Winds over Pinyon – Part 3

After a fast 10 mile run up Rd 582 the road departs from the creek side and starts to climb up towards Clear Creek Summit. The road bed switches from loose gravel to a more typical dry slick surface with meandering rain ruts and embedded rock. As I near the top I start to feel a loose sensation from the back of my bike ….. a quick glance at my rear tire confirms that it is indeed going flat. I’m nearing the top, so I ride the noodle the last 100 yards or so to the summit.

7050 feet –

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Right when I hop off the bike and start breaking out my tools, another rider (not from our group) on a Triumph Tiger rolls up and asks if he can hang while we tackle the flat.  Regrettably I can’t remember his name, super nice guy from Canada riding the IDBR. His goal for the day was Burgdorf Hot Springs, so he picked our brains for some local knowledge on the route.

I was thankful that he chose to stop. I discovered during my road side tire service that I had neglected to include a 13mm wrench for my bead lock and neither John V nor John E had one either. Our Canadian friend had a full kit including a 13mm …. and he even broke out his electric air pump! …. I like those Canadians!

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We immediately identified the flat tire culprit …. a brand spanking new framing nail! …. of all places to pick up a framing nail?

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We pulled the wheel, using my trail stand for the first time (worked great suspending the rear of the bike while the rear wheel was removed) and made short work of swapping out a new tube.  I will make sure to add in a 13mm to my OBR ADV Gear Tool Roll!

Tube exchanged and wheel back on … we extended our thanks to our new friend for his assistance and parted ways.

Just over the summit the road drops into a high meadow we refer to as Bear Valley. Passing through the meadow in the spring right after the thaw you’ll find yourself amongst vast wild flowers …. this time of year, early Fall, the surroundings are just as impressive, but with just a bit less color.

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Bear Valley has quite a history … the area was used extensively for sheep and cattle grazing with buildings still present within some of the large meadows that skirt the valley. The situation at the time required the local Forest Rangers to mediate between competing ranch outfits using the area for summer grazing. Beyond the grazing there was also a large mining presence during the early Cold War. Evidently the area contains a rare radioactive mineral essential to the strategic defense systems of the day. Heavy dredging took place from 1958-1959. In an effort to restore Salmon/Steelhead spawning beds, an extensive rehabilitation project was completed that returned the meadow landscape and the Salmon/Steelhead runs.

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We continue along Rd 582 skirting the south edge of Bear Valley Creek passing through Bruce Meadows. Note – For you pilots out there, Bruce Meadows has one of Idaho’s many back country landing strips.

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… and then reconnect to Hwy 21

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… to be continued

 

Winds over Pinyon – Part 2

Concluding our “coffee relief” break at the summit, we point the bikes towards the downstream side and shove off. Headed now towards Lowman we will be turning off the pavement just a few miles down the road onto Rd 588. This trip is going to be a combination of hardtop and dirt with the bias being more towards the terra, however I do enjoy a balanced combination of both as jumping onto some nice hardtop after a dirt section can be a nice mental change of pace.

RD 588 is a nice 5-6 mile dirt section that skirts the backside of pilot Peak, opening up with pleasant views of both Deadwood Ridge and the Clear Creek drainage we will be heading up shortly.

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Hwy 21 …. 6 miles –

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We’re headed into those hills –

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obrianmcc –

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John E and the mighty 690 –

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On top of the regular Forest Service roads Idaho is also a scattering of State Endowment Lands and  Forest Products properties …. all of these areas are packed full of access roads that provide connections that we as Dual Sport Riders utilize extensively to connect the dots on our route maps.

Respect your resources if you wish to keep access! …. Leave no trace, other than maybe a loamy tire track or two!

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We reconnect with Hwy 21 and blast down 10 miles of super fun pavement before connecting with our next dirt track, Rd 582 otherwise known as Bear Valley Rd.

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Next stop Bear Valley –

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And then this! –

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….. to be continued!

 

 

 

Winds over Pinyon – Part 1

‘”For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

With a long and hot summer now behind us and recent rains over the past Labor Day weekend extinguishing most all of the seasons wildfires, adventure is back in the air.

I’ve been contemplating for a few weeks now on a route appropriate for a quick end of the season trip. My first choice being over Dollarhide Summit, Ketchum, Mackay, and through the Pahsimeroi’s … but good ole Murphy had to step in and cause a significant washout on RD 227 between Fairfield and Dollarhide leaving the road impassable.  So, on to plan B, except I have no plan B? …. after all Idaho is an expanse of open space and it shouldn’t be that hard to find another route. A reach out to my two riding partners for this trip, John V and John E reaffirmed that all participants were still in regardless of destination.

I break out the map book, which naturally points me towards Stanley ID with my eye catching the little squiggly line down Hwy 75 to check out Bayhorse, Challis, the Custer Motorway, through Yankee Fork, and back over Pinyon Peak . The original plan was to depart on a Friday to break up the loop into three days of riding, but work commitments interfered reducing the trip down to two days and shortening the route to just Yankee Fork and Pinyon.

Now, I’m naturally one to stick pretty tight to routes and schedules, but I’m stepping out and breaking my mold on this trip with just a basic destination/direction and we’ll see where we land at days end. Yes, against my nature, but the route is good with some beautiful country to pass through and camping off a motorcycle allows for more camp spot opportunities.

We scheduled our meet up for Saturday AM. We would then rally up Rocky Canyon Road, over Aldalpe Summit, down through Robie Creek connecting Hwy 21 into Idaho City.

OBR ADV Gear luggage packed and leaving the house –

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First stop Aldalpe Summit –

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Weapons of choice for this trip would by John V and Myself on almost identical 2006 DRZ 400 E’s and John E on a 690 Enduro KTM ….

We connect Hwy 21 and make the run into Idaho City. Traffic is light, which makes for a nice twisty morning run alongside Moores Creek. John E’s 690 has significantly longer legs on the hardtop than our DRZ’s. John V and myself have geared the DRZ’s a little bit low to still be able to ride trails, but regardless of how well they are running, still no match for the 690!

Low water at Robie (Lucky Peak Reservoir)-

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Idaho City, getting gas and checking in –

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Idaho City is a remnant of mining’s past. Mostly a tourist attraction with the old boardwalks and shops about. Tragically this summer, a fire broke out within one of the old buildings and burned a few right to the ground.

John V and I top off our tanks. The DRZ’s are running aftermarket tanks with an extended range to approx. 175 miles. John V has also chosen to bring along his 1 gal Rotopax extending another 50 miles, but Idaho backcountry roads can be deceiving in length, so when a refueling opportunity presents itself … we partake. Now the 690 is short of a super tanker with it’s Safari Tank…. requiring fewer fuel stops.

We head up Hwy 21 towards Moores Creek Summit ….

Not a straight road-

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Arrival at Moores Creek Summit –

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We’ve made good time to the summit with John E in the lead. Unfortunately he has to wait a few minutes as John V was required to lift my bike off me as I lay pinned on the side of the road. I failed to remember that I had gear bags strapped to the back of the bike and when I stopped to snap a pic of the “not straight” road sign I attempted to swing a leg over and found myself on the ground! … good to get that one out of the way early!

Hwy 21 from Idaho City to Lowman is part of the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway and is comprised of 30 miles of motorcycle nirvana. The next 30 minutes did not suck!