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Old 08-05-2013, 09:41 PM   #1
birdcool OP
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A Long Dance With the Devil-Tour of Idaho

Intro and summary:

On July 22th, I started the 7 day, 1600 mile, Challenge Point (CP) version of the Tour Of Idaho(TID) ( http://tourofidaho.com/TID.htm ) going solo.

To get a quick picture preview of the route with some of the geo-tagged pictures I took, you can click here. Zoom in a few levels and follow the pictures from South to North.

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/albu...3533572129#map


Background:

I am a middle aged trail rider, not a racer or an athlete . I either end up in the mid pack novice class or the emergency room every time I tried to race. This event fits my idea of fun though. I wanted to see if the Average Joe (My name is Joe) can do this thing by the plan if he takes it seriously. The challenge point version of this route is more of a rugged, remote survivalist event that takes a lighter dirt bike than something like a TAT or a BDR. So I lost 15lbs and did train for 4 months at some level to make sure I did not pass out. Since I was going solo, I did get solid support to fund my 2007 KTM 400 bike preparation from my wife, who luckily wanted me to get back alive. I found the solo part of this added motivation to the need for preparation and added intensity to the sense of adventure during the ride. I preferred it, but would want to go with others on future runs. The emotional highlight was cruising along a smooth ridge road near the end of day 4 with the sun setting such that the shadows of the trees flashed past me and I found myself singing "Born to be Wild" from Easy Rider with a powerful sense of freedom. Like so many parts of this, you just had to be there to understand what it was like.

THANK-YOU to "The Man" Martin and all the MANY people that provided the valuable input in my preparation. Wazzu-Wade was my role model and first adviser. Idahombre-Jimmy and Blake were a fountain of enthusiasm and laughs. Other TID veteran contributors were Big Dog-Mark as a friendly source of experienced tips. Idahoman-BruceC and TimR helped me make my final decisions and adopted me as team managers of sorts. Then the non-TID vets were James Renazco, who was my bike builder, but didn't know it when he setup my bike for himself before he decided to sell it. Then there is my highest ranking Angel, my wife, who had the confidence and support to let me do this hair brained idea and put up with my 9 month obsession.

I will post the report in sections to make it easier to consume and follow with my gear review/preparation. Here is Day 1 and Day 2:

birdcool screwed with this post 08-15-2013 at 11:21 PM
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:43 PM   #2
birdcool OP
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Living the Dream

The final pre-ride staging. My wife and daughter saw me working on my Tour Of Idaho pony in the 95 degree sun so they setup this shade cover for me. I am so spoiled. I used the tailgate of my grandson's john deere electric truck as a work bench. I enjoyed the setting.





The send off committee of my wife, son and dog. My son tagged along with me on part of day 1. I was glad to make him a part of the event, but he agreed he could not help me to protect my solo status:

Day 1. Utah to Pocatello:



The stateline, my first Challenge Point (CP). Only 64 to go!:




Nice view suddenly emerges from the tree below Weston Peak:





WW I flying Ace likes this flying high at Oxford Ridge CP:





Spring flowers and scenery at Oxford Basin, Day 1:





Flying past a nice view Challenge Point:





Another sweet view CP Sedgwick Peak, rough jeep trail hill climb to get here:





Fun woods trails can be found even in So Idaho at S.F. Inman:





This is Blackrock 1 CP. Getting here is where my first real grief happened and I failed to take any pics while struggling. First off, the Blackrock trail that started off the dirt road was very hard to find even wiith GPS tracks. But I saw some dirt bike tracks and followed them, but I did not choose wisely. I found myself pushing thru some Hawthorn bushes so now I had new bloody scratches on my face. The tracks faded so I stopped and walked around to find the real trail since I knew the GPS tracks were close. I found it on the other side of the stream. It was too steep to cross, so I had to push my way back thru those bushes to get over to the other side. Then the blackrock trail was so so faint and blocked with treefall that I could not follow it, so soon I was bushwhacking my way again to get to the top of the hill, following the GPS track the best I could. When I got to the top, I was sweating and hot. I had passed the challenge point (CP) so I did a u-turn, but I tipped over trying to make the u-turn. When I picked my bike up, it was flooded and the battery quickly died. What!? I could not generate enough oomph to kickstart past the flooding, and I could not bump start it since I was running the Z-Start auto-clutch. But luckily, my ProBilliet kickstand was strong enough for me to stand on the pegs while kick starting and I managed to clear it and get it going. At the end of the day, I went to Pocatello Power Sports and my fancy Sycl battery had failed when the shop tried to charge it. So I bought a stock brand battery. Aaah. Its' good to be back to stock. This is the only part I replaced on the entire journey:





Blackrock 2, CP, no dab allowed to get point old school style. Turn out on steep hill climb at CP that I came back to:






The "Admiral's" headquarters and final CP of the day. Signed register and I'm off, it's about 3:30PM after a 6am start:





Day 1 trip stats. My shortest day of the Tour:


birdcool screwed with this post 08-07-2013 at 10:48 AM
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:45 PM   #3
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Go Fast Or Go Home

Day 2, Pocatello to American Falls (the long way) then on to Arco(the slow way):





Day 1 caused blisters to start on my palms, so this is how I started days 2, 3, and 6 under my gloves. Worked great.





After eating last night's carry out for breakfast, I got a predawn start to get some miles in before it gets too hot (96 degree forecast):





Sunrise, Day 2, at first CP, Gibson Peak. Life is Good:









Pretty country at midnight creek:





Golden waves of grain along Mink Creek area:





High country Desert View hill top. Almost to American Falls where I paused for food and gas at mile 100 for the day:





The next 30 miles were soft sand which I am not used to. I was proud of my little 4-hunny here. I made the darker arching mark on the sand dune at the top. It is much larger than it looks here. I was hooting and grinning as I came down. I had passed this dune, but it called me back to make a run at it, even though I tipped over again trying to make a u-turn to get back to this.





Bonanza Lake. The sand was like soft sugar and I got stuck 3 times getting to here. I eventually had to tell myself " Go fast or go home".





Several desert water tanks, that all looked dry when I could see in:








Big Southern Butte. It took forever to get here:







On my way to Arco from Big Southern Butte, I met Dave on the road. Dave is the local water truck driver adjusting his air pressure to work better in the dirt. He commuted to Big Southern Butte from Arco on this bike. Note the 4 wall light switches. I didn't ask him what all the Hillbilly light switch rework was about. He was sitting on his windshield because he takes it off to see the rocks better when he is on dirt roads. I think he could do the T3 on this thing. The TID was more than just the ride and scenery. What an Adventure!





Here are the riders from California that I met in Arco doing their own version of T1 with a chase truck. Fun friendly crowd that even offered to let me sleep on their floor when all the rooms in town were full. This old body can't do floors. They let me use their shower though.





The bikes are in a huddle getting the plays set for tomorrow. Notice all the trials tires we all kept seeing on the trail. I was waiting around for a "maybe" motel room of my own, but it did not work out.





Day2 end in Arco, Filling up on 3.5G of extra gas for long Day 3, getting ready to head out and find a hammock camp site





In the TID spirit, after finding that all of Arco was booked, i headed out of town on the Day 3 route looking for trees to hang my hammock. No trees! So i adapted and used the fence posts of a cattle gate part open and slept as you see here last night. Bike is blocking opening so cattle dont get put. I had a 1.5lb summer down sleeping bag as well as the hammock for a sleeping kit, plus a 2 man e-blanket for rain or dew if I needed. I used the inside of elbow pads for a pillow. I slept comfy in all my gear except boots and helmet but did not get to sleep until 11PM after all my time in Arco. This is actually sunrise of day 3:





Day 2 Stats while still in Arco.


birdcool screwed with this post 08-09-2013 at 11:56 AM
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:52 AM   #4
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keep it comin'..... just my style....
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:51 AM   #5
MasterMarine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdcool View Post
In the TID spirit, after finding that all of Arco was booked, i headed out of town on the Day 3 route looking for trees to hang my hammock. No trees! So i adapted and used the fence posts of a cattle gate part open and slept as you see here last night. Bike is blocking opening so cattle dont get put. I had a 1.5lb summer down sleeping bag as well as the hammock for a sleeping kit, plus a 2 man e-blanket for rain or dew if I needed. I used the inside of elbow pads for a pillow. I slept comfy in all my gear except boots and helmet but did not get to sleep until 11PM after all my time in Arco. This is actually sunrise of day 3:



That is a great idea. Way to adapt!
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:13 AM   #6
400psi
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Awesome! I would love to do this ride!
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:00 AM   #7
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subcribe.. awesome!
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:54 AM   #8
Gunslinger1
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...........Thanks for sharing your Ride.............Nothing average about riding the T1 Solo as laid out........................................... Nothing.....

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Old 08-06-2013, 06:20 PM   #9
birdcool OP
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Dancing on Massacre Mountain

Day 3, Arco to Old Saw Mill:






I scrounged water from these people after spending night in my hammock so I did not have to go into town in Moore..I had plenty of gas.








Back country desert crossing:





Headed into infamous Massacre Mountain Loop. This was the most difficult section to do as a soloist. [Ominous music here]



I didn't take any pics of the rocky switchback climb, so here is a stock photo of that trail.


I managed to stay on the rocky sidehill trail, roosting around the hairpin switchbacks without issues. When I got to the top, I found the California group at Swauger Lake. They headed down the middle jeep trail, but I had to find the challenge point trail.


I had a hard time finding the right trail out of here. I started to follow one that was close to the GPS track, but it was just a fisherman lake trail that ended. So I cut across towards where I thought the trail might be and it got steep, so I layed my bike down on the hill side and hiked around to find the trail before I got myself into trouble. I spotted the trail, but after hiking on the hill side for a while, I could not find my own bike laying down! I had to hike that steep hill side in my MX boots for another half hour before I finally found my lost bike laying down in the sagebrush. Good Grief Charlie Brown.

You call this a trail?




The trail goes thru here somewhere. I tipped over here once but a sharp rock broke my fall.




Curse you Red Baron!



Made it out out Massacre Mt uninjured, so I am back on the road now. Not much growing up here, I can't see why it would be a horse heaven.





Headed into Pahsimeroi Valley. This was an optional side trip on the tour. I decide to take the optional side trip to get the full meal deal and I thought I had plenty of gas. I may not be this way again and came to dance.




I needed a panorama camera here. Pahsimeroi Valley was amazing.



End of trail into valley.



Out of the valley and on the desert road again.



The long roads led to Little Boulder trail area, another tour highlight. I had forgotten to clean my filter skin after spending night in hammock, and now I noticed I was getting low on gas just before this trail started, so I cut back on road and scrounged a couple gallons from a farmer named Wayne who had a big elevated heating oil tank full of gas with a gas nozzle hose on it. I gave him $20 and we both felt like we got a great deal.

Little Boulder trail was rough in places but do-able.



I was sad I did not get a video of my struggle crossing Boulder Creek at the frog lake camp ground. That thing was filled with snotty basketballs and I had walk it thru. Frog Lake was sweet and remote. I'm glad I got that extra gas. This trail was a work-out.



Ghost Town on the way down:



Then it was time to climb. Snow? 10,300ft. Almost up to China Wall viewpoint.



The lights from above. The scenes orchastra music was made for:



China Wall, the pic does not do it justice.



You make trail from what you have available. French creek trail on the way down.



Home sweet home. Fully furnished 3 bedroom Mobile Cabin in this case in Old Saw Mill. I had a panic here. I was working with my GPS ,saving and deleting the days tracks, when I somehow got it into factory reset mode and deleted "all user data". When it rebooted, i only had an outline of the world, no map or tracks to follow. Aaarg. So I started to setup by backup GPS and epoxying the mount that was broken on day 1. When I got done after more than an hour, I investigated the original GPS more and I had only reset all my configuration setting, and my data was still in there when I looked harder and fixed settings. Whew.



I got here right after the cafe closed at 8:30, but they made me a sandwich anyway. Nice folks. Glad I got an early start.

Day 3 was huge. It was the largest single day's effort and scenery reward in my life.

Since I accidentally deleted the day 3's trip stats along with my settings, I don't have pictures. But I remember that it was 12 hours moving and 15 hours total for the day, and about 245 miles with optional side trip included. Of course the high altitude was 10,300-10,400ft. All with no gas to refill if I had not scrounged from Wayne. I got to bed late fighting the GPS panic, but I knew tomorrow was going to be shorter, even with the extra leg to Challis, so I thought I was OK on time. I would be wrong.
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:14 PM   #10
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Great job Joe, this is bringing back some memories.

Keep it coming!
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:04 PM   #11
birdcool OP
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I've got day 3 submitted, but it is stuck in moderator review process. I guess I'm too much of a noob to mega-post without review.

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Old 08-07-2013, 10:24 AM   #12
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Yay, the Day 3 post passed review and is now live.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:55 AM   #13
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Looks and sounds amazing!!
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:01 PM   #14
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Gee Birdcool...This report resonates. I think you are bolder than me, though. Maybe it's the xtra years.

Here is what strikes me so far. You are highly aware of your skill level (which is very good), but don't mind pressing it some when the adventure goes as they do. You are probably a little impatient and take chances when pressed. You LOVE the unknown aboard a motorcycle. You like depending on your native resourceful talents.

Birdcool; You know how to do a truly great adventure. Last most, you have a really nicely assembled scooter for the job. Plus you have such a small kit! I think you could add a Big Agnes air mattress. It packs the size of a cheap paperback novel, and your body doesn't have to fear floors. There are a few pretty nice blow up pillows out there too. But your solution has intrigued me. I might even try it!

Jeepers! I'm all in for this RR. Thanks
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantah View Post
You LOVE the unknown aboard a motorcycle. You like depending on your native resourceful talents.
You got me pegged on that one. I did more bike preparation for this ride then normal though and what-if planning. But I wanted to avoid as much pre-running as possible to leave open the experience of discovering and overcoming obstacles as they happen with what I had at the moment. In the end, I did pre-ride more than I planned. I purposefully rode 80 miles of day 1 just to correlate the difficulty comments with my skill levels, but then I cleared about 40 miles of trails on day 6 using a chainsaw mounted on my bike since I live near there (if you can call a 6 hour drive "near there") since they were still blocked in the USFS records and I was anxious to get the ride going before fires blocked the route. That fire concern was fulfilled too since major portions are already blocked by fires since I went thru. I'll post day 4 now and hope it gets thru the moderator review quickly.

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