Archives for category: – .GPX Files

Rice Fork, flooded last March, was crossable in November.

If you look closely (or click on this photo) you’ll see my spare gas can lying on this rutted section of Forest Road M3. These were typical road conditions for the first 10 to 15 miles.

Click here for a downloadable .gpx file of this trip for your GPS device.

In mid-November I went to the Mendocino National Forest, north of Clear Lake, solo, to see if I could circumnavigate the Snow Mountain Wilderness. I tried to do it back in March in the Montero but the snow melt-swollen rivers were too deep to cross. This time I brought a dirt bike. I didn’t think I’d be able to cover the estimated 60 or 70 miles in the truck, at least not in a day—10 mph is about average on rough roads. I figured I could easily double that on the bike.

I got up early, was in the woods, and on the bike by noon. Within a few minutes I had crossed Parramore Creek Rice Fork (the one that had held me back in spring) without a problem. OK—I stalled the bike mid-stream and had to dunk a boot in the water to keep from falling over, but basically no problem. From there my wet right foot and I headed north on forest road M3—see map below—and things got a little more serious. At one point, after slamming through a deep puddle in an especially rutted section of road, I stopped and thought, “Should I take a picture of that for the blog?” I decided yes and headed back. There in puddle lay my spare gas can. Sheesh.

After an hour of bouncing two wheels over mangled dirt, I had covered only 11 miles, about as much as I could have covered on four. I doubted whether I’d make it round the whole loop. That morning though, much like a 17th-century captain hoisting the flag of his patron saint, or an Indian taxi driver with dashboard shrine to Ganesh, I had attached a photo of Archangel Michael to my handlebars, well, a photo of a statue anyway. It helped. Despite my fear of heading alone into the wilderness, I felt a certain solidity in the journey and pressed on.

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Silver City, Idaho in its heyday in 1892

We hadn’t planned on going to Silver City. Heading to Boise up Hwy. 95, the easy way, was what we had in mind. But there we were in tiny, little Jordan Valley, Oregon, having lunch at a diner three miles from the Idaho border, when I spotted the above photo on the wall. I had a feeling this was going to be good. “Do you know how long it takes to get to Silver City?” I asked our waitress to no avail. She hadn’t heard me.

“At least an hour,” answered the woman at the counter. “How are you planning on getting there?” I pointed out the window at Butch (my Mitsubishi Montero), with his Hi-Lift jack and bull-bar front bumper. “With that.”

“That should work,” she said. I wouldn’t take a normal car though.”

“But don’t go in the rain,” our waitress then chimed in. “The road gets real greasy.”

I looked at Natalie. She was feeling a little under nourished from her iceberg salad—southeastern Oregon hadn’t provided many options for my favorite vegetarian—and was eager to get to Boise. Despite a craving for Thai food, she said she was game and soon we were on a dirt road headed out of town. Read the rest of this entry »

Looking up the road towards Laurel Lakes

The sign for Laurel Lakes trail

At the start of the trail

Click here for a downloadable .gpx file to use with your GPS device.

Labor Day found us driving a rocky dirt road cut through a landslide of rubble into one of the most beautiful valleys I’d ever seen. We were on the trail to Laurel Lakes, over 9000ft up in eastern Sierra Nevada. Every off-road guide I have rates this as a gorgeous trip and I’d been wanting to take it for some time. There’s a good little video, more pics, a map, and the rest of the story after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »