On the Road in Idaho

A former logging town, McCall, Idaho  is now a picturesque resort town of about 3,o00 permanent residents, nestled on the south shore of Payette Lake.  An all-season tourist destination, it’s centered in the Payette National Forest and is renowned for alpine skiing, boating, fishing, hunting, hiking, golfing, rafting – and of course, motorcycling. The welcoming and historic Hotel McCall, where I  stayed, is right on the waterfront and within easy walking distance of just about anywhere in town.


Hotel McCall waterfront on Lake Payettte. The hotel is just to the right of this photo, overlooking the lake. Lovely!

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Smokejumper plane.  I had a fascinating tour of the smokejumper base. Opened by the US Forestry Service in 1943, it’s one of eight smokejumper training bases in the nation. The site includes a smokejumper training unit, paraloft, dispatch office, and the McCall air tanker base.

The first responders to forest fires, smoke jumpers are parachuted in with shovels, chain saws, food and water. Teams of 8 work to contain the fire’s spread, working 16 hour days, 14 days on, 2 days off. Given the remote, mountainous terrain they often work in, getting a lift out for their days off can be a challenge.

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This DC3 landed, was refilled with fire retardant and airborne again within 30 minutes.

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Can’t get enough of the beautiful natural, rugged terrain.

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Along the Salmon river further north in Idaho, along Highway 13.

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My weekend destination, overlooking the valley.  Mountain breezes kept us cool, even when temperatures were in the 30’sC/90’sF. Stars were brilliant; Milky Way prominent – and access a bit of a challenge. More on that tomorrow.


Riding Idaho’s Highway 12 to Lolo Pass, with West Coast Roar owners Greer Stewart and Joley Baker.

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Also joined by the inseparable pair of Kristine Ash and Tessie. A registered therapy dog, Tessie has her own FB  page.

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Endless scenic riding along the Loscha River heading east to Lolo Pass.

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Typical view along Highway 12 in Idaho.

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Given that it’s been named a top motorcycle destination, it’s no wonder there are plenty of riders on it. It’s history goes back to the early 1800’s and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

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Aftermath of the Lolo fire in Montana, which at the time of this photo, was in mop-up stage. The fire had crossed the road, burning acres of forest on either side, as well as dwellings.

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And now, with my 6-week travels coming to a close, I’ve got a lot of riding to do, to get back to Ontario for the weekend. I don’t feel at all ready to come off the road, but know that the next part of my journey is back in my home province.  For now.


Healer, author, and motorcycle aficionado Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. No helmet or jacket required.

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