Climb that mountain Mabel!

T – We woke up and opened the doors of the tent up to be greeted by yet another amazing looking day. Shafts of sunlight cut down through the canopy of the forest and bird song rang through the camp. Bloody brilliant!

As I lounged about in the tent typing up the previous days blog I had a little visitor. A sweet faced little mule deer doe was standing just outside the tent. Her big beautiful brown eyes peering in at me. So sweet.

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We had some breakfast and a cuppa before striking out on the rough road.

The corrugations continued with a vengeance. Each one spaced just far enough apart that the front wheel of our bikes was just cresting on lump as the back wheel hit the bottom of another, giving a weird rocking rolling motion as we went along. It was horrible, yet funny, and I was laughing uncontrollable for quite some time.


The road wobbled and bumped along. Winding and climbing. And climbing. And climbing. There were some lovely views back down into the valley from where we had come and soon we climbed right up to 7300 feet! Quite the climb!

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Then it was a slight downhill before one final gut wrenching set of corrugations and we were back onto the bitumen.


C – It was wonderful to see the end of the road and reach the bitumen, what an achievement for us and these little bikes! I can’t believe they just keep eating up whatever surface we throw at them. It is also a great confidence boost each time you accomplish a ride like this!! It did make the turn onto the bitumen a tad boring though!!!


T – We turned towards the town of Stanley which wasn’t far up the road. Our maps showed us that for a little while we would have to slog out a bit of highway as there weren’t any back roads for a bit. We soon found out why.

We stopped in Stanley for a bite to eat and then jumped back on the road and motored onwards.

The highway was running along a lovely wide flat valley with views of mountains all around and the Sawtooth Mountains sharply rose to our backs. We were surprised to see that we were still up over 2000 meters here! Our poor bikes were struggling a little, but whether that was because of the altitude or the howling headwind I don’t know! Flat out and howling herself, Mabel was barely managing to hold onto 60 km/hr and every time a massive gust of wind smacked her in the face she would drop down to 50 km/hr. Poor Mabel.

Then we found out why there were no back roads. We started to climb. Chantelle giving me a running commentary over the intercom of our height. 2100 meters. 2200 meters. 2300 meters. Mabel working hard. Screaming. Fighting against the slope of the mountain and the fierce headwind.

C – I was laughing as I watching the elevation increase, and this of course made Todd think I was joking. He didn’t believe at all until I finally pulled over and made him inspect the GPS!!!

T – 2400 meters. 2500 meters. Bloody hell. Back to second gear now. 2600 meters. Then a parking lot with an overlook across the valley we had been climbing out of. Mabel sat there hot and ticking. Grumpy. Sulking about having to climb yet another hill with me strapped to her back. The height we topped out at was 2633. The view spread out in front of us breathtaking!


We had a nice chat to two couples who had passed us by a few times today. They were riding nice Ducatis and were out on a bit of a jaunt. It’s always great to chat to other motorcyclists and our little red bikes always draw them in.

Then we were racing down hill. The wind at our backs. Hooning through the curves and heading for the town of Ketchum and Sun Valley where a back road awaited us.

To get there meant a little bit of highway but it wasn’t too bad and we were soon rolling down the main street of Ketchum. Another very up market town. Massive mansions lined up through a huge golf course. Boutique stores and high end camping stores on each side of the road. We sat in traffic surrounded by large shiny expensive looking SUVs. But could we find a petrol station? Nope.

We rode around for ages looking for one. This was the first time I have ever been in a town where the gas station hasn’t been on the main road into or out of the town. We rode all over Ketchum then out towards Sun Valley. We tried to turn off the main thorough fair and instead ended up on a tour of suburbia. Massive mansions everywhere.

Finally we found a fuel stop hidden down a back road and after filling up we were out of there quick smart. Not the town for us.

C – Whilst we filled up at the gas station a nice local came and checked out our maps with us and recommended the back road over Trail Creek Summit. 25 miles of dirt… ‘thats nothing’ we replied!

T – We followed a little road out of Sun Valley and into some gorgeous rolling green hills. The road cutting straight through them. Eventually the pavement ended and we began to climb again. The road was rough and steep and an absolute hoot! Soon we were cresting the summit of another 2300 meter pass and then the real beauty of the place showed itself.

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We were gobsmacked. Its hard to put it into words. The arid landscape stretched away in front of us. Mountains and hill almost bare of vegetation in every direction. It was just WOW.

We rode along pointing out some amazing spectacle to each other as we went. There was so much to take in and see and our heads swivelled around like mad.

C – The scenery was just like from an old cowboy western. It was like someone had painted a backdrop and we were just going to ride into it. Crazy! We were both blown away and just did not expect this kind of landscape in Idaho. I actually thought Idaho was mostly just rolling hills and farmland. Not beautiful arid wildness and amazing mountains!

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T – A set of mountains grew on the horizon in front of us. Idahos tallest peak jutting skywards amongst them. The closer we got the bigger they became. Until eventually we could see cars crawling along the highway at the base of the behemoths looking like tiny ants.

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We turned right on the highway and headed for the small town of Mackay, pronounced Mackee, where we hoped to find a shower and a camp for the night.


The RV park there didn’t take tents. Bugger. We had heard that this is a pretty common thing here in the US so undeterred and armed with directions to a council run campground in town off we went looking. We passed a Laundromat with paid showers, score, and soon we were pulling into the campgrounds. We sat at the entrance reading the notice boards to try to see how much it cost for the night when from nowhere a kindly gentleman and his wife rolled up next to driving their ATV. They amazingly offered us a spot on their camp ground before zooming off to wherever it was they were heading. How amazing!


We ended up sitting with them around a campfire and chatting well into the night before it was time for us to go to bed. Both of us exhausted from the amazing day we have had!

Dean & Georgia, Utah Duane & Rosie, Utah Linda & Allen, Idaho Mackay Campfire

C – It was so lovely of Alan to offer us a spot in their space, as that meant we didn’t have to pay or worry about trying to contact the City to book a spot. We were blown away when they asked us to join them around their fire. We chatted and chatted and learned a lot about Utah. We also had a really yummy Klondike icecream sandwich. Yummo! Thank you so much for your hospitality.

T – Tomorrow we head for Wyoming!!

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2 thoughts on “Climb that mountain Mabel!

  1. Jax

    You’ll need to put some duct tape around that water bottle or the holder will “cut” a ring around it. Ask me how I know this.

    • tncpowell

      I remeber you saying about that! We had plastic ones but every day in the sun the water just tasted gross. Im a fussy water drinker.

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