High Plains Drifters

Sorry for the delay in updates… been a long few days riding with Johnathan.

So we made it out of the Saloon mostly intact.  The “local talent” was about what we would expect from Alpine, WY!  The next morning we find out our neighbors have a big KTM 990 in the back of his pick up.  Terry and his girlfriend are from Idaho Falls and are spending the weekend out camping and riding.  Terry knows the touring program tends to be light on culinary comforts and cooks us an awesome breakfast and gives us some ideas for some great rides.

We choose the one with the most dirt.  Should run over 100 miles through a valley and take us into Colorado.  They are heading up a different path toward some hot springs.

The ride is great- a fast well maintained dirt road.  The bonus of this path is that there are no Harleys!  The road surface changes periodically and at one point turns into my nemesis… gravel.  I am carrying too much speed into the turn and for the first time since the Dalton Highway near Prudhoe, I am convinced I’m going down.  I slide left, slide right, and repeat a few more times and just as all looks lost, the tires bite and somehow I stay upright.  At the next stop Johnathan who had been behind me informs me he also thought I had lost it and didn’t know how I held it together.  I wish I could tell him.

After about 20 miles we hit our first snag- the road is closed ahead due to replacing some bridges.  These are really small bridges, but there is no guarantee we will be able to ride through whatever creek they cross and we don’t want to have to back track.  The option is another 30 mile detour east which we decide to take.  The road is awesome… following some creeks up into a canyon that keeps getting smaller and going up higher.  At about 8000’ we feel we are nearing the summit, but have no proof as we can’t even tell which trial we are on from the map.  We all of a sudden pop out onto a giant open plain that reaches as far as we can see.  The high plane is 8000’ and the road straight as an arrow.  Johnathan jokes that if your dog ran away here, you’d still be able to see him running three days later.

We fly down the roads- and get lost.  Well, not lost, we just disagree where we are and which way we should go.  A local in a jeep tells us Big Piney is the biggest town around.

It’s not big.  I don’t think there was even a stop light. We find a bar and inquire about directions.  The Sunday afternoon crowd is… interesting. The bartender is drinking a bud in a can.  He very matter of factly offers us some weed.  We decline and he proceeds to share with the other patrons.  They agree we should go north east to a place called Thermopolis.  Great hot springs and a great ride and only 2 more hours.

We thank them and gear up and fuel up.  At fuel, I put the coordinates in the GPS, “just in case”.  Turns out, Bill and Ted at the bar were off by about 100% and it was more like 4+ hours to Thermopolis.  That would be a LONG day.  We debate, and it’s decided we’d head back to the springs that Terry had told us about.

It’s a very dull ride but the last 10 miles off-road to the campground are awesome.  It’s a gorgeous place on a bluff over a river and steep canyons across from us.  I love the spot but there is a giant batch of some of the whitest trash I have seen in ages… about 10 people (adults and kids) all super loud and obnoxious.  The littlest one (like 7) is riding his little Trail 80 dirt bike through everyone’s campsites.

Being Sunday night, everyone slowly departs and we have peace and quiet again.

B Train

So, being white trash, they have trailers.  I do some advanced math and I count two pick ups, two campers, and one toy trailer for the birt bikes and quads.  I learn that here they are allowed to do what is called a B Train.  One truck and two trailers!  What a mess that was going to be on the trail getting out and having no common sense, they wait until full night to leave.  Glad I wasn’t stuck behind that on the dirt road out… it must have taken hours.

Besides all the drama of the evening it is a great day… 80 miles of dirt and 70 miles of asphalt- a great ratio!

My rear tire is slowing some signs of age.  It’s become a street tire as all the knobs are worn off. I need a new one.

At breakfast in Alpine, I find one in Boise and reserve it.  Yes- we are in Alpine again.  All that riding yesterday, we actually camped only 10 miles from where we spent the night before… a giant loop of a day.  We laugh at that.

The owners of the café we are eating at tell us we should not go south but that there is a great ride to the north in the saw tooth range and that we should stay near Sun Valley, ID. That sets me up great for Boise on Wed and Johnathan can break off and head east to meet his peeps riding up from Vegas.  Great breakfast too!!!

The ride to Sun Valley was OK but the valley itself is really awesome.  Saw Tooth is exactly what the mountains on each side look like.  We head into town and find a pub.

It’s a very nice resort town and we are definitely not making the grade in fashion.

The bartender was cool and let us know the good camping area and also a ride for the next day.  I really liked Sun Valley, I wasn’t sure I would like an uppity resort town.

We agreed to set up camp (in daylight) and then head back into town for dinner.  When we got to the campsite, there was only one site left.  It was a double wide which while appropriate, was not really what we needed.  Soon after we had our tents set up, a gal in a minivan shows up with the camp hostess who looks like Sharon Osbourne.  Apparently we took her site even though they didn’t have it reserved or paid for.  We agree to share the site with her husband and two kids.  They were very nice people and as we left for dinner we promised to try to be quiet when we got back late.

We had a great meal at the pub and then checked out some of the other bars.  It was a definite upgrade from Alpine, WY!!!!

The trip back was fun and there was some clumsy off roading was required to get past the gates that locked at 10.  I think we were quiet but if we weren’t, no one complained.  The next morning we hung out with the family as we packed and went on our way.  They were really nice.

Our ride was up a canyon and around to Stanley, ID- where we will split ways.  Johnathan has to meet up with his peeps from Calgary who are coming up from Vegas.  I need to get to Boise to pick up my tire.

The road is awesome!  Steep and sheer drop off.  We crest into another valley and it’s a supper fast road through a forest.  The dirt road is so well maintained we can fly down the road.

Except the GIANT pothole I don’t see that is full of water and soaks me.  I am surprised my bike doesn’t break I half I hit it so hard.  Johnathan catches up to me and is laughing his ass off at how hard I hit.

Bike fine… I am wet but soaked.

We make it out and back on the asphalt and carry on to our departure point.

As we split up I head west.  The road is straight on the map but it’s actually REALLY twisty for miles and miles.  Three passes and tons of 20MPH turns along some awesome river valleys.

I get into Boise and its 5PM.  Traffic and it’s 104 degrees!  Horrible way to end a great day but it was some awesome riding.

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