Our First Major Ride + ADD NEW ROUTE
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The road starts out in Blackfoot, ID on route 26. This portion is the least interesting part of the whole ride. You will see INL(Idaho National Lab) which is an energy plant. Other than that it's a lot of nothing for the first hour to hour and a half. Next is a stop in the small town of Arco. Here you can get a bite to eat, fill up your tank etc. Arco is also the point you start to see the Sawtooth Mountain range and where route 26 changes to route 93. From there you will pass through very small towns such as Moore and Leslie (they were such small towns we were through them without even realizing there were towns there), but that's also because you're admiring the mountains. Next you role into the town of Mackay. This is where the ride really becomes beautiful with scenery. Besides the mountain range all around you, you will first come to the Mackay Reservoir that is worthy of a couple clicks of the camera. A little ways down the road from the reservoir you will view Leatherman's peak and about 2 miles down from that is the tallest peak in Idaho, Borah Peak that stands snowcapped at 12,662 ft. 2-1/2 miles from Borah Peak an earthquake that took place in 1983 that fractured a 26 miles long and 7 miles deep crevasse can be viewed. Your next stop is in the town of Challis. This is a good time for a fill up because you won't hit another gas station until you get to the town of Stanley. This is where you pick up route 75 and is the best part of the ride. There is a mixture of straight and curvy road along the entire route. You are surrounded by the Sawtooth Mountains and the road follows the Salmon River. There are also multiple spots where signs warn you to watch out for rocks in the road and there was. (Make sure you ride with caution through those areas). We also encountered Prong horned deer and there was a sign that warned about big horned sheep, but we didn't see any. The only town you come to between Challis and Stanley is the town of Clayton populaton..... 7. The only site to see in Clayton is a footprint of where a smelter once stood. When you finally roll into Stanley you will see the Sawtooth mountains in all it's snowcapped glory. It is said that Stanley is the best place to view the Sawtooths and it was. From Stanley you will head towards the towns of Ketchum/Sun Valley. The scenery just continues to take your breath away. There is much to see, but be sure to stop at the Bethine and Frank Church overlook. There you can look out over this beautiful valley and view 9 separate peaks of the Sawtooths. They even have one of those binocular machines and it's free to use!! To end the trip you will come to Ketchum and Sun Valley. Ketchum is a charming town with much to do and Sun Valley more popular as a ski resort in the winter is still a great place to visit year round. All in all this was a 9 out of 10 ride (I give it a 9 because of the first hour or so of nothing) and is worth the trip if you're looking for a great ride. It took a total of 9-1/2 hours to complete the ride starting from our house and ending at our house. We moved to Idaho 4 years ago, and this was our first major ride, and it was worth it. The scenery of that ride has us hungry for more and plan on doing a lot more riding before seasons end.
Once you get into the town of Arco until you end in Ketchum/Sun Valley you can see the Sawtooth Mountain Range. The Salmon River hugs the road most of the way also. The roads are a mix of straight and curvy for a nice change of pace. You will see many historical sites along the way.
The roads were a 5, but I gave the road quality a 4 only because of the areas where there was rock in the road. There were no potholes, train tracks or any other nuisance that would make the trip unpleasant.
You can fuel up in enough places along the way, and you could grab something to eat if you really need to. There was even one town that only had a saloon how cool is that!!
It was a great ride and just want to stress to anyone who is looking to experience the ride to please be careful in the "rock in the road" areas. Also you could experience wildlife at any time on those roads so watch out for them. We plan on doing many more miles this year, maybe we'll see you on one of our treks.
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