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Old 01-10-2014, 06:07 AM   #16
Wansfel OP
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Originally Posted by sasho View Post
Waiting for the next installment....
Is Tim on ADVrider? What made you both think that the kid could play banjo? Maybe there was something in the text I missed...

I remember now that you talked about it... Was he Eastern European himself? What instruments does he play? It would be interesting to find and talk to this guy...

No banjo, just the look and talk. Creepy. You need to watch the movie Deliverance

The lookout played banjo and guitar. Don't think he was Eastern European. No accent.

Tim isn't on ADV (that I know.) He is a CPA and CFO for an association, but was once a Marine carrier jet pilot which explains his interest in adventures and quick pickup on the bike. Very quick!
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Old 01-10-2014, 07:32 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Wansfel View Post

Tim isn't on ADV (that I know.) He is a CPA and CFO for an association, but was once a Marine carrier jet pilot which explains his interest in adventures and quick pickup on the bike. Very quick!
Thanks Ron---I was just wondering if he was reading this ride report. Although it would be pretty cool to see his perspective on Montana and the ride as well.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:08 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Wansfel View Post
Still five days to go........
This is a nice RR. I too love old buildings and rusty cars. Very cool!
For the record, I hate snakes!

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Old 01-12-2014, 07:02 AM   #19
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Another good one Wansfel!
...what this really wants is an outgoing, gregarious, driven, type A; an extrovert, Alpha male P.T. Barnum salesman type with little time left to examine his life or to worry about knocking things off the coffee table with his tail....John Burns

I got the right gal when gas WAS $19 cents a gallon she's has put up with me for 58 years...AK Bike
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:17 AM   #20
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For the first time, I really want to visit Montana now! Cool read so far, thanks.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:51 AM   #21
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Fun report. I'm sure I will get a lot of idea of places I want to visit. I did Elk Meadow Road last fall and about all I saw was rain and fog but it's one I'll return to and hope for drier weather.

Montana has a lot of good stuff.

Waiting patiently for more.
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Old 01-12-2014, 12:24 PM   #22
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Day 3- The Elkhorns

Breakfast and pack and we are off for Day 3. We now are still in the Little Belt Mountains, but will spend most of our day in the Elkhorn Mountains. We continued on out the back side of the range shooting for White Sulfur Springs. An old town in its own right., Getting there was fun. The road, Birch Creek, was easy…dirt..gravel…fast. Very fast. The long straight stretches allowed us to crank up the speeds into the 70s. Fun as you skate along the top of the looser material, occasionally slowing for the occasional coulee or turn. Obviously, we had the road to ourselves.

Finally we hit some pavement on the Fort Logan Road and White Sulfur Springs. Fort Logan would have been a great stop. The last I remember the corner block house was still standing - a classic structure, but it was that way and we were headed this way. Yes, there is a motel with a hot springs in White Sulfur Springs, but not for us today.

There is a whole extra bunch of country I would like to explore in this region. The Big Belt Mtns., the Snowies and Judiths - both out of Lewistown and closer to this ride, the Castle Mountains including the old
ghost town of Castle which I have visited, but 50 years ago (BM - before motorcycle). I understand there are still a bunch of buildings standing.

I contemplated some dirt bypassing south of US 12 where I had spent many a day camping, hunting, fishing. For expediency, I opted for US 12 down through Deep Creek Canyon. Still a great motorcycle stretch. This would let Tim experience a great stretch of paved twisties en route to Townsend with tall limestone cliffs on both sides adjacent to Deep Creek.
We climb out of the Deep Creek Canyon and now can see Canyon Ferry Reservoir from the south as well as the town of Townsend down below. Time to fuel up, stock pile food for the day and hit the Mint Café on Main street for lunch, I’ve been hitting the Mint café for many years, so it is good to see some things do not change over time. Many of the places of my youth are now locked out or the roads and trails closed to wheels. The Elkhorns coming up are a good example.

Exiting Townsend to the North towards Helena, we crossed the Missouri River and take the Indian Creek Road up into the Elkhorn Mountains, home to a thriving mining district a hundred years ago. We would be running by the ghost town of Hassle, but along the way there are many old structures, but not as many as my memory serves from 30 years ago.

As we approached the Park Hill Mines area, we were greeted by a herd of current residents. 30 years ago I recalled a story in the local paper where they were restoring a herd of big horn sheep to this part of the Elkhorns.

I was glad to see they had prospered. I never got to see them up here in the past, but here was a group of mature males, many ¾ curl or more. At first they wandered away in the park, but apparently they decided we were not a danger and returned to grazing. Wish I’d had the big DSLR/telephoto. There are a lot of large groups of big horn sheep where you have to virtually drive them off the road in western areas near where I live, but you rarely get to see these big boys.

Back in the 80s/90s we hauled our old Shasta camp trailer to the upper part of this park along with the motorbikes. I covered a lot ground on the old KDX400 up here plus my son on his KDX80, even Mom on her old Honda 90. One of my first real back country 2 wheel adventures was up here with my old Yamaha Trailmaster 80. We did a lot of elk hunting, camping, backpacking, and 2 wheeling in this vicinity years back. Now many of the more remote roads are closed to motorized traffic.
I dropped down into the basis below in this picture to scout for elk and elk camps. At most, I lost my wallet in a rough stretch of rocks as I remember. Just a little shy of 50 years ago. Longfellow Park off in the distance.

Today we would zipped past the Eagle Creek Station. It would have been interesting to rent for a night, but it looked to be occupied anyway. It is unique in the USFS cabin rental program as it includes a bunkhouse which can house more people than the normal old cabins and underwent a major restoration several years back.

From up on high, we worked our way on down to Crow Creek. More old cabins, making one wonder just what it would have been like to spend your days up in this distant country…especially in the winter. Tough old buzzards.

Getting to be time to look for a suitable campsite, Its been a hot dusty day. For all of being mostly in the mountains, its been well up into the 90s today.

We worked our way down Crow Creek and finally opted for a BLM campground right on the river bank. Pretty sparse, but at least it had the required basics.

Last night we Had the pleasure of a high mountain lake plunge, this afternoon, a nice cool stretch of a small river.

Nice after a dusty hot day. I offered for Tim to run up front, but continually declined. I wouldn’t fight him on the issue. The stream was covered in small round river rock and just deep enough to relax and back float down the river. Time for laundry as well.

Dinner time. Now I have never been one to use freeze dried meals and this trip was no different. On Townsend I had restocked my egg carrier and picked up a couple of ears of corn and potatoes. Now all we needed was a fire. You have to be patient with fire baked potatoes, the corn is a bit easier. I don’t wrap the corn, it comes in its own steaming container. A little liquid butter, salt and pepper plus some cheese sauce (cans from the chip dip section).

As good as it looks and much better than the freeze dried I’ve tried. The cheese sauce goes great with scrambled eggs in the morning as well.

A little lounging around, listening to MP3 music, classic adventure BS, accompanied by some typical Montana sky display and it was time for dream land. But this evening sky would pale against what we would see in a few days...and a few miles farther.
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:43 PM   #23
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Looking forward to more, Nice pictures.
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:54 PM   #24
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Very nice report, thanks for posting it up here. I'm interested in your route over the Elk Horn mtns. I did the trip a few years ago, but was winging it and I think I got on some private two tracks.

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Old 01-12-2014, 05:21 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by MTrider16 View Post
Very nice report, thanks for posting it up here. I'm interested in your route over the Elk Horn mtns. I did the trip a few years ago, but was winging it and I think I got on some private two tracks.

Coming up on Day 4. I fondly recall the trips I use to take all through the Elkhorns on single track way before the motorized closures, McClellan Ck to Tizers etc.
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:01 PM   #26
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Old 01-13-2014, 02:42 PM   #27
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Day 4 - South Elkhorns and beyond

A good looking day again. Pretty common for a mid summer morning Montana. But we would see mostly clouds for the most part. Cool, comfortable riding.

Breakfast, unload the clothes line, pack the bikes and we are off again.

To start we head on down towards Radersburg, a ghost town in its own rights. But still with quite a few inhabitants. One of the more famous residence was Myrna Loy. Namesake of the Myrna Loy theater in Helena. An interesting edifice as it was the county jail, an interesting architectural stone structure. My mother use to frequent Radersburg and I remember visiting here when very young.

From here I have questionable routing. One use to be able to head directly across the southern face of the Elkhorn Mountains directly to the old ghost town of Elkhorn. A remnant of an old established freight route. However, recent inquiries of Helena area ADV inmates indicated that may not be possible anymore. So, between the BaseCamp route on the GPS and the Benchmark map book, we are off.

We quickly found what was marked as through roads in some cases went right through active mining operations - no through access. We talked with one local who gave some vague instructions and off we go to explore basically just working our way off in the “right” direction.

Eventually we worked our way back into hills and trees with the road (as defined by maps) turned into two track, but in pretty good shape. The chosen route took us up to a green gate with a no trespassing sign on the far side.

But as luck would have it there was no lock and the sign, in my interpretation indicated the property, not the road, was indicated which I know many years ago had been a regularly traveled public route from Radersburg to Elkhorn. Of course that could have been 30-50 years ago…or more. Well better to ask forgiveness….

And the road hit another set of gates within a ½ mile indicating that there had only been a narrow stretch of private ground. Regardless of the status of the road, it was a great ride through the hills and trees. The further we progressed, the rougher the road, but nothing technical.

Just as the road was getting thick in the trees we hit a junction with a much more established USFS road NF-517 and we waste no time getting on to the ghost town of Elkhorn. Including a rusty old car.

Elkhorn is one of the better preserved old ghost towns in Montana. Many of the buildings have had some stabilization work, but are still open to the elements. Like many of the old ghost town, the large fraternal hall supported several of the organizations including the Masons.

The only resident we did interact with was this young lab looking for someone with which to play ball.

Powder house off by itself.

And then on to the ghosts….

Some of the residents of long ago are still here…only moved up on a ridge above the town.

I’ve visited the cemetery in years gone by but I’m still touched by the number of children that reside up here. Diphtheria and may other diseases ran in epidemics in these camps and the weak including the children, where the worst hit. Whole families succumbed.

View from the cemetery hill.

But enough ghosts, we have far to go today and the route is still a little fuzzy. After all, we are on an exploratory trip. So on down the road. The sunny part of the day was getting a little sketchy with rain clouds, but in the end it never rained. Next stop Boulder for lunch and gas.

We headed south of Boulder on the Whitetail Road. My intended destination for the day was to be Delmoe Lake Near Homestake Pass east of Butte. Of course, I was looking for the back door approach and there was an intriguing route on the Benchmark Map Book and BaseCamp, but not on Google Maps. I should have known. We took a side route cross country over towards Delmoe Lake - the back way. The road became very rough. Long stretches of the dreaded baby head boulders. Time for a real test for Tim. We both did pretty well until the road took on up across an up hill open meadow which ducked into the trees and then the road turned up through an open drainage, a very steep climb up the drainage. The view from the bottom indicated this would be dicey at best.

Time to have second thoughts here, but lesser minds prevailed. I gave it a try first. The road, this steep, degraded into ruts. Ruts that bounced me off to the side putting the biek down. I merely stepped off standing there to Tim’s amazement. Time for more detailed reconnoitering, was there a bypass rather than attacking the road directly.

We horsed the bike around and I road back down to the bottom where we left the bike and hiked back up the hill.

Now there had been a herd of cows down below watching us closely, and we knew they were laughing. But those cows are smart. To the left of the road was a cow trail that cut across the road at an angle creating a lesser angle up the hill. It looked intriguing. Also, heading cross country up the coulee just to the left could have been a possibility as well. Time to think…and be rational. Tim was new at this. The bikes were fully loaded. This was trail bike country. It was hard, but logic prevailed and I told Tim it is best we retreat (as rough as the back road was) and live to ride another day.

Yes, these cows were laughing at us as passed on by tails fully tucked.
Back through the baby heads and on down to the county road which turned to pavement after a stretch and terminated at Whitehall.

Now just a quick run up adjacent to the Interstate to the Lake Delmoe Road, some slippery gravel and home for the night. Time to relax and contemplate the day.


Tomorrow, the Tabaco Roots.

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Old 01-13-2014, 06:27 PM   #28
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Amazing. ?? How is the hammock tent work out?
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:45 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Honkey Cat View Post
Amazing. ?? How is the hammock tent work out?
Works for me. I like it better than a tent on the ground. I carry a colapsible hiking stick for an upright for the tarp and bug net should I have to go to the ground if no trees with this rig. A little more technical than a typical tent, but quick once you get the technique down.
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Old 01-14-2014, 02:22 PM   #30
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Day 5 - Tobacco Roots

A bright day ahead, again we prep breakfast, pack and hit the road.

Breakfast is usually some form of eggs, scrambled, fried, occasionally poached along with some dehydrated hash browns - a very light weight, easy to prep breakfast. There are a number of small canned meats and or cheeses can vary the mix. I usually pick up a few eggs when I hit a restaurant for the next morning. Never have had one break or crack.

We work back towards I-90 and cross it at the exit taking the Upper Rader Ck Road heading south through the mountains. The road degenerates into 2 track which is a joy to ride, but eventually turns into a good county road.

After a bit we start running into residences and finally hit Old US 10 crossing straight across and on down the Cedar Hills Rd. Now on to White Hall and Cardwell where we gas up and headed south. I also donated $5 and change to a needy lady needing gas money for her old Subaru and little dogs. Then it struck me, Rainbow person. I’ll explain later.

Down highway 359 and back to dirt on the South Boulder Rd. to the Carmichael Ck Rd. and South. First point of interest was the Indiana Field Geologic Station. Click on the link for more info. A surprise out here to say the least.

This road led all the way on down to Pony. Great ADV road with expansive vistas and a heard of Antelope to go along.

Pony is another ghost town that is still hanging on. Some of buildings and homes indicate a fairly prosperous history.

The corner bank building still looks good. The school is substantial and still in use. But the primary point of interest these days is the Pony Bar. A must stop on a hot day. Also a good place to pick up some farm fresh local eggs for tomorrow’s breakfast.

After a refreshing stop, we trucked on down the slab to Harrison and a bit of civilization. Did a little food shopping and hit the restaurant for lunch. A couple of nice out-of state GS BMWs loaded for travel were parked out front, we were parked around the corner on the side street. Tim opined that they could never have gone some of the places we had on the KLR beaters…too pretty. He was right and this ADV game was sinking in. There are a lot of versions of this game. One of the BMW riders came back in after they left to compliment us on the KLRs…we obviously had been traveling where they were not. Envy can cut both ways I guess.

Back towards Pony and on up the Potosi Rd to Potosi Hot Springs campground.

A quick stop half way there to don raingear, but the sun was back out by the time we hit the campground.

Nice campsites. Ours had a small side stream right through the campsite.

And there were Rainbow People. More now. Every year the
Rainbow FamilyPeople have an ad hoc national meeting in a very rural setting. This year it was held in southwest Montana just out of Jackson south of Wisdom, about 10,000 people attended this year. The Rainbow Family movement can best be described as a remnant of the Hippie Generation. They come in many age categories and often travel on the cheap (recall the Subaru gal?) The Rainbow Family members here were the dispersants from the national meeting in Jackson slowly working their way to wherever such people go.

Ok, so we are camping near
Potosi Hot Springs, so just where is such hot springs. The search is on. Locals back in Pony had given some hints - a small fenced in place on the hillside opposite the creek. We took off with the GPS hiking along the tree line after fording the creek on the KLRs. We met a three “Rainbows” with dog trucking our way on the trail. They confirmed we were on track, but their appearance gave some doubt as to whether we would actually partake of the hot springs.

Another few minutes and we were at the springs. Pretty small. There were a couple of Rainbow types there also. We exchanged pleasantries, but opted to head on back to camp as the one in the water, old, thin, and wrinkled, left the water to sun on the rocks. So much for a soak. Looked pretty murky anyway. I’ve seen better.

Back to camp for dinner and to talk life until well after dark.

Tomorrow, the Gravellies.
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