Ever since I purchased my Super Ténéré I have wanted to do the IDBDR. For the ones that don’t know what that is it stands for Idaho Back Road Discovery Route. I will put a link to it here. Well after a good part of winter and early spring I was able to purchase all my camping gear and somewhat throw together enough knowledge about motorcycle camping to get me in trouble.
After a few dirt rides this spring and earlier summer I felt I was ready to tackle a bit of the IDBDR. I had limited time so doing the whole thing wasn’t in my stars. So I decide that I would attempt a route from Mountain Home to Riggins, ID. This would at least put me completing sections 2 and part of 3 of the IDBDR.
The Plan and Day 1
The plan was to leave Wednesday the 6th at around 3pm. Teresa had doctor appointments that morning so I was on daddy duty. I used the morning to put the final touches on the bike and my gear. The trip was going to be broken into 3 days. First being just getting as far north as daylight was going to allow. Day 2 was going to be the longest with a stay at Burgdorf Hot Springs. Day 3 was going to be a little bit of section 3 and a return trip on Hwy 21. I believe I was on the road by 4:00PM. I knew that I was going to have to hurry to make first nights camp, which was planned in Lowman about 160 miles. I also was hoping to catch a few fellow ADVriders on the route that I suspected to be on section 2 on this day. It would be a long shot but worth a look out for them. My earlier recon of the area told me I could make my time up by doing a strait shot to Pine, ID and then Featherville. I also heard that the road to the Trinities was closed so I elected to take the route I thought was quickest to Phifer creek which was also a choice for camp if it got dark sooner than I thought. So my first issue or adventure enhancer arrived as a GPS issue. I had plotted my course using another ADVriders gps plots but my gps must have not liked it’s format so needless to say I was running with a gps that didn’t know where I wanted to go. So I winged it. This proved to get me lost a couple times this trip. More on that later. Also I recommend and should have purchased this bad boy. I knew more or less where I was and pointed myself in the direction I thought I need to go. Just like any other ADVrider would do. I should have known when the gps recommended I go from a nice gravel road (348) to this two track ATV trail( NF348G) that I was going to be off course a little bit. (Adventure Enhancer)
The two track was fun and a little challenging and it ended up spitting me out at Edna Creek camp ground. I like to call those types of trails Mirror Folders. It requires you to fold in your mirrors so you don’t catch them on the surrounding vegetation or when you decide to take a dirt nap you don’t break them. I did get the joy of seeing my first bear cub of my travels in the Idaho back country right out side of Edna Creek which a few moments earlier I was thinking about camping. Haha NOPE!
So I made it into the Lowman area around the late part of 7PM. I knew from past rides that there was a gas station/diner just up the road from Lowman which is where I wanted to stop for supplies. Well it was closed when I arrived but to my surprise I saw the two KLRs I was looking for. I did a loop around the parking lot to see if I could spot the riders with negative results. So I decided to dismount and see if they were in the store/diner. Yup the two riders where just finishing dinner and their cold beers when I walked in. I asked if they where doing the IDBDR and if they were just in Mountain Home the day before. Yes to both responses! I told them I heard about them from a post on ADVrider.com
and was trying to catch up with them to possibly tag along. They didn’t seem to mind and even invited me to stay with them at their end spot for the night just down the road. I declined just because the fact I really wanted to try out my new camping gear and had already planned on staying at a near by hot spring. So we made plans to meet up at 9AM the following morning. I set up my tent and unpacked my dinner at Kirkham Hot Springs.
It was a nice little campground that wasn’t too busy. It was a Wednesday so all the weekend warriors where at work. haha suckers. After setting up my home for the night my next door neighbor came over to say hello and talk about motorcycles. I don’t recall his name but he was a pilot for a major airline who was on family vacation for a month. We talked about cool places they could visit in Idaho and Oregon with the family. They didn’t really have a plan they where just driving and stoping when they wanted to stop. They were pretty cool people. I think I called it a night around 11pm.
The camping gear worked out great. Sleep was pretty good.
The plan was to meet up with my new riding buddies at the Sourdough Lodge just a few miles up the road from my campsite. I suspected that the 9AM meet time was for them to have a nice breakfast and coffee at the diner before they headed out. Once I arrived I found them in the diner going over the IDBDR map and the planned route for the day. I told them that my plan was to make it to Burgdorf by the end of the day since I had made a reservation for a cabin. The morning was starting to heat up and I was itching to ride. I waited around for them to pack up their bikes and try to get their Com system to pair. Ah technology. It was kind of funny watching them slap the side of their helmets trying to get the SENA’s to connect. Sorry Lee and Ross it was pretty funny. Slap or push which one?!
Once in the road we then again made a quick stop at a ranger station for some local advice. My partners were worried about an incoming storm front and wanted to know what to expect. I remember checking the weather before I left and knew that the ugly stuff wasn’t coming till Sunday. These guys were doing the whole IDBDR so it was a concern for them. Me not so much. I did pick up a new white map of the area and a cool magnet for the trip.
Once the rubber hit the gravel it was bliss. I was riding and riding with fellow ADVriders. The scenery was beautiful and amazing. Idaho didnt disappoint in this department the whole trip. I was the tail rider for a bit of the first part of the ride which meant I got the brunt of the dust cloud. It didn’t really bother me but I think my riding partners thought it did and where nice enough to let me lead for a bit. Once out in front I let the 1200cc beast stretch her legs. I forgot how much the Super Ténéré loves the dirt or how much I do. I also think they thought since I did have the largest bike of the bunch that I needed to roll on the throttle a bit. Speaking of bikes we had a nice representation from the 650cc class being 2 Kawasaki KLRS one I think was a first generation and the other being one of the newer ones. Next we had what looked to me like a brand new Triumph Tiger XC800. Correct me if I am wrong Ross. It was what a called a mid range CC bike pumping out 800cc and having all the bells and whistles. Yamaha was represented by my 2013 Super Ténéré which also had the luxury of ABS and traction control. Later at Burgdorf, Ross and I admitted that it gave us a little edge over the expert riders on the KLRs. The plan was to stop in Yellow Pine, Idaho for lunch and a top off for the KLRs. The first half of leg 2 is a nice little jaunt along the ridges of the Boise National Forest.
You slowly climb in elevation from about 4000 feet to at one point 6200 feet toward Deadwood reservoir. It was a nice warm up to what was to come. We took a quick snack break at Deadwood and pointed or two wheels toward Yellow Pine. I will try to put a link to some Gopro footage here. and here.
The next leg of day 2 was probably my fav. It put us traveling north on FS road 555 or Landmark Stanley Road, which was snuggled in between to 7000 feet mountain ranges. The road just seemed to go forever. Not much in the way of twists in the road but it did follow the glass like deadwood river. If i fly fished this section would have been a dream. The river cut its way through large tall grass plains that just screamed for a elk or moose in the frame. I think I was so mesmerized by the beauty of it all that I never took any photos. I think that was the theme for me this whole trip. I didn’t take much for photos while riding. I felt that day 2 was a rush. It was my fault though having to make it to Burgdorf to make my reservation. Here is the area I was talking about. Just amazing.
So as we climbed north. That calm glass like river turned into a jagged rocky monster of a river pretty quick. It was pretty amazing. We made it into Yellow Pine a little past lunch time and we decided to make a stop in at the Yellow Pine Tavern. The lunch consisted of a hamburger, chips and a cold PBR. It definitely wasn’t a gourmet burger but it worked. This should have been the stop for my partners if they were going to follow the IDBDR maps recommendations. Ross seemed to be pretty interested in pressing further to Burgdorf and was intrigued by the idea of a soak in the hot springs. He made a call and was able to move my reservation to a larger 4 bed cabin. Score! So we pressed on. Little did I know this was going to be a very long leg.
So remember how I told you that this trip would have a couple of adventure enhancers, well I was about to experience a couple on this leg of the trip. The first one accrued when Ross had me lead the group out of Yellow Pine. As we left I asked if we were going toward Stibnite which was a site of an old mining town from the 1900’s. Ross nodded his head and off I went. Me being in the lead again I push it pretty hard. I am going to blame the blissful trance of the hum of my bike and the amazing scenery which caused me to miss the left at Big Creek Road I was supposed to take. Ooops!!! Well this took me to Stibnite and beyond. I checked my GPS and thought this doesn’t seem right and on top of that my buddies hadn’t showed for a bit. I was lost, kind of. So I turned around and luckley ran into a couple on a Razor who told me that I needed to make a left at Big Creek which was a ways down the road. Great! So I rolled on the throttle and tried to catch my buddies. I felt pretty stupid. Here is my ‘little’ detour.
I hot footed it down the hill and once I made it on to Big Creek I was greeted with a nice little stick sign that spelled out ‘JOSH’ in the middle of the road. I laughed out loud as I blew through it. I thought to myself well at least I am heading in the right direction. I was guided by little stick arrows on every major turn. Haha thanks guys!!! So at this point I was trying to gain time back and was traveling pretty dang fast. So no pictures.
Adventure enhancer number 2. Dirt nap time! Not a spectacular story on this get off just that I hit some sand and the bike and myself took a dirt nap. Looking at the map the road was pretty strait and what I remember was that I came out of a nice down hill right hand sweeper to a pretty strait S-turn. I took the S-turn to wide and pushed myself to the outside of the apex and into some soft sand. Once in that I knew I wasn’t going to make it and went right into a little ditch that had a small little spring running down it. Once in the ditch I tried to ride it out but with no avail. Bam I went down.
Like always I bounced up and ran to the bike to make sure it was off and assess the damage. Well the shifter now had a nice C-turn in it and was pointing toward the rear of the bike. Shit! Quick fix and it was pointing toward the front. Nothing I could do about the bend though. I did another look over and saw something that made my stomach sink. Don’t worry no oil spill but the front nose of the bike was hanging haphazardly. As quoted from JD’s Blog “His front windshield is wobbling like a bobble headed doll.” This was not right. Closer examination showed that the whole headlight area/headlight/dash area was jacked. I had to bust out the para cord and tie it back so that it wouldn’t do anymore damage. My dash wasn’t working and I am pretty sure it caused my traction control to go out. I shook myself off and proceeded down the hill to try to catch my friends. Love those adventure enhancers. Here is a photo of the part that broke into many pieces and my bent shifter. Its not supposed to look like that.
I don’t know how long it took me to finally catch up to my group but it felt like forever. I was tired and the adrenaline was starting to wear off from my crash. I was starting to feel some pain in my shoulder and right side ribs. When I met back up with the group I was told that Lee took a nasty spill up the road and buggered up his ankle. I remember seeing a spot in the road where someone looked to go down. It was confirmed when I found Lee’s bear spray can in the middle of the road just a little further down. I thought well maybe they are leaving me random things on the trail to let me know I was close. Haha. Lee said he remembered hearing something fly off his bike but didn’t really care to much about it. His let off was about that right hand sweeper on the bottom right of the photo Once we all gathered up we headed for the last bit to Burgdorff.
As you can see from the map above we had to make some serious elevation gain to get out to the canyon we where in. It was pretty amazing and exhausting doing switch back after switch back. I was spent by this time. I just wanted to get to the hot springs.
We made it! All of us were completely covered in dust and dirt. Some more than others.
We had rolled in about 30 mins after the main lodge was closing. The two young guys who where counting the till and closing up were pleasant and helpful. One had a little to many rules though. He must of thought we where a bunch of college guys ready to have a raver. Ha. Not even close. We all got the trusty steads parked and gear unpacked. I think Ross was the first one in. He wasn’t waiting around for us. We all followed a short time later. The water was super warm and relaxing. The locals and other campers where friendly and were surprised of our distance and route traveled for the day. I think we logged just about 200 miles for the day.
That night we all gathered our camping food selections and sat at the large dinner table. We had to light candles because the cabins did not have electricity. Burgdorf describes their location as rustic. You bet it is. No running water and you have to use an outhouse behind your cabin. We all traded stories of pervious rides and the trails and tribulations of them. We spoke of current and pass professions and how they have changed. It was refreshing to speak with fellow riders and adventurers. The red wine and liquor helped too. We all slept pretty dang good that night. Well I think we all did. Lee had to keep telling JD to stop snoring though.
The next morning was a slow moving one. JD, Lee and Ross all wanted to get another soak in the hot spring. I spent my morning taking a part my windshield and dash to get it somewhat back together for the return trip home. After a couple feet of Para cord and some curse words it went back together. I actually looks like nothing is wrong with it since all the breaks are in the interior of the dash area.
I wasn’t going to mess with the shifter in fear of it breaking off all together. I could still shift it through the gears so I wasn’t worried to much about it. We shoved off around 11AM I think. Before we left, while trying to pay, Lee was explaining to the lady that he was worried about the weather and didn’t want to ride in the rain. The lady was all excited about the possible rain and even told us if we didn’t like to ride in the rain to just drive a car. I wanted to tell her to shut her hippie mouth and finish checking us out. JD and I both got a chuckle out of the comment though. These people and their 4 wheel vehicles. They will never understand. My original plan was to do part of section 3 into Riggins but with the damage to the bike I didn’t want to put it through anymore rough terrain so we made the short trip to McCall just in time for lunch. The town was starting to get busy and the guys were on the hunt for a place to stay for the night. They had decided to stay in McCall and let Lee’s ankle swelling go down and take a rest day. Wait out the storm, they said. I think they just wanted to chill and get some good food and beer in them. Haha. We exchanged contact info and said our good-byes. My ride back to civilization was a slow and windy one due to the storm front coming in. Its summer time and McCall is a popular place to be during the summer. Traffic was terrible. I made it into Boise/Eagle area around 3PM. I stopped in to the local Yamaha dealership to see what the damage was going to be. I wasn’t to excited and I know Teresa wasn’t going to be if the price tag was huge. Well lucky me it was only 200 bucks. Still its 200 bucks and Teresa will still make me ‘work’ for the cash to put my bike back together but it sure is better than the 1000+ I thought it was going to be.
So this ride is in the books. I had a blast. I got to know some pretty cool guys who at first only had one thing in common with me. Motorcycles. Later I learned we shared another thing in common. They where brothers in blue, well more like brothers in green/brown. (FS Rangers) They invited me into their vacation plans and at times went out of their way to make sure we all finished together. It was pretty cool. I also learned some pretty cool tricks about motorcycle camping and how to pack “liquid” items. It was a adventure. Thanks JD, Lee and Ross it was fun.
So my plan maybe next year is to ride up to McCall and start where I left off. I will do this thing we call the IDBDR even if I have to do it two sections at a time.
So the damage. Shifter bent to poo. Linkage bent to poo. Helmet took a hit to the lens. Inner headlight assembly and windshield assembly shattered. The bike has some more character scratches. I have this really dull pain in my right side rib area. I have had this before and I am pretty positive that the handlebar caught me.
What I have learned…..I wouldn’t change a thing! It all about the adventure enhancers.
Here is a map of the over all trip for me. I know I was over the 500+ mile mark with my little detours and such.
I have been following my riding buddies on JD’s Blog. You can find it here. It looks like they did have a good time in McCall but it seems that Ross came down with a fever and had to go to the hospital. Lee had a pressing matter back home and had to cut his ride short. They all agreed to call it at McCall. Looks like I might get a chance to ride with them again to finish the IDBDR. Hope you guys are heal up and feel better soon. Go over to JD’s Blog to get his perspective of the ride. JD’s Travel Blog