We had breakfast in Paisley, at the Homestead Cafe and then we were on our way to Fields. Plan was for all-dirt.
Just North of Paisley we turned East onto the dirt, running past the airport on Red House Road. Nice day, fast road.
After this we're on Fandango for a while before turning South onto some sandy 2-track. I don't have any pics of this section, maybe Brian does. I recall he was kicking up a ton of dust.
Then we rejoin county 2-06 which is a major gravel superhighway. Good views of Lake Abert to the South:
At this point we cross over US395 and start climbing up a powerline trail:
Views of Lake Abert again, this time looking SE
Turns into a cool track which eventually dissapears, we can see a road about 1/3 mile away so a little bit of cross country:
Then we're on a long straight powerline trail. Rocky but fast. Same trail Wachs and Brad21 rode here
, but in the spring, amazing what a little spring color gets you:
Ran into a rancher herding cattle. Stopped and talked for a bit, lots of cows so we probably stopped for 5 minutes to let him herd them past the next fence:
allowing us to detour around them through the rocks:
After this the trail drops briefly down into a valley where we ran into more cows, went down slowly between them. Ranchers had trucks at the bottom loading up the cattle, i guess to take them to lower ground for the winter:
After this we climbed out of the valley and the powerline trail improves and then you start switchbacking upto the microwave tower:
Brian and the mighty Katoom at the top:
We stopped for a bit, took in the views then it was a long stretch of twisty 2-track, again which I don't have any photos of
. I remember finding it hard to get any kind of rhythm on this section. Maybe Brian has a photo he can post.
Eventually we join Hogback road and take it down to Plush:
We have lunch at the Plush General Store. Fox is blaring from the TV and everything is fried but it's a nice place to sit down and relax. We fill up with gas after sitting for a long time. I thought I had a pic of the Store too, but can't find that either. Loser!
Plan is to head up to Hard Mountain Hot springs, soak a bit, then push on to Fields. Ominously it's close to 2pm when we leave.
Approaching the hot spring:
Brian taking a soak:
Ok. So at this point it's kind of late. Probably 3.15pm when we leave. EXIF data of the soaking pics says 2.45pm. No problem, we'll just scooch right over to Fields, ok, so the lines on the map are so fine I need to squint to see them, but I'm sure it'll all be fine ....
We're on pretty easy 2-track as we head out:
Soon we come to where I think we need to start heading East on the GPS, there is a locked gate, it says it's seasonally closed Dec-June. Well, it's after that so I guess they just forgot to unlock it
It's signed as heading towards Black Canyon:
Things quickly get rockier but we're still able to keep up a decent 3rd gear pace:
More disturbingly this dude keeps appearing over my shoulder:
Soon after we're on a less rocky section of sandy track approacing Beatty Butte Rd (which is the major upside down U road that runs through the area) when we see two bikes approaching.
We stop and chat. They've come from where we're planning on going, Fields via Domingo Pass. They tell us it's 70 miles, they've come from there and are heading to the hot springs to camp. We head off also. It turns out later that this was n2moto and his buddy out on a week+ trip. Interesting fact this; the hot springs is far closer to our present position than Fields is. I guess Park, Wachs and those guys got together back in Bend while we were still out riding and n2moto regailed them with the story of two losers they ran into who were planning on trying to ride to Fields via Domingo Pass with less than 2 hours daylight left
Fortunately the 70 mile bit had tripped a switch in my brain. That reptilian, Danger Will Robinson switch. This combined with the fact that we had no real idea on how to get to Domingo Pass since the map was a mess of tiny lines led me to recalculate. Brian and I came up with a new plan to head straight East on Old Military Road, then South on Valley where we should be able to connect with OR202 where it makes the sharp 90 degree bend by Lone Hollow. Done deal, couldn't be simpler
We get to Beatty Butte Rd pretty quickly and then head North. We actually need to take a cut off heading East but that turns out to be slow going, so we go back to Beatty Butte and take the tip loop. It's longer but way faster.
Finally we join Old Military again where we need to make a left. Looks fairly decent:
but quickly the trail fades away, we keep going and still manage to keep up decent 40+ mph pace:
We drop down off Old Military and reach Valley and the first gate, no problem we're old hats at this drill:
At this point we're riding on the Catlow Valley, fast riding:
Cool pic of Brian with the sun setting behind:
We're tend to alternate opening/closing the gates to make better time, so Brian's behind now:
And then we run into another fence, this one a little more problematic:
We sit there for a while pondering, maybe drag the bikes under, looks too hard. In the end we can see another road paralleling this to the East so we decide to ride cross country and pick that up.
That turns out to be a pretty fast road. About 20 minutes of riding at I reach OR202, Brian pulling in:
Only one problem, big ass locked metal gate. We ponder for a while, seems pretty obvious we're inside private land but we never saw a sign. I spend some time looking at the gate, the fence and decide the easiest solution is going to be to remove the bolts holding the gate hinges to the posts. Just as I'm about to do this, two pickup trucks pass us on OR202 and perform a rapid u-turn.
Pretty soon they're on the other side of the gate, one of the guys is wearing a cammo wife beater and is covered with blood, like dip your entire arms into a vat of blood covered. I'm thinking Deliverance but it soon turns out these guys are the ranch supervisor and workers out hunting. They ask us a bunch of questions about what we're doing and convinced we're not hunting on the dirt bikes (quite with what I don't know) they decide they'll open the gate, if they have the key. Please have the key I'm asking myself. They do and they let us out. Turns out we've been on private land since we dropped down off Old Military, just no signage.
We ride the 20 odd miles to Fields on pavement.
This was the route, red arrow was where we skipped the fence just after the hot springs, blue where we ran into n2moto, green is Domingo Pass, where we were originally planning on heading, purple our escape route and orange where we actually reached OR202. I think it was about 7.00pm when we got to the highway.
I did have one genius moment, knowing that the cafe at Fields closes at 4pm I had them leave us some food in the room. When we got there the owner was stocking the ice box and let us inside to get some beers.
Fun day riding.
Tomorrow the plan is to head North and goof off on the Alvord, then loop back through Fields, head over Domingo Pass, then North upto FrenchGlen.