Crossing Magruder Corridor – Not!

(Note: Photos of the trip are above in the album section.)

August 19th thru the 22nd we had scheduled a Thing trip across the famous Magruder Corridor of central Idaho. Duke & Helen and Dale & Eva from Klamath Falls, Oregon were participants with Mare & I for this adventure. We planned to stay the first night at Rocky Knob and then cross the 117-mile Magruder.

We were heading north out of Boise to Banks, Idaho where we were to cross to Stanley, Idaho and then on into Salmon, Idaho. We were aware there were large fires in the central Idaho mountains, and we were prepared to change our track to stay out of the fire base operations areas.

When we reached Rocky Knob in Montana, we knew for sure there wasn’t gonna be any crossing of the Magruder. Fire crews were fighting 7 fires in the area, and we holed up at Rocky Knob. We had reservations at the Red River Corrals, which is on the west side of the Magruder. We had been informed we no longer had reservations, because the Red River Corrals had been taken over by the US Forest Service, and was a helicopter firebase.

On both sides of Rocky Knob heading in, we saw numerous firebases, some doing helicopter operations. Rocky Knob is a nice mountain style log building with a tavern, a restaurant, and a small 5-room motel – it’s very clean and tidy. The food on the restaurant side of the business is outstanding, and we try to stop there anytime we get within 100 miles of the place. After a great dinner, Duke, Dale, & I went over to the tavern side and sampled the local liquid refreshments. Upon returning to our rooms we were told by our wives that we were in better moods and they could tolerate us somewhat better. A matter of opinion I must say.

We left Rocky Knob next morning, and headed up the beautiful Bitterroot Valley on US 93 to the Lolo Pass, which took us back into Idaho via Hwy 12. We spent the day traveling towards our night’s stay at the Reflections Inn on the Clearwater River.
That night we went into Kamiah and had dinner at The Moose River Grill. After dinner we spent some time at the Nez Perce Looking Glass PowWow. The women folk bought some turquoise jewelry and we watched with fascination the dancing and singing of the Non-Treaty Band of the Nez Perce.

Sunday found us over on the west border of the state near Cottonwood, Idaho. We went from Kamiah to Cottonwood via the Central Ridge Road out of Peck, Idaho. It is gravel and gains 2800 feet in elevation with spectacular scenery. After pulling into Craigmont, the oil pressure light on my Thing came on. I did a quick check and found plenty of oil, and the engine wasn’t running hot (180 degrees oil). So we pressed on, confident my pressure switch was faulty.

One of the things we love to do on our trips is visit the small town hardware stores. Cottonwood has a really nice one, and it is worth a stop. It’s called Hoene’s Hardware Company, and let me tell you, if they don’t have something…you don’t need it. They had everything from tuxedos to furniture, as well as whatever else you could name. We spoke for a while with Donn Clark about the history of the business, and we then left with our arms full of items we didn’t know we needed!

We took the day and drove our Things all over the backcountry near the Salmon River Breaks, Chief Joseph’s homeland. We found a nice place to stay the night back in Cottonwood. That evening we drove 15 miles into Grangeville for a dinner at Ernie’s Steak House.

Next morning, Monday, our final day, we arose and headed for Boise down Hwy 95. At Riggins we turned east, and went up the Salmon River Road to French Creek, where we had to climb up and over the rim of the Salmon River canyon. We came upon an “impressive” suspension bridge, and took pictures of each other as we crossed. The road got us up into the forest and we ended up in Burgdorf Hot Springs, some 30 miles distance out of McCall, Idaho. We had an uneventful trip back down to Boise on Hwy 55 and were sorry to have had the time pass so quickly.

The best part of all of our Thing trips is the friendship and fun when we get together. Dale & Eva are super Thingers and were excited to get their Thing off-road into the forests and canyons of Idaho. Duke & Helen are unsurpassed in prepping for a 1-20 day jaunt into unfamiliar areas. This is how we discover the many beautiful areas that many folks don’t know exist. Mare & I are so thankful for the friends we have who share our love of the unexplored with our Things.