The last week has been amazing here in the great northwest. Since leaving Missoula, Berni and I have seen some beautiful country. We had planned a 4-day loop ride from Missoula and back but decided to take out of Missoula a day earlier and make it a 5-day ride. Looking at the weather radar, there really wasn’t a hope of staying dry anyway. So we bit the bullet, geared up for wet riding with a forecast of 40-degrees as the low with scattered showers. At 11 am, it was 65-degrees in Missoula.
Checking the weather and the route, the upcoming ride would take us as far south as Redfish Idaho, then on to McCall, and the last night in Orofino ID, before returning to our starting point in Missoula. Before leaving, we knew we would get lucky if we didn’t get drenched more than once.
Our plan was to use the extra day to detour to Jackson MT. Our ride to Jackson turned into a dual hail storm, 34-degree whiteout snowstorm ride. Why not? We rode for 50 miles in heavy falling snow along highway 43 into Jackson, our end-of-day destination, the Jackson Hot Springs Lodge.
The last day of this loop ride would find us on HWY 12, thru the Nez Perce – Clearwater National Forest. The locals here have confirmed this is one of the best rides in this area.
If you’re interested in seeing our route, here is the google maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/XGE7a5J88rWhqEjM8 , 787 miles, 15 and 1/2 hours riding time.
This 5-day ride may indeed be my favorite ever.
What a fine place and a little paradise. We met up with other riders as surprised as we were to have ridden in the snowstorm, just one day before the 1st day of summer. Everyone was super friendly. Riding in a snowstorm and ending the day with this kind of reward is an example of why I ride. We had a good dinner, some drinks and soaked in 101 natural hot water and retired to a warm cabin.
In the morning we rode back the way we came, over the Chief Joseph pass and back to 93 south, destination Challis Idaho.
The ride on 93 south, up to and from the point, we came off the pass, right into Challis was an amazing ride. The North Fork of the Salmon River runs along the highway and eventually, the Salmon River comes into view. The roadway comes out of the Royal Gorge around Ellis Idaho. The views are breathtaking.
Challis is a small town of about 1000 people. The town has a lot of history. Many buildings still standing from the 1860s.
In the morning we rode into Stanley for breakfast, following Hwy-75. We stopped for breakfast at the Mountain Village Restaurant. Leaving Stanley, we followed Hwy-21 (The Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway). In Lowman, we used the Grimes Pass (Rt-17) to jump over to Hwy-55 to start our course northern, ending our day in McCall Idaho. With the exception of about 40 miles of the ride, the entire route continued to be magnificent.
Leaving McCall we headed toward the Nez Perce Reservation following Hwy-95 into Lapwai to pick up Hwy-12 west of Lenore. Ending our ride in Orofino Idaho.
The final and 5th day of the ride we followed Hwy-12 into Lolo Pass. 70 miles of perfect motorcycling roads, perfect curves, smooth surface, and beautiful scenery.