the air filter, tightened and lubed the chain. I had been keeping an eye on oil level and hadn't used any after 1100 miles. I said goodbye to my hosts and crossed a bridge to the north side of the river to ride into Orofino the back way, past Lenore and Ahsahka.

At Orofino I turned north towards Elk River.

Dworshak Reservoir at the Dent bridge

Elk River is a town with a population of around 100, a bar and a couple cafes, and a store with gas. I had a really good chicken/bacon/caesar wrap at the Log Inn bar. Topped it off with a huckleberry ice cream cone at the store.

I topped off the gas tank and headed east on what is called the aquarius road or the grandad road depending on which map you look at. It started out as a smooth gravel logging road. I rode thru an active logging operation, and then hit a stretch of a couple miles with fresh, deep crushed rock that was no fun to ride on, especially on downhill switchbacks. I'm glad I didn't meet any trucks on those sharp turns. The further east I got, the more the condition of the road degraded. I had taken the most-traveled route wherever I came to a fork in the road, and I figured since I was heading to another bridge over Dworshak that there must be an obvious route to that bridge. But it had me wondering when the road got narrower with more washouts and no sign of any traffic. But eventually I hit an intersection with another good gravel road coming down from St Maries, right after I went thru an open gate with a sign facing the other way that said vehicles wider than 50" were prohibited. There was no indication coming from the west to the east that it had been designated an atv/moto route.

So anyway, I was on the right track all along. It was a nice ride thru typical north idaho dense, wet cedar woods to the grandad bridge.

I continued east to the beaver creek road that came up out of Pierce and Headquarters, and then north to the North Fork of the Clearwater River.

There is a bridge across the river that accesses a moto-legal singletrack trail, the windy ridge trail. I've been thru there several times and always wondered about that trail and where it goes.

I followed the river all the way up kelly creek to where moose creek joins and made camp for the night. There were several whitetail does hanging around that were curious about what was for supper. The more I talked to them the closer they came. I saw a lot of whitetails that day.

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Old 08-06-2012, 09:03 PM   #14
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Wasatch county
Oddometer: 734
Gunner45 -
I'm an eagle scout. Got it back in the late 70's.

Flashmo -
I didn't even take a rod on this trip. I've fished the north fork clearwater and kelly creek several times, and this trip was just for riding and exploring. I was a hardcore flyfisher since the 80's when I first moved to the west. But lately I don't fish much, I guess I just wore out the whole catch-n-release thing. I'm no bunny-hugger or anything, I still hunt a lot, but it got to where I felt like I was just harassing wildlife. I still catch a few now and then for dinner, especially when I'm in Alaska. There's nothing quite like hooking a silver on a 5 or 6wt flyrod in a creek the size of the Provo River. Or even just catching a few surf perch for dinner. I get a real kick out of standing on a beach with the wide blue Pacific stretched out in front of me and being able to catch dinner within the distance that I can cast a blob of mussel meat. Couldn't believe it was possible the first time I tried it. -al
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Old 08-07-2012, 04:29 PM   #15
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Wasatch county
Oddometer: 734
Day 7

Cayuse creek, Lolo trail, Lowell, Selway River. 200 miles.

I woke up to a chilly fog.

Today I would ride thru the cayuse creek area and along the Lolo trail. Not long after I started, I stopped for a huckleberry breakfast.

Heading south from kelly creek, I crossed the cayuse twice, once not too far from where it joins kelly creek, and again up near its headwaters. This is an area I'd like to go back to sometime and park it for a few days.

I joined the Lolo trail at cayuse junction near the east end. It more or less follows the ridgetops from near Lolo pass all the way to Kamiah. It's your typical rocky jeep trail that zigs and zags and climbs and descends, sometimes kinda steep, as it bobs along between 5000 and 7000 feet.

Big views from up there.

I enjoyed stopping and reading the history lessons and the excerpts from the Lewis and Clark journals.

I dropped down to hwy 12 near Syringa on Smith creek road, which is smooth gravel for almost 30 miles all the way down to the highway. Stopped at Lowell for gas and grub. A father and son who were on a ride saw my ADV sticker and I enjoyed conversation about bikes and riding while I ate my chicken fried steak and washed it down with a Rainier. I grabbed an extra Rainier for later and headed up the Selway to find a place to camp. All the campgrounds were packed, so I climbed out of the canyon on 443 towards Elk City. Up on top I surprised two bull elk that were standing in the road.

Camp for the night...
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