Exploring Snake River Hells Canyon Part 3

Read part 1 | Read part 2

Living in reverse

Got up early and headed back into Idaho and traveled north along Hwy 95, the same hwy I came down yesterday. The morning was cool but it was clearly doing it's best to get warm quickly. All along 95 back toward Cambridge I was thinking, why didn't I just get a room there? Fact is I messed up my route yesterday and didn't realize it until I was already down in Ontario.

Not exactly sure where the next gas stop would be, I decided to top off in Cambridge cramming in a whole gallon. Oh magic fluid, you'll be converted into speed very shortly.

Que Mr Burns

Leaving Cambridge I headed back up Hwy 71 toward Brownlee Damn and also back along the mistake road I found yesterday. Hwy 71 takes a little time before getting intense allowing me to get out of my morning dullard hwy run up 95 and find my focus. I knew I was going to need it because I know how curvy, tight and twisty this road is going to be....excellent.

The first section looked like the aftermath of a world war for bugs. As I said in the last installment, I have no idea what they are, but their corpses are all over the road from trying to get it on right in the middle of the hwy. Holy cow guys, do it off the road.

I do my best to dodge them while I am stuck behind an Idaho power truck, but as soon as I can I blow by and start to care more about my braking point and turn in than anything behind me.

End of the road

I wrote about 71 already so will spare you a repeat description of this wonderful hwy. Today's direction heads though the canyon uphill over the Snake river and into Oregon for a while until we get back to the park where I missed my turn yesterday. Having found that road (and the bears), I did some looking via Bing Maps and see the road goes on for miles after the point I turned around and ends at a park/boat ramp so I thought, since I'm passing by this way again, why not hit this road up Hell's Canyon Road again.

Being one day closer to the eclipse there are a few more vehicles along the HCR, but that just adds a bit of fun playing with moving chicanes.

The place I turned around yesterday was at a high point where this photo was taken.

Today I continued on through the rocky crag and back down to run along the river once again following it through more twists and turns (I can't believe how good this road is) along to the dam, across to the Oregon side and onto the rest area at the end.

Back to the future

After an apple and a nice chat with another rider, who told me he rides this road a dozen times a year since he lives fairly close, I returned to connect with what was my original route on the Baker Copperfield Hwy toward NF-39 which is an amazing road. The most surprising thing was the sign informing me that I was now entering the Pacific Timezone. I had no idea I had left the timezone, but ever since then my Chromebook has had the wrong time.

NF-39 is a ribbon of wonderfulness has so many different aspects to it. Moving up into the Hell's Canyon area, the road starts out with a series of mostly gentle corners. The road is often fully tree lined so while it's naturally beautiful it's not epic in the view department.

But that's not why I'm here. A few more miles and the road suddenly transforms into a hardcore series of corners and according to Bing Maps is now called Wallowa Mountain Rd. This section of road encourages you to test your limits. The surface isn't perfect so ride accordingly. It's not horrible, but it is a mountain road not a high use highway. That's what makes it so good.

Just about the time I needed it, the road unwinds itself and becomes a gentler bending curve once again. Don't worry, there is so much more to come.

2nd Verse, more of the first

The road starts to tighten up and if you want you can take a quick break at the Hell's Canyon Overlook. I had a quick snack until I was chased away by the bees who were clearly curious about what I was eating and my motorcycle.

I saddled back up and continued down the hill ahead with a plethora of curves and corners to come. Clear any cars quickly to get the most out of this road. It wasn't busy, but being eclipse weekend there were probably a few more than normal.

The road continues downhill until flattening out for a while along more pasture ranch and campgrounds on it's way to Hwy 350 where I turn left to head into Joseph Oregon. Needing a break I don't mind the open country road that doesn't offer any challenges, but does present a number of fantastic open valley views of the various farms.

Just before Joseph I stop to take a barn pic.

Working lunch

I elect not to stop in Joseph because my cell coverage isn't great and I should check in with work. I roll through downtown and the handful of miles to Enterprise where I fill up, just in case and hit up a Subway. Normally I look for smaller places, but the A.C. is lovely even if they don't have any Wi-fi. Que the mobile hot spot.

Yeah, that looks good

One of the roads I came here to do is Hwy 129 mainly because I saw this highlighted on my Butler Map.

I can report to you that it's as good as it looks. OMG, this is a fantastic road even with the new road surface work in spots that ruined just a little bit. I feared the whole thing gone but it was only a few miles being worked on. I try to not hate road construction since I benefit so directly.

At one point I had blown past an RV crawling up the road only to find a great place to view the road. I pulled over and took a couple of photos while watching out of the corner of my eye the beast getting closer and closer before I hopped back on to continue along this amazing stretch of road which goes from Oregon into Washington on its way North.

You know you're in a small town when

A few miles down the road things calm down a bit. Wanting a break I couldn't resist taking a tour of this town. After all, this was their welcome sign. Go wildcats.

After taking the tour....just guess how long that took, I headed north to Asotin which is a nice little town even in today's mid 90s temperatures. I found a park next to the river with a shady picnic table to relax and eat lunch; well, cookies and crackers while I looked for a motel for the night.

I decide on heading to Dayton as that will put me within range of getting home the next day.

It's hot and I'm getting cranky with the road construction and detour which means I miss the turn to get on Hwy 12 and have to backtrack. Long day, heat and wind make Jack grumpy. I do, however, have enough wherewithall to actually stop in Pomeroy and tour and take some photos. I don't walk around but taking the time to chill out changes my mindset so it's totally worth it.

Pomeroy has quite a few historic looking buildings which I like and I decide that I should bring sexy wife here no a trip to check it out in detail. Today, however, I shoot some pics then continue on.

Dayton. No not that one

I roll into Dayton, Wa all the way to the other end to find my rat hole motel. Just before I turn into the place where I already made a reservation I see what looks like a much nicer place across the street. I decided not to find out the price so that I can pretend I have saved a lot of money in my crappy little place.

The biggest issue, in today's heat, is the fact that it's a mile away from down town so my walk to dinner is a bit of a chore, but I move from shadow to shadow as I pick my way along the main road to find something to eat.


Route Map

Bing Map


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