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Moscow, Idaho — July 30-31, 2004

An event loosely organized by: HMarc and Warchild

HMarc's Secret Road

345 miles, approximately 9.5 hours

I prefer this road to the more famous Lolo Pass Highway

  1. Head east out of Moscow on ID-8 towards Troy.
  2. At Deary, continue on ID-3 to Bovill.
  3. Just as you enter Bovill, turn left and follow ID-3 towards Clarkia. Just before Clarkia, you will see the "Fossil Bowl" on the left, a popular motocross track for folks in Spokane, Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene.
  4. You won't actually go into Clarkia, you'll see it off on your right as you ride by on the way to Santa, ID.
  5. After leaving Santa, you'll ride over a small hill, then ID-3 will branch off to the right towards St. Maries, ID. Take the turn.
  6. At St. Maries you should refuel, as it's 100 to the next reliable fuel stop.
  7. Head north out of St. Maries on ID-3, and after 1/2 mile or so take the paved road to the right which should be marked "To Avery" and which follows the St. Joe river upstream.
  8. The lower end of this road is straights and sweepers, tightening up the further upstream you get.
  9. At Avery, ID, there may be fuel, but don't count on it. Continue up the river on the paved road. There's a road that goes north out of Avery over Moon Pass to Wallace, on I-90, but it is 100% gravel and I don't recommend it for FJRs.
  10. Somewhere upstream of Avery, the road leaves the river and climbs up 500-600 feet with a view of the river far below. Soon after this there's a sharp left hand turn marked 25mph. Believe it! It's slightly decreasing radius, and off camber as well. Several friends have overcooked this corner and ended up in the ditch with attendant damage to bike and body.
  11. Roughly 30 miles upstream from Avery, you'll come to Gold Creek Rd, which heads northeast up to Gold Pass. Take it. If you follow the St. Joe until the road turns to gravel, then you just missed Gold Creek Rd.
  12. At the summit, the road turns to good, hardpacked gravel. You can turn back here if you want, avoid the gravel, and shave 25 miles or so from the total mileage. But if you do fuel may be an issue. Your call.
  13. Continue down north side of Gold Pass, paying particular attention to your corner entry speed. Gravel doesn't have the grip that pavement does. Get your braking done *before* the corner, not *in* the corner. Shift your weight to the front of the seat, up against the gastank to put more weight on the front wheel -- that will help with stability in the corners.
  14. After 10 or 11 miles the road will become paved again. After it crosses I-90, you will see St. Regis off on your right. Go there, refuel and have something to eat and drink.
  15. If you've had enough fun at this point, take I-90 west to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and then US-95 south to Moscow. The total mileage will be about the same, but it will be quicker and not require the focus and intensity of the twisty route you just completed.
  16. If you're up for it, retrace your route back to St. Maries. This can be a very demanding road, due to the number and frequency of corners, so if you are tiring, slow down. It's a terrible place to have an accident -- cell phones don't work, an ambulance is a long way away, and a med-evac would probably cost enough to buy your house!
  17. Having safely made it back to St. Maries, refuel again, and head south out of town on ID-3.
  18. After 15 miles or so, bear right onto ID-6 towards Emida, ID.
  19. Stay on ID-6 all the way to its intersection with US-95 at Potlatch Junction, where you will turn left onto US-95.
  20. Follow US-95 south to Moscow.

On this route you can find fuel in Moscow, St. Maries, and St. Regis, MT. Don't count on finding fuel elsewhere, though you may, depending on your luck and the luck of the folks who own the gas pumps.

Copyright © 2004, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.