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Fairbanks, AK to Placerville, CA the long way (lots of photos) Final 2 days...


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Sorry this has taken so long to complete….previous trip threads (5) located here:


Day 1 http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/725150/an/0/page/0#Post725150


Day 2 http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/725661/an/0/page/0#Post725661


Day 3 http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/725824/an/0/page/0#Post725824


Day 4 http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/726667/an/0/page/2#Post726667


Day 5 http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/726669/an/0/page/2#Post726669


Day 6 Glacier to Mackay, Idaho (Lolo pass) (499 miles)


Awoke to a nice brisk morning at the KOA, and after packing my bike was off heading south by 6:30am or so. A quick check of the map convinced me to take the east side of Flathead Lake (highway 35, a smaller road). Part way around I came upon one of Montana’s finest but thanks in part to the magnificent views of the lake I was well under the posted speed limit.


Re-joining the main road (highway 93) I was met with the longest construction site of the entire trip. Mile after mile of low speed, sketchy traction and your basic “not fun” high stress riding for the next hour or so. The water trucks and transitions from torn up road to repaired road kept me on my toes and I made very poor time, arriving finally in Missoula around 10:30 am where I was more than ready for a break before continuing south. I found a nice place for breakfast and even shared a table with a fellow rider (on an older 1220 wing). It was just what I needed as I was now in a bad mood and was happy to have some company to gripe about the roads to…


After breakfast I continued south, stopping for fuel and looking for the turn to Lolo pass (highway 12). I have always wanted to see Lolo and was just too close to pass it by without making the 50 miles or so run up to the top. The road was wonderful, lots of high sped twisties and hardly any traffic. I spent a few minutes at the visitor’s center talking with some other riders who were headed for Sturgis and enjoying the sites. I was a bit surprised that Lolo wasn’t any higher (5225 ft.), but it was worth the detour, plus I got to ride 12 back to 93 afterwards….




Back on 93 I kept riding south and witnessed a number of small fires and one larger one off in the distance. Overall the temperature was perfect and I decided to keep heading south into Idaho, with thoughts of camping near the entrance to the Sawtooth Recreation Area that evening.




I must say the crossing to Idaho from Montana was another highlight. A large fire had obviously passed through the Montana side a few years prior, but the road was in great shape and had plenty of twists and turns. It was amazing to see how close some of the burned sections were to the cabins, but it seemed that most folks had cleared enough to be spared losing their homes. Crossing into Idaho proved to be uneventful and the long downhill section was equally enjoyable.




Idaho was noticeably dryer and more arid, but the buttes and other geological formations were great. I did pass a bad accident in the canyon, but somehow the driver and his passenger were all right and being attended to by a local who luckily had a cb radio as cel phones didn’t work in the area. They chose the one place to go off the road towards the canyon wall where a large bush was growing, and somehow managed to avoid slamming into the wall.








I stopped in Challis where I was supposed to make the turn to Sawtooth, but after taking a break I accidentally continued south on 93 instead. After a few miles I suspected something was wrong but continued along until MacKay instead as I just didn’t feel like turning around. I did get to ride through a neat little canyon along the way and continued to enjoy cool views of the Lost River Range to the east.








Arriving in MacKay I located the local free campground and found a Mexican place for dinner. After dinner I called a friend and made my plans for the next day as I didn’t have a Nevada map with me and wanted to make sure I was heading the right way in the morning. A large fire was burning to the west and I am still not sure if I would have been able to make it to Sawtooth as the road may have been closed. The evening sunset was impressive, helped in part by the smoke. A light rain and heavy winds made the night a bit more exciting than I would have liked, in fact I moved my tent out from under a large tree and re-positioned the bike so it wouldn’t be blown over, but I awoke to an upright bike and dry skies.




Day 7 Mackay, Idaho to Placerville, CA (715 miles)


The last day was a long one, and included the worst construction site of the trip. Turning at Arco I soon found myself behind a pilot car and riding in some very slippery silt and loose gravel. The driver behind me got quite a show as the Goldwing nearly got away from me and I nearly lost it in the really deep stuff a few times. Obviously I made pretty bad time for the first few hours, but managed to arrive in Twin Falls for a late breakfast after stopping for a shot of the Snake River canyon on the way into town (my last shot of the trip).




From there I basically just put my head down and headed for home. I have never enjoyed riding on 80 in Nevada, but at least it wasn’t too hot or windy…..last day was 13 hours and the Goldwing once again proved to be a excellent choice and never gave me any pause or concern, not bad for a 17 year old bike with 64K on the clock!!


Overall a great trip and one I would take again.

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Great pics and reports (all of them.)


Thanks for sharing. wave.gif


What Matt said! thumbsup.gif


Thanks also for posting the links to the previous five parts, Nick. We were up at Tahoe for a week, and didn't know if we'd missed any while away, since the older ones had rolled off.

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No need to be sorry, it was worth waiting for smile.gifthumbsup.gif


Wonderful trip, trip report and pictures !!!

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Hey Nick! Nice ride report and great shots! I spent a lot of time in the Missoula area and surrounding parts. You really did a bang-up job on making me miss it that much more! I'm glad you were able to enjoy your ride from Glacier into Twin Falls even though you hit all that construction. Sometimes the views really ARE worth it! And great shots of that canyon in ID too!


Ride on,

Robert B

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