A tale of two rides (central Oregon adventure)
What do a couple of Seattle area adventure riders do while waiting for the last of the snow to melt off high
roads around the Cascades and Olympic Mountains in the middle of May? They head 335 miles down the
road to central Oregon natch.
My riding pal Brent and I have been reading the great ride reports by the Bend area gang and having ridden
through there a couple of years ago on the way down to ride the OBDR back north, it seemed like a great
idea last November while trying to keep afloat in one of the wettest months on record.
Our first thought was to ride some or all of the OBDR route 4 which starts at Sisters, Oregon and takes you
through the heart of the Ochoco Mtns before ending at Seneca. And while that is still on my list to ride,
to be honest, a lot of the OBDR routes are pretty tame; scenic, but not much of a challenge and I was
wanting to get a little more action for this trip.. and the Bend boys did NOT dissapoint.
So with a little pre-planning on the Northwet forum, we set up two rides. One on Friday which was a big
double loop around the town of Sisters, for about 135 miles total and then a ride Saturday that was a
similar big double loop centered around the town of Prineville for a total of over 200 miles.
Each ride was spectacular and while seperated by only a few miles, they were quite different in nature. The
contrast between the two routes was remarkable and while the riding and views were incredible, the
hospitality of the ride leaders and the other local talent is what capped them both as among the most
memorable adventure rides I've been on
Now, before I go on... my reports are usually resplendent with ample photos, but there was one
ehhemmm... mishap (which was dutifully documented and will surely make it's way to the thread) that
put my faithful Canon Powershot out of commission for the rest of the trip.. however, there was no
lack of digital imagery of the days events as I think just about everyone of the 13 riders had a camera..
and besides, I think it only fitting that they help document the rides as it was just as much their
adventure as it was ours.
Friday's ride took us from Dave's awesome ranch up a little known "secret" trail
that was a great way to warm up for the day. It was there that I provided a little bit of entertainment
for the spectators waiting on the 12ft high bank that was our egress route from the trail we were on
and was to be my first "Quixotic windmill" moment for the day.
From there, it just kept getting better and better with high desert landscape quickly turning to lush
pine forest, with miles and miles of off-pavement riding (the only pavement for the entire day was the
7 miles out to Dave's place and back from our hotel).. The ride included single track, double track, wide
open sections on forest roads.. a creek crossing, a stop at atop Three Creeks Butte that has a
fantastic vista of the prettiest mountains in the central Cascades and that was all BEFORE LUNCH!
After lunch at Sisters, the roads and scenery changed as we climbed to a high plateau and rode up to
the edge of the Deschutes River Canyon that rivals some of the best canyon landscapes anywhere. Riding
south back towards our starting point, Dave took us through more great two track and another, larger
creek crossing, and then through a couple of ORV areas that had us riding through deep walled canyons
on some great, fast single track that eventually became sandy whoops that tested our strength
so we truly had it all on this days ride.
So hopefully, in the next day or two, some fantastic photos will be tagged on to this report and I'm
here to tell you, as you'll soon discover what many of us in the Northwest already know, that Central
Oregon is an adventure riders paradise. (just don't tell anyone :wink: )
Here's a map of day one to get the party started
OK - so the fellas from Washington said they had knobs on and were ready for some high desert action. We rolled from my place about 9:30 or so and it was very dusty. Knowing our ‘secret ditch trail’ was all fresh and had lots of pine needles and duff in it (to keep the dust down) we decided to give it a go. I mentioned that there were a couple ‘get-outs’ that were manditory and several more that were optional. Robb has this pristine 950 but he has all the guards on it and really, this a good track to crash on because it’s mostly sandy. it starts out pretty mellow.
Here comes Brent on his well set up XR650L
The first mandatory get out and all’s well.
Here comes Hockin just before the second get out. Good set up and he helped us clear this thing so he knows what’s coming. It’s really dry here already but after a rain, this is is so grippy.
Like a ground support person at the airport, I’m trying to motion to Rob that he needs to swing left a bit then punch it up the ditch.
I must not be communicating with my gestures but he gives it the gas and, well . . .
We are within 10 miles of the start of this ride and I’m thinking these guys are already pissed at me. I’ve led some buddies into dumb situations before in my enthusiasm to share cool places but you’d think at this stage of the game I’d know better.
Rob is such a cool cat though and he’s joking - ‘hey did you get that picture? because this 950 pound bike really is on my leg.” He and I backtrack to the last get out and roll on a dirt road that parallels the ditch.
These guys are game but it’s already warming up like it does over here so sleeves are zipped off and really they passed the ‘rider test’ so we better get moving and cool everybodie’s bikes down with some 3rd, 4th gear 2-tracks up to the view point.
Jim charging up the grade on his Husky TE450
Robdogg (I’d keep my feet on those pegs but hey - everybody’s different eh?)
Crap exposure - my bad - the Sisters are looming in the background as we ascend to the view.
There goes Brent
So we were on the view point and had talked to Stihrigg who had pulled a muscle the day before forcing his way up to a really great lake the day before on his 950. We thought he wasn’t even going to attempt to ride with us but at the last minute, said he was able. Great! meet us up on the butte then. We called him and by chance, he had stopped to adjust his handlebars, had his helmet off and took the call. “I’m not sure exactly where I am or how to get to you guys”.
Just meet us in Sisters for lunch and we’ll do the afternoon, and so we head down to a little water crossing and our meal.
Matt taking the ‘easy’ line.
Robdogg taking the technical line.
So I don’t have shot of Robb(water)dog laying in the hole to his left, with the water flowing into his jacket collar, filling up his sleeves, running down into his pants, filling his left boot with water, and his camera lodged under a small log in the water but I do have this:
It might not look like much and I bet the next time Rob comes through here it’ll be a quick rip of the throttle and he’ll be laughing at these shots but he hesitated just long enough to miss it and fell over into the stream to the left. It’s deeper than it looks and he was soaked. Thankfully, it was pretty warm out and I think he was actually more comfortable than all of us at this point.
As we were inspecting the damage and looking for his submerged Canon, I hear another machine through the woods. It must be Stihlrigg as I recognize the FMF duals.
Sure enough -
He sees the camera and knows it must be an obstacle so punches it across the water. There are some fairly good sized rocks in there and they are at an angle to the line you want so it’s (as usual) better to just gas it.
Good laughs all around and down we go towards Sisters for lunch. But we need to show the Washington fellas some more dusty chocolate. Here’s Jim charging the TE -
Stihlrigg giving his back a ‘rest’ on the 950
Brent- the ‘dusty buddy’
Dualsport650 (Matt) who can’t control his throttle hand :)
So, there was a bunch of cool trail to lunch and we didn’t shoot anymore pictures. But I got this one shot of Hockin and his weird eyeballs
We have an OK (totally over-priced tourist town meal) and head north into the more open country. We could’ve taken the fellas on some epic single track but it was super dusty and with 6 bikes we’d be clogging up everyone’s filters so we decide to change it up.
We’ve riden this graveyard of rim wrecking headstones that is so fun but kind os a tese as there are segments of sand between imbedded lava stones that’ll flat your tires and bend a rim before you even know what happened. The dust paints the rocks and makes them cammoflaged.
no complaints from Brent
Have we discussed the dusty conditions? At least we are now out in the open and there’s a breeze.
The DesChutes river
On the rim of the DesChutes looking west to Mt Jeferson, the second highest mountain in Oregon.
We are headed back towards my place (and the beer cooler) now but there’s one more chance for Rob(water)dogg to go swimming with his bike.
He spoils the shot by riding through flawlessly though.
I like to ride this little canyon and it may be closed off to through traffic someday but we had a great roll through this day.
One more little hill climb out of the canyon and we reach some pavement.
I ask the guys if they want some more of that and everyone says YEAH.
I haven’t ridden this area since last fall and there’s been a crap-load of bikes through here so it’s totally whooped out which on my 525 is a blast but the whole time I’m thinking these guys are going to be so pissed at me (again)
It gets tight in a few places but we all make it through ( and Stihrigg leaves some skidpan petroglyphs)
It was a great day with some great fellas and we saw a bunch of cool stuff that I didn’t take any photos of. A pleasure to share our routes with everyone. Till the next time . . .
That dude on the KTM is always falling, isn't he? :D
Super report. :clap
Sthilrigg on the other hand was inspiring to watch him ride his 950 S.. he rides that thing better then most guys I've seen ride much smaller machines
Brilliant. Wish I was there with you. :thumb
robdogg & Rod,
Great report and better yet, kudos to all - especially robdogg and stihlrigg who are riding their big adventure bikes like they were meant to be used! :bow
I've ridden with robdogg and he's a real gamer on that 950. It looks as though stihlrigg has it figured out too. No poseurs here!
Good job :thumb
Great report, Wachs is an awesome trail guide.
It was a real pleasure to meet some fellow ADV riders, Robdogg and his buddy Brent carry the torch well. Their excitement to ride in our little paradise was invigorating. I grew up in the area, so I often forget how great it is. Wachs took us all out for a real buffet of dirt delights. Robdogg and Brent were real troopers. Wachs has mentioned that the little trail we took to get out of the last canyon was all sand and 2ft. deep whoops. I think we are all pretty worked when we got to this point.
We follow this little trail for 20 minutes, it's complete focus and willpower that keeps me from crashing every few feet. The 950 is an amazing bike that will do it all, but that thing gets heavy real fast in the tight singletrack. I'm thinking robdogg is going to be a little bummed that we took him thru this stuff on the big bike. He shows up smiling and says " You have'nt shown me anything bad today but, that was my least favorite".
What a guy. That's what makes a good riding partner.
There is another thread in the regional forum for the saturday ride.
Wish I could have been on that ride as well, but I spent saturday on my back recovering.
HA! Another great report of a ride lead by our Dave. Anyway, I'm starting to see a thread on this which takes me to the following conclusion: When we ride with Dave we should enforce a rule that he adds 150lbs of sand on side bags on his bike. Yeah, a new concept of sidebags or sandbagging. And now with the 525, man. You see how he has time to find a photo op location, then find a tree to comfortably park his bike before he takes pictures? He made his new machine a leaner meaner beast by even not including a kick stand on it. Anyway, Dave is truly a great trail guide. And this report arrived in perfect timing to bring me back into a riding mode.
Best wishes guys,
Great job, Dave.
Excellent pics and great riding territory!
Thanks for sharing the fun (and the falls)...
Fridays Ride- "Oh man, are we gonna survive this?"
So we make it into Bend at about 2AM Thursday night after a long drive after work. Up the next morning at 6am, but we still need to get the bikes fueled, fill up the camelbacks, have some breakfast, etc. so we were still a tad late to Wachs place for our agreed meet time.
Wachs ( who sorta started all this by planting the idea with the "1047 mi of Oregon Desert..." ride report) says we'll start off with a short hop up to the "secret ditch", which is kind of technical but a lot of fun. [OK, how bad can a ditch be? couple of feet deep??] No, THIS is what he meant
OK, it took me a while, I'm a little slow sometimes, but I came to realize that when you saw Wachs stopped with his camera, it meant there was something on the trail that would create a "PHOTO OPPORTUNITY". Like this:
I also suspect that behind those helmets were big, ear to ear grins that were just like the ones I used to get back home when one of my buddies said "He ya'll, watch this!" :D That meant there was the potential for carnage and mayhem!
But, they showed what great guys they really are by coming down to help horse the big 9-fiddy around to head back down the ditch to find an easier out.
After that, were off down some 2 track for site seeing. Here's a shot of the 3 Sisters:
Uh, no, the mountains in the background are the Sisters, these guys are Matt, Wachs and Jim. :evil
Rob, the big twin and the Sisters (could be a Dave Berry rock band name)
From there some more fire roads and 2 track to the First Water Crossing, which was another "PHOTO OPPORTUNITY" Oh boy, carnage an mayhem await! But, by now you already know that! :D
Another angle on Robs unplanned bath:
Just as we get the big twin clear of the crossing, we hear a rumble in the distance. Stihlrigg had picked up our trail and was moving fast, trying to catch us. Stihlrigg obviously knew about the "PHOTO OPPORTUNITY" concept and the imminent danger it entailed, so he NAILS it!
This was the first, but not the last time I would be need to check to make sure he hadn't swapped the big twin for a 450 or a 640. Wow!
Wachs, also makes the most of the "PHOTO OPPORTUNITY"
After this, it was off to Sisters for lunch. Afterward, more riding and then an early afternoon trip to a store for fuel and popsicles where we spotted this:
This little boy had his Dad on a pretty long leash, but well under control. :lol3
Oh the fire truck? I have no idea, maybe somebody else can provide an explanation??
From there it was off for more site seeing and this spectacular canyon:
Matt on the way to see the view:
Did we mention it was dusty:
And the Second Water Crossing "PHOTO OPPORTUNITY". Wachs doesn't dissappoint:
From there we went through this pretty canyon
Here comes Rob
Stihlrigg right behind, sucking a lot of dust.
Wachs- by the way this was one of the few times I saw him on the bike all day. This guy flys!
From here we were through another somewhat tight canyon, followed by some whoops to end the day. A full day of excellent riding. Thank you Wachs for leading an awesome ride, Matt, Jim , Stihlrigg it was a pleasure riding with you.
Day 2 still to come, it also does not dissappoint!
Saturday's ride would take us east of Bend with a staging area out in the middle of the desert (which is pretty much all there is east of Bend for quite some ways) Greg, our ride captain for the day figured it would be easier to start closer to Bend then our original staging area in Prineville and then we could get off the road right away rather then having to slab it another 20 miles to P'ville. This was a great idea; but the problem is, two guys from Renton sure don't know where the heck Four Corners is (it's about two miles south of Alfalfa, Oregon as we found out) and Greg's instructions about turning right at the first sage brush past the four way intersection wasn't much help :D
After the greetings, sniffing of tails and hand shaking, we lit em up and headed North towards P'ville. The first few miles was more of the sandy, whooped out single track (oh joy!) similar to the day before and my arm pump from the previous days ride through the white stuff was just beginning to wear off.. but it was the price of admission, so I gladly rode it without complaint. It soon smoothed out to nice fun, and fast two track, with one big ol hill along the way. Greg led us up to another great vantage point (sure are lots of buttes around this part of the country - and they make fabulous vistas of the surrounding landscape.) After coming back down, we rode 4x4 type trails.. with a another hill climb or two and finally hooked up to a bit of pavement down in to Prineville.
After a quickie gas stop, we headed out for a 45 mile loop up in to the Ochoco Mtns that was a mixture of smoothly paved twisties, some fast gravel and dirt roads up to the probably my favorite part of the two days ride (hard to pick, but this trail was special), the Green Mtn Trail. I'll let Brent and others fill in with some of the shots, but this was basically, a nice, fairly long (8 mile) smooth (i.e. no 4ft high root steps like we have up here) trail with plenty of bermed turns, a few tighter sections between the trees and just enough up and down elevation changes to keep it real interesting. The soil had enough moisture to keep it nice and chocolaty and low on the dust too.
After that gorgeous piece of dessert, we rode more gravel and dirt fire roads down through some beautiful pine forests interspersed with vibrant green mountain meadows on to a little side trip to a place called Stiens Pillar (again, watch for some of the coming photos) that was in a fantastic little valley that I plan to own some day.
We then hightailed it back to Prineville for more go juice, and then continuing south we ran right up to the edge of the Prineville Resivoir and followed some more awesome super twisty and freshly paved roads high on the banks above the man-made lake. This soon turned to hard pack dirt roads that rolled through the hills and canyons around the north side of the reservoir. Another blast through the desert again for miles and miles of two track fun through the aromatic sage filled landscape.. our destination was the town (if three buildings in a sea of sage be called a town?) where we had some gut busting lunches and had the usual discussion about past, present and future rides.
After leaving Brothers, it was a continuation of the same two track riding but soon we got in to the hills again and the views were fantastic. At several points while stopped, you could see the riders dust trails stretching miles ahead in to the distance. We soon came upon the last destination stop of the day. Another high butte that even had an observatory, but it was getting on in the day, and we had quite a few miles to go, so we all shook hands, lauded each others riding skills and promised to do this again the next time we decide to drive 300 miles to go on a day ride :D - and rode dirt and gravel as far as we could towards town, then jumped on hwy 20 for the remainder of the ride back to our hotel.
220 miles said the trip computer, but the smiles, new friends and awesome sites were again, immeasurable.
A map of day two
cool shot Brent - thanks for posting it.
looks like you guys had a great saturday ride too. anytime you want to see some sandy whoops . . . :rofl :rofl :rofl
When you were going down Alfalfa market road, did you pass a house that was a brownish color, and looked south western?
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