Lava Lovers Lounge
Thought I'd begin a thread for Central Oregonians to connect for rides, post short ride reports, link to longer ride reports and hang out. I know there is the Central Oregon Meetup thread which is used to connect for dinner or drinks, so I'm not going to replace that.
This will be more focused on riding in Central Oregon. If you take a short trip and only get a couple pics and it's not worth taking the time to create a new thread, this is the place to drop your pics off. I love the "Riding Around The Hood" thread and I hope this will become something like that for those riding further south than "The Hood"
If nothing else, this will be where I can post rides I take so they'll be all in one thread and easier to find.
All you lovers of Central Oregon riding, feel free to post up here. Hopefully you'll subscribe so that others can post upcoming day rides and make connections.
Let the fun begin
Wolf Mountain Lookout Day Ride
A few weeks ago, someone posted a picture of Wolf Mountain Lookout. For some reason it interested me and I did a quick Google search. While reading I discovered that in 1942 a WWII B18 Bomber crashed within 1/2 mile of the lookout. I tried to discover more, but didn't find much. My son, who has a Bachelor's in History and Masters in Teaching, took over the challenge and found out quite a bit about the plane and it's demise. All the wreckage was removed for scrap during the war. In 2008 a forest fire pretty much eliminated the remaining evidence of a crash zone. Never the less, I wanted to ride there just to see the area and put the real scene in my head to go along with all the history and articles I had read.
So due to a weird set of circumstances I had a Saturday off which is very unusual. Friday night I quickly prepped the bike for a longer day ride, sorted my maps and gear.
Here's the route, starting in my hometown of Madras:
Here's the Google Maps link if you want to zoom in and check out the area:
Headed east to Ashwood then south on Trout Creek road, one of my favorites as you cross the stream a bunch of times. I didn't take any pics until I rode past this little rattler. Had to turn around to get the pic and he was most of the way across the road.
Riding a little further it began to sprinkle. I didn't look like it was going to continue to rain and the forecast had stated 20% chance of scattered thunderstorms. Trout Creek road can be an absolutely impassable route if it gets too wet. I stopped under a tree for a few minutes to see what would happen:
I was just a very brief shower so on I rode. Here my Vstrom cooling her heels at one of the crossings:
Through the Ochoco Mtns. Across Prinville-Mitchell Hwy, past Walton Lake, South of Big Summit Prairie, continuing east until I came to "Boeing Field" This is the field very near where the B18 crashed. It crashed in February and was discovered by a sheepherder in August. The story is that the Sheepherder mistakenly named the field thinking the plane was a Boeing, but it was actually a McDonnell-Douglas B18. Here's Boeing Field with Wolf Mtn Lookout barely visible in the upper left corner of the photo:
A trail head takes off here into the Black Canyon Winderness:
The last mile to the lookout was brutally rocky and a challenge for the Wee, but we made it.
In that pic, you can see a large rock in the foreground. Here's the plaque on the rock:
I hiked the ridge for awhile trying to find a tree that looked like it had been clipped by the bomber, but didn't find one that was convincing. So, now where to???
Checked the maps, I was probably good on fuel, but why not hit the metropolis of Paulina for a couple gallons then decide where to go. So south on good gravel roads then paved to Paulina. As I was turning onto the Paulina hwy, three BMW GS's when flying by heading east. After paying $4.95 per gallon regular in Pauline and $1.50 for a can of Mt. Dew, it was about 2:45. Too early to slab it home via Post. Check the maps.....Paulina Valley Rd is a dark red dashed road on my Benchmark Atlas. Dark red dashed roads are typically good gravel roads. Light red dashed roads are typically two track jeep type roads and the thin red lines can typically be overgrown roads that are often no longer visible or blocked off.
So, Paulina Valley Road....Dark red dashes....no problem. And it wasn't at first, wide gravel ranch type road....until the last ranch. Then it became a rough rutted jeep trail that I wasn't expecting to take my Wee on. When I got here, I considered turning back as it just continued to get tougher:
The pic makes it look easy, but it was pretty bad for a bike with limited ground clearance. I chose to push ahead as I had plenty of daylight. The surface eventually became better, but the trees were closing in:
I finally popped out back on 42 which I had been on earlier in the day. I had passed this "Road Closed" sign earlier, and being the curious person I am, wondered if it was really impassable for a motorcycle....
2 miles up the road....yep they're putting in a new bridge and unless you can jump the 20' gap, it's a no go:
However, right where they are putting in the new bridge is a beautiful camp spot on the creek. I need to come back here for an overnight when they are done:
Headed back, knew I was too tired for any more adventure so just took 42 to the hwy. 42 is an amazing paved road with little traffic:
Prineville for dinner then home by 6:30pm. What a great day riding. Thanks for tagging along.
I love that area, and have seen many miles there, but missed a couple I need to visit obviously. Thanks!
Great photos and narrative. Looks like this will be a fun thread!
We were at Wolf Mt. lookout this summer and had no idea that plaque was there. The fire lookouts camper was parked right there in front of the rock!
Thanks for posting! You gave me some flashbacks, I rode Trout Creek road for the first time a spring ago during the high run off. Almost drowned the big GS on those water crossings! Great route.
2 words,,for that creek.
good idea, "lava lovers lounge"
:d I'd ride that! Never been 1/2 those places, and it's my back yard...
:lurk, Any one else gorADV riding this weekend?
Trout Creek is probably not really ridable until mid to late May. Here's a of the first crossing in early May:
My Avatar pic is from the same ride:
Yesterday I discovered that Ashwood Rd and Trout Creek had both been freshly graded. I know Trout Creek hadn't been graded in years. It's not much of a challenge now.
Less than a 1/2 mile east of Wolf Mountain LO are the remains of a tree top lookout. I've been told its from the 1920's.
Great thread and thanks for sharing. I love the obscure Oregon history bits. P.S. You picked a cool name for this thread...you made us look!
For this interested in the history of the plane, here is some of the research my son sent me:
The newspaper incorrectly dates the crash as Feb 3, 1942 which caused some problems researching it. The crash is actually thought to have happened on 02-04-42.
The plane was an RB-18A, a version of a Boeing B-18 'Bolo' bomber that was "restricted from combat", an interwar bomber that was quickly outdated as the US began to produce the B-25 "Mitchell' and B-26 'Marauder'. This crash happened so early in 1942 that this plane was still in service and had not yet been decomissioned. In fact, one source has only one plane listed as having received this desigation -- this could be the only plane to have ever had the RB-18A designation. The plane's serial number was 39-26.
The last running B-18s were sent to where they sent all the old, outdated junk -- Alaska. The plane was to be stationed at Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage, AK as a part of the USAAF's 36th Bombardment Squadron, 28th Composite Group, 11th Air Force. The plane was en route from McLellan AFB, Sacramento, CA to Pendleton AFB, Pendleton, OR as a part of it's journey to rejoin its unit in Anchorage. The reason it was in Sacramento in the first place was to be repaired after it was damaged in an earlier taxiing accident at Elmendorf.
This source states that there was bad weather in the area the day the plane went missing. Here are the names of the four men who were killed:
2/LT Richard J Heiderstadt O-417958 (pilot)
2/LT Walter V McShane O-421271 (co-pilot)
TSG Michael R Bittner 1096450 (engineer)
SSG Donald R Kirtland 624 31 53 (radio operator)
There are four newspaper articles here with varying amounts of detail (this one and the others under "related articles" on the right:
Here are a couple sites with crash information:
Page 144 of this book states there is some confusion over the origin of the crew, but it looks like the crew was just a transport crew that was taking the plane back to Elmendorf.
Finally, there is this account of a guy who went to the tower last month and found a marker with a plaque for the wreck, but there are no pictures of the wreck:
Too bad about the messing up trout creek road:cry
Too good about the rest of this thread:norton
Looking forward to more Lava tales :clap
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