Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Route

Updated 5/9/2015 - Modify Day 1 route, Day 2 route to move Day 1 campsite.
Updated 5/22/2015 - Modified Day 3 stop and added Gas Logistics Section. Update mileages.
5/28/2015 - Added GPX Track Links and Auxiliary tracks/routes link

The Best of Montana 2015 continues the heritage as the sixth of the MT1000 series.  The MT1000 series of rides has always been informal, no fees, no pressure, ride what days fit your bill and float your boat.  Ride with friends, meet new friends. Ride your pace. This year is the same. This year we are looking at a full loop, in fact a figure eight, but anyone is welcome to start and finish wherever it works best for them. Approximately 1300 miles - mostly non-technical dirt.

Quick synopsis:    D1 = July 17, Friday
D1 - 201/160 miles Lolo, MT to Table Meadows CG
D2/Sat - 152 miles Table Meadows CG via Elk City to Burgdorf Hot Springs
D3/Sun - 169 miles Burgdorf Hot Springs via Warren, Yellow Pine to Stanley
D4/Mon - 206 miles Stanley via Challis, Salmon, Lemhi Pass to Reservoir Lake CG
D5/Tue - 144 miles Reservoir Lake CG via Polaris, Wise River, Melrose to Twin Bridges
D6/Wed -166 miles Twin Bridges via Alder, Ennis, Gravellys to Steel Ck CG (North East of Dubois, ID)
D7/Thu - 175 miles Steel Ck CG via Dubois, Medicine Lodge Road, Bannack to Miner Lake CG
D8/Fri - 170 miles Miner Lake CG via Wisdom, Big Hole Battlefield, Sapphires, Skalkaho Rd to Lolo
D8alt/Fri - 195 miles (Alternate ride west for west of the mountain riders) Miner Lake via Wisdom, Big Hole, Sula, Magruder Corridor to Elk City

The Dirty Details
The first day will be an “approach” day, Friday July 17 starting from Lolo, MT. For those intrepid souls from West of the mountains, you can buzz all the way to Lolo or meet us at the start of Day 2 Saturday July 18 south of Lowell, ID on the way to Elk City.  This will accommodate the many riders coming from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. But, since I live about one good riding day away from Lowell, I've set Day one, Friday for the bunch of us from the Missoula area to start in the Bitterroot - Lolo to be specific.  Our D1 route will include the Elk Meadow Road and Lolo Motorway (after lunch at Lochsa Lodge) ending up at the Table Meadow primitive CG to meet and formally take off with the main group.  Anyone’s free to join us at either Lolo or mid day At Lochsa Lodge on Friday, D1. After a brief (lunch?) stop at the lodge and gas up, we head on up to the Lolo Motorway popping out near Lowell. Gas at Cougar Canyon quick stop and head for camp down the Selway Road, up the Falls Point Road to the campsite.

DAY 1 - 201 miles MODIFIED 6/27 runs from Lolo, MT in the Bitterroot 15 miles south of Missoula. The route takes off west on US 12 for a few miles and then heads off south on the Elk Meadow Road - truly great scenery.  We exit dirt for a small stretch near Lolo Pass on US 12 and hit Lochsa Lodge for gas and grub. Then it is up Parachute Ridge Road to the Lolo Motorway (USFS 500) all the way to Lowell where we strike US 12, gas at Cougar Canyon Convenient and a run up the Selway River Road and back into the woods on the Falls Point Road.

The Motorway is one of the true “Bucket List“ Adv Roads.  

The original plans called to camp at Johnson Bar CG, a group site, however it had be previously reserved for the night thus the extension of the day's miles. There are a large number of smaller campgrounds spread on down between Lowell and the Falls Point Road where we leave the Selway.  The "official" camp for Day 1 will be further along at Table Meadow CG. Any formal full group gathering of the clan, so to speak, for a kick off will occur at the Day 1 campsite. No big deal as this is an "informal" ride along a pre-designated route and general evening gathering sites.

UPDATE!!! Ran the route last weekend.  A couple of changes in the GPX Day 1 files. First, the 7 version - day 1 is TOOO LONG.  V7.1 track D1ap now includes the entire day in one track and DOES NOT include the Lolo Motorway (cuts miles to 161 for the day). At over 200 miles, the original version is too long for most riders. I left the long version in the tracks as D1a and D1p, but only recommended for advanced riders traveling a bit faster. D1p is modified to hit US 12 East of Lowell as the original exit to US 12 right at Lowell turned out to be a closed track and was totally unsuitable to large bikes.

This adds more pavement (US 12) than I would like, but keeps the mileage under control and gets East riders to the first night meet up at a reasonable mileage.  Table Meadows proves out as it has several old turnouts, two pit toilets (BRING YOUR OWN PAPER!) Plus, there is a large meadow for a large group and old burn pile for a communal fire pit. Updated 6/27/2015.

Day 2 - 152 miles we head on up the Falls Church Road to Elk City. More gas & grub, then up on the Wagon Road crossing Hwy 14 to the Hungry Ridge Road and make our way down to the Salmon via the old mining area of Florence, cross the river, up the switchbacks and on south to Burgdorf Hot Springs for the night. they also rent rustic cabins at the Hot Springs. Some minor fast food is available as is gas from above ground tanks. There is a USFS campground just a couple hundred yards north of Burgdorf HS itself.

DAY 3 - 169 miles we reverse our route from BOM 2014 and head back through Warren and Yellow Pine.  Gas and food is available in Yellow Pine. We'll miss the Harmonica Festival this year.Gas up full, cause it will be a long haul to Stanley where the next gas is found (unless you side trip to Warm Lake Lodge).  We travel to Stanley turning up to Iron Ck CG about 2.5 miles West of Stanley 4 miles up FS 619.

DAY 4 - 206 miles we continue on US 93 then hit Yankee Fork Road coming out in Challis traveling after passing through the old mining town of Custer. A few miles up the highway from Challis and then back north via Morgan Ck and Panther Creek to Salmon.  We go back up over Lemhi Pass (and Sharkey Hot Springs) on our way over to the Bloody Dick Road and Reservoir Lake, our campsite for the night.

DAY 5 - 144 miles we head on East to Jackson then highway 27 miles (sorry) to Elkhorn Hot Springs and gas at Grasshopper Inn. Continuing on up the (paved) road to Wise River and five miles east to the Quartz Ck Road and Trapper Ck over to Melrose (reverse direction from last year, under the Interstate and cross country to Twin Bridges via the Richardson Basin said to have some interesting old mining sites where we will camp in the Twin Bridges City park on the Beaverhead River. Food and frivolity just a walk down town.

DAY 6 - 166 miles leaving Twin Bridges, we cross over to the south side of the Ruby river and take the benchmark road almost all the way to Alder (gas stop). From here we hit pavement over to Virginia City and Ennis.  (Another gas stop) Then up the Call Road onto the Gravelly Range Road. Note: I have an alternate track which will take one from Alder south past the Ruby Reservoir and up to the Gravelly Range Road from the West  via the Warm Springs Road. Your choice. Misses a bit of the north part of the Gravelly Range Road, but it is a great climb and super ADV road. and gives a bit more time for sightseeing further on. We continue on south on the Gravelly Range Road and descend on the Eureka Road to the Red Rock Valley. We cross the Red Rocks south and go up into the Camas Ck country and stay the night at the Steel Creek CG.
DAY 7 - 175 miles leaving the Steel Ck CG, we pass through the old town of Kilgore where I understand there is still a country store (9 miles). We continue on down  to Dubois, Idaho, gas up and hit the Medicine Lodge Road for 86 miles coming out near Clark Canyon Reservoir. Turning West then North we hit Bannack. After some appropriate sightseeing, its on  the highway west to Jackson (25 miles of pavement) where we head straight west up to the Miner Lake CG.

DAY 8 - 170 miles we go back down to Jackson then up to Wisdom (first gas since Dubois) then head west just past the Big Hole Battlefield where we head north on dirt up over Schultz Saddle, down to the East Fork of the Bitterroot near the town (???) of Sula.  We cross the road and continue on north through the Sapphire Mountains until we drop out on Skalkaho Creek running down the highway to Hamilton then north to Lolo (or Stevensville as it may be).  No services in Sula unless you run 15 miles down the East Fork road (paved) to US 93 where there is a Sula Country Store/gas/campground.  The whole distance from the Battlefield to Skalkaho has much of the qualities of either the Magruder or Lolo Motorway. With 78 miles of remote minimally maintained dirt, It is remote and rough, but very doable on big bikes.

Day 8alt - 195 miles. Towards the end, there are options for those so inclined to head straight west and cross the Magruder Corridor on your way back west.  I have an alternate track taking you up onto the Sapphires a stretch and coming out just up from the East Fork/Sula Road where there is an RV/Gas/grub place on the junction with US 93, then heads north on 93 to Conner where the Conner Merc has gas/food/bar/post officer on the cut across from 93 to the Painted Rocks Road and access to the Magruder to Elk City if you are heading back west (197 miles). If you camp on the Magruder, your day will be that much shorter (suggest Poet Ck).

Or ride with us all the way to Hamilton, head south through Darby and then across the Magruder. Or continue on to Lolo and take DAY 1 back to Lowell and the start (or boogie straight on down US 12).

Total 1439 miles, 180 miles/day ave. 8 riding days.

Gas Logistics
First off, never pass up a good opportunity to fill your tank. Most days will see plenty of gas stations. Day 1, it is critical to gas up at Lochsa Lodge before tackling the Lolo Motorway. It will be a long and remote jaunt over to Lowell (over 100 miles) where you can find the Cougar Canyon Gas/convenient store - no other options within 30-40 miles (west to Kamiah or 65 miles up US 12 back to Lochsa Lodge) before heading south to Elk City, the next gas opportunity. 

Again, Elk City is a must fill and is the last fill point until Burgdorf Hot Springs. If you think you are running low on this stretch, when you hit the Salmon River, you can divert to Riggins, ID not too terribly far off route for gas.

After Burgdorf, we will be going through Yellow Pine. There is an above ground tank on the main street and places to eat. This is another critical fuel stop, next on route is Stanley 95 miles away. You may be able to divert to Warm Lake Lodge for gas if needed.

From Stanley, there is gas as well as Challis then Salmon. Next gas after Salmon is Grasshopper Lodge 116 miles from Salmon making Salmon a must fill also.

From Grasshopper there is gas at the Merc/Post Office in Wise River and further on in Melrose, 65 miles from Grasshopper.

I'm not sure if there is gas available in Twin Bridges, but we will gas up in Alder and then in Ennis if tackling the Gravellies from the Call Road. It is possible to run down the Ruby below Alder and up Warm Springs to the Gravelly road shortening the route if you want something a bit different.

After the Gravelly Range, the next gas on route is Dubois. The next day will be a long gas day. From Dubois to the next on-route gas is 168 miles at Wisdom. If you need to shorten that stretch, there is an alternate route from the Steel Ck CG to Lima then over to the Medicine Lodge Road and back onto the main route (alt track included in the GPX file).

The last we will gas up in Wisdom before taking the Sapphire Range stretch from near the Big Hole Battlefield eventually coming out near Hamilton, so Wisdom is a must stop.

An alternate route for Day 8 is included for anyone wanting to return west via the Magruder Corridor. There is gas at the junction with 93 at the Sula RV Park/Restaurant. There is also gas in Conner where you turn up the West Fork Road and enter the Magruder. Once you enter the Magruder, there is no bail out. Be sure the road is open. If you run 90 miles in and find its closed, you have to run 90 miles back!. Elk City will be your fuel stop on the west end.








IDBDR overlaying BOM 2015

This itinerary is subject to change.  We will gladly take comments and suggestions as it is early in the season. Of course any good adventure is subject to fires, road closures, any other acts of God or man. It's happened before!

Yes, there are hot springs along the route.  Most of this year's route are known segments with a few of new stretches thrown in. But to my knowledge, big bike friendly.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

BOM-MT1000 2015


This will be the sixth year in the MT1000 adventure ride series.

Last year the ride took on a whole new dimension and and added new country and roads in Montana along with a strong list of roads in eastern Idaho.  The formal ride was 1,300 miles to provide a week long ride and several riders extended the ride on both ends out to 1,800 miles and 10 days to really stretch the "1000" mile dimension. Last years planning blog is located at: http://bom2014.blogspot.com/.

This year, the Back Road Discovery Route people will have added Idaho to their list of states. Initial planning for the BOM2015 has been based on reversing the 2014 route and bypassing the Glacier/Front Range portion.  Other riders have indicated a wish to link the BOM with the IDBDR to make a really epic ride. We've been putting together some ideas that could incorporate both desires so stay tuned for further notices.  The IDBDR route will be posted and available in July so we are waiting to see exactly where it runs.  The Idaho portions of last year's ride seemed to mimic a lot of what has been leaked about the IDBDR so we will see what develops.

Ron Haraseth
The route