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Thread: Need some Idaho advice

  1. #1
    Registered User RTRandy's Avatar
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    Need some Idaho advice

    I've got a planned run during my vacation heading south from McCall, Idaho on Hwy 55.

    You can take hwy 55 south to Boise and then take Hwy 21 going north out of Boise to Lowman which looks fine.

    The question is there is a road part way down off of 55 near the town of Banks cutting east passing through Garden Valley directly to Lowman. Looks like it could save a lot of time, however depending on which map you use, the road seems to turn to dirt part of the way. Anyone ridden that road or know the area? Has it been paved?

    Probably no big deal on a GS, however on the RT I prefer smooth surface when I can get it.

    Depending on time, Hwy 21 out of Boise to Stanley looks pretty good, so attempting a shortcut might cause us to miss out on some great roads. The route that day is McCall to Ketchum by way of Lowman and Stanley. Not sure how long it will take overall.

    Thanks in advance for the good advice.
    Luck favors those who are prepared.

  2. #2
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    Rode it last year. Its all paved and very nice.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
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    I Used to Be Someone sheridesabeemer's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Registered User RTRandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheRidesABeemer View Post
    ...don't forget the No-Doze
    IDAHO
    Gail, Where's that shot taken? Surely that can't be Hwy 21 or 55 can it?

    Randy
    Luck favors those who are prepared.

  5. #5
    Two Bricks Shy of a Load RocksforBrains's Avatar
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    Banks-Lowman Road

    Hi Randy:

    I live just outside of Boise and have ridden that road many times on my 2005 R 1200RT. The road from Banks to Lowman (Hwy 17) follows the south fork of the Payette river, a great white water river w/ class III and IV rapids. The road is paved and is in good shape. An excellent ride, lots of curves and little traffic.

    If you take Hwy 17, after the first 6-8 or so miles from Banks, you will come to a T intersection. Keep going straight through to Garden Valley, don't turn left to Crouch. After that intersection you can't get lost. Nice twisties and scenery. As you get a few miles past Garden valley on your way to Lowman, you go through the "canyon" section that had to be blasted out of rock. A great ride, but reminds me a bit of the motorcycle song from Arlo Guthrie "on the one side there was a mountain...on the other there was nothin." There are guard rails (usually) so no sweat. If you go early in the morning or after a rain, keep a sharp eye out for rocks that fall off of the blasted road cuts.

    If you decide to skip the Banks to Lowman highway, the rest of Hwy 55 south from Banks to Boise is mostly unremarkable. You are getting lower in elevation, and even though you are still in the Boise foothills, it gets more and more arid. After you go through Boise and head up through Hwy 21 from Boise through Idaho City to Lowman, the section from Boise to Idaho City is again unremarkable and semi arid. The section from Idaho City to Lowman however is nice. High enough up to be green trees, two passes that are around 7000 feet and some nice technical turns that will keep you focused. BTW, there are plenty of mule deer between Idaho City and Lowman DAMHIK, let's just say, my ABS paid for itself many times over. I will never buy another street bike w/o ABS.

    Either way you go, Hwy 21 from Lowman to Stanley is freaking awesome, nice sweepers with usually good sight lines. Not much traffic except from noon Friday to Sunday night. As you get close to Stanley, make sure and pull over to gawk at the Sawtooths. Otherwise you may get distracted and come to a bad end. Hwy 75 from Stanley to Sun Valley Ketchum is also most excellent and Galena pass is great. You must stop at the scenic overlook at Galena pass and look down the length of the Sawtooth mountains. My favorite scene in all of Idaho.

    Good luck and feel free to ask any other questions you might have. If I don't know the answers I will make them up!

    Kurt
    Last edited by RocksforBrains; 06-16-2008 at 10:51 PM. Reason: spelling

  6. #6
    Two Bricks Shy of a Load RocksforBrains's Avatar
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    I think Gail's Picture is Hwy 20

    I think the picture Gail Posted is Hwy 20 from Mountain Home through Fairfield to just south of Ketchum. some twisties but mostly straight as an arrow.

    Kurt

  7. #7
    Two Bricks Shy of a Load RocksforBrains's Avatar
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    Riding Time Needed

    The McCall to Banks section will be about 1.5 hours. Banks to Lowman about an hour or so. Lowman to Stanley about 1.5 hours. Stanley to Ketchum about 1.5 to 2 hours. So total of about 6 hours without stops for meals and gawking. So plan a full day. You have to stop and smell the roses a bit on that ride or you are missing some great scenery.

    If you skip Hwy 17 and go through Boise instead, add a net 2 hours to your trip (3 more hours through Boise less the 1 hour of Hwy 17).

    Kurt

  8. #8
    Registered User darencs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RocksforBrains View Post
    Snip The road from Banks to Lowman (Hwy 17) follows the south fork of the Payette river, a great white water river w/ class III and IV rapids. The road is paved and is in good shape. An excellent ride, lots of curves and little traffic.
    The pics below are between Banks and Lowman.




    Snip
    Quote Originally Posted by RocksforBrains View Post
    The section from Idaho City to Lowman however is nice. High enough up to be green trees, two passes that are around 7000 feet and some nice technical turns that will keep you focused. BTW, there are plenty of mule deer between Idaho City and Lowman DAMHIK, let's just say, my ABS paid for itself many times over. I will never buy another street bike w/o ABS.
    These were taken along hwy 21, I think between Idaho City and Lowman. If you've got time, and like twisties, hang a right at Lowman and ride to Idaho City and back!



    Quote Originally Posted by RocksforBrains View Post
    Either way you go, Hwy 21 from Lowman to Stanley is freaking awesome, nice sweepers with usually good sight lines. Not much traffic except from noon Friday to Sunday night. As you get close to Stanley, make sure and pull over to gawk at the Sawtooths. Otherwise you may get distracted and come to a bad end. Hwy 75 from Stanley to Sun Valley Ketchum is also most excellent and Galena pass is great. You must stop at the scenic overlook at Galena pass and look down the length of the Sawtooth mountains. My favorite scene in all of Idaho.
    Kurt
    + 1
    View from Galena Summit:
    Daren Schultz
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  9. #9
    I Used to Be Someone sheridesabeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTRandy View Post
    Gail, Where's that shot taken? Surely that can't be Hwy 21 or 55 can it?

    Randy
    Let's see it was taken on July 2. That day we traveled from Boise to West Yellowstone, it is the 3rd picture of that day, so I'd say RocksforBrains knows what he's talking about.

    Later on there was a curve in the road near the Craters Of the Moon Nat'l Monument.

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  10. #10
    Registered User RTRandy's Avatar
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    WOW !!! Gotta love this forum!! It's just amazing all the great information you can get here.

    Not sure if the road is newly paved or what, but both Garmin and Mapquest seem to have it wrong while the folks here have it right.
    Check out these maps.

    Mapquest:



    My Garmin maps ( newest 2009 mind you)



    Wish I hadn't asked the question or seen the photos you guys put on here. Now I won't be able to sleep the night before I set out on this trip. I agree it's a good idea to stop and smell the roses so a six hour day in the saddle ought to be a great day in Idaho.

    Me and my great riding companion on this trip plan to take and share lots of photos when we get back. We're both riding 08 RT's with bike to bike communication. Ought to be a blast!

    Thanks again Gail, Kurt, and Darencs for the inspiring info and beautiful photos. I'm psyched !!
    Luck favors those who are prepared.

  11. #11
    Two Bricks Shy of a Load RocksforBrains's Avatar
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    Redfish Lake

    Randy:

    One more thing. A few miles south from Stanley on Hwy 75 is Redfish lake. There are signs for the turnoff. It is 3 or 4 miles off of Hwy 75, all paved. It is an awesome lake that is deep, clear and has the Sawtooth mountains as a backdrop. It's kind of a smaller version of Lake Louise in Banff. Might be worth a side trip. They have a small rustic lodge there that sells hamburgers, ice cream cones etc. It is a very popular camping/hiking area so if you are there on a weekend, it will be crowded, otherwise just busy.

    Have a great trip!

    Kurt

  12. #12
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTRandy View Post
    WOW !!! Gotta love this forum!! It's just amazing all the great information you can get here.

    Not sure if the road is newly paved or what, but both Garmin and Mapquest seem to have it wrong while the folks here have it right.
    Check out these maps.

    Mapquest:



    My Garmin maps ( newest 2009 mind you)



    Wish I hadn't asked the question or seen the photos you guys put on here. Now I won't be able to sleep the night before I set out on this trip. I agree it's a good idea to stop and smell the roses so a six hour day in the saddle ought to be a great day in Idaho.

    Me and my great riding companion on this trip plan to take and share lots of photos when we get back. We're both riding 08 RT's with bike to bike communication. Ought to be a blast!

    Thanks again Gail, Kurt, and Darencs for the inspiring info and beautiful photos. I'm psyched !!


    Wow - those maps are really out of date! The road from Banks to Lowman has been paved for something over seven or eight years.

    I live in Boise and these roads are my back yard - you'll enjoy the Banks-Lowman-Stanley route immensely. Do look for deer. And keep a sharp eye out for tar snakes on the "canyon" section of the Banks-Lowman road. There are a lot of them and they get pretty slick on a hot day.

    Where are you going past Stanley?
    Greg Feeler
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  13. #13
    MT State of mind
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    Boy, you need to get a new travel agent!!!

    Told ya!

  14. #14
    Registered User RTRandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregFeeler View Post
    Wow - those maps are really out of date! The road from Banks to Lowman has been paved for something over seven or eight years.

    I live in Boise and these roads are my back yard - you'll enjoy the Banks-Lowman-Stanley route immensely. Do look for deer. And keep a sharp eye out for tar snakes on the "canyon" section of the Banks-Lowman road. There are a lot of them and they get pretty slick on a hot day.

    Where are you going past Stanley?
    Greg, Maybe it's more where we're coming from. Me and my friend are riding through Colorado, Yellowstone, Cody, Beartooth, and Glacier. From there we're heading west and south to ride the Lolo pass and then south to McCall. Thanks to everyone here, we're going to take that road from Banks to Lowman if I have to carry my RT on my back.

    So to answer your question,we're spending that night in Ketchum and most likely heading east from there. This is the only part of the trip that is purposely unplanned. I keep promising to ride an unplanned trip, but certain hot spots around July 4th get booked up. Probably should have tried to stay in Stanley, but I had always heard good things about Sun Valley. Originally we were going to head to the north rim of the grand Canyon and then home to Dallas, however we got an invite from a friend in Aspen offering us a couple of beds. Right now it's looking like Aspen.


    Quote Originally Posted by Montana View Post
    Boy, you need to get a new travel agent!!!
    Told ya!
    That's an inside joke. Montana was kind enough to recommend most of the good roads in this area in the first place. She kept telling me to take a road while I was telling her there wasn't such a road. Thanks Michelle, you were right and I was wrong!

    Quote Originally Posted by RocksforBrains View Post
    Randy:

    One more thing. A few miles south from Stanley on Hwy 75 is Redfish lake. There are signs for the turnoff. It is 3 or 4 miles off of Hwy 75, all paved. It is an awesome lake that is deep, clear and has the Sawtooth mountains as a backdrop. It's kind of a smaller version of Lake Louise in Banff. Might be worth a side trip. They have a small rustic lodge there that sells hamburgers, ice cream cones etc. It is a very popular camping/hiking area so if you are there on a weekend, it will be crowded, otherwise just busy.

    Have a great trip!
    Kurt
    Thanks Kurt. We'll stop there for sure and bring back a photo. Also appreciate all the good reads from this road to include, animals, tar snakes, falling rocks, Radar and God knows what. Sounds like a winner!
    Luck favors those who are prepared.

  15. #15
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTRandy View Post
    Greg, Maybe it's more where we're coming from. Me and my friend are riding through Colorado, Yellowstone, Cody, Beartooth, and Glacier. From there we're heading west and south to ride the Lolo pass and then south to McCall. Thanks to everyone here, we're going to take that road from Banks to Lowman if I have to carry my RT on my back.

    So to answer your question,we're spending that night in Ketchum and most likely heading east from there. This is the only part of the trip that is purposely unplanned. I keep promising to ride an unplanned trip, but certain hot spots around July 4th get booked up. Probably should have tried to stay in Stanley, but I had always heard good things about Sun Valley. Originally we were going to head to the north rim of the grand Canyon and then home to Dallas, however we got an invite from a friend in Aspen offering us a couple of beds. Right now it's looking like Aspen.
    Sounds like you have a great plan. The only other things I'll add are that the majority of Idaho State Police are very professional, but have a job to do. It's the catch of the day OTOH with the county folks. In particular, keep a sharp eye out on Hwy. 95 and 55. If you don't have a Valentine One, I highly recommend the product. Mine has saved me 20x it's cost, easily. Also, in Idaho passing on a double yellow line is an automatic reckless driving. That's not stopped..er..flocks I know...but I...er...they are careful where they do it.
    Greg Feeler
    BMW MOA Director & Ambassador
    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

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