At MJR often motorcycles mean work, and we love that, but sometimes you need a chance to go ride bikes rather than work on them and there's something special about getting away from it all to the countryside with a group of friends for a week of riding. Riding trips provide stories for years like nothing else will.
In California the summer often heralds a lull in the riding season, especially down south where most of our trails and off-road access are limited to sprawling desert where temperatures will soar to above 100° Fahrenheit. We usually find ourselves restlessly going over our bikes while praying for colder weather and a winter with plenty of rain.
So as you can imagine, we were stoked to pack up the box-van and roll up to Idaho in search of epic single-track and breathtaking vistas, while enjoying the company of our fellow riders and friends, in the middle of August.
After driving close to 21hrs, we arrived in the Sawtooth/Challis National Forest and Recreation area outside Stanley, ID -- nestled up near the jagged spine of the Sawtooth mountains; we laid out camp and got prepared for our week long adventure.
Daryl Tarpey was our point-man when it came to meals, and offered up some fantastic fare on his new pride-and-joy grill -- making sure we were all well fed and ready to ride every morning. MJR's own professional mechanic, Nathan Sall, handled pre-ride preparations every day; installing a few mousse bibs, checking filters, and making sure everyone was in for a great time.
We'd ventured across three states and were itching to get riding, but we paused to take a few promotional shots of the various bikes prepped by the shop, as well as a teaser of our new 2022 Husqvarna 501 FEs on-going build and test-bed.
Skypixel Media's owners and operators, Blake and Rachel had arrived ahead of time and scouted a strong set of routes for us to explore. We eased into the first day of riding by exploring the immediate mountains and meadows around our camp doing a full shakedown on newly built and refreshed bikes alike, already we were blown away by the vistas and were excited to see more of what Idaho had to offer.
We woke the next day to a light spattering of rain. The weather was perfect as we made our way into the mountains in earnest, following meandering single-tracks through spectacular draws and across lonesome meadows. By midday the light rain eased and we were treated to all-time conditions, the terrain was phenomenal and there's nothing more fun than riding with a group of friends on wet dirt. \
We traversed the mountains to a now defunct mining dredge moored in a tailings pool just west of a living ghost town known as Bonanza. We stopped and took a tour of the old iron-behemoth, learning about the history of mining area, and the innerworkings of the operation that had continued well into the 1950s before it's donation to the Forestry Service in the late 70's.
After a break and some refreshments at the small general store in town, we made our way east and began an arduous climb, some 8000ft in elevation, to Custer Lookout. As our good friend Kyle Sandquist's footage can attest to; there was little room for error here.
Custer Peak, and it's decommissioned lookout, offered extremely challenging trails in a high-exposure environment, but at well over 9,700ft our efforts were reward with an unrivaled panorama of Bonanza Creek, the Salmon River, and several other ranges in the area.
They always say going up is difficult, and coming down is easy -- but I would argue that whoever said as much has never tried to ride their motorcycle down from such a height; we made our way south, carefully working past extreme obstacles, and arrived on the Salmon River after a descent that lasted well over an hour.
We took a break the next day, and decided to recreate on the local lake -- escaping a brief spike in temperature, kayaking, boating, and swimming in the cool waters of Stanley Lake below the cathedral like rim of McGown Peak. Ultimately we couldn't stay off the motorcycles, and snuck in a few short miles before we visited Bridge Street Grill for a meal right on the river.
As the week drew to a close we headed westward on our longest day of riding, and we were graced with unrivalled single-track sections and miles of flowy trail. We explored new mountain ranges, and made our way through deep creeks crossing paths with elk, deer, and even a family of brown bears. As we rolled back into camp, the sun was setting and night coming on fast, we talked about every thing we'd seen and experienced and begrudgingly began packing up camp.
Five days, three National Recreational Areas, well over 300 miles of trail; countless memories.
We hope to be back soon.
Thank you Idaho!
We're excited to launch our next endeavor as Outland Adventure, offering comprehensive motorcycle vacations customized and tailored to a variety of skill levels.
We look forward to leading tours in locations all over the United States with support from MadJack Racing's team of professional mechanics and skilled guides.
Please check out our new website, and learn about what areas tours will be taking place, and follow our Instagram for more photos and adventures.