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My 2016 Challenge Report

by Doug Patchin (Platinum Time Level Winner) 
Originally Published in the IAMC Newsletter, January 2017

During the past challenge years, I have not been able to get to more than 30 sites. This is for the stime reasons most of us use; can’t get away for more than 2 days at a time, family obligations, it’s too cold, it’s too hot, fire season prevents access, laziness, etc., etc. 

My first challenge year was 2011, and I achieved the silver level. In 2012 it was only bronze. In 2013 I didn’t participate because of planning an Alaska trip that would extend for 5 weeks in July and August. In 2014 the bronze was achieved, and in 2015 the silver was received. So my goal in 2016 was to get to the gold level to add a different color to my metal count. 

My first site was on a group ride that Mike Hardy posted for April 1st. We met at Carl’s Cycles, got the photo taken and continued with a great ride through the foothills north of Eagle. We ended up riding down to the Payette River near Montour and followed the dirt road into Horseshoe Bend in the dark. (One down and only 29 more to go.

On a warm, sunny Saturday morning, April 9th, I decided to ride to Ola and follow Oldnut’s advice to have breakfast at the remodeled and restored Ola Inn & Cafe — good food, friendly owners, and she even volunteered to take my photo. 

Entering Ola, site #-28, located north of Emmett.

Spring in southern Idaho is beautiful and the ride up to Ola showcased the short lived greening of the mountains. (Two down and only 28 to go.) 

Saturday April 30th , IAMC met for breakfast at Big Twin before our annual Spring Prairie ride. (Three down and 27 to go.) 

On the weekend of May13-15 Arden Hill joined with me to ride the old Transcendental Railroad grade road and visit the Golden Spike NaAonal Historic Site. On Friday morning we stopped at Bruneau and after having breakfast in Snowville on Sunday morning we headed out in the rain to Malta and Almo. In the afternoon our last stop for the day was a Castleford before heading back to Boise. (Four more added, totaling 7 down and 23 to go.) 

Golden Spike NaIonal Historic Site (25 miles west of Brigham City, Ut).

May 25th was an open house event at Happy Trails with good food sharing wisdom on camping and packing light and telling tall tales of our exploits as dual sport riders. 

Memorial Day, May 30th, found me riding to Atlanta, following the IDBDR from Anderson Flats to Hwy 21 then south to Lowman and up the Alder Creek road to Placerville. (Eleven down and 19 to go.

Old barn outside of Enterprise, Oregon. L to R: Mark Wurtenberger, Ron Schinnerer, Dan Driscoll, Ed Torrey, Arden Hill, and Doug Patchin.

June 9-12, Dan, Arden, Ron, Ed, Mark and I headed to the Wallowa Valley Jamboree in Enterprise, Oregon. On the way home on Sunday we stopped in Cambridge for our mug shot. (Twelve down and 18 to go.

The month of July was occupied by family and business obligaAons. I managed to get to Snake River Yamaha to get my fourth required stop on July 30th. (Thirteen down and 17 to go.) 

Now some serious planning started to take place with me realizing that I could get another 28 sites with just two multi day trips. That would put me into the elusive Platinum level. So I grouped the 13 sites in eastern
Idaho in a clockwise route and began my 3 day, 1,155 mile trek. I lea on Friday, August 5th, after work and camped at Moonstone Landing on the Magic Reservoir off of Hwy 20. The next day I got to Mackay, Atomic
City, Mud Lake, Spencer
and Island Park. I camped that night off a dirt road near Mesa Falls. On day two I awoke to rain and quickly packed everything up between rain storms and headed to Ashton for breakfast. After awarm meal, I continued south on Hwy 32, but had to stop before reaching Tetonia to put on rain gear. The rain gear would stay on all day unAl I reached Dingle and clearer skies and sunshine. The picture above is what the sky looked like all day producing rain, lightening, thunder and hail in great quantities. I got to Tetonia, took my picture quickly and headed to Driggs to find cover and wait out the approaching rain and hail. When the sky cleared briefly, I rode to Swan Valley missing another downpour by minutes. After waiting out a hail storm in Alpine Junction, Wyoming, I rode to Freedom, then south through Wyoming and back into Idaho to reach Dingle where the sky was clearing and the warmth from the sun could start drying my soaked mesh riding boots. The last site for the day was Bancroft After which I headed to Lava Hot Springs for a motel room to dry out the tent, the rain fly and my riding boots. 

The overcast Teton Mountains to the east of Tetonia, site #-36

Day three found me riding back roads south out of Lava Hot Springs to Malad City and Holbrook then north on Hwy 37 past Twin Springs were I stopped for a needed break. The next stop was Rockland, and then routing on a few dirt and frontage roads to avoid using the freeway, I arrived at Raft River. I got onto old Hwy 30 which quickly turned to gravel unAl I crossed the Snake River where I turned north and found the liSle town of Acequia. The last stop before going to my dad’s home in Twin Falls was Eden. (Mission accomplished with 26 down and 18 to go.) 

Twin Springs, 23 miles south of Rockland on Hwy 37, was a favorite camping site for pioneers on Hudspeth’s Cutoff heading to California.

My initial plans were to skip three sites — Yellow Pine, Warren and Leadore — because of the time and distance needed to get to them. However, on Saturday, August 13th, my wife had nothing planned for me in the yard, so I hopped on to my DRZ400 and headed north on Hwy 55 to Cascade and onto Yellow Pine. Here I stopped for lunch and topped off the gas tank for the long haul to Warren. I had forgoSen how much Time is needed to do this loop and didn’t get back home unAl 7:30 pm After riding 360 miles. Long day on a DRZ. (Now I have 28 down and 16 to go.) 

On August 26th I pointed the Triumph 800XC north to get to the 15 sites north of the Salmon River. The first day’s objective was Elk City. I spent the evening camped somewhere in the mountains south of the Clearwater River and Hwy 12. Day 2 found me working my out of the mountains and down to Kooskia. From there it was north on Hwy 12 to Hwy 11 and into Weippe. I then backtracked on Hwy 11 to Lower Ford Creek Road and dropped down into Orofino. I followed Hwy 12 to the turn off for Peck and then backtracked to Hwy 12 and back into Orofino for fuel. From here I rode north to the Dworshak Reservoir and Dent Bridge. After crossing the bridge, the road becomes dirt all the way to Elk River where I stopped for lunch. Then is was onto Hwy 8 and to Hwy 3 at Bovill. Hwy3 runs along the St.Maries River and on to the town of Santa. After Santa, it was on to St.Maries and the turn off to cross the St Joe River where I followed the St. Joe River Road to Avery. I had planned on camping somewhere north of Avery but it was only 3pm; so I decided to go to Wallace and then onto Murray. I figured I could find someplace to camp around Murray. Not finding anything suitable for camping there, I headed west on Hwy 9 along the Coeur d’ Alene River. All of the camping seemed to be on the north side of the river, and the few areas on my side of the river were crowded. I kept riding unAl I got to Cataldo. It was around 6:30pm, and I sAll had hope of finding a place to camp. Nothing; so I headed to Coeur d’ Alene to find a motel. Well, it happened to be a Saturday night with the Kootenai County fair in full swing, and there was not a motel room available anywhere. It’s geting dark, and I have no idea where I can find a motel or a place to pitch my tent for the night. So I decide I to ride north on Hwy 95 unAl? I know Bayview is north, so I decide to ride there to see if there are any motels available. The turn off for Bayview onto Hwy 54 also happens to be the turn off to Farragut State Park. Maybe there is an open campsite in the park? Well, at this Time of night, I get through without paying an entrance fee, and I have no idea where any campgrounds are. I wander around for 30-40 minutes unAl I spot a campground entrance. It’s full! I go in and find one spot open that happens to be a double spot, costing me double. It’s 10:00pm, and nobody is going to come around to collect; so I pitch my tent on the hard gravel pad and go to sleep. This was a 15 hour day. 

I get up early, pack and ride over to Bayview. Then I headed west on Hwy 54 and stop for breakfast in Spirit Lake. After breakfast, it’s north to Priest River and then north to Priest Lake and the town of Coolin. I don’t like to backtrack if possible, so I planned a route through the mountains and into Sandpoint. The route became a small two track that eventually wound its way down into the valley and the town of Sandpoint. From here I took Hwy 200 to Clark Fork, then to Hwy 56 north to Hwy 2 and onto Moyie Springs. I had planned on camping at the Twin Rivers RV Park, but it was early Afternoon; so I headed north on Hwy 95 to Hwy 1 and to the town of Porthill. After taking my picture at the border crossing, I returned to the Twin Rivers RV park and set up camp for the evening. 

My campsite at Twin Rivers RV Park in Moyie Springs, site #-25.

Day 4 was going to be a long day of riding to get to the last site at Winchester. The first stop of the day was Harrison. Hwy 97 around the east side of Lake Coeur d’ Alene is a beautiful, smooth, winding ribbon of asphalt that is every motorcyclist’s dream road. From here it is south on Hwy97 to 3 to 6 to 9 and back to 3 to 12 to County Road P3 and into Culdesac. As I was riding along on these small highways, I was amazed at how many small communities there are in Idaho. Mike Hardy could have picked three dozen other small towns in northern Idaho alone. Good job, Mike, on the sites for 2016! From Culdesac it’s onto the Winchester Grade Road and into Winchester for the final site of the trip. I camped that night at Winchester State Park (I did have to pay here!), and headed home the next day. 

The total mileage for this trip was 1,484 miles, and I added 15 more to my total. (Now I am at 43 sites, and I am done.) 

But wait, the Club has planned a weekend in September in Challis with Happy Trails, and Leadore is not that far away! Actually it is, and there are not any direct routes from Challis to Leadore. However, Ed Torrey was planning a ride on Friday to the top of Big Windy Pass. So on Friday eight of us headed out to tackle Big Windy Pass. Well, this happened to be one of the hardest rides I have done in years because we used a steep, rocky ATV trail to get to the top. When we got to the other side in view of Hwy 28, four of us decided we had had enough and bailed for the highway and into Leadore for my final site. From there it was onto Salmon and then south to Challis to end a great day of riding with a soak in the hot pool at the Challis Hot Springs Resort. 

I had not planned on doing all 44 sites, but I am pleased I was able to accomplish it this year. I will probably lower my expectations next year and work to only get to the Gold level. That way I will have all four colors to round out my metal count! 

I thoroughly enjoyed this years challenge because we had some sites that could only be accessed by dirt roads and many that you didn’t have to ride dirt at all. I had fun planning how to get from town to town via the shortest routes, using as many dirt tracks as possible. I really enjoyed getting to the towns north of the Salmon River as I have not had as many opportunities to travel to northern Idaho. 

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