http-equiv='refresh'/> Tin TeePee/Log Cabin: July 2016

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Magruder Corridor

Blog number two for today, July 31.  We are spending the night in Grangeville, Idaho with full hookups and internet!!!!  Monday we will head up Highway 12 into Montana. 

Thursday morning (July 28) we left our spot on Nelson Creek driving to Elk City for laundry, grocery shopping, a little internet use and breakfast/lunch.  Elk City is a community of only 200 people—there is a mid size laundromat and two grocery stores—both stocked with a surprising amount of groceries/hardware/camping gear/etc.  There are several restaurants/bars and even a hotel.  Elk City is a long, long way from anywhere—60 miles from Grangeville, Idaho and 110+ miles from Darby, MT via the Magruder Corridor.

IMG_5625And speaking of the Magruder Corridor, can you believe it—we rode the ATVs almost 120 miles in one day!!!  Sometime in 2015 I read an article in our local paper about a road which traveled between two wilderness areas—the 1.2 million acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and the 2.3 million acre Frank Church River Of No Return Wilderness—the Magruder Corridor.  The road was open only in summer, could be traversed in a high clearance vehicle and went from Darby, Montana to Elk City, Idaho.  Michael was intrigued and began his research.  This past winter season in North Ranch the cowboy convinced Geri and Larry we should ride this 110 mile trail. 

The original plan was to ride from Darby, MT and then spend the night in Elk City, Idaho returning to Darby in the next day or two.  Well, Mother Nature intervened—this spring a large mud slide blocked the Magruder Corridor at about the halfway point.  Geri and Michael hatched Plan B—ride from both ends to the midway point.  The road will open on August 1 and we could have waited but decided to proceed with Plan B—ride to the halfway point from the Elk City area. 

The road starts out as well maintained gravel for about twenty miles then gets worse—the road becomes more narrow with multiple tight switchbacks, ascending and descending several times.  Starting elevation is around 4000 feet with the road climbing to almost 8000 feet and descending to 4000 feet several times.  We met three pickup trucks on the road and it was a tight, tight fit for us to pass. 

Scenery along the Magruder is breathtaking even with the hanging haze of smoke from forest fires.  The Idaho side of the trail is heavily forested to start but as you travel, evidence of forest fires over years and years becomes the norm.  We stopped to let a cowboy with truck and loaded horse trailer pass—he paused to talk and when Geri asked him when the fire occurred, he replied, “every year.” 

IMG_5592Fireweed everywhereIMG_5593IMG_5602



IMG_5597Anyone know what this thing is—I was hoping for a cell tower but nope, not happening!

IMG_5610An old forest fire with new growth. 

The Margruder Corridor is named for Lloyd Magruder who in 1863 was using the trail to bring back gold dust earned from selling supplies to miners at Virginia City, Montana when four other travelers joined the Margruder party.  These four travelers attacked and murdered the Margruder party fleeing to San Francisco with their stolen goods which included Margruder’s very recognizable horse.  A friend of Margruder’s pursued the murderers to California, spotted the horse, arrested the party and brought them back to Lewiston, Idaho for trial and eventual hanging.

It was a long, long ride and a spectacular day! 




In The Middle Of Nowhere

Number one of two blogs posting today, Sunday, July 31.  We are spending the night in Grangeville, Idaho with full hookups before starting up Highway 12 into Montana.

Our current boondocking location is less than twenty miles outside Elk City, Idaho and less than twenty miles from the Red River community.


After our 120 mile roundtrip ATV trip, we decided to take a day off.  Geri had read about a hot springs and restaurant located at Red River—so off we went.  We just thought Elk City was in the middle of nowhere!  Eleven miles of gravel road leads you to an off the grid hot springs in the middle of nowhere!  There were children swimming in the pool when we arrived and I asked one of adults if he lived near Red River hitting the jackpot!  His great-grandparents were the original owners/developers of Red River Hot Springs--

IMG_0939The young man told us the resort was very busy in its hay-day but has seen better days.  In the early 70’s (I think that’s the date he said) the restaurant literally blew up.  Someone left the automatic ignitor on the gas grill open all night—when the owners opened the door the next day the gas exploded—luckily no one was injured.  The gas line fire then spread to the 5000 gallon propane tank—the folks in the town of Elk City, 10 miles as the crow flies felt that explosion! 

The new owner has a food trailer on site and served us a passable hamburger—he is trying to bring life back to the resort--unfortunately, he has his work cut out for him!  The original owner’s great grandson told us people just don’t want to drive the distance any longer preferring instead to take their children to water park resorts.  The resort has no electricity or phone and runs with satellite internet and a huge generator.  The owners would like to have a full service restaurant and bar as the original owners did but with today’s regulations, that may not happen. 


We wish them luck!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Catch Up

Sunday, July 24, we took another ATV ride in the Fish Creek area—twisting, turning and going around in circles, never backtracking but it sure seemed as if we were!

 IMG_5542At one point in time we were looking down on Grangeville and had excellent cell service as we were standing right beside the cell towers.

IMG_5546Indian paintbrush mixed in with some sort of daisy.

Sunday evening we enjoyed a ridiculously decadent dessert—giving us all a sugar high—not something you want to do every day but once in a while is OK.  Mom used to make these apple dumplings and when Geri saw the recipe on Facebook, I volunteered to cook—it was a hit!


Monday morning July 25, the entire gang headed to Grangeville for breakfast and to say goodbye to Mike and Cathy who are heading home to Washington.  Back up the hill again we loaded the rigs and started down the road toward Elk City, Idaho.  Construction in Grangeville on Highway 95 is a nightmare and it took us a while to maneuver around the blocked streets.  The drive to Newsome Creek just outside Elk City is stunning with the highway hugging the river making every turn and curve.  The crooked road makes for slow miles and so did the highway construction we found—UGH—it is summer in the northwest!

We found another outstanding boondocking spot beside Newsome Creek—just our three rigs, no one else!


This bird was dancing on the creek rocks then would dive below the surface of the water—a water ouzel—Judy??? 


DSCN2786It was a little warmish when we arrived so we sat in the shade beside the creek—the tall grasses tickled my legs and when I told Larry we needed a lawnmower, he brought me one—note the fingernail clippers! Winking smileHe’s such a pain!

IMG_5561Summer of 2015 forest fire and the fire lookout—this guy was much, much friendlier!


IMG_5566Note the burned area above Gary’s head—the fire embers started this fire on the lookout tower—Gary said he started making phone calls for help rather quickly!  He was rescued and the tower was wrapped in fire retardant materials, surviving the 7000 acre fire.


Here on Thursday, July 28, we are heading to a spot even more off the grid!!  Thirty miles past Elk City, Idaho—an end of the road community with an absolutely fabulous grocery store with reasonable prices.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Look Who We Found

A couple years ago we took a jeep trip out of North Ranch with Al, Kelly, Jim, Bev, Simon and Sandy to Crown King—it was a fantastic trip and we’ve stayed in touch with Jim and Bev who have moved to Idaho near McCall .  Since we were so close Bev arranged a gathering in Riggins, Idaho (yep, we went back over that big hill again but with just the trucks, no RVs).  The town of Riggins is small and sits in a narrow river valley alongside the Salmon River bringing in lots of tourist traffic floating the fast moving waters—today Riggins was having a car show.

It was so good to see Jim and Bev plus they invited another couple to lunch who ATV this area—we picked their brains for ideas!  We enjoyed a great meal at the River Rock Cafe and spent lots of time catching up before heading out to visit the car show.



Back to Grangeville we went in search of ice cream—oh, no—the ice cream shop is closed!  Cathy and Mike to the rescue—they went to the grocery store, purchased ice cream and we sat outside the rigs eating ice cream and enjoying the cool temps and warm sunshine. 

More ATVing adventures to come!—we have a slow internet signal here using our booster—it’s better than none!

Friday, July 22, 2016

An Error In Judgment!

Usually the cowboy and I research our destinations a touch better (a lot better) than we did Thursday’s location of the Hell’s Canyon area, just over the mountain from Grangeville.  While the rest of the country is sweltering, since we arrived in Idaho we’ve been enjoying very reasonable summer temps up until yesterday.  And then we made an error in judgment by going to a BLM recreation area called Hammer Creek on the lower Salmon River—people, avoid this place like the plague in July and August—maybe even avoid it in June and September!!!

There is a seven mile stretch of 7% downhill grade as the highway drops into the canyon.  The landscape changed dramatically going from forested hills to dry high desert.

IMG_5524We left the campground at about 11:30am on the ATVs and the day became more and more miserable in spite of the gorgeous scenery. 

IMG_5529IMG_5537When we arrived at the campground about 3pm, it was 102 degrees outside and 102 degrees inside the truck camper.  We knew before leaving Montana our little 2000watt Honda generator would not pull the air conditioner load—so we cooked/roasted.  I went and sat in the river, we spent some time at Larry and Geri’s and waited for the sun to go down.  While we were roasting/baking we made a decision—early Friday morning we were heading for the hills and cooler temps.  By 10pm we were at 84 degrees in the camper and went to bed—and sweated the night away—it was still 70 degrees when we got up at 5am!

Fortunately the rest of the gang felt the same way we did and followed us back up the 7% grade hill and into the mountains above Grangeville where the elevation is over 4000 feet and it never got above about 74 degrees today—much, much better!!  We enjoyed a fabulous ride today and tonight are going to enjoy some of the blackberry cobbler/tart I made with blackberries the whole gang picked yesterday while we were frying!  The berries were just starting to get ripe—I would love to have a bunch more!


We will stay here a few days—we have a fabulous boondocking site and more trails to ride.  Larry and Geri have some stuff to do—oil change, mail delivery, etc.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sunday Through Wednesday

It’s been great to have internet and a cell phone signal!  We’ve been busy since arriving in Grangeville, Idaho on Tuesday afternoon.  It was a 200 mile trip from our spot southeast of St. Maries and we are in a full service campground right on HWY 95—noisy but we’ve enjoyed the hookups, unlimited water and being able to do two weeks worth of laundry.  And Emmi got a bath!

Wednesday we all (without Mike and Cathy) went into town early for breakfast then went our separate ways for errands.  We made a stop at the local USFS office for maps and boondocking information, dropped a whole lot of money at the local laundromat with $3 washers, shopped for groceries and I got a haircut.  Yep, I was brave and let a stranger cut my hair—I think she did a good job—she also cut Geri’s hair. 

Thursday we head south only about 20 miles to a new boondocking/ATVing location—probably no internet.

IMG_5495Picking huckleberries which we all enjoyed with ice cream Monday evening.

IMG_5507Everyone in the phone booth on top of the ridge, even the cowboy.

DSCN2753Canola fields on the way to Grangeville.

Stay tuned for more ATVing adventures!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Boondocking At Its Finest

UPDATE:  Once again we are back in the land of cell phones and internet—thank goodness!  I am posting two blogs today.

Thursday morning we left our boondocking spot under the huge trees and headed back toward I-90 and Kingston, ID where we all took advantage of the $5 charge for dumping tanks and filling with water at the local gas station.  Mike and Cathy headed to Coeur d’ Alene to await the arrival of parts for their RZR.  The rest of us—three rigs—headed southeast on Idaho Highway 3 to St. Maries, Idaho. 

It was a stunning drive and once reaching St. Maries we all visited the IGA grocery store leaving lots of money in the local economy!  Now—off to find a boondocking spot for four rigs in an area unfamiliar to all of us. We drove and drove alongside the St. Joe River—towering evergreens, beautiful river and full campgrounds/boondocking spots.  Every USFS campground—and there are many—was full as were any boondocking spots we found.  It wasn’t looking good!  Almost 65 miles from the town of St. Maries we hit the jackpot—a pull through dispersed camping spot with our own private outhouse!Winking smile  There was plenty of room for four rigs right beside the St. Joe River.  Lucky, lucky—smiles all around!!


DSCN2738Michael took a ride up river to find firewood--DSCN2740

DSCN2747And once again we are eating well—Rollie, I tried your rib cooking method Thursday night and they were delicious—thanks Geri and Henrietta for providing the ribs!

Early Friday morning Larry and Geri made a 20 mile run back to Avery where there is a pay phone so we could let Mike and Cathy know where to meet us today—how long has it been since you used a pay phone???—cell service/internet is non-existent again.  Once they returned we packed lunches and took off on the RZRs.  Breathtakingly beautiful country—towering evergreens, clear, fast moving creeks and an abundance of wildflowers.




Mike and Cathy pulled in about 5:30pm Friday afternoon—the gang is all here again and ready for some more riding. 

Drowned Rats

UPDATE:  Tuesday, July 19, we are finally back in the land of internet and cellphones in Grangeville, Idaho.  I am posting two blogs today.

Saturday under very cloudy skies we left our boondocking spot for more ATV riding—our goal was to have lunch in MontanaSmile.  It’s the middle of July and we were all dressed in multiple layers against the damp, chilly air.  Geri has worked so hard to map out these rides, obtaining USFS maps and using an app on her new smartphone—Avenza—we appreciate her! 

IMG_5426IMG_5431Once again, the scenery was gorgeous but dang it was cold!  We did have a brief sunny respite while we enjoyed lunch high on a ridge looking over into Montana.  It’s funny to see all of us grab our cellphones when we stop on a high ridge—we’ve been without internet or cell phone for almost two weeks and I for one am having withdrawal symptoms!  Watching the clouds we decided to head down off the mountain—we hadn’t gone far when the skies opened—UGH—now it’s both cold and wet.  We all have rain gear but it’s still miserable riding an ATV in the rain!  This truck camper has two awnings and we’ve been parking the RZR under the larger side awning—we had just unloaded the RZR, hung our wet clothing to dry and gotten inside the camper when the skies really dumped—it poured!  So glad we at least made it home before that deluge—we would have been drowned rats!

Sunday we took a spectacular ride under mostly sunny skies and managed to go through a whole day without donning rain gear!  But as I type this blog Sunday evening, it is raining, hard!

IMG_5436Larry having equipment envy!  Lots of logging operations in this part of Idaho and it is mind boggling how these companies are logging hillsides too steep for goats to climb!

IMG_5446Michael and I spotted this guy but others in our party saw a herd of elk—I only saw one elk butt in the heavy undergrowth!

IMG_5453IMG_5459Beautiful waterfall and steep mountains.

IMG_5463IMG_5469A fire tower look out being manned by a very, very unfriendly/crabby person! 


It was a beautiful day—a 360 degree view from the fire tower location—wildflowers everywhere.

IMG_5481IMG_5486Lake Dismal—wonder where it got that name??  It was a beautiful spot—not dismal at all!

One more day of riding here then on to another spot in Idaho—Grangeville—sure hope there is enough signal for internet!