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Discussion Starter #23
^^^ cool! that is one great ride, for sure. and a couple of the photos in the article put mine totally in the shade...

which reminds me, I've got another couple days to add to this post. the post has been in and out of accessibility over the past month on a random basis, and whenever I've sat down to do the posts, it's gone... maybe tomorrow nite... too late tonite.
(actually, to be truthful, I'm enjoying sipping wine and catching up on the F1 race from last weekend...)

p.s then there's the week in Oregon with the bartender and blueflamegsxr to post up...
 

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Discussion Starter #25
the post is back! I wonder for how long this time? how odd...
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
day 5: Bozeman to Grangeville ID via Great Falls

OK, OK, I know this isn't the direct route. Not the point! The point was to explore, and I'd never been into this part of Montana, where the Butler map suggested there were a few decent motorcycling roads.

One road that was NOT highlighted on the map turned out to be more or less the finest of the day. MT 86 cuts thru the Bridger Range northeast of Bozeman, and from the map and tighter study on google maps looked to have all the requisites for good motorcycling: primarily curves and lack of population. But finding it proved a challenge. I hopped on I-90 eastbound, passsed a couple exits, realized I was beyond where the road should have cut north, and reversed at the next interchange. Back westbound, I went thru the same process... and eventually I discovered the road by 'dead-reckoning' my exit, then cutting across till I hit the desired highway. Turns out the route is obscure enough it doesn't even have an exit off the freeway... nor ( so far as i could see ) any marking...

Ah well, the ride itself was superb, if rather chilly under threatening skies. The first third lies thru a pleasant valley; then there's a great forested section; an finally you drop into expansive high-country ranchlands. All with zero traffic... and perfect pavement...

MT 86 northeast of Bozeman

IMG_6075 (1024x739) by Don Serl, on Flickr

...into the forest

IMG_6079 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr

... and out into the ranchlands

IMG_6087 (1024x744) by Don Serl, on Flickr


There follows about 70 klicks north on US 89 to White Sulphur Springs, which, while 'boring' in a way, was also sorta engrossing in its expansivenss. North again, the highway climbs into the Lewis and Clark National Forest, and is quite delightful for close to a hundred kms. Unfortunately, the heavy skies unleashed some rain around Monarch, but this soon abated, and the main highway drone into Great Falls was dry. My brief visit to this city consisted of a fuel and lunch stop as a break from a dreary, uninteresting, seemingly never-ending traffic-choked traverse of what appeared to be one of the least stimulating pieces of middle America I'd had the misfortune to experience... but then, maybe I missed the good parts?

North of White Sulphur Springs

IMG_6091 (1024x755) by Don Serl, on Flickr

Rainy road near Monarch MT

IMG_6100 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr



I'll break off here and complete the day in a following post.
 

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Discussion Starter #27 (Edited)
more day 5 : to Grangeville

map:
https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Royal+7+Budget+Inn+Motel,+310+N+7th+Ave,+Bozeman,+MT+59715,+USA/Montana+86,+Wilsall,+MT+59086,+USA/White+Sulphur+Springs,+MT,+United+States/Great+Falls,+MT,+USA/Lincoln,+MT,+United+States/Missoula,+MT,+USA/Kooskia,+Idaho+County,+ID,+USA/Grangeville,+ID,+USA/@46.6172746,-114.5143859,8z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m50!4m49!1m5!1m1!1s0x5345444e134d0149:0x5c27ee15ad6ee33e!2m2!1d-111.0447868!2d45.6825878!1m5!1m1!1s0x5345133dc6db090d:0x2fd7078e7ef17db0!2m2!1d-110.7733058!2d45.9917714!1m5!1m1!1s0x5344642fe37b0125:0x7eabcc7bb5637961!2m2!1d-110.9021561!2d46.548277!1m5!1m1!1s0x5342378d658cb83b:0xd6de56b18e5945a8!2m2!1d-111.2833449!2d47.4941836!1m5!1m1!1s0x535d2eb3a51e6ee7:0x35af89bde89ded8c!2m2!1d-112.6817071!2d46.9549402!1m5!1m1!1s0x535dcc2a50f367cb:0xe9e31277ca94802e!2m2!1d-113.996586!2d46.8787176!1m5!1m1!1s0x54a099a8e938ec4b:0x1a26a25f8e52a6b2!2m2!1d-115.9779188!2d46.1448942!1m5!1m1!1s0x54a0c1784b5a468d:0xc1b554fc4611c93c!2m2!1d-116.1223654!2d45.926552!3e0

840 kms 10 1/2 hrs door to door

You're out into the plains at Great Falls, and heading back west is not unlike turning for Banff from Calgary, altho the Rockies in mid- Montana are much more subdued than further north. Still, just as the foothills country down thru southern Alberta contains some movingly beautiful terrain, so does this area. And the Blackfoot Valley east of Missoula is also a relaxing, pastoral region.


MT 200 west of Great Falls. Not many curves, but awesome all the same.

IMG_6107 (1024x746) by Don Serl, on Flickr


MT 200 near Rogers Pass MT.

IMG_6111 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr


MT 200 near Lincoln MT. Very pleasant...


IMG_6112 (1024x734) by Don Serl, on Flickr

I wasn't sure how far I wanted to travel this day, but I was into Missoula by mid-afternoon, and the city didn't appeal to me as a place to spend the nite, so I pushed on. Lolo Pass, of course - one the the anointed 'great' motorcycle roads of North America - lies just to the southwest, so that was a powerful lure to keep me moving.

Lolo Pass also, unfortunately, has a reputation for being a major revenue generator, so I kept my pace moderate. Despite a tinge of frustration, the length and consistency and flow and beauty of the terrain are enthralling, and I arrived out in Kooskia very content. Then it was the short but very fine 25 mile run to Grangeville, where I settled into the Gateway Inn ($77 incl tax) and chose the Mexican restaurant across the street rather than walking 3 blocks to the 'better' places downtown. It had been a long day...



The justifiably famed Lolo Pass road; ID 12 beside the Lochsa River, east of Kooskia ID.

IMG_6121 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter #29 (Edited)
Day 6: Grangeville to Elk City return; then to Boise

map of the Elk City excursion:
https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Grangeville,+ID+83530,+USA/Elk+City,+ID,+USA/45.8095548,-115.4719691/Gibler/45.9061245,-116.0377475/Grangeville,+ID,+USA/@45.850233,-115.8939593,11z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m33!4m32!1m10!1m1!1s0x54a0c1784b5a468d:0xc1b554fc4611c93c!2m2!1d-116.1223654!2d45.926552!3m4!1m2!1d-116.0027859!2d45.9607009!3s0x54a0bf9bf83a3e27:0xd008370867d775b2!1m5!1m1!1s0x54a0aac2de5276eb:0x30804be2c7b80abc!2m2!1d-115.4367941!2d45.8268527!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x54a75682bb7b6739:0xd25b84fb65aeee8d!2m2!1d-115.3895693!2d45.7379646!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x54a0c1784b5a468d:0xc1b554fc4611c93c!2m2!1d-116.1223654!2d45.926552!3e0

The ride from Grangeville to Elk City is superb. The terrain is similar to that of the Lolo Pass route, following the Clearwater River rather than the Lochsa, but the road is deserted and the chances of encountering an officer of the law are negligible, so one's pace can be set at whatever one feels comfortable with. In my case and on this trip, I felt no need to ride 'hair-on-fire' and there was a little bit of gravel here and there, so brisk but sane suited me perfectly.

The descent out of Grangeville on ID 13:

IMG_6124 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr

Beside the Clearwater on ID 14:

IMG_6126 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr


IMG_6133 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr


The Butler map lured me onto the Red River Rd, beyond the intersection for Elk City, and it was very worthwhile, altho one step down in pavement quality.



IMG_6141 (768x1024) by Don Serl, on Flickr



IMG_6142 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr


On the return, I took the Mount Idaho Grade Rd, which is similar to, but shorter than, the grade on ID 13. Somewhere on the grade, I completely blew a really sharp corner and had to grab a fistful of brake - where did that come from, I wondered? A week of riding, and suddenly I'm behaving like a novice? Seems lapses in concentration can happen any time, anywhere...

I'll post the 'tail end' of the day, the return to Boise, separately, later.
 

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Discussion Starter #30 (Edited)
...back to Boise

map:
https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Grangeville,+ID,+USA/New+Meadows,+ID,+USA/Cambridge,+ID,+USA/Payette,+ID,+United+States/43.8611057,-116.4991368/43.6241345,-116.2114351/Motel+6,+West+Airport+Way,+Boise,+ID,+United+States/@44.7424612,-117.6611955,8z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m44!4m43!1m15!1m1!1s0x54a0c1784b5a468d:0xc1b554fc4611c93c!2m2!1d-116.1223654!2d45.926552!3m4!1m2!1d-116.2056772!2d45.8721467!3s0x54a0c35399c05dcf:0x63585f7a2a62cca1!3m4!1m2!1d-116.2686433!2d45.8003402!3s0x54a0da27dde643f1:0xb2254abcbf1365ed!1m5!1m1!1s0x54a6883192afa987:0xb54d1fe2cd81d38b!2m2!1d-116.2840176!2d44.9712808!1m5!1m1!1s0x54a5c042b16ba559:0x4cc97b3991ca4267!2m2!1d-116.6759919!2d44.5726619!1m5!1m1!1s0x54af85dbf57fccaf:0x958c8f26c2c8b581!2m2!1d-116.9337711!2d44.0782195!1m0!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x54ae57fde736cc07:0xdfef4f4c7e524a9e!2m2!1d-116.2102136!2d43.5690727!3e0?hl=en

total day, incl Elk City return = about 540 kms 8 hrs
Grangeville to Boise about 380 kms 5 hrs

I really like the section of US 95 thru the Salmon River canyon north and south of Riggins ID. The waters are clear and attractive, there are tiny populated flats scattered along the valley bottom, and vast grassy hillsides sweep up steeply many thousands of feet to forested heights above. Here and there rocky crags break thru the generally smooth grades. Small orchards dot the farmlands. Fishermen and kayakers sprinkle the waters. And - on every single occasion I've passed this way - at least one patrol car keeps vigil on some section of this highway...

But not so the two little byways just south of Grangeville. The first is 'Old Hwy 95', and would an outstanding diversion except for deteriorating pavement and a patina of dirt/dust in the southern sections, making for tenuous and slow travel.

IMG_6124 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr

The southern side-route is much better, and a personal favorite: the Old White Bird Grade. This snakes a couple thousand feet up/down the valley wall separating White Bird from the plateau on which Grangeville stands, and is a total hoot.



Old White Bird Grade, south of Grangeville ID by Don Serl, on Flickr


Old White Bird Grade, south of Grangeville ID by Don Serl, on Flickr


Then comes the aforementioned Salmon River canyon:



IMG_6158 (1024x723) by Don Serl, on Flickr


IMG_6160 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr


A conversation in Grangeville with a couple Boise-based motorcyclists convinced me to stay on US 95 to Payette, and while there is a superb section of sweepers for maybe 10 or 15 miles from about Woodland to Glendale, the rest of the journey was uninteresting. At Payette, as advised, I took ID 52 southeast thru rich farmland, thereby avoiding an hour on the freeway, but eventually this dumps you into increasingly heavy traffic as you get closer to Boise, so it was debatable whether it was a worthwhile route.


IMG_6163 (1024x768) by Don Serl, on Flickr


A final nite in the Super 8, a final meal at Applebee's, a good night's sleep; then it was hook up the trailer and head for home. It had been a very fine week... and a few less 'blanks on the map' remained for me to explore NEXT year...
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Talonz, I think the presentation on the DH maps is nicer than the Butlers. Cleaner, more open, easier to interpret. Mostly they don't cover the same ground, but here's an example of the same area: central California, the backcountry south of Oakhurst, northeast of Fresno. First, Butler:

IMG_6541(M) by Don Serl, on Flickr

second, DH:

IMG_6531(M) by Don Serl, on Flickr

the scale is different , of course, but see my point?

the other side of the issue is that ( a) Butler are producing new maps, covering new areas, all the time; whereas the DH guys have done nothing new for many years; and ( b) the Butler maps are about $15, whereas the DH maps are twice ( or more) than that. I think it's over for the Destination Highways business formula...

but bottom line, all information is worthwhile, so I own them all!

as to why the comment on pace in parks, I went into this expecting to travel slowly in Yellowstone ( and I don't as a rule travel 'fast' in Nat Parks anyway), but the level of traffic on the southern route into Y'stone from the Tetons far exceeded what I imagined. this reinforced for me my typical pattern of travelling early ( before Memorial Day) or late ( after Labour Day) rather than in high season. but sometimes you have to go in summer - the Beartooth Pass, for instance, won't be open early, and probably would get awfully cold by mid-Sept.
 
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