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Ride The Rattlesnake

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September 30, 2019 at 11:38 am - Home, Great Rides
By Glen Slingerland

As another riding season winds down for some of us fair weather riders I thought I better put up a great ride blog, besides it has been awhile.

This year my wife wanted to ride to Idaho to see her Aunt and Uncle in Garden Valley. Now, if you look up Garden Valley on a map it is just an area in Idaho. The nearest town is a small little place called “Crouch”, population in 2010 – 160. It might have grown a bit since then but it is small. The roads are paved around the main core of the town however much of the residential area is gravel.

Crouch

The town of Crouch has an interesting biker bar that seems to attract a lot of bikes in the summer. It’s set up for serious party action outside as well as inside.

The second point of the trip was to ride a highway called The Rattlesnake. This is an amazing road that runs south of Lewiston and if it isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. The road is also called Route 129, or Rattlesnake Grade. There are endless twisty corners, spectacular views and a fantastic road surface. I will warn you that you do need to focus on your riding. You’ll probably find yourself pulling off a number of times to take photos, because the view is so amazing, but enjoying it while riding could be dangerous. There are so many turns and switchbacks you’d think they were drunk when they designed it.

Rattlesnake Highway

The first part of the ride, as you leave Lewiston, is also interesting. It is called The Old Spiral Highway. I actually thought it was the Rattlesnake. Wrong – O. It is a completely different road with about 64 turns to get you up to the 2000 foot elevation that eventually takes you to The Rattlesnake. You’re in Motorcycle Heaven on these roads. Two amazing highways and both connected. Don’t forget to stop at the Joseph Canyon Lookout.

Our plan was to go through Enterprise Oregon, on to Joseph, where we would take the road to Hells Canyon and then over to Cambridge. Unfortunately it was the Hells Canyon road where my fuel pump decided to quit. That left us with about a 4 day layover in Garden Valley, which gave us a chance to visit with relatives. Fortunately, Enterprise Oregon has a motorcycle shop with an awesome group of people who worked hard to get my bike back on the road. Look for Outlaw Motor Sports when you hit town.

Dustin James owner of Outlaw Motor Sports and Hadley Lowe

Now, back to those gravel roads in Garden Valley. Karen didn’t tell me they had gravel roads and if we had actually made it there on the bikes, there was no way I would have let that nice new Moto Guzzi Audace she just bought travel on those roads. The gravel roads of Haida Gwaii played havoc on her Fat Boy and I didn’t want a repeat of that.

Hells Canyon

After my bike was repaired we did manage to make it to Hells Canyon, another amazing road that is extremely remote. It’s more like a paved logging road. A little narrow, a bit bumpy and you’re lucky if you can actually get up to 60 or 70 K/ph at any time. Don’t forget to stop at the Hell’s Canyon Lookout. Hells Canyon is said to be deeper than The Grand Canyon, it’s just shaped a little differently. Less extreme drop offs.

It was truly a great ride and there may be another visit to the Rattlesnake in the not too distant future.

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