Monday, September 8, 2014

Carbon Cowboys– Central Idaho Tour Part Deux 9/5-9/8

Squaw Butte , Elk Summit –Big Creek Loop , Pinyon Lookout


Friday 9/5 - Sunday 9/7  ~ 630 miles

Riders –John        KTM950
               Byron     BMW 1200 GS

photos by John & David




Friday | Boise to Donnelly , 175 miles 


We met at Gran-Del around 1pm .

Jim Grant came out and visited a bit then Byron led us across Boise to Emmett .




33 years in Boise and I had never been up Squaw Butte.  Nice view but a disappointment that the gate to the lookout was closed.



We rode through Sweet and Ola to Sage Hen. The road in is a highway now and was in better  shape than I thought it would be after Labor Day weekend.  I remember the valley being more open ( 25 years ago ?).

After looping around Sage Hen we took a Jeep trail to Snow Bank Mountain road. At Cabarton I gave Thad a call.
It was 6:30 PM , he & Kurt were ready to eat. We agreed to meet at Main Street Pizza in Donnelly.

The boys were impressed with the smack Lainey dished out, even more impressed with the burgers.

Yes, Byron saw someone he knew.

We agreed to meet at The Fog Lifter in McCall for breakfast at 8:30.






Saturday | Donnelly – Warren – Elk Summit – Yellow Pine – Dagger Falls –Stanley  ~ 250 miles

Saturday morning it was 34F in Donnelly. 

After a couple of pots of coffee we were ready to leave the house. As I was putting on my pack I knocked my helmet off the bike and snapped the center visor screw.  Tried to back the screw skank out with my knife – no luck.
Couldn’t find any duct tape but did find some packing tape to hold the visor in place.

We fueled up at Jim’s and the store had a small roll of duct tape !

We were ~30 minutes late for breakfast. 
The Fog Lifter has good food , but I felt like I was at the Boise Mall, not on a back country ride.
Thad asked if I was going to be OK.   And yes Byron saw someone he knew.



Thad and Kurt decided to pack in on the DR400’s to a trail head on Big Creek  then hike 6 miles to camp.
Don’t know why they didn’t ride the big bikes.


IMG_20140906_104851064IMG_20140906_104930082 P9060014P9060015P9060017


IMG_20140906_105322842  P9060013
By the time we reached Warren it had warmed to 60F.


Warren Summit


View into the South Fork of Salmon canyon




Descent into the South Fork Canyon ~ a 4300 ft drop.
Some of it I dead engine coasted, most of it I motored down in 1st & 2nd.P9060027IMG_20140906_120306143



Bridge across South Fork and Shiffer Campground where we took a break.



View of the South Fork of Salmon Canyon from Elk Summit .


Elk Summit .

The run down to Big Creek was nice and smooth, much of it in
3rd gear.

Byron & I parted ways with  Thad and Kurt at the Big Creek intersection. They had a ways to the trail head, then were going to hike another 6 miles with their gear. Byron and I were probably less than half way through our ride so  we had to keep moving.

Big Creek has several cabins and “a lot” of traffic, several times I locked up both brakes when meeting trucks.

In Yellow Pine I made a pass through the Alpine Resort parking lot to spot David or Murray ( who were attending Chad’s wedding ) but no luck.



We stopped at the Yellow Pine Store for gas and a Coca Cola. 
Byron didn’t see any friends but he made a new one, Cooper.

Took Johnson Creek to the Landmark-Stanley Road. Johnson Creek was a fun ride and the views along the Landmark road were great.


Before we reached Cape Horn we took the spur into Dagger Falls.
The fish ladder and falls are neat. We had another 50 miles into Stanley.


We got to Jerry's around 7PM. 
Byron changed to his street cloths , I got out of my boots and we headed to the Bridge Café for dinner.

They had a large flat screen showing the collage games  so it was fairly busy, only had a large table open in front of the TV. Byron & I went ahead and took it.  A few minutes later a couple walked in and it was one of Byron’s high school friends. They joined us had dinner and watched the BSU game.





Sunday | Stanley – Bonanza – Pinyon Peak Lookout – Cape Horn – Lowman – Boise ~ 215 miles








Sunday we slept in till 8AM, it was 27F. The bikes were frosted. 

Byron said he tried to fire the heater but it sputtered and never came on. He thought he shut the window but he actually slid it open. The room was a bit nippy.

After we got up we got the window shut. Byron fiddled with the heater and it fired up. He got the coffee made and took his shower. Being so cold we weren’t real motivated , finally got out of the room by 10AM.

After breakfast and gassing up ( non-ethanol premium at the Chevron ) we got on the road sometime after 11AM.


We stopped near at the Yankee Fork Dredge to take some layers off.


Picture doesn’t show how spectacular the view is of the Yankee Fork drainage.



At the bottom of the first pass on the Pinyon loop, Mayfield Creek.





Diamond D Ranch


JR Wilson , his family owns the ranch a all inclusive guest ranch,
from finger painting for kids , hiking , horseback riding , fly fishing to chefs.  They have 40 head of horses and yes it’s painful if they have to trailer horses in over the pass.

He was with the National Guard doing some back country training.


Middle section of the Pinyon Loop.  The Loon Creek side of the road is steeper with a set of switch backs..

The road had just been bladed , but instead of water bars ditches were cut across the road. Seems like the first good rain will wash then out.


The last climb to the lookout intersection is a series of switchbacks, cut wider than the last time I made the loop (2003 ?) but the road bed was still soft from the blade.  I stalled in one turn but made it through with just a dab.




Byron said he dropped his bike in one of the turns , jelly side down. He had to spin the bike around on the crash bar then dead lift it up.






Success, we made it to Pinyon Peak Lookout , ~10,000 ft !.






Dan as worked the Pinyon lookout for 2 years. Grew up in Rupert , retired from University of Nevada Desert Research Institute, doing atmospheric research.





He let us go in the lookout to visit and rest.

Dan had watched us climb through the switchbacks , he thought we were farting around . He was right !





The ride out to Cape Horn was easier. At different points both Byron and I saw bucks in velvet.
We caught up to the dozer and backhoe near the bottom.  I thought the road was more fun after the dozer , it had more of an ATV trail feel.

I had to stop at the Beaver Creek campground for a wardrobe change. I switched from Gortex pants and long johns to shorts and summer pants.



From Cape Horn we decided to take the pavement all the way into Boise.
Stopped at the Sour Dough Lodge so I could could get a piece of pie and coffee. 

Byron and I talked about my plan to see how far I could ride the 950 before I ran dry. In Horseshoe Bend the fuel light came on. I made it to Hidden Springs on Dry Creek Road before I was empty , about 22 miles on reserve and 192 miles since filling up in Stanley. So 33 mpg (5.8 gal tank), I imagine I was getting 20 mpg on the Pinyon loop.

I dumped the RotoPax in the bike and bought another gallon on the way home. I’m due for an oil change so I didn’t want to wrestle with a full tank.

I had leaned out the idle mixture and the bike ran much better. The only hint of an idle issue was at 10,000 ft.



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