McCall, Idaho – Hwys 55, 95, 13

McCall, Idaho is at the southern tip of Payette Lake

McCall, Idaho is at the southern tip of Payette Lake

McCall, Idaho is a resort town on the southern tip of Payette Lake.  It’s a small town of about 2,900 people, peppered with motels.

The town’s claim to fame – it was the location for filming in 1938 for the Academy Award-nominated movie Northwest Passage, starring Spencer Tracy, Robert Young and Walter Brennan.  The Idaho forest was a stand in for New England where the film’s story involving the French and Indian War 1755-1763 took place.

Superb Driving Roads – Hwys 55, 95, 13

The drive from McCall west on Idaho Highway 55, then north on U.S. 95 to Riggins (at the confluence of the Salmon and Little Salmon Rivers, and renown for whitewater rafting), and continuing north on Idaho Highway 13 to Kooskia is one of the sweetest pieces of motorcycle road you’ll ever encounter.

The short section from Grangeville north to Kooskia Hwy 13 – is a ‘spur’ of the east-west Northwest Passage Scenic Byway (U.S. 12, Lewiston, Idaho to Missoula, Montana) and Lolo Pass, one of America’s most scenic drives.

Last year, on the Moto Guzzi Stelvio’s maiden voyage, we toured that route, and it was one of the best motorcycle days I’ve had, ever.


The Super 8 motel in McCall is one of my favourite motels anywhere.  We’ve stayed there regularly over the past few years.  A few things set it above the crowd.

First, its architecture is that of a log lodge, like one would expect in, say, Banff or Jasper.  Second, desk staff regularly bake fresh, homemade cookies, and there’s always a platter of them on the front counter.  Third, one of the managers there, Leanne, is one of the nicest, most helpful people I’ve met in all my years of travel.

Last year, Robyn’s rear tire on his R1200RT unexpectedly wore through and was showing steel cord.  Leanne went above and beyond the call of duty to help us find and contact a motorcycle emergency repair service late at night.  Oddly, the home motorcycle repair enterprise is  located across the parking lot from the motel.

With her help, Robyn was able to get a new tire, have it mounted, and on the road the next morning.

Super 8 McCall, 303 S 3rd St, McCall, ID; Phone:+1 208-634-4637


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