Troy Days, Beers and Bears

View Another Adventure
July 19, 2008

I ride north from the sweltering heat to attend Troy Days and ride with my brother Jesse around the forested mountains.

I guess we’re famous

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I guess we’re famous
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Last weekend I took the highway up from Boise to Moscow, Idaho to ride with my youngest brother (his first motorcycle) and hang out with various family who tend to congregate annually at Troy Days.¹ The first place Jesse brought me was to our namesake (but no actual relation) road.

  1. Troy Lions Club, “Old Timers’ Day”: troylionsclub.org/troy_day
Pancake feed

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Pancake feed
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Our plan was to ride some of the Palouse OHV trails,¹ starting the day with whatever Abbott cousins and uncles might be at the Troy pancake feed.

  1. Palouse Ranger District, “OHV System”: lewisclarkatv.org/…/palousemap
Tall tales

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Tall tales
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Uncle Joe

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Uncle Joe
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Here, hold this

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Here, hold this
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Over the mountain

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Over the mountain
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After filling up with pancakes, coffee, sausage, and uncle stories, we headed over Moscow Mountain to ride on trails Jesse discovered above Potlatch. I was sad to see on the way that many of the peaceful areas I rode as a kid have become a maze of dusty logging roads.

The lookout

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The lookout
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We made a tiny detour to take in the view from the old lookout atop Moscow Mountain, a place I’ve been many, many times. Jesse remembered the spot but hadn’t been able to figure out how to get there. This was my mountain destination for many years.

East to Spring Valley

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East to Spring Valley
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I grew up in a house just up the hill from the small reservoir we could see in the distance, Spring Valley. Jesse often fishes there.

Striking a pose

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Striking a pose
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Shrine

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Shrine
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Near the lookout outcrop was an apparent memorial for someone fond of the spot. The photo was no longer discernable. We wondered if the grey fragments were the remains of an urn.

Down the other side

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Down the other side
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We could see our mountainous destination as we headed down the backside of Moscow Mountain.

Climbing again

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Climbing again
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After hitting the highway and riding over to Potlatch for gas, Jesse led us north toward the OHV trails. We were hoping for something better than logging roads.

Nice trail

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Nice trail
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After reaching a dead end, my brother suggested we shortcut through brambles he recognized to reach better trails. He assured it me it would be worth it.

So there is a trail

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So there is a trail
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... after all. For a while I thought we were just riding through the brush.

Brush free celebration

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Brush free celebration
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Jesse was right about the better trails.

Big cycle advantage

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Big cycle advantage
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While not so great through brush, the wide motorcycle does make a nice coffee table. We stopped to celebrate with a strange drink my brother had in his fridge.

Dramatized

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Dramatized
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After a break, we set up to make a small water crossing look as dramatic as possible before heading up to purported mines.

No wake zone

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No wake zone
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Left or right

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Left or right
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At a fork in the trail, we planned to go upwards after first exploring to the left. There weren’t any signs to suggest one way or the other. A few miles down the left trail, though, a guy with some homebrew gold panning equipment told us we had to turn around, that we shouldn’t have disregarded the sign. What sign? He insisted there was one.

One mile or two

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One mile or two
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A little rest

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A little rest
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We rode up over the gold hills then down to gravel and across Highway 6 for a little rest at Laird Park.

Gollum

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Gollum
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Catch our breath

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Catch our breath
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The two track behind Laird was easy-going but sometimes had ruts to be mindful of. A scary bug flew into my helmet and after a flailing moment I felt the tire catch before hitting the ground — first time down on the GS.

We'll take Moose Creek

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We’ll take Moose Creek
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We found proper single track a few miles down the gravel road from Laird.

Finally, a real trail

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Finally, a real trail
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Trail 330 was a blast. It was a little more technical but less dusty and whoopty than the four-wheeler or jeep trails.

Race track

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Race track
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There were some switchbacks followed by stair step roots that were interesting with the high GS gearing. Otherwise, it was fun to stand on the pegs and see what the pig could do.

He had cell service

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He had cell service
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Hope it lasts

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Hope it lasts
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Out in the sun

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Out in the sun
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Sadly, the single track only lasted about four miles then merged with a dusty, whoopty ATV trail. We stopped in a clearing to check in with the women. Jesse went hunting for good toiletry leaves which, as usual, signaled everyone in the vicinity to converge.

Chance encounter

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Chance encounter
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A tall fellow on an ATV rolled into the clearing first. We shot the bull while waiting for his buddies. He was griping about having to ride an ATV instead of his motorcycle. It sounded like his friends talked him into it. He was a little surprised to see the GS there. “Katoom” is his preferred ride.

It was about fifteen minutes before we saw those friends of his — almost worrisome. The one in shorts had gone off the trail after losing visibility in the dust. He said he knew he would be rescued since he had the beer.

Leisure Time

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Leisure Time
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Back into the woods, the trail started all friendly and nice and then turned to loose rock on steep hills, eventually landing us on a logging road. The Palouse OHV map omits most all the roads and trails so it was hard to figure out the best way. We just kept choosing the downward option.

Woah, looky there

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Woah, looky there
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We saw something special

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We saw something special
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Bears!

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Bears!
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A momma bear suddenly ran across the road in front of us. We killed our engines to see if we could spot her and then noticed her cubs scurrying up a tree to our right.

Running upwards

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Running upwards
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They were already well beyond our reach but continued to scurry upwards.

You can't see us

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You can’t see us
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In hiding

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In hiding
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Anxious mother

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Anxious mother
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The momma watched anxiously, something of a mutual feeling. She was making huffing sounds while we looked at her cubs. I figured Jesse was closer to her so I would have time to get away if she got violent.

Exiting the mountains

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Exiting the mountains
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A mile or so down the road, we saw a mother moose and two babies running into the brush. When I lived in this area, moose came around our house somewhat regularly.

Wrong side of the law

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Wrong side of the law
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After what seemed a mind numbing distance on dreadfully dusty gravel roads, we had the highway in sight. Then to our great dismay, we saw a metal gate with a large chain and padlocks across the road we’d endured so long.

On closer inspection (praise the motorcycle gods), the chain was only hung on a nail, not wrapped around the post. We opened the fence and went through, then noticed the “Keep Out” sign. It seemed a bit weird since we didn’t encounter a gate or signs coming from the other side.

Back to civilization

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Back to civilization
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We were glad to see blacktop and headed back to Troy Days for drinking and dancing in the street.

Cousin

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Cousin
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We didn’t see our uncles again but found our cousin Bill in the Abbotts’ favorite watering hole.

Family hangout

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Family hangout
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We didn’t see our uncles show up this time but a couple cousins did.

Departure breakfast

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Departure breakfast
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It was a nice first ride for Jesse and I. Before heading back to Boise, we had breakfast with our mom at the traditional location, The Pantry.

Overlooking Lewiston

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Overlooking Lewiston
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Atop Whitebird

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Atop Whitebird
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Last break

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Last break
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With full gear, including tall black boots, I was glad for cooler temperatures in McCall. I’d seen 104°F over the last hour. It remained above the century mark for the last two hours home. I felt well done but also well pleased with my first grown-up brother ride.