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Exploring the great unknown

By rScherzer - Posted on 12 April 2020

 Hey all,  It’s been a while since a new ride report has been put up and with all the stay at home stuff going on I have some time to put a ride report together for all of you!   When I first looked over the 2020 Moto Idaho challenge sites I seen a new to me town called Mineral.   So I Googled it and found out it was a old school mining town.  Since I was heading that way I wanted to pick up a couple other challenge sites in the area, the warm springs and sand dunes.   Just a FYI the Warm springs are now privately owned and have been for many years.  So we got a nice picture of their gate and no trespassing sign.  

                Moving on to the actual ride! This day had to be the best we have had in a long time. It seems as if winter doesn’t want to let up.  With a chance at 70 deg f and dirt roads we set of.   The start of the trip from my town of Kuna was a tad bit chilly at 53 deg.  That coupled with warmer weather gear and interstate speeds made for a cold ride.  Along the paved route always seemed to be to be the most boring section of interstate when you pass Caldwell and are heading out west to Ontario.   Rolling hills with weeds and brush nothing to see for miles.  We got off at exit 3 and headed north on the 95 to Weiser

Once in town I figured it would be a good time to top off the fuel tank, I have a bad problem with seeing roads and wondering off track.   This ride should take 6 hours if you hit the points and go.  Me I like to fall in creeks walk up mountains and such and with it being the beginning of the season, all those holiday extra pounds go with!  After the fuel I plotted my rout to the hot/warm springs as I’m not to familiar with the area I didn’t want to get lost in a town…what kind of adventure rider would I be without some sort of map or navigational tool.  We set off and in 500 yard my GPS screamed at me to turn left I just about fell off my bike!  We have all done this with the head sets!  You forget where the volume is and bam Siri comes out of nowhere!  Ok now the volume is adjusted and my nerves are back in check.   We are on our way!   It was cool to wonder down Main St. Weiser and see all the old town small bossiness and the commercial farm stuff.  I wish I could explain what it is but I’m no farmer.  The words that keep circling in my head is grain silos.  

                The Old Ferry Rd. heading out of town was to be as expected for a two lane paved black to.  We had the rail road tracks to our right and housing along the left.   I did see one thing along this section that caught my attention.  A 1969-1972 Chevrolet station wagon.   Call it strange but you just don’t see vehicles like that nowadays.  There wasn’t a for sale sign on it or anything just a cool car sitting alongside the road.  We turned up Jonathan Rd and then to the warm springs.  The size of the buildings suggest it was popular at one point in time but now its privately owned and closed to the public.

              Our next stop was the Weiser Sand dunes.  The sand dunes are located to the west and are not what I really expect of sand dunes.   When you talk to me about dunes I image the scene from Space Balls where they are combing the desert lol or Glamis California!   This is more of a small amount of sand that would be fun for a few hours.  A few rolling hills along the river.   I did pull off into a area that had a decent amount of sand with the Tiger.  While I really wanted to take the 400lb bike out into the dunes my better judgment was to play it safe and just snap a few pictures to make it look as if I was out there!    The road to get to it was the same as the warm springs (Ferry Rd. )  It turns to dirt a hand full of miles out from the dunes and the traffic is light. The dirt section was well maintained and the views offered up of the surrounding river and hill side were nice.

               Leaving the dunes we backtrack to the warm springs and continued on Rock Creek Rd.   What my first impressions of the dirt road was this is an extremely well maintained road.  What threw me off about it was a Sign near Mason’s Ranch that showed it to be hazardous and to proceed at your own risk.    That’s a first for me.  Aren’t most roads hazardous by nature?  People not paying attention and so on.  I took the words with caution and proceeded expecting massive cliff side drops and switch backs.  Well that would have been exciting it was the opposite of what the sign lead me to believe.   It was one of those old dirt roads that you just kick back at a slower pace than normal.  Almost fast enough the birds can pass ya.   Looking off into the pastures and grazing areas with cattle off in the distance.  The road sweaps over the hill sides to reveal another valley of winding dirt roads.   Along the route I started thinking as well as this road is, it must go somewhere important or connect to another paved road. 

                I could tell the road was turning towards the Snake river area, and after a few miles of traversing the area we poked out alongside the snake river.   This seemed like a great time to stop and have lunch.  Earlier in the day I had asked my riding buddy if he packed a lunch.  He had a banana and a few other things packed with him.  I on the other hand made a sandwich and a few other things.   I open up my lunch box than I had packed neatly and removed it’s condense.  He on the other hand opened up his tail box and peered inside.  “Oh no!”   I started laughing because years ago I learned one thing about going off the smooth roads and black to.  Make sure it’s packed right!  He had a banana pudding mix going on inside the box!  While I never got up to look at it I just sat there and giggled.   I then offered up some of my lunch to him.  I guess this could be a good point to remember. Always pack a little extra food for others!  After eating I walked around the area and snapped a few pictures of the wild flowers and terrain.   It was strange to me to see the water as low as it was.  Seeing the water markings on the canyon walls maybe 20 foot or better.   After the pictures and talk we hopped on the bikes with about nine miles left to go.

                We were heading north along the snake river weaving along the shore line looking out over the river.  Occasionally you could see a fisherman on a boat just floating long the back.  The water was calm and you could see the air currant moving around from the ripples in the water.   As we neared our destination I could start to see a large building.   Later I looked it up to see that the placed is called Mountain Man Lodge.  That explains why the road was so well maintained.  The only other thing strange was the lack of traffic.  When we got closer to the Lodge there was a gate instructing you that the land on both sides of the road were private but you were allowed to travel it.  Our destination of Mineral took up the other direction so we never when through the gate to see what was down there.  Traveling back into the hills we followed Dennett Creek.  With only a hand full of miles left the road conditions turned down a bit to a nice single lane dirt road that wasn’t maintained but in great shape.   As we got to Mineral The first thing you see is a black rock formation that I first thought was lava flow,  only to find out later it was the leftovers from a smelter.   There are a few items left over that people haven’t tried to take that kind of show you what was going on.   I was unable to identify them but snapped picture for everyone.  Another thing was there were brick everywhere with stamped letters but not one was fully intact.  My best guess was they labeled the bricks for where they went?  Down the road we found the old cabins or bunk houses for Mineral, most of it is collapsed.  The last few years have been hard on the old structures.  I have found pictures form 4-5 years back where the buildings were still mostly standing.   What a neat area to explore.

             All in all its cool places like this that I enjoy most about Idaho.  If you have yet to make it out there I encourage you to do so.  The road is easy to ride and with plenty of area to pull off and take rest and look at the wilderness. 

***If you made this far I uploded the photos of this trip in the gallery sectoin check them out and rate them***


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