A week late, but here it is...
It took me a while to wrap my head around the concept of doing such a long trip on a DRZ. I was prepared for it to be an ordeal. Far from it – the little bike performed amazingly well and it was surprisingly comfortable. Unfortunately, with all the weight on the back, the light front end made it a bit squirrely at times.
For Kris, this was a bit of a shakedown cruise for his new-to-him KLR. We definitely discovered some issues…
We got a bit of a late start Thursday morning and I missed a turn on the way to Camp Sherman, so we were late getting to Madras. Although the ride had been through showers all the way up the McKenzie, it was dry and warm in Madras. Off came the rain gear. Big mistake. On the way up towards Ashwood, we hit what we thought would be a brief shower. Turned out to be a steady rain. The road had turned to a mud that, while it stuck fast to everything – boots, tires, chains, etc – it was slippery as snot. Wish I'd taken a picture of the way the mud built up on Kris' bike, bogging him down in the process, but with the rain and mud, few pictures were taken...
Riding in it was like riding on a skating rink on good dual sport tires. For Kris on more street-oriented tires, which were closer to balding than we thought, it was a nightmare. Poor guy dropped it three times and did some damage in the process. He also nearly burned out his clutch. We tried heading towards Prineville, but that road was worse than the Ashwood road. We finally threw in the towel and headed back to Madras where we took a motel room to dry out and regroup.
Friday, we decided to make up for lost time and stuck mainly to pavement. We jammed out 26 to Prineville where we hopped on the Prineville-Izee Road. What a treat on a beautiful day.
At Izee we turned off on the Izee-Burns road. Wanting to get to Hart Mountain for the night, we stayed with the highway to Burns. As I was standing outside the grocery store in Burns around 2:30, I saw three big ADV-type bikes, one of which was orange, at a gas station across the street. Could this be the Plan A contingent? Couldn’t get their attention and couldn’t tell which way they were headed other than it wasn’t west…
We buzzed down 205 to Frenchglen and then west on Rock Creek to Hart Mtn Hot Spring. Had a nice soak in the springs after setting up camp, and at last feeling pretty darned relaxed.
After another COLD! night (check the frost on Kris’ bike), we eventually saddled up and headed down to Plush and then north on Hogback Rd.
At the junction at 395 we conferred briefly, looked at the black clouds hovering to the west and north of us, considered the condition of Kris’ clutch and rear tire, and elected to skip Fandango Canyon this trip. A very un-fun highway march north on 395 and then west on Christmas Valley road, into the wind and through the occasional rain shower, ensued.
Lunch and fuel in Christmas Lake left us feeling full and content so we headed up to Crack in the Ground for a quick look-see and then on to Green Mnt lookout. The campground was deserted except for this one guy on his own with this very cool little rig.
We set up camp quickly, thinking of the possibility of impending rain showers, but they seemed to avoid us now. All around us clouds and showers, beautiful views, and we stayed dry.
Sunday, we made a short stop at Fort Rock and then via some very back roads to Hole in the Ground. Looking back to Fort Rock from Hole in the Ground:
Rain showers again chased us and, looking west into the face of a gully-washer, we again elected to stick to pavement for the remainder of the ride home.
All in all, while it wasn't the trip I'd originally planned, and issues with Kris' bike caused us to stick to pavement more than I would have liked, we had a blast. That DRZ is a hoot and I'm happier than ever to have it.