Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route

turbodb

Well-known member
IDBDR Pt. 9 - Move Over, Moose!

I wasn't sure how sunrise would be given that we were in a bit of a bowl around Dworshak Reservoir - with no line of sight to the horizon - and no clouds in the sky - it could be a complete dud. And for the most part, that's what it was. Unimpressed, I went back to sleep.


Having made good time yesterday, we still had a lot of making up to do - given our little brake caliper issue on the Lolo Motorway, and the fact that we'd spent two days completing the second stage of the IDBDR - so we got up reasonably early and ate a quick breakfast of granola bars before getting packed up and on our way just before 8:00am.



Still in the land of Potlatch Corporation, we enjoyed good roads for an hour or so until we reached the leased/private/public land boundary - where I assume that USFS became responsible for the road, and it quickly went to ********. Until then though, we had mile markers and designated CB channels to call out our position - you know, so we weren't hit by any logging trucks barreling down the road with a full load.



Of course, we didn't mind the roads-less-traveled, our aired down tires and reasonable suspension absorbing nearly everything that was thrown at them. Still making our way up and out of the bowl, we eventually came up on the Blue Heaven Cabin. A warming hut that's been painted blue (duh!), it's available year round on a first come basis and even on this warm morning, the front door was open and there was a bit of smoke coming out of the chimney - hopefully for cooking breakfast rather than warming the place up!


Not wanting to disturb the occupants, we didn't linger or look around - opting instead to push forward towards the town of Avery, Idaho - the next waypoint we had on the route, and one with a bit of history to boot.

As we crested the final ridge however, we saw a Jeep Wrangler stopped in the road - one of it's occupants out of the vehicle, looking around on the ground. Naturally we stopped to make sure everything was OK. It was, the driver informed us - they were just a couple rock hounds out hunting for Azurite - a blue crystal - found in the area. So we continued on our way down the hill, eventually passing through a tunnel before finally arriving in the sleepy little town of Avery.


Avery it turns out was once a bustling hub - a transportation center for the Cicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroads and a logging community for over 100 years. But fires in the early 1900s caused widespread panic - many residents fleeing; those who couldn't, finding refuge in the newly constructed railroad tunnels as the fires burned. Ultimately, fire fighters set back fires to save the town, but the damage was done. Today, 25 permanent residents call Avery home.

Still, it's fun to hear stories from the old days and think just how crazy the times must have been...

Ed Hanson said:
Roadside History of Idaho[/b]]I was cookin' the doughnuts and biscuits. Old Baldy Fropes he cooked the bacon and ham and somebody was the coffee cook.

We had to have a cook for each article. We had them Kimmel stoves about 4 ft. long and 3 ft. wide and no bottom except the ground. Paul Resor fired while I cooked doughnuts on top of the stove. It kept him busy pokin wood in all them stoves. I mixed dough in a big container, then slopped flour on the board and put a wad of dough on it and slipped more flower on top and patted it out. Then I rolled it with a candle using both hands. Then I cut the doughnuts square and shoved my thumb through the middle to make a hole and slipped 'em in the fry grease.
In the center of town - at the only intersection - an old dining car still sits on the side of the road, now converted into a museum. I got out and investigated a bit - it must have been quite the experience to ride in one of these trains in their heyday.




We also took the opportunity to refuel while we were in Avery, though I think we found the local's gas station rather than the normal station that out-of-towners generally use. Completely unstaffed, we saved ourselves over $1/gallon compared to the fuel on the highway, and we were able to shine up the front of the truck a bit as well.


From Avery, the IDBDR splits. Not for long - the two possible routes are separated only by the St. Joe River that runs between them - but each route has it's highlights. To the west, the road follows the old rail line through several tunnels. To the east, the road follows another rail line over several trestles.

We chose the west - and will forever wonder if we made the right call! 🤣 The tunnels though were cool, and I'm sure either route is equally intriguing.




Whichever route you choose, after about 7 miles, the two routes join back together and the track continues north towards Wallace - a reasonably large town (as towns on the IDBDR go), nestled under the I-90 freeway. Because of this, the road is obviously well-traveled and meticulously graded - but very dusty. We got stuck behind a dually for the first several miles, and I felt like not only did the truck need a shower, but so did @mrs.turbodb and I.

Eventually we got around into the clean air, and we kept our pace up to ensure that we were at no risk of being passed again - the dust so thick it was blinding.


At about the same time the gravel road became an oiled gravel road, we happened upon a memorial that we couldn't pass by without stopping. Remembering the great fire of 1910, it tells the story of one Edward C. Pulaski - a Forest Ranger and leader of 45 men fighting the fire. Six of those men died, but Pulaski is credited with saving the lives of the remaining men by leading them into train tunnels until the fire passed.



And that is where the name of a Pulaski comes from!


Less concerned with traffic in front of us on the road at this point, we made our into and through Wallace - a cute little town that would likely be the bees knees for someone touring around old towns of Idaho.

Don't miss the rest of the story, and all the remaining photos that don't fit here (due to max post size). Hopefully that can change in the future, but until then...

Keep reading the rest here
IDBDR Pt. 9 - Move Over, Moose!



.
 

turbodb

Well-known member
IDBDR Pt. 10 - Where Are the Nice Canadians?

Positioned well above the horizon, sunrise would have been one of the best if just a few clouds had made an appearance in the sky. Without them, an orange glow an hour or so before the sun peaked out was all we got. Shucks, right? ;)


The mosquitoes were out in full force again, buzzing and gathering around the windows of the tent - our scent like sweet sweet nectar to them. Not that our scent - after 10 days on the road - was anything but a sweet sweet nectar, mind you. ;)


Not wanting to hang around the swarm any longer than we had to, and the tent already warming up in the hot early morning sun, we donned our long pants and sleeves before exiting our protective enclosure for the outdoors.




A quick teardown - and no breakfast, even granola bars could wait - and we jumped into our seats, rolled down the windows to get good air movement and pull out all the blood suckers, and took off - the sweeping vistas around us belying the inhospitable reality of this place!




Down the mountain we went - the more room between us and the mosquitoes the better - until we finally reached the edge of Lake Pend Oreille, and pavement.




Less than halfway through the final stage, we joked to each other that from here, the IDBDR planners were just ready to be done with their confounded adventure - I mean, it's not really about the dirt, right?

Little did we know... we were closer to right than we would have liked.

We continued on - the track criss-crossing but avoiding the highway for the most part, while at the same time also avoiding several dirt tracks that we could see on the map would have taken us nearer the border. Hrm.

Eventually, after a good 20-30 miles of pavement, hoping that the next windy turn would be dirt, we decided it was time to air up. Plus, we ran into a sign that couldn't be passed by.




The 3.4l V6 much happier with firm tires on paved ground, we quickly ticked off more miles as we made our run for the border, reasonably convinced at this point that it would be paved the rest of the way. As we crossed a set of railroad tracks that would dump us out on the highway, I happened to glance down the line and see the lights of a train - stopped in the distance.


Hoping it would start up again, I parked the truck and got out with the camera. Dorking around for a bit, I happened to look the other way on the tracks and saw a second train approaching. "Huh, that's strange." I thought, before realizing that we were about to witness something pretty cool. We were at a crossing loop, where two trains - running in opposite directions on the line - could navigate past each other.

We were definitely waiting to see this. Sure enough, as the northbound train pulled entirely onto the crossing loop, the southbound train started moving and passed along the main line. It was a ballet of steel that I've never seen before.






We cruised along for the remainder of the stage, eventually hitting a few miles of highway-grade gravel as we skirted the west side of the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge - the grading so nice that we were still very glad to be aired up and able to travel at a high rate of speed.






And then, well before lunch and only three hours after breaking camp - we were at the border!


Not wanting to cause any trouble, we pulled over to remove the plate cover before proceeding forward to the Rykerts, BC customs station.

Don't miss the rest of the story, and all the remaining photos that don't fit here (due to max post size). Hopefully that can change in the future, but until then...

Keep reading the rest here
IDBDR Pt. 10 - Where Are the Nice Canadians?



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mph

Expedition Leader
Looks like you saw the wonders of Idaho. The best overlanding state in the US IMO. So many places to wander and explore. Thanks for the report!
 

turbodb

Well-known member
Looks like you saw the wonders of Idaho. The best overlanding state in the US IMO. So many places to wander and explore. Thanks for the report!
Glad you enjoyed! Was definitely a fun trip, and I'm with you on Idaho being a great place to explore. (y)
 

TexasIsHome

Active member
I did the IDBDR and part of the COBDR this summer and loved it as well. I was hoping you'd taken the east side at Avery so I could compare it to the west side as well! Warren was closed when I went through, which was a bummer as I was counting on it for gas. Fortunately I had enough reserve fuel to detour. The rock was also blocking the pass to the lookout in July.

Loved the pics, you're much better at taking them than I am.
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
Great report as usual. I did see the comment about removing your plate cover. What’s that about?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

turbodb

Well-known member
I did the IDBDR and part of the COBDR this summer and loved it as well. I was hoping you'd taken the east side at Avery so I could compare it to the west side as well! Warren was closed when I went through, which was a bummer as I was counting on it for gas. Fortunately I had enough reserve fuel to detour. The rock was also blocking the pass to the lookout in July.

Loved the pics, you're much better at taking them than I am.
Awesome - glad you had a good time and also that you enjoyed the report. Do you have another BDR planned for next year? I'm trying to do one per summer now, hahhaah!

Great report as usual. I did see the comment about removing your plate cover. What’s that about?
Thanks man, appreciate the kudos. As far as the plate cover goes, you'll notice in photos of the rear of the truck that I have a cover (that says "AdventureTaco") over my license plate. I do that since I take so many photos, and I'd rather not have the identifying info/plate number on the internets for all time, but it means that when I get back on pavement (or to a border crossing, etc.) that I need to remember to take it off so I don't get in trouble.
 

TexasIsHome

Active member
Awesome - glad you had a good time and also that you enjoyed the report. Do you have another BDR planned for next year? I'm trying to do one per summer now, hahhaah!
I was hoping to do the UTBDR or NMBDR next, but I'm not sure yet. My original plan this year was a month off to drive up to Tuk, spending some time in CAN and then Alaska, but I had to go to plan B due to the border being closed.
 

turbodb

Well-known member
I was hoping to do the UTBDR or NMBDR next, but I'm not sure yet. My original plan this year was a month off to drive up to Tuk, spending some time in CAN and then Alaska, but I had to go to plan B due to the border being closed.
Nice, those two, and CO are on my list, as is more time in Canada. It seems that as soon as I start exploring an area, there's always so much more to see, hahahah. A good thing, I suppose!
 

Axelwik

New member
A buddy and I did the Idaho BDR on our motorcycles a few years ago. Took about a week, including all the optional extra bits. Really good BDR - one of my favorites.
 

SameGuy

Observer
Turbodb,

I may have missed this info but did you follow the Idaho BDR map from ridebdr.com, and if so did you run across any roads or trails you couldn't get through in your rig? I ask because I was looking through the route and came across a spot called 50 inch bridge. Thinking it was a choke point to only allow ATV and motorcycles through.
 

turbodb

Well-known member
Turbodb,

I may have missed this info but did you follow the Idaho BDR map from ridebdr.com, and if so did you run across any roads or trails you couldn't get through in your rig? I ask because I was looking through the route and came across a spot called 50 inch bridge. Thinking it was a choke point to only allow ATV and motorcycles through.
I did follow (mostly - I always find side routes that look interesting whenever I run a BDR, and so take little journeys that aren't on their routes) the ridebdr.com route for the most part.

I was worried about that 50" bridge as well when I saw it on the map. I decided to just play it by ear. Here's the day where we ran into it.

IDBDR Pt. 3 – Stymied By Gates – search that page for "It was at this point" ;) :p[
 

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