1000 Miles of History, Ghost Towns and Amazing Scenery....oh yeah, Van pics to! :-)


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Just finished a 4 day 1000 mile road trip with the van and my father joined the trip with his Tacoma/Vagabond camper. Such a cool road trip, soooo much scenery and history to explore out there.

Warning...Picture Heavy Post.

Heading out of town we were treated to an awesome sunrise.

First up was the historic mining town of Wallace ID. This is town is full of history and cool things to explore. There is also a bicycle trail on a old railroad bed that is all down hill and travels through tunnels and over trestles...we will have to come back for those!

Dad checking out the signs :)

Wallace is home to the Center Of The Universe!

I found it strange that the Center of the Universe is located in the middle of a 4 way intersection where people will want to stand on it to take photos lol. All locations in town are referenced from the Cnter of the Universe :).

This pawn/antique shop in Wallace is a very cool shop, a must stop when your there!

Dad checking out the Mermaid

My wife checking out the lovely room of death lol.

More fun stores

Wallace is famous for it's houses of prostitution, there were MANY of them in this small town. The last operating brothel closed in 1991. The Oasis cat house closed in 1988 and was boarded up tight with everything inside...they just turned off the lights and left, eventually it was purchased and the time capsule was opened and its now a perfectly preserved museum. Really good tour.

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Next we left Wallace and headed about 7 miles out of town to the ghost town of Burke ID. Burke was one of the largest producers of silver, zinc and lead. Look up Burke on youtube for some really cool history.

Burke back in the day.....

Today little is left except small ruins, you would never know how massive this place really was.

Massive head frame in the background.

What's left of the Frisco Mill. During a battle between the miners and the mill owners the miners placed explosives in a mine cart above the mill and sent the cart down the tracks into the mill, completely destroying the mill.

Shot from the Drone

Stopped at the 50,000 silver dollar store in Montana. Just cheap tourist stuff here but kinda cool to check out.

Using the Biolite grill to cook up some steaks for dinner...yummm

My wife enjoying the trip....

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Dad setting up camp...takes all of about 2 minutes. The Vagabond Drifter is a slick setup!

Next we stopped in Missoula MT....Ehh...just a big city and we weren't to impressed so didn't spend much time here.

Back on the road and heading south towards the Salmon river. Several cool towns to stop and explore along the way.

Stickers on entering state signs must be a thing now :)

Lots of beautiful scenery along the way.

Found a great free camp site right on the Salmon river...soooo nice! While we were camped here a park ranger stopped by to chat and we told him that we were heading to the Yankee Fork gold dredge and the ghost town of Custer ID. He told us that there is a historic dirt road called the Custer Motorway that would take us right to Custer and avoid paved roads, heads up over the mountains at 9k feet.... just turn at Challis and follow the dirt road. Awesome! Custer Motorway it will be!

Kiddo got a lot of play time in the river

Camp from above

Doesn't get much better than this!

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If anyone has ever watched Lucy and the long long trailer you will get this...my wife started collecting rocks to bring home lol.

Heading out again....more amazing scenery

Heading up into the mountains on the Custer Motorway.

Time to get the drone out again for another perspective.

Continuing down the trail.

Kiddo cruising on the bed

More history. This was once a toll road and whats left of the toll cabins are still here at 9k feet. Very cool!

Wild strawberries...yummmm

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Didn't take long to find the old dump site.

A little photography along the way

Next we visited the ghost town of Custer. Another great piece of history. But first up...breakfast :)

In a small remote ghost town in the mountains of ID we ran into Chad with Adventure Wagon! Chad is an awesome guy and makes some really cool Sprinter gear. We are running his Mule bags and basically patterned a lot of our interior off his kits. Great to chat with you Chad!

Showing Chad our build.

Chad even placed a Hodakaguy sticker on his van :)

Custer from the Air

And checking out the old buildings.

Next we explored the abandoned Yankee Fork gold dredge. Unlike the Sumpter dredge that we explored last trip the Yankee dredge is completely intact with all the original equipment...plus they let you climb and explore on all levels!! Such a cool piece of mining history.

Heading into the dredge, people provide a good reference and show the scale of the bucket line.

I spy a Sprinter :)

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Massive electric powered winches. These were used to position the dredge and raise/lower the bucket line.

Resistor banks used as speed controls for the motors

Thats it...just a little further :)

Upper axle on the bucket line

Grizzly bars to reject large rocks before they get to the trommel.

Bull gear that drives the bucket line. This is the weakest spot on the dredge, the large bull gear was replaced 3 times while this dredge was in operation.

Trommel from above

Checking out the sluice runs

Gold recovery area, the pot on the lower right was used to burn off the mercury and recover the gold.

The dredge made its own power via two 1940 Ingersol Rand Diesel engines running two generators.

Got the drone back out for a few shots of the dredge

Great shot of the tailings left behind from the dredge

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Wife got in a little panning while we were there...didn't get anything but more cool rocks to pack in the van :)

Sawtooth Mountains as we head south and home

Hot springs along the hwy....gonna have to come back here!

Restaurant along the road lol.

Stopped for ice cream and had to leave a sticker :)

Next morning all that was left was to make coffee and roll into home.



Well-known member
Yeehah :thumbup:
Northern Idaho, as I opened the post it was there your photos gobsmacking me in the face! --Wallace
--Bloody Wallace Idaho!
Instantly I quizzed my lovely wife a Northern Idahoan --Hey recognize this place ?
You ought to! We have passed it so many times over 12 years scudding along on I/90 in a Landrover going to your mother's house (my in-laws place) in Sandpoint & Sagle.
That cupola roof and the US flag is always visible in the town!
A town made famous for prostitution.--No less! :devilish:

Great shots --Its SO Idaho!

As for Burke, & its silver mine its recorded as being the first domestic terrorist action that wrecked the place.
The photos must be great family memories, and thanks so much for sharing with the membership.:thumbup:
We both enjoyed your post submission .
Cheers Dennis
p,.s I thought my missus was the only one that collected rocks on trips.
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Well-known member
I was only 13 and did a trip a bit south on a Honda 50. From Baker City, OR to Joseph, ID. Took a couple of weeks. A definite memory.
Walter Brennan's place. Kleinschmidt Grade before they improved it. Hat Point, the first visitors of the year. Hells Canyon before the dams.
There was a ranch of a 1920s actor. He feared a collapse of society, so he had a large warehouse of stuff and his own saw mill. It was all just abandoned when I was there. I remember he had a spare wood stove still in the warehouse. The name started with a P, but I can find no info on the net.

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Great thread! Thanks for the pictures.

My wife and I had planned to return to the west last October and stay a bit longer in the places that we enjoyed in 2017. Some medical issues got in the way, but we figured 2020 would be fine for our plans. Your thread shows that we may still be able to travel back west this year, Covid or not.

:cheers: vic


New member
Thanks for sharing! You just added to my list of trips once I get the van upfitted. BTW it was nice to meet you in St. Helens.

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