Three Unicorns

I’ve had multiple friends and others refer to the Yamaha 700 Tenere as a “unicorn”, since they are rare and you almost never see one on the road. In the last seven thousand miles, we’ve seen two others: one in Big Sur, and the other on Highway 1 in Oregon.

This week I was privileged to take a ride with two other unicorns…another T7 and a new Harley Davidson Pan America (which until now I wasn’t even aware was available to purchase yet, much less already sold and available for rent).

Tom and Erin, friends from Tennessee and Ohio respectively, flew into Boise and rented two motorcycles so we could go for a ride. Tom ended up on a nicely appointed 700 Tenere, while Erin chose the Pan America, a bike we were all curious to see and experience.

Erin had planned a route for us, and I plugged some GPS coordinates into my Garmin. The temperatures here have been over 100 degrees nearly every day for more than a week, so we agreed to meet at 6am and get an early start, as it looked like the loop might take the better part of the day.

We left out of Meridian and headed south on I-84 for about 20 miles before turning off and heading east onto dirt and into the mountains. We were all happy that the morning temperatures were hovering around 66 degrees.

“So, that’s a dual-sport bike, eh?”

Two T7s and a Pan America. Fun on the Idaho BDR.

We climbed up to Pine, Idaho, a tiny little town with a gas station and a cafe, and had a late breakfast. We met several other riders here who were doing the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route, or BDR. Our loop would include a portion of the BDR, and surprisingly we covered the majority of it without encountering another vehicle of any kind.

On the way into Pine, we stopped overlooking the Anderson Ranch Reservoir.

That is not a beach on the shoreline of the lake. Well, it isn’t supposed to be anyway. The lack of rain here and the record heat has caused the water levels in many of the rivers and lakes around here to drop by as much as fifty feet. In the distance, people are parked and fishing from the now-exposed peninsula that is slowly making its’ way all the way across the lake.

We rode our bikes all the way down the boat ramp, then off the end and another 100 feet or so down to the water’s edge.

We stopped at the Pine Cafe for breakfast, about a third of the way through our ride. While here, another group of riders came in. One of the guys said “No wonder nobody can get a 700 Tenere. You guys have them all!” It must have been unusual to see two in the same place.

We turned off just past Featherville on a smaller dirt road that took us north towards Rocky Bar. This is a view from near the top of the pass.

The Three Amigos, near the Middle Fork of the Boise River and Dutch Frank Hot Springs…about 150 miles into our loop.

By the time we reached the Middle and North Forks of the Boise River and began our trek west back towards Boise, it was getting warm. Once or twice we saw 102 degrees on the bikes’ air temperature readouts. The last part of the ride was hot, and the dirt road was corrugated for about 50 miles and rocky in places, making for a bit of a jarring ride.

Along the North Fork of the Boise River.

Returning to Boise, we had covered around 220 miles, about 150 of which was off-road. It was a great day of riding, and we all felt like the bikes had done well. I have a feeling not many retailed Pan Americas have been ridden as far in the dirt — and in one day — as Erin rode this one.

It was a great day of riding and just getting to hang out with some good friends.

Diana and I have a couple of more days in Boise to relax and catch up on some chores before heading northwest. This is our first house-sit since we left home, but not our last, and we’re enjoying the luxuries (and cost-savings) of a home, while also getting to hang out with some fun fur babies.

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