You are hereJim's Excellent Adventure. 4 Days, 17 Challenge Sites, 1,000 Miles.

Jim's Excellent Adventure. 4 Days, 17 Challenge Sites, 1,000 Miles.

By solojim - Posted on 22 September 2014

I am new to the club and would like to start off by saying thanks to whomever it was that put together the list of Challenge sites.  They are some of the greatest spots in Idaho and Oregon and I never would have visited most of them without this Challenge.

On Wed, Sept 17th I departed on one of the greatest adventures that I have ever been on.  I am fairly new to the world of Motorcycles and this was a further and longer a trip than I have ever been on.  My goal was to reach 18 challenge sites in 4 days leaving from my house. I loaded my ’94 DR350 with all the gear and food I needed for the trip.  I had a lot of ground to cover so I needed to be able to sleep and eat wherever I ended up.

The first day got off to a rough start.  I left my house about 8:00. I live in Middleton and I broke down in Star! My bike flooded and was dripping gas everywhere. I had to call my wife to come get me, disappointing to say the least.  When I got the bike home I tore into it and found that the seat pad that I had installed the night before had a strap that covered the hole in my air box.  Easy fix, it started right up, I reloaded my gear and was on the road again.  I was very late though, it was 12:00 by that time.

My goal on day one was to ride to Shafer Butte, Sunset Mt, Swanholm Peak, Jackson Peak and then camp at Dagger Falls. I rode to Shafer Butte Campground where the Camp Host told me it was OK to go around the gate. I was able to ride really close to the Lookout but found more gates up on top.  I then rode down the back side into Idaho City and up to Sunset Mt. Lookout.  From there (because of time) I had to skip Swanholm and rode to Jackson Peak.  From Jackson Peak I rode till it got dark and ended up camping at a campground called Banner Creek, it is right before the turn off from Hwy 21 to Dagger Falls.

That night it rained and I woke up to a wet tent and worst of all a wet seat pad! My goal for day two was Whitehawk Mt., Deadwood, Silver Creek, East Mt. and camp at Gold Fork.  I packed up my wet gear in the rain and made the cold, rainy, wet, and awesome ride into Dagger Falls. From Dagger Falls I booked it to Whitehawk Mt. Lookout only to find a locked gate.  The ride was amazing though.  Bear Valley is one of the areas that I would love to spend a few days exploring.  I then rode to Deadwood Lookout to find the gate was open!  I have been here before and have never been able to go all the way up to the Lookout.  It was awesome. I ate lunch there and took a 5 min. power nap. Then it was on to Garden Valley for gas and Silver Creek Lookout.  I arrived at Silver Creek Lookout only to find another locked gate.  The ride up there was great though and I was surprised by the pavement and curbing up there.  I would like to know the history behind that. From Silver Creek I headed to East Mountain Lookout via Forest Service Roads 600 and 417, not very far on the map but quite a little ride to get there. 417 had some amazing views of Cascade and the Valley below.  From there I rode to Cascade for some gas and rode towards Gold Fork Lookout.  It got dark on me a few miles from the Lookout so I found a wide spot in the road to bed down for the night.

The next morning I arrived at Gold Fork Lookout just as the sun was coming over the hill.  It was an amazing sight being up there at that time of day.  I was glad I stopped when I did the night before because the road got a little rough towards the top and was something I am glad I didn’t try in the dark.

From Gold Fork I rode towards Hazard and Rainbow Lakes.  While I was in McCall I came across a group of vintage motor bikers riding from Florida to Washington. There was about 50 of them and they couldn’t be on a bike that was newer than 1936.  I saw (and passed) some pretty cool old bikes.

 The ride to Big Hazard Lake was easy and scenic; Rainbow Lake was a different story.  The trail to Rainbow Lake with a loaded bike was difficult for me to say the least.  When I got there I wondered how I was going to get back out.  It was definitely at the limits of my skill level. Funny though, that out of the three times I dumped my bike on this trip this trail was not one of them.  From Rainbow Lake I rode to New Meadows to top off with gas before a long stretch over into Oregon.

 I then rode to Smith Mt. Lookout.  I have to say this was my favorite stop on the trip.  The last stretch to the top was REALLY rough and rocky but the view was simply amazing.  Because of its location on top of a pointy hill it looks like the mountain drops off all around you.  It felt incredibly high and actually made my stomach turn a little.  If you go here be sure to take the time to ride (or walk) to the top, it is worth it.  I think it was the best view of the trip. On the ride back down I dumped my bike.  I stalled on a big rock and over I went. 

From Smith Mt. it is a quick ride over to Horse Mt. Lookout.  From Horse Mt. I rode to the town of Cuprum (middle of nowhere) where I met some really nice people that gave me some gas to make sure I could make it to the next fuel which was clear over in Halfway Oregon. They let me know that Pine creek was not currently pumping gas which is where I planned to stop.  I then rode down Kleinschmidt Grade which cuts right down the side of the mountain into Hells Canyon.  I then crossed over into Oregon and up 39 to Ollokot Campground for the night.

The next morning I got up early and made a cold ride up to Harl Butte.  I met Ken up there who has manned the lookout for the last 8 years.  He is really nice and said that visitors are always welcome there.  From Harl Butte it was on to McGraw Lookout and on the way out of there I stopped at the Hells Canyon Overlook.  From there I rode to Fish Lake, the road was good but had the most traffic of the trip.  I then rode to Russel Mt. Lookout the final Challenge Site of the trip. From Russle Mt. I rode over to Halfway Oregon for fuel.  My least favorite part of the trip was the last 150+ miles home at 65 MPH on a DR350.

Overall the trip was amazing. I traveled 1,003 miles.  I saw 17 challenge sites, and wonderful places along the way. I saw a Bear with two Cubs, a Fox, a Bobcat, Elk and bunch of Deer.  I met some great people and got to know the area I call home a little bit better.



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