Getting there and Day 1
I decided to take a couple of days and ride over to Boise rather than spend a lot of money for gas hauling the bike in my truck. Like a lot of rides this time of year, I left in the rain. It got pretty wet by the time I got over Snoqualmie Pass. I was so looking forward to some dry and warm high desert riding.
I headed east on I-90 to Vantage and stopped there for lunch. I was going for Pullman the first night to stay with a friend. Friday morning I would turn south through the Nez Perce on US95 and on to Boise on US55.
ON US26, just west of 395, is a big pivot irrigation circle with a stand of big trees squaring off each corner. I’ve passed by it many times but this time I could stop and look around. I never noticed the evergreens planted between the tall trees before. It’s very pleasant to stand quietly among the trees even with the sounds of the highway so close.
In 1998 I was on a ride around the Snake River and we stopped for gas at Washtucna. Things change.
Friday morning I rode south from Pullman and its always nice to stop at the top of the hill for a shot or two of The Spiral Highway. If you’re in the area and want to scrub the edge of your tires, this is the road. Great fun.
By the time I got to Grangeville I was ready for some coffee. The weather was perfect, I only had my heated liner on medium.
Got to Boise in plenty of time to meet up with Sam and then spend and hour visiting the Happy Trail shop. I’ve been a customer for years, but never had the chance to visit. Nice place, great folks.
Finally, we met ryanwilliamcantrell (RWC from now on) and headed out for the high deserts of southwest Idaho.
We camped at the old stage stop at Wickahoney. Beautiful clear high desert. Nearly a full moon and lots of wildlife singing us to sleep. A great end to a great day.
Day 2 – The real adventure begins now
Getting out of the canyon got me pretty hot and dehydrated. Once you get behind, its hard to get caught up. Just a couple miles out of the canyon I got caught in a big rut and down I went. The bike did a perfect 180 on the right Givi, the handlebar and my knee. I think Bappo captured it for all to see. I banged my knee pretty good and got a quarter-sized scrape on it. The lock on the Givi bag broke, but I always carry spare straps so it was a non-issue. RWC whipped out an allen wrench and I loosened up the right bark buster and got the throttle freed up. Really a non event. I didn’t even break a turn signal. I spent the rest of the day playing catch up with fluids so I didn’t get as many pictures as I might have. Trust us, the roads you don’t see are as great as the ones you do.
There is no direct road into Jarbidge. The sign said 27 miles, my GPS said 13 as the crow flies and I’m sure we rode 35 to 40 to get there, not including the 10 mile detour RWC and I made. It got a little slippery and muddy in spots as we got up in the high country. My GPS said 7200 feet at one point, tho my GPS track log only shows 6800+. I’ll post my track log as a GPX file later.
The pictures don’t do this country justice. I had at least a dozen ‘National Geographic’ moments on this ride. I could spend a week up there with a good camera and a tripod. And it is empty out there. I believe the truck we passed just outside of Jarbidge was either the first or second vehicle we saw all day. Don’t ride here alone. The buzzards will find you long before Search and Rescue does.
The cheeseburgers were terrific. Of couse, it was our first ‘real’ meal since Friday noon, but they were good. What was most amazing was the gas. The guy taking care of the pump apologized for it being so expensive. It was $3.00 a gallon! This is probably the cheapest gas west of the Mississippi! Strange but true.
Day 3 – As good as it gets
This view greeted us in the morning at the top of the canyon. It was cool in the canyon as we drank our morning coffee and packed for the day, but as soon as we got up to the top we all peeled off the extra layers.
The track leading to the southern end of the Idaho Centennial Trail is just at the old corral on the left of the highway.
If you look carefully, you’ll see a black dot in the center of the picture just above the road. And another farther out at the head of a dust trail. Bappo and I decided to reserve our energy for the road ahead so we waited at the top while Sam, RWC and Mars went to ‘official’ starting point on the Idaho-Nevada border.
This was without a doubt, the best dual-sport ride I have done. Riding north on the ICT is a great ride. It’s challenging enough for all but beginners and the road changes from dirt to rocks to ruts to nearly single track to sometimes barely anything at all. And plenty of elevation changes to make it fun. And of course, the views in every direction are amazing.
We camped out, but you can make this trip easily without camping, which will keep the loads down and the fun up. One day from Bruneau to Jarbidge and one day from Jarbidge up the ICT back to Bruneau. There are rooms to be had in Jarbidge, but I’m sure you need to call ahead to reserve.
A 250 or light 400 on the southern sections of the ICT might be moto-heaven. Some of those sections cried out for some serious roosting!
I stayed over at Sams and headed home early Monday morning. I slabbed it back home and was here in Seattle at 4 that afternoon.
A big thanks to Idahosam for organizing this. Great job! And thanks to the rest of the crew for making this a great dual-sport weekend.
Here is the general vicinity of where we were. The ICT## waypoints are taken from the official web site for the ICT.