ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-14-2014, 02:40 PM   #31
Thermos
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Thermos's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Gray, Maine
Oddometer: 237
Great RR!!

Subscribed!

-T
Thermos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2014, 03:57 PM   #32
sasho
Dual Personality
 
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: MT/Bulgaria
Oddometer: 507
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wansfel
Tomorrow, the Gravellies.
Can't wait
sasho is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2014, 01:20 PM   #33
Montana Maniac
Adventurer
 
Montana Maniac's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Lowville, NY
Oddometer: 77
Awesome pics & a great RR!!!
Montana Maniac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2014, 08:38 PM   #34
Wansfel OP
50 yrs on 2 wheels
 
Wansfel's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Bitterroot Valley
Oddometer: 961
Day 6 - The Gravellys

Morning and we are heading back down Potosi and take off up South Meadow Ck Rd. This road connects Via Granite Ck Rd and eventually comes out on 287 outside Alder, our next destination for gas and supplies.


Alder is the only gas near by short of going all the way east to Ennis. From Ennis we ride to Nevada City and take on some gourmet coffee and rolls. They have a pretty good bakery here.










Engaging a couple of locals in conversation, we talk about some of the history of the area and ask about accessing the Gravellys directly from Virginia City. A couple of the older gentlemen have worked for Bovey Restorations for many, many years and they are very familiar with both the local history behind Nevada City and Virginia City as well as the country side around here. I learn some interesting facts about Charles Bovey who was behind this interesting place. Bovey originally was sent from Chicago as an heir to what is now General Mills. He was sent to Montana to establish a grain farm operation to guaranty a supply for the company by establishing a large farming operation in the Great Falls area. With success, Bovey moved on to acquiring and restoring historical relics in Montana, Thus Nevada City and Virginia City.

Virginia City was my theme park growing up and I spent many an day wandering around the various buildings and playing the nickelodeons and crank video machines that, at that time, still worked. A pocket full of nickels would keep me going all day back then. Bovey restored and filled many for the old buildings in Virginia City and disassembled and moved buildings from all over the west to the Nevada City complex.

Nevada Cityhas been the background for many old western movies including Little Big Man, the yellow house here was the house were Fay Dunaway and Dustin Hoffman did their thing.




Later on, Bovey got into old railroad items and ended up creating the
Alder Gulch Short Line Railroad complete with engines, cars, and even a depot.




Next we go the short distance on down to Virginia City and play tourist for a stretch before heading on up Alder Gulch directly from Virginia City. The “Adventure” ramps up.

One of my objectives of this trip was to pre-run some potential new segments for another DS ride in August, the Best of Montana 2014 ride. I was looking for a new route up to the Gravelly Road from the north directly from Virginia City. I had run across an ATV report of such a route, but needed to verify the route especially for running big loaded DS bikes.
I had set up a route on the GPS. That and my Benchmark Map would be our guide. Farther up Alder Gulch, it became obvious the maps and the terrain were not concurrent. More recent mining activity had altered the course of the routes and we ended up going farther up Alder Gulch than I had anticipated. As this was an adventure, we opted to go ahead and check out the road we were on. Besides, it was becoming more interesting. The road progressed on up the west side of the gulch (we were interested in the east), but it was a fun ride becoming more technical as we climbed. Rocks and ruts.

We eventually popped out up on a long exposed ridge.


The view was great, we were pretty much up above the general tree line and could see where the road took off down, down, down through a steep drainage down Barton Ck. The maps showed how it connected on down close to the Ruby Reservoir. I wasn’t ready to run down into a steep unknown drainage given the technical level of the known terrain behind us. Back we go.



Down towards the bottom again in Alder Gulch we started exploring some of the numerous connectors around where the GPS showed our original route should be. We were now heading up again, but towards the east where we had originally intended.

The intel I picked up in Nevada City led us to what appeared to be a very unused two track on the right a ways up from the bottom of Alder Gulch. It looked to have NOT been in use by any vehicles for a long, long time. Not too rough, but it ran along side a stream and a ways up we ran into a bog running down the road. Black muck and tall green grass. I got technical and as I crossed the worst, I looked back to see Tim down and signaling me for help. I parked the bike quickly and ran back to Tim to find is left leg to be pinned under the bike. Probably would have had a rough time getting out by himself. Doing a little reflection, and not knowing if the road got better or worse ahead, we opted to turn back. My goal was to find a big bike friendly route, and this was not it.

Going back to the main road, we turned right continuing on up the road which climbed quickly up into a very nice forested two track. After topping a small ridge, still in the timber, we came upon an interesting old stone building. One of the interesting things I had learned in Nevada City was the of the old Christenot Mill.


We had found it. The Montana Historical Society had been active, stabilizing the remains by topping the rock walls as they were and replacing some of the decayed wood jambs for doors and windows.






Continuing on, the two track started to get technical, exposed rocks roots, mud bogs. Definitely not big bike friendly, so enough of the trail finding. Now we are just into free exploration (like we had been already?) We finally broke out into some good size park areas and some intersecting trails where chanced upon a guy on a four wheeler from Ennis. Time to talk. His information indicated there were routes to the top, but technical and not usable for my purpose. He did dig down into his possible box and gave us an old paper USFS map of this forest, handy to have.

Now our plan was to find a good campsite. The terrain opened up as we worked our way on down out of the parks. The maps indicated a couple of lakes tucked in up here so that is were we headed. Following on down, the trail was still rough. Rough enough that we encountered a virtually brand new SUV just this side of a really rough LARGE rocky section. Jacked up missing one tire, rock damage on the side panels. Not too much further we found the perfect camp site on Grassy Lake. The pictures speak for themselves.







The clouds had been dancing around us most of the day, but no rain.


Now they came into play providing fantastic graphic displays as sunset approached. After establishing our camp, we took off up the open hill to the north to have a look see and pickup some fire wood.












Fantastic views and sunset displays. Truly unbelievable. Now Tim was really immersed in Montana.








After sunset as night settled in, the Milky Way stretched across the sky.


We lounged around the campfire on our backs contemplating the stars, satellites, and life. It just doesn’t get better.
 
Time for dreams. Tomorrow, the Pioneers.
 
 
 

Wansfel is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2014, 09:39 PM   #35
XRman
Beastly Adventurer
 
XRman's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: SW Victoria
Oddometer: 2,348
Bucket listed

I have wanted to explore Montana ever since Sam Neil's line in the movie " Hunting Red October" where he expressed his want of a small farm in Montana (as he died). I can't explain why this is so.

The closest I have got to Montana was looking over the B.C. border, so far.

I enjoyed the RR so far and now I am thinking that possibly a Montana trip is on the cards after I retire. It look beautiful and the history looks fascinating.

So now I will need a Visa, a bike (hire or buy) , gear for camping etc.etc.

Hey maybe there is a market for historic motorcycle tours for veteran riders, or at least do a GPS log that includes ride information about the historic places. ( like the TAT idea)
XRman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2014, 10:20 PM   #36
Wansfel OP
50 yrs on 2 wheels
 
Wansfel's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Bitterroot Valley
Oddometer: 961
Montana has a very rich history starting with Lewis & Clark then the mountain men, the miners, the Indians, and homesteaders. A lot of very colorful character and characters. A big bunch of this history is located where only adventure can take you.
Wansfel is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 01:16 PM   #37
Wansfel OP
50 yrs on 2 wheels
 
Wansfel's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Bitterroot Valley
Oddometer: 961
Day 7 - Pioneers

In the morning light our campsite looks even better.




After a leisurely breakfast, who would want to leave paradise, we pack up and head on down the road. Heading to the north, we run through sage brush country until we hit highway 287. We are surprisingly close to the highway up where it crossed the divide between Virginia City and Ennis.
Hitting the highway, we are reminded that we are truly in cowboy country having to negotiate a herd being driven along the highway early in the morning before major traffic.


Sign left behind indicated that they had started the drive way to the east driving the herd straight through both Nevada City and Virginia City before turning them up on to the road we had just exited.

We push on through Virginia City, but stop again this morning in Nevada City for another breakfast muffin/coffee stop.


I run in to the two old timers I had talked to yesterday and pick up even more history of this rich region.

Running back west on 287, we turn south on the Upper Ruby River Road and past the Ruby River Reservoir. Just south of the Reservoir, we turn again onto dirt heading up Cottonwood Ck over the top past the huge talc mine and finally connect with the Stone Ck road on State Highway 41 just north of Dillon, our next gas and restock point.














Our next destination is Bannack. Heading west, rather than run the slab all the way to the Bannack Road, before we climb the pass, we bail off to the south looking for the older back road trails directly into Bannack. Running down a dry dusty stretch of road, we encountered three antelope that decided to jump through a line of sagebrush, up over a tall berm on the left, and start matching us for speed almost within touching distance. We run together for a good 100 yards before they pull ahead a bit and zip under the fence on the right side. This would have been one for a Go-Pro,.
After a few false runs, we find a great two track running up over the top of the mountain coming down past Road Agent Rock.




A legacy of the rough and tumble “bad guy/vigilante” days. We exited the mountain road near the cemetery on the Bannack Road just outside of Bannack. On to Montana’s biggest, badest, best ghost town.








Bannack is now a state run and managed park. It gets a tremendous amount of tourist traffic every summer including “Bannack Days” in mid July. We were just ahead of the onslaught. My first trip to Bannack was waaay back in the ‘50s. Long before it became a protected park. At that time, there were still a few residents including one woman how had written a book on the history of Bannack. We purchased a copy of that book which she autographed and which I still have in my library collection.

Strolling down Bannack’s main street gives a good feel for life 150 years ago at a time when Montana had less than 20,000 residents (not counting indigenous residents, of course) the most of which were located in the gold fields of Bannack and Virginia City.

As luck would have it, the Park employees were busily setting up for the coming
Bannack Days celebration. Towards the east end of the street they had a pile of gold bearing ore and a couple of old bath tubs.


They had just brought a supply of gold pans an the employee responsible for this exhibit was there to enthrall and instruct visitors on the process of panning for gold. I have panned for gold in a minor way since I was less than 8 years old, but this was a first for Tim. I quickly reduced my pan down to the elemental black iron sands which included a couple of specs of “color”.





It took Tim while longer to get the routine down, but his select pile had even more specs AND a few piece of garnet and sapphire which also occur in the local overburden. Video compilation from a trip we took to Bannack Days in 2010.

After capturing Tim’s humongous take in a small zip lock bag, we wander on back down the street taking in the history on the south side.








And of course the Masonic Lodge - still active.






Side note: A few days after we left Bannack, disaster struck. A flash flood raced down the hills above Bannack and turned the street into a torrential river. Picture from news source.


So much for Bannack Days and the Park was closed until September. Returning from another ride in September, I stopped by for the night and to check out the damage. I’d heard on the news it had just reopened. Sure enough, they were back into production.


I scored one of the last camp sites which surprised me this late in the season. Seems the Masons were having a celebration. The Park was busy repairing boardwalks and a couple of buildings that had taken a bad hit.


Having filled our need for today’s ghost town fix, we mount up and take off for Polaris and the Pioneer Scenic Byway, a beautiful stretch of paved road that I would stack up against any other “bike” roads in the US. But we would be stopping early for camp…land a plunge.

Some of the must do’s on the Scenic Byway start with the Grasshopper Inn. A last chance stop for eats (great) and gas (always over $5/gal).
Inn resident. Very friendly.


Just beyond, there is a small ski run - Maverick Mountain. A little farther and we hit Grasshopper USFS Campground, our home for the night.


We semi-settled in, but then headed further up the road after unburdening the KLRs and ran a bit further up the road to Elkhorn Hot Springs. Time to clean off some road dust and soak up some warm fresh hot spring water. They have two pools plus a small indoor sauna sized pool along with a change room and shower. Felt goooood!.

After our plunge, we ran a bit further up the road to a turn off and proceed to de-nude the side road of manageable fire wood again turning the KLR’s into pack animals. Back to camp for dinner and campfire stories for the night…our last on the road, and, of course another ghost town.

Note:We had no mechanical problems on this trip. this continued on from my previous trip last June where My son had mounted "bobbling Buddha" on the front fender of the 2002 KLR. Obviously, it brought good karma. Its still there and ready for this year....the good karma did NOT always extend to the weather on that June trip was locked in (pretty much) for this trip.

Wansfel is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 02:40 PM   #38
BigDogAdventures
Fart Letter
 
BigDogAdventures's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Mt. Vernon, Illinois
Oddometer: 4,699
Great trip !!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wansfel View Post
Note:We had no mechanical problems on this trip. ]
Well---when your riding one of the finest motorcycles ever made---what do you expect

Noting---all your ghost towns, campsites and hot springs for my future planning.

Thanks guys !!!

BigDog
__________________
WR250R 2008
KTM EXC 450 2006
Husqvarna TR650 Terra 2013
KTM 690 Enduro 2014
If your bike weighs more than 400lbs. You might not make it.
BigDogAdventures is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 04:46 PM   #39
Wansfel OP
50 yrs on 2 wheels
 
Wansfel's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Bitterroot Valley
Oddometer: 961
Day 8 Coolidge and Home

Up early and hit the road. This would be our last day on the trail. Continuing on north on the Pioneer Scenic Byway, we run until we get to the turn off to Coolidge. Our last Ghost Town of the trip. Coolidge still has some interesting old building and was quite a town at one time given its remote location even to the point of having a rail line spur.




Time and financial vagaries dealt Coolidge the same deal as most of Montana’s other gold rush era ghost towns.










These days the only residents tend to be the wood chucks which do their best to help restore the intrusion of man back to nature. How many planks can a wood chuck chew if ….








My first visit to Coolidge was back in 2010 by car. As it happens as we were leaving the car at the parking area (about a half mile up to the town site), there was a loaded KLR sitting there. it’s owner was just coming back down from Coolidge as we took off. Turns out it was Canonshot during his CDR run. He passed me a business card and I later looked his trip up on ADV. You could say that meeting was one of the things that pushed me fully into the ADV life style.

On this trip, we rode our bikes all the way up the trail path to the town site. My buddy Tim got to reading the trail sign which stated “Motorized Traffic limited to 30” or less”. You know what that means. We motored on up. It is best to read those signs closely. The sign is kind of hidden behind a bigger explanatory sign.

The rest of the Scenic Byway is scenic view of mountains and conifer forest. The road that is a great stretch of fresh pavement provides enough turns and twist to make the heart of any crotch rocket rider beat strong with very limited traffic.

At the north terminus of the Scenic Byway, you hit a junction at Wise River. Perfect stop for lunch and ice cream cone.


After a refreshing lunch we continue on down the pavement on State 43 to the west until we hit the Big Hole Road cut across from Anaconda. Another scenic paved back road….but the road surface condition will keep your hazard avoidance skills honed. Gas up again in Anaconda and more west over to the Skalkaho Road.

On the way, in the middle of one stretch I pulled Tim over to say we had hit 1,000 miles on this trip (not counting his first day orientation run). Time for pictures and push on to the Skalkaho Road.


The Skalkaho road is a seasonal all vehicle road which cuts directly on over to Hamilton. It starts with pavement on both ends, put is gravel through its core. Another beautiful stretch of forest, twisty roads, scenic views, and of course Skalkaho Falls. A mandatory photo op.




After photos and a cool down, its down the road, hit the pavement, ride on into Hamilton and up the East Side Highway and back home.

Of course, my wife was ready for us as we pulled up to the garage…


Close to 1,300 miles for Tim's first ADV ride. Considering his level of (or lack of) experience prior to this ride, he did a fantastic job. A great partner for a great ride. A perfect way to experience the Big Sky for the first time.

Thanks for all who rode along with this RR.
Wansfel is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 04:56 PM   #40
Wansfel OP
50 yrs on 2 wheels
 
Wansfel's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Bitterroot Valley
Oddometer: 961
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDogAdventures.com View Post
Well---when your riding one of the finest motorcycles ever made---what do you expect

Noting---all your ghost towns, campsites and hot springs for my future planning.

Thanks guys !!!

BigDog
Glad you could tag along through the report. As to the KLRs....if you count your coins, there is no other machine in their class.

Of course, the quality of the motorcycle is totally dependent on how you define "quality" ("Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance").

If you ever need tips on locales in this locale, just holler. Now back to planning for 2014.
Wansfel is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 05:55 PM   #41
Ladybug0048
Bug Sister
 
Ladybug0048's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Spokane Valley, WA (the dry side of the mountains)
Oddometer: 10,505
Great ride report. I really enjoyed all the interesting places you went.

I like how your wife welcomed you home. Smart lady
Ladybug0048 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 06:08 PM   #42
BigDogAdventures
Fart Letter
 
BigDogAdventures's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Mt. Vernon, Illinois
Oddometer: 4,699
Heck-----if you live in or near Stevensville---------you've surely had coffee at "BigDog Coffee"-----on the East side of rt.93-----just a little shack ?????

Been by there many times.

BigDog
__________________
WR250R 2008
KTM EXC 450 2006
Husqvarna TR650 Terra 2013
KTM 690 Enduro 2014
If your bike weighs more than 400lbs. You might not make it.
BigDogAdventures is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 06:37 PM   #43
Cunning Linguist
Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2011
Location: SW Montana
Oddometer: 50
Great report! I haven't been to some of those areas since I was a kid. Thanks for the trip down memory lane and some ride ideas for this summer!
Cunning Linguist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 06:41 PM   #44
Wansfel OP
50 yrs on 2 wheels
 
Wansfel's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Bitterroot Valley
Oddometer: 961
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDogAdventures.com View Post
Heck-----if you live in or near Stevensville---------you've surely had coffee at "BigDog Coffee"-----on the East side of rt.93-----just a little shack ?????

Been by there many times.

BigDog
I don't often run through the coffee shacks, but I think I've seen it. I live 5 miles out of Stevensville.
Wansfel is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 06:45 PM   #45
MTrider16
Ridin' in MT
 
MTrider16's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Eastern Montana
Oddometer: 1,479
Quote:
On this trip, we rode our bikes all the way up the trail path to the town site. My buddy Tim got to reading the trail sign which stated “Motorized Traffic limited to 30” or less”. You know what that means. We motored on up. It is best to read those signs closely. The sign is kind of hidden behind a bigger explanatory sign.
Yep, we saw that note also. Its a nice little ride to the town site.

David
__________________
'13 VFR1200D, '13 XVS950, '09 F800GS, 07 CRF250X
Riding roads in Montana - Big Sky Country
www.mtrider16.smugmug.com
Mountains, Moose, and Miles: a Montanan's Alcan Highway Story
Continental Divide and More: the "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
MTrider16 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 06:46 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014