Tami & Eric Visit Idaho

November 22-23, 2002

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Day One


The Icebreaker - 45 miles

'Twas a frosty morn w/temps in the mid 20s as we left the trailhead at about 10am. Murray and I decided to take Tami & Eric on an "alternative" route into the trail system. Our "normal" route takes us across a pesky deadfall that's in a precarious position and we thought we'd avoid such an obstacle right off the bat. Hah!

We are riding in the Danskin Mountains, about 30 miles SE of Boise, ID. Tami Rowell and hubby Eric Elvin have traveled from their home in Oakland, CA for the Thanksgiving weekend. This area is known to the locals as Blacks Creek. I'd consider it "foothill" riding, with elevations ranging from about 3500' to 6000'. It's mostly a spring/fall riding area, summer brings hot, dry, dusty, slick riding; winter shuts it down to all but snowmobiles. (other photos of the riding area)

We should have gone for the log. It's not really big or anything, it's just in a spot where it might be dicey to ride over it and once you've lifted over, there isn't enough room to stop and help the rider behind you, you just have to roost on up the little narrow sidehill on the other side, the last one in line gets to help himself/herself over. 

The other route puts us through a rather long narrow "puddle" on a small creek, Murray and I had ridden it less than a week before without incident, but this time it's partially iced over, at least it looked "partially" iced. Surrounded with dense brush, there is no easy way around.  In the lead, I hit it first. I'm pushing the broken, chunky style, slush as I enter, then it turns more solid until I am stopped dead, about 1�" of ice over about a foot of muddy ice water. It's solid enough around me that I can get off the bike w/o getting my feet wet. I gingerly hold the handlebar while stomping the ice sheet directly in front of the tire. Great, that chunk broke, but oops so did the piece I was standing on. Aarrgghh! Icy wet feet and we aren't two miles into the ride. I manage to move about 5 feet forward with this routine then Eric asks if I want help. I figured he would find a way to get to me around the edge of the water, but no, he trudges right up the edge, in the water. Four wet feet, four to go...

Eric wades in While DJ stomps ice

Eric holds my bike while I do my best to shorten my right leg by stomping on the mostly unyielding ice sheet. I'm about worn out when a convenient USFS ranger (also wanting to cross this "puddle") offers a Pulaski (combo axe/adze trail tool). My chest is still giving me fits from my up close encounter with barbed wire the week before and I can only tease the ice with the axe. Eric comes to the rescue, chopping a passage, I make it through with only couple of wet dabs, spooky riding in this soup.

Next Eric rides Tami's 250F through with only minor trouble, Murray makes it fine with a dab or two (six wet feet, two to go), then Eric rides his own 426 through, almost... You see, riding in this is like riding in floating, greasy 3D rocks, you just can't tell which one will float away as you hit it and which one will sit still or submarine on ya. Eric was doing fine until this huge chunk decided to act like a greasy ramp. It stopped him dead in the water, then when going once again he went to dab and plopped over. Now he's got a wet leg too... At this point he couldn't get it started, he couldn't even get a good kick in because of the water. MurMan and I were praying he'd get it started, not wanting to get any wetter than we were already. Eric pushed it to a point where Murray and I could tiptoe along the edge, holding onto the saplings to keep from falling in and give enough "pull" to get him out of the quagmire to the edge. The bike promptly started, of course. Well, now that we're all warmed up and sweaty it doesn't seem quite so cold out...(Please note here, Tami is the only one left with dry feet, and they say chivalry is dead!)

Eric pushing an ice chunk,
or was it the other way around?
Dead engine Murray and I trying our best 
to stay out of the water.

As we depart, we leave the rangers hacking a re-route through the thick underbrush, after watching us I don't think they wanted to chance it. Off we go on our normal "visitor's" loop. A mix of ATV width and single track trails, some whoops, some sidehills, some rocks, minor creek crossings, great views, just about everything. Tami's bike wasn't running too well, Eric tinkered with the jetting about every other stop. Tami often took full advantage of her patented TASSE (Tami's Automatic Starting System by Eric). No major biffs by anyone, Tami suffered from chronic short leg syndrome every once in a while but rode very well. Murray and I could barely get our cigs lit before she'd show up, we were duly impressed, she's riding a faster pace than a couple of our sometimes riding partners. She's Level 1 TST Sidehill Certified now.

View from ridge before we
drop down to overlook the river
Entrance to Waterfall with
Tami on my 200
wf_exit.jpg (104496 bytes)
Waterfall exit Tami in Willow Tami rails the corner
 out of the creek!

Our halfway point puts us sitting at our regular lunch spot, overlooking the So. Fk. Boise River (photo, different day, different riders, same views). After eating, we head back out up Devils Hole, by Baxter's Gate of Hell (I flag it with some pink ribbon) down to the Waterfall and out the length of Willow Creek. It was an interesting ride down Willow, some crossings were free flowing while others were partially or completely iced over. It is mostly in a deep narrow canyon which doesn't see much sunlight. Enough riders have been through here today that many of the rocks on the exits are iced over, it was a slickery ride. Eric slipped on one "solid" crossing, breaking through with his handlebars. Tami said it was her favorite section, even though she wished we'd hit this one earlier in the day.

Just as we arrived back at the trucks we heard a 4 stroke winding up on a short trail across the creek. I looked up just in time to see him start to swap ends under heavy braking, trying to make the unexpected 120 degree turn down to the creek. Then he straightens up a bit and flies off a 15' embankment, nosing over as he left the edge. Next there are muffled crashing sounds and loud cursing. See photos

Day Two