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Magruder Corridor Trip Report - August 2008

Riding this road has been on my agenda for three years.  I found it surfing the web. It was described as the longest gravel road in America.

Things that prevented this trip sooner are work, forest fires, summer heat and other rides.  It can be darn hot in central Idaho in the summer so I waited for the right time.

Waiting paid off as I didn't have issues with heat or forest fires or smoke from a fire.

Click on the map to see larger image or visit the Nez Perce Forest Service web site for a Magruder Road Corridor brochure.

Below is the route for the Magruder Corridor for Day 2 of a 5 day Northwest Loop Ride.

I left Elk City after getting gas plus the last words of wisdom from the folks at the Ranger Station in Elk City.  I was surprised to see Red River R.S. closed because it is a prominent feature on the maps, none listed it closed. 

The turn is well signed. It is hard to miss the turn off from pavement to gravel.

The requisite warnings put a smile on my face.  Hey this is named the Magruder Corridor right?  It is also known as FS 468.  I forgot the name listed on the Garmin Zumo 550 but I was happy the Zumo map included the route.

Typical scenery on a nice day!

It was a wonderful day with great sites along the way.  The camera only begins to capture the rugged scenic beauty of this area.

Thankfully the temperature was in the 70's or 80's.  I don't have thermometer farkle on my bike.  I have Camelback Mule and I drink lots of water to avoid fatigue and dehydration.

I got water at a stream here.  There are only a few places to get water along the Magruder Corridor.  I carried a water purification pump to avoid Giardia.

This place could have been named Mosquito Flats.  I was happy I did not spend the night here.

 

Note click on the photo for  a larger image.

Poet Creek Campground.
Poet Creek Campground. The view from Dry Saddle.  A recent forest fire devastated the area.  Maybe devastated is the wrong word since fire is part of the renewal process.  Until recently people have viewed fires as evil.
Another view from Dry Saddle.  After this point the road deteriorated.  I encounter lots of small rock about this size of a golf balls strewn about the road like litter.  It was rather annoying but not difficult.

The scenery was nice yet the recent fires detracted from the views.  After this point burnt forest was a constant companion.

Poet Creek Campground.
Fales Flats Campground I stopped at 5:00pm and camped the night at Fales Flat Campground.  No running water but there was a table and an pit toilet.  The price - free!  Such a deal.  Some may think I stopped early.  I am trying to learn to slow down and decompress by stopping sooner rather than constantly pushing onward.

That night wrote about my experience.  Those those notes are below.

Bonus points for this campground - nearly no scitters.  I think I got bite by two mosquitoes - I hate them little critters. 

 

Just after Red River Ranger Station the gravel begins at about 12:15pm.  At this point the surface is loose gravel and very wide, like a freeway.  Still I kept my speed to 25-30 mph vigilant for pockets of deep loose gravel.

At 14 Mile Tree the road narrows and the surface thankfully becomes firmer.  I was traveling down the road without a care.  Winding down a steep grade toward Bargamin Creek I was full of myself, feeling good, when bicyclists riding a tandem mountain bike appeared.  I slowed so they would not eat my dust, a gesture they appreciated very much.  I thought Holy Smokes Batman that is one steep road and they are going up it on a bicycle!  My little accomplishment of riding a well farkled motorcycle seemed to pale in comparison.

The road is in good condition until Dry Saddle.  After that there are a lot of rocks to dodge and things get a bit bumpy although I never hit bumps large enough to bottom out the low slung Strom.  The road didn't really improve until the intersection with Paradise Road.  At 72 miles pavement reappears and it is quite a nice over Nez Perce Pass with lots of twisties on decent pavement save for a few potholes.  Gravel returns after 8 to 10 miles of pavement for the remaining distance to Hwy 473 which leads on to US Hwy 93 near Conner Montana.

The next day I was off to Lolo Pass not sure if I was going to ride the Lolo Motorway or not.