Arrowrock to Thorn Creek Butte

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August 10, 2008

Jessica and I ride together with a club we just learned about up Blacks Creek to the Y-Stop, over to Arrowrock then up to Thorn Creek Butte before an ice cream stop (thanks Sam) in Idaho City.

Motorcycles at Rockies Diner
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Motorcycles at Rockies Diner
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Jessica and I caught wind of a local motorcycle group, Idaho Adventure Motorcycle Club,¹ and thought it would be fun to try one of their short rides. We figured they might be our kind of people when we learned the take-off point would be Rockie’s Diner² after a greasy breakfast.

Pulling into the parking lot, we were humored to see we would be adding the red to the fruity green and yellow bikes parked there.

  1. motoidaho.com/motoidaho
  2. rockiesdiner.com/rockiesdiner
Introductions
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Introductions
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There were three others who would be riding today: Sam, Phil and Doug. They seemed like good guys.

Tin foil sabre
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Tin foil sabre
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Although it looks like a tin foil machete, Sam was fashioning a salmonella habitat to bring his food on the road.

Stopped along Black’s Creek Road
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Stopped along Black’s Creek Road
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Jessica and I had ridden the XR along the Oregon Trail by Bonneville Point¹ to Black’s Creek Road so we were initially familiar with the day’s direction. What we’d lacked before was Sam’s knowledge of lesser known history. He was like having an Outdoor Idaho² narrator along.

  1. blm.gov/…/bonneville_point
  2. idahoptv.org/outdoors
Driver’s license landmark
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Driver’s license landmark
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Once we’d all come to a stop, Sam pointed to this unassuming barn and explained it’s image is on all Idaho driver’s licenses. I was curious how this particular scene gained the distinction.

Boise River canyon
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Boise River canyon
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On our own, Jessica and I had only come as far as the Danskin riding area.¹ We were pleasantly surprised by the vistas over the Boise River canyons just a few miles on.

  1. fs.usda.gov/…/recarea
Dusty bridge over the Boise River
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Dusty bridge over the Boise River
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We rode slowly and spaced ourselves, stopping here and there for photo opportunities or just to be sure no one had ridden off a cliff while staring at scenery. It was a nice pace.

Waiting for Sam
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Waiting for Sam
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Sam was gracious to ride sweep,¹ ensuring the noobs (us) didn’t get into trouble.

  1. curly.ccec.unf.edu/…/sweep
Bringing up the tail
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Bringing up the tail
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Y-Stop General Store
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Y-Stop General Store
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After some time along the river, we pulled into the Prairie Y-Stop for lunch, your typical small town store-restaurant-gas station where food seems always to taste best.

Lattes at the Y-Stop
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Lattes at the Y-Stop
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My mom recently gave my wife and I an espresso machine as a gift which we put to good use filling a thermos with latte drink. We snacked in style.

Y-Stop hummingbirds
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Y-Stop hummingbirds
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These Y-Stop regulars reminded my wife of a hummingbird feeder she used to have before it hit me in the head and spilled juice on me too many times while I was mowing.

Long Gulch Road
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Long Gulch Road
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From the Y-Stop we headed through the hills to Arrowrock Reservoir¹ with Sam still bringing up the rear. We stopped to regroup again at the river.

  1. recreation.gov/recAreaDetails
Sam arrives
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Sam arrives
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Conversation along the Middle Fork
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Conversation along the Middle Fork
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Shade along Cottonwood Creek
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Shade along Cottonwood Creek
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The road along Arrowrock Reservoir can be tedious — loose gravel, winding and probable disaster if you miss a turn — so I was glad when we turned up Cottonwood Creek. After a few miles we stopped for a potty break in the shade at the old ranger station.

Cottonwood Creek Ranger Station
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Cottonwood Creek Ranger Station
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Phil humored us with talk of the small snake he discovered while behind the bushes. Jessica was excited to find one of the out-buildings had running water and facilities, which she put to use.

Sam atop a mountain
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Sam atop a mountain
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We climbed rapidly from the old ranger station along Cottonwood Creek, my favorite part of the ride. It was only the third time I’d had the new motorcycle off-road. It handled much differently than the XR but tracked well enough to give me confidence through the ruts and switchbacks on the jeep trail.

We broke into the open on top and waited again to be sure everyone had made it. Hi Sam.

Thorn Creek Butte Lookout
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Thorn Creek Butte Lookout
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The day’s ultimate destination was the lookout atop Thorn Creek Butte. We snacked and had more latte as we walked around the deck overlooking Boise National Forest mountains all around.

Jessica atop the lookout
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Jessica atop the lookout
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Office with a view
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Office with a view
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There is something exhilarating about the high, unbroken panorama even if distant mountains remained shrouded in the smoke of summer fires. In part it’s a feeling of having arrived, the rest being the easy descent.

Accomodations
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Accomodations
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No attendant was present but we peered through the windows to imagine what days spent here might be like. For a moment the absence of curtains seemed odd then I realized the obvious, that they would belie the purpose.

Outhouse photo-op
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Outhouse photo-op
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You are asking to catch some grief emerging from an outhouse with camera already in hand.

One last latte for the road
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One last latte for the road
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Ice cream in Idaho City
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Ice cream in Idaho City
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From the lookout we followed logging roads to Idaho City where Sam treated us all to ice cream. Hooray!

Gumby the mighty green bike
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Gumby the mighty green bike
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The others planned to take dirt roads back to Boise while Jessica and I would take the highway to get back to the kids sooner.

Parting ways
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Parting ways
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Our first club ride was a very enjoyable success. Thanks Sam, Phil and Dave!