Monday, July 21, 2014

Day Notes from ADV Thread

Notes on the ride. Day 1.

Getting close now. Thought I'd add some comments.

Day 1 we will be driving on pavement from Troy (or for most of us YaaK Campground) up to Yaak. Good scenery along the way including Yaak River Falls. IF open, the Dirty Shame Saloon has food. 

A little bit farther and we turn to dirt going up through the mountains and descending to Lake Koocanusa (not a native name - Kootenai River/USA.Canada). We cross the lake on the Lake Koocanusa Bridge and head back into the woods emerging in Eureka. Make sure you gas up here. Its a long stretch over to Glacier Park. 

This is all grizzly country so if your lucky you may (or may not) see one. Also moose can be encounter during the entire day. 

The Polebridge Mercantile is another notable on the route known for its bakery as well as its remote location. After a quick stop at the Merc, we cross the North Fork of the Flathead entering Glacier National Park. 

The Inside North Fork Road runs inside the Park boundary all the way to Apgar/West Glacier where our camp for the night is located at Fish Ck Campground (there is a second campground right at Apgar - the Apgar Campground.) There are the normal tourist services located in Apgar. 

We are staging here for Day 2 - we want to head out early to be the tourist rush up over the Going-to-the-Sun highway. Again, Apgar is a good place to gas up and resupply.

Standby for Day 2......

Notes for Day 2

Thanks RG. Yes, West Glacier is just outside the park on US 2 with more services.

Day 2 is tourist day. To get a jump on the day (and caged tourists) we should head our early so gassing/supplying is best done the night before. We will hover some at the tour bus parking area at Apgar and touch base, but 'tis OK to just head out with your own smaller group to keep the pack size down. I'm sure the rubber necking and photo ops will also spread out the group.

Interesting stops are McDonald Lake Lodge, NUMEROUS turn-outs going up the road and of course Logan Pass Visitor Center up on top. Lots of photo ops.

After a break at the top, on down the east side. We will be taking 89 then cut onto 49 past Two Medicine Lake and East Glacier - next suggested gas stop and lunch break (not sure of any specific lunch stops - been too long since I came through here).

Just a ways west out of East Glacier on US 2, we turn onto the Heart Butte Cut off Road. We travel down through Heart Butte country heading down along the Eastern Rocky Mountain Front. We will be on the Blackfoot Reservation. At one time this area had a rough reputation so treat the areas appropriately and don't piss off the locals. We're just cruising through.

Most of the roads in this country go east/west from highway 89 up into the Front. North/south is a challenge, so....if you get messed up in this maze, head east, hit highway 89 and travel down past Bynum and then west on tracks up the Teton Canyon Road about 9 miles south of Bynum.

We camp at Cave Mtn campground. There should also be plenty of primitive camping in the area and another USFS CG is just up the road. We are butting up against the Bob Marshall/Great Bear Wilderness system so take appropriate bear precautions.

Next - Day 3

Day 3

Day 3 Will see us continuing on down past the East Rocky Mountain Front area. More roads and navigation challenges like Day 2 so the same advice. if you get turned around, head east to highway 287 and or highway 200 and point yourself to Augusta then Lincoln to get back on track. If you are low on gas upon leaving the campground, head on out to Choteau at the junction of 287 and 89. Not far off the track.

There is a lot of old homestead and early ranch history in this country. Augusta is an old town with a wild rodeo every summer. Used to be a couple of good burger joints we would hit upon getting back from a backpack trip up in the Bob.

On the pavement again for a stretch (although I'd be glad to send you down towards Wolf Creek and up 434 to the Little Wolf Ck Road that pops out on top of Rogers Pass. (Includes a couple of water crossings and rough rocky climb).

Once over Rogers Pass, its down hill to Lincoln. Gas, lunch, stores before heading past the home site of the Unabomber on the Stemple Pass road.

I've included a short side jaunt at the divide just beyond Stemple Pass to Granite Butte Lookout for a look-see. (We're in my old stomping grounds now).

We continue on south eventually coming out at the base of McDonald Pass on US 12 - west side via the Austin/Mullan Pass Road . Our track barely goes west on 12 before heading up the Little Blackfoot River Road, BUT if you need supplies/gas, run on a little bit further into Elliston, (home of the annual Sasquatch hunts). Could be a long stretch to Butte unless we come out at Boulder on Day 4.

Back to the Little Blackfoot, we take a left up Telegraph Ck Road on our way over towards Rimini via the Bryan Ck and Minehaha Roads until we hit the Rimini Road. A bit south and we head east on the Chessman Reservoir Road. BUT, if you want to visit the old mining camp of Rimini, continue on up the road a short stretch before you turn around and go back up the Chessman Road. You went past the home of the Unabomber out of Lincoln, Rimini was the home of the guy who shot the guard in the National Capitol a few years back. Got some doozies up here, ya, you betcha! Bring your tin foil to build a hat so you blend in.

On the Chessman Reservoir Road we pass, you guessed it....the Chessman Reservoir. Drinking source for the City of Helena (mixed proportionately with Missouri River water). Not much further to the Park Lake Road and we are home for the night at the Park Lake USFS campground for a well deserved rest.

Coming next...Day 4.

Day 4 Notes

Day 4 and I'm still in some familiar country, BUT its been awhile. I ran through the Wickes tunnel on My '80 KDX 400 along with my son on his KDX 80 which dates it back to the later '80s at best. Even before that I remember hiking into Park Lake (seeing an albino squirrel no less!) when in scouts back in the early '60s (very early '60s) before a road and definitely before formal campground status.

Last time I was in these parts, I was trying to catch up with the MT1000 - 2011 after a day layover in Helena. Passed by Park Lake and made the B A D mistake of taking the North Fork Quartz Ck road (trail, VW sized boulders, totally washed out resemblance of a trail...solo, no less). Won't make that mistake again! So don't you either!!!

From Park Lake we head down to Clancy via the Lump Gulch Road. Without getting a good glimpse of I-90, back up Clancy Creek headed back west. Our track has us going a stretch until we connect to the Wood Chute Road heading down to Wickes. At the head of Wood Chute you will get to see what big mining does to little mountains.

Once we hit the Wickes Road, its off south, and the nav gods shining on us, we will run into the Wickes Tunnel. This is an optional object Google Maps has a full connection around to the far side on the Comet Ck road and takes us through Comet. An interesting old Ghost Town.

From Comet, the GPX tracks have us connecting via the Depot Road directly to Boulder, GAS/SUPPLIES. I see now the Google Maps version takes us through/Comet and down the High Ore Road to I-90 (frontage road).

Now some tricky stuff. If you want, you can connect to the Cataract Ck Road on Occidental Plateau before you get to the Wood Chute Road. You will come out on I-90 right in greater downtown Basin (Food/beer, no gas). Sounds like an opportunity for plenty of adventure.

For either the High Ore or Cataract Ck exits to I-90, if you are low on fuel, head east to Boulder then back track down the Interstate West until you hit the Bernice Exit/Boulder River Road. If you are trusting your fuel, just jump on the Interstate (no frontage road) and head west for the same Exit.

Once on the Boulder River Road, continue on until you hit the Lowland Ck Road headed south. I ran this stretch (coming in from the Deer Lodge side) with Sasho a month or so back and its pretty straight forward on down into Butte.

In Butte you have another old town with lotsa history. Just remember to hit Harrison and head south where you will travel past the strip culture with all the fast food you could hope for including shopping malls. I want you to stay of of Mercury Street - it was still an active red light area when I was back in high school. (Ask me about the "Men Working Sign".

Once you have had your fill of Butte, continue on south on Harrison and watch for the angled-left intersection with old US 2. Take that left on US 2 and continue down a few miles until you hit the Highland Ck Road junction. Back on dirt now we wander on up connecting on the Highland Road to the Camp Ck Road way up on top. This is where we are breaking from a bunch of the CDR tracks I've seen that continue on the Highland road. We're going down the Camp Ck Road which is much more fun and takes us under the Interstate at Melrose rather than down the Interstate and keeps us off that much more pavement. Sasho and I had fun on this road. Has a rough section (good rocks), but nothing the intrepid big bike riders can't handle. Saw a moose on this stretch.

Once we pop out right at Melrose after riding under the Interstate, we' ready to head through town and hit the Trapper Ck Road, BUT if you need fuel (or beer) the bar to the right just across the Interstate has a single pump and does sell beer.

Continuing on up Trapper Cr Road, we hang a right on the Canyon Ck Road and again farther on a right onto the Quartz Hill Road. Sasho and I did not have a chance to run this stretch (looked like rain and snow in them thar hills - we chickened out), but I have it on good multiple authorities it is a good run with interesting objects and country popping out onto on Hwy 87 just a couple mile short of Wise River where it appeared to us there was gas at the Mercantile just as you enter town and the beer, ice cream, food is great at the Wise River Club.

Just as you leave Wise River, the junction with the Pioneer Scenic Byway heads south. Sorry its pavement, but some of the best rural mountain pavement you have ever seen. Watch for animules on the road and off to the side. Plenty of scenery as well as history.

If you haven't had enough history, the tracks take you on a side trip up to the ghost town of Coolidge. Or you can boogie on down the pavement until you hit the turn to Elkhorn Hot Springs where some of you are staying and most of us will visit shortly after we make camp at Grasshopper Campground just half mile or so further down the road. I have reserved the group area just at the entrance plus first-come-first-served for the rest of the sites (I really doubt the 2 vehicle per site rule applies too heavily here).

If you want a slightly more formal dinner than available at the Hot Springs Lodge, just down the road is the Grasshopper Inn. Always great food. (And they do have gas, but $$$$)

Whew, I'm exhausted just writing about this day's itinerary.

I need a rest before I continue on with - Day 5.

Day 5 Notes

Day 5 and at least I'm still in familiar country. The Pioneer Scenic is one of my most favorite paved moto friendly roads. The notes on chow from yesterday at either Elk Horn Hot Springs or the Grasshopper Inn still apply for breakfast. Or first stop will be on down past Polaris then over to Bannack. Bannack is a real classic when it comes to ghost towns. The history exudes from the cracks all over this place. I have an autographed book on the history of Bannack written by a lady who lived there I bought when I was 8 years old. (Ya, I know its a rare and connectable now.) Picked it up on a vacation and its a real Who's Who of early Montana. The Bannack Days celebration was earlier this month. Hopefully they will still have the gold panning exhibit set up. Hopefully we won't have to use garbage pan lids (see MT1000-2012).

From Bannack we head down the old Bannack Freight Road a great dirt/gravel stretch with broad vistas to Highway 324 then west on to Idaho. Where we had headed up the Bloody Dick to Reservoir Lake CG years past, this year we continue on up and over Lemhi Pass on, of all things, the Lemhi Pass Road. Once over the Pass, we are now in Idaho.

The first thing we run into is the Sacajawea Memorial up on the hill. More great history. There is a picnic area down to the left with outhouse facilities and even more history. The history I remember there is a flat rear tire repair last September. At least it was right in front of the rest room.

Back up at the memorial we are face with multiple directions. We are heading north essentially shadowing the ridge on the Warm Springs Road/USFS 185. Great ride that finally descends down towards Salmon, BUT not before we pass Sharky Hot Springs. A BLM maintained public hot springs with two very nice pools and even a changing room. The trick here is it we are arriving on the day the of the week when they clean and the pools are closed, BUT if we dallied long enough in Bannack, we will hit Sharky after they are through cleaning.

On down the hill to Salmon. GAS/FOOD/Supplies time. We head north on 28 to Salmon after leaving dirt and leave Salmon South on US 93. Just a few miles south we turn west on the Williams Ck Road and continue on up over the top and down the road turning into the Moccasin Ck Road. When we get down to the bottom, we hit the Napias Ck Road and turn south and hit the Panther Ck Road continuing on south. New country now for me. If you turn right and head north, you come out at Shoup, Idaho, but we're not going there.

The Panther Ck Road turns into the Morgan Ck Road which we follow until we hit the West Fork Road running west along Morgan Ck. WE travel 4.5 miles and behold, we are at the West Fork Morgan Ck Campground where we make camp for the night.

Day 6 will have to wait for tomorrow so standby and go recheck your packing.

Day 6 Notes

Day 6 - We are in Idaho and going further into Idaho. Pretty much new country for me, but we have a rider or two who have been through here. I did some riding over in the McCall area last year and this part of Idaho called for more.

This part of our trip involves diving into the back country, out to a town for resupply, then back in again. After leaving the West Fork Morgan Campground, we go back the way we came in and take the Darling generally south-southwest. We exit the woods at Challis for more resupply and immediately head back out on the Garden Ck Road.

When we hit the Custer Motorway, its off to the west again. Back into the Forest Service land. This road, USFS 070, turns into Yankee Ford Road where we continue on until we hit Highway 75 on the Salmon River. and take a right heading west on the highway. There is supposedly another hot spring within a mile of the junction - Sunbeam Hot Springs.

Stanley is our next stop. I've only been on the highway here and I know the mountain views will blow you away. This is our next resupply potential and it may be a while before we hit another, so act accordingly. There are some interesting looking roads heading through the north of this area that qualify for a re-visit another day, but for now we continue on west on Highway 21.

Watch for the Bear Valley Road (turns into the Landmark Stanley Rd), USFS 579 on the right and head west. We stay on 579 until hitting the Warm Lake Road and here we head for camp north on USFS 413/Johnson Ck Road. IF yo will be needing gas, you wish to sashy over to the Warm Lake Lodge on 579, a few miles east of the junction.

Another 12 miles or so north on 413 and we hit our camp for the night. Twin Bridges Campground is near the junction with USFS 440.

No personal insight to this stretch. I'm exploring just like "Y'all".

Next - the last formal day and on to Burgdorf!

Day 7 Notes

Day 7 - Last day of the formal ride. We continue on north on 413/Johnson Ck Road until Yellow Pine. I hope you brought your harmonica, cause Yellow Pine is celebrating its Harmonic Festival starting today through the weekend. Should be something to experience. There should be GAS in Yellow Pine as well other supplies. Its only 12 miles from the campground to Yellow Pine, so maybe breakfast is in order? A Possibility.

We leave Yellow Pine behind and head up USFS 412/Stibnite Road for about 4.5 miles and then take the Big Cr Road to the north. Travel about 18 miles on the Big Cr Road until you see the USFS 340/Elk Summit Road and turn to the West. We travel on the Elk Summit Road for 26 miles where we cross the East Fork of the Salmon River and continue on north on what has now turned into the South Fork Guard Station Road. Travel 10 miles up to Warren Summit.

Continue on on USFS 340 traveling through the burg of Warren just 4 miles on. A little further on and the road turns into the Warren Wagon Road/USFS 21. Another 15 miles on 21 and we hit the Burgdorf Road to the right headed north. Not 2 more miles and we are THERE - Burgdorf Hot Springs, lodging, USFS Campground,GAS.

Leaving you in a rural place gives opportunity to continue the adventure on an individual level. For myself and a few others, we will push back to the Bitterroot by continuing north across the Salmon River and coming out via Hungry Ridge onto Highway 14, Elk City. From there its the Magruder Corridor, Darby and home. An extra couple of days riding.

Gonna be a fun ride. Enjoy, embrace, celebrate new and old friendships, plan for next year and RIDE SAFE!!!

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