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Old 07-31-2011, 11:21 PM   #1
oregonlmd OP
Dirt,street,its all good.
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Western Oregon
Oddometer: 250
July 29&30 SE Oregon

My schedule and my friend's (Dave) schedule finally aligned for a 3-day trip around SE Oregon. With only 3 days, we decided that starting in Fields would give us the best jumping off point for the ride.
We left Corvallis early afternoon Thursday for the 6.5 hour drive to Fields. On the way there, we decided we wanted to check out the Steens Loop. I called the BLM office in Burns to find out if the loop was open yet (no - closed at 3rd gate). No matter, we'd just go up and back. So, we modified our plan. Stop near French Glen for the night, get up at sunrise, and ride up the loop as far as it allows, return to the car, go to Fields, then start the rest of the weekend.
(pics taken by Dave are noted [DW])

Up at sunrise [DW]

Bikes off the trailer, no bags.[DW]

Up the loop. First stop Kiger Gorge [DW]

Dave coming fast toward Rim Overlook

Looking out at Loch Alvord (instead of a playa)

Part of the reason to come up here was to see if the LAKE was too large to risk riding the road along it's eastern edge, as the plan was to go to the north end of the lake and get onto the road to Mickey Hot springs. There appeared to be water everywhere, so it seemed more prudent to ride the gravel road along the west side.

So, after riding back to the car, loading the bikes, driving to Fields to park the car for the weekend (they're a wonderful bunch at Fields!), we got out of Fields at 10:00AM.
Up the East Steens Road to go along the west side of Loch Alvord. 10 new miles of pavement, too! [DW]

Here's a pic of the lake just after the rise in the road, mountains on it's east side reflected in the lake.

The road to Mickey Hot Springs goes all the way to Hwy 95. Our next gas stop was to be Rome.

Mickey Hot Springs gate

Dave through a large puddle

At Hwy 95, I planned to go a bit north, then take what the map shows as a COUNTY ROAD through Gilbert Ranch as a non-paved route to somewhat near Rome. However, the entrance to the road had a no-trespassing sign. I wasn't very surprised as that's what happened on the other side of that ranch last summer - locked gate after locked gate. Whatever.
Slab to Rome, with side-trip to Pillars of Rome. [DW]

Very unimpressive.

At Rome for gas and lunch. The blue cabin is what I stayed in last summer after wrecking my left knee (trying to find a way around that damned Gilbert ranch) [DW]

Next on the agenda was to find the hot spring creek (map calls it Warm Springs Creek) that ends in a waterfall into the Owyhee. I missed an important turn, and ended here, Antelope Corral, instead

About 100 degrees, in the shade.

This was a major navigation malfunction. To backtrack would have been an additional 20 miles round-trip of crappy rutted dusty road, and we had places to go. So West we went. We came across a local and I talked to him about where we've been so far this day. He was shocked. Most people don't understand how much ground a motorcycle is able to cover.

We got onto Jackson Creek road, which was a very good road, and were really making good time. Dave was goin' so fast he escaped this pic

And I escaped this one [DW]

Just west of Jackson Summit, looking west. Lots of moisture and dust in the sky

Jackson Creek road hits hwy 95 exactly across from Oregon Canyon road. Good and bad. Good in that it was where we wanted to go next. Bad was that we weren't sure we had enough fuel to make it back to Fields without making a sidetrip to McDermitt. After consulting the maps, we decided we could squeak it out.

Looking east on the road up to the top

Up on 15 Mile Road after getting up Oregon Canyon Road. Dave's headed south toward me.

Had another navigation error that resulted in about 5 miles of out-and-back, frustration with my navigation error, and a slimy course of water to cross [DW]

And a close encounter with some wild horses!

Finally back on track and headed to Willow Hot Springs for the night. Creek Crossing

Thunderheads were developing, and we got a bit of rain on us. The sun was just barely obscured by the clouds, which kept it out of our eyes as we were headed west late in the evening. Made for a pretty yellow glow to the clouds [DW]

Beautiful sky at Willow.

Lightning and thunder show that evening. We got camp all set up, made dinner and ate it while soaking in the springs. Got a good rain that night. And got a good night's sleep after a 295 mile day.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:59 AM   #2
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Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Sand Hollow, Idaho
Oddometer: 1,133
Your ride report is the first one I've seen where Alvord actually had water in it! Nice ride report.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:41 PM   #3
oregonlmd OP
Dirt,street,its all good.
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Western Oregon
Oddometer: 250
Day 2, July 30 2011

Next day dawned at 8:00 AM. It was a good night's sleep alright!

Out to Fields via Whitehorse Ranch road. [DW]

We had plenty of gas, by the way, with that leg from Rome to Fields totaling 180 miles.

Up over Domingo Pass to Oregon End road. [DW]

Dave still on the flats below east side of road up Domingo Pass

South end of Oregon End Rd, now Bog Hot road [DW]

And some wild burros!

Up to Propeller Meadows to see the B24 crash site. [DW]

We followed the harder route up that starts near Bog Hot Springs. On the way down, we took the easy route out that hits Highway 140 at Rodeo Road a couple miles west of Denio Junction.
A disaster struck at the lower fence gate. While Dave was getting back on his bike after re-closing that gate, he managed to twist his left knee real bad. Heard a large CRACK-POP! Put him on the ground.
I was long gone, turning around to look for his dust cloud when I hit the highway about 4 miles later. And no dust cloud. After a few minutes I headed back up the road to see what was up. We passed each other, and I figured he must have had a hard time with the gate, or minor fall.
Now stopped at the highway I found out what happened. Dave tried to walk it off, but it was seriously weak side-to-side, and the transition from seated to standing and back was painful.
We went into Denio Junction and he spent more time deciding whether it was prudent to continue the trip.

He figured that without more stress it felt like it could heal up OK, but that it wouldn't take much to turn it into a major injury, and that the injury as it was would make his riding on anything but good-quality roads a treacherous situation.
So, we decided to call it a trip.

We went back to Bog Hot Rd and went back up it to Domingo Pass instead of taking the highway back to Fields. It was a better end to the trip than 30 miles of paved boringness.
We made a side-trip to Bog Hot Springs to show Dave where we were going to camp that night. Here’s the spring source (its actually raining in this pic, too) [DW]

Final pic looking north toward Fields and Alvord Lake and the lake that is currently Alvord Playa in the distance

150 miles this day. Dave was really bummed and sorry about the trip being cut short. But you know what? Nobody is in a hospital, we saw some cool sights, had some good riding, and it'll all be there for the taking in the future.
Be back there in September.
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