Ride Report 2/3/09 to 2/4/09
Christmas Valley, Oregon
ADV rider-Smilin Jack
Loaded up the trusty Honda CB 250 “dual-sport” and headed east from Lebanon, Oregon toward Christmas Valley, Oregon. This was going to be a 400 mile camping/hunting trip rolled into one trip.
Included in the load was a tent, sleeping bag, cooking stuff, food, water, 1 gallon of bike fuel, 45 auto pistol and a 22 rifle. I rode past several weigh stations but didn’t stop.
I encountered packed snow, ice and frost on Hwy 20 between Tombstone and Santiam summits. The road had been sanded, but had ruts of bare ice, so I drove on the shoulder at a prudent 25 mph.
When I reached Bend, it was a quick food and fuel stop and then continued 25 miles south on Hwy 97 and turned left on Hwy 31 toward Reno, Nevada. After going over a pass, I came to the junction and followed the signs to Fort Rock and then Christmas Valley.
More fuel at Christmas Valley and then headed a mile south of town and turned left on Crack-in-the-ground road. I followed this gravel/sand road about 8 miles and came to the parking lot for the hiking trail. This was a good place for a pit stop and then kept going 7 miles to Green Mountain camp ground.
The sand road had lots of deer tracks, mud, ice, snow and deer walking away from me. I lost track of how many deer I saw, but would guess over 200 that evening. I was going pretty slow, trying not to scare the deer too badly. This is their winter range and they don’t need any running to degrade their ability to survive the cold winter.
When I got to the camp ground, it was nearly dark, so quickly set up the tent, got the Therma-rest blown up and fluffed the sleeping bag. By the time it was dark, I had my LED headlamp in use, cooking dinner and writing in my journal.
The wind was picking up so I only stayed outside long enough to call my wife at home and my son who lives on the east coast.
I went to bed, but got up shortly to put on my First Gear insulated rain suit as pajamas. It was well below freezing at bedtime and surely would get colder by morning.
I woke up many times during the night, hearing deer hoofs in camp and coyotes howling near and far. Somehow I managed to stay in bed from 7 PM to 7 AM without getting up. It was sure handy in the camp ground to have tables, fire rings and an outhouse .
When I got up in the morning, the snow drifts had a good crust on them. I got a picture just before the sun popped over the horizon.
After a fast trip to the outhouse, I dug in the grub box and got coffee going and decided to have an apple and Zoom cereal for breakfast.
No, I never did use the 1 gallon of Honda fuel, but I was ready if needed.
I had made several lightweight cook pots from non-stick tin cans. I’d learned to do this while a BSA scout leader. I used empty 2 liter soda bottles to carry my water, deciding 4 liters would be enough. I could always fill them in town later.
After not seeing any rabbits on my morning walk, I decided to pack up camp and head back toward town and look for a better rabbit hunting area. I’d talked to the gas station attendant the day before and he said this was a slow year for rabbits.
I headed back toward Bend, checking several side roads along the way. The closer I got to Hwy 97, all the side roads had closed signs (deer winter range) so I just kept heading to Bend.
I stopped on a side road to lube the chain. I’d put a few ounces of chainsaw bar oil in a plastic bottle with an applicator tip. It worked very well but was messy.
I decided to stop at Fort Rock State Park to wash my face and stretch my legs. The flush toilet even had a heater inside, probably so the water didn’t freeze.
It was cold enough that I wore a stocking hat inside the helmet and the neoprene face mask on the highway.
This is one of the side roads I checked for rabbits. There are miles of nothing but sagebrush to see. This area was once the floor of a large inland sea or lake. I tried to get to Hole-in-the-ground, but the road was closed because of the deer winter range. The Hole is about 1 mile across and very deep. I have been there many times in the past. Google earth shows it nicely, about 10 or 15 miles west of Fort Rock, Oregon.
I stopped at the Santiam Pass Snow Park to stretch my legs on the ride home.
Counting all the stops, it was a six-hour ride each way.
432 miles total trip = 69.79 mpg
6.19 gallons fuel used
Total cost for trip… $14.50 for fuel used. What a two-day adventure!