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Old 08-26-2012, 12:54 PM   #1
pullmanDave OP
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Eastern Oregon Loop

Here is a summary of my three day tour around Eastern Oregon starting in Pullman, WA, traveling south through Walla Walla, Pendleton into the Blue and Elkhorn Mountains to Ukiah and Baker City. The final leg loops around the east side of the Wallowa Mountains on Forest Road 39 to Joseph. Connecting back home though a couple awesome twisty roads - Rattlesnake Grade and the Spiral Highway. The total ride was about 600 miles. Heat was an issue in the non-mountain sections, as daily high temps were around 100. In the mountains, I was cold in the morning and used all the layers I had. A little cold is better than too hot. My Suzuki TU250X worked well. The 75mpg is nice with the recent surge in gas prices.

Photo Gallery:
Hell's Canyon Overlook Road
This is my favorite photo from the ride. It captures the emptiness of the area, and the curvy roads I was seeking.


Harvest Time on the Palouse
Leaving the Pullman area, most of the wheat and lentil fields were getting a haircut.


Central Ferry, WA
The Snake River is more like a lake in this part of Washington. Barges of wheat are loaded here bound for Portland.


Ukiah-Dale Campground
Nice little campground for night one. Only 4-5 other spots were occupied.


True Minimalism
If there wasn't a table, I would have been sitting on the ground. It would be cool to have the metal panniers that could double as a stool.


Big Agnes Pad
First night on the new pad. Better than foam, but not quite wide enough. It does pack down small, though.


Making Coffee
Used Starbucks Via. Couldn't be easier, and tastes better than percolated.


Small is Good
Amazing how small the stove is.


Campground Creek
Nice little creek alongside the campground.


High Country
Day two begins cool as I head higher in elevation from Ukiah to Granite. Empty highways, beautiful view, smooth road. Perfection.


Blue Mountain Scenic Byway (Oregon 52)
Highway 52 is really nice. I saw more cows than cars on the road.


John Day River
One of the forks of the John Day.


Typical Traffic
Just empty, which is fine by me.


Old Mine Entrance
This area was a gold mining zone in the 1800's.


Entrance to Granite, Oregon
Cool sign to drive under for the little town of Granite.


Phillips Lake
At a boat launch at the lake.


Southside of Wallowa Range
The view of the Wallowas leaving Baker City area. Very deserty here and hot after very mild temps in the mountains.


Oregon or Nevada?
Sagebrush and heat. About 50 miles to go to Halfway, my desitination for night two.


Powder River - Cattle Grazing Ruts
The Powder River runs along the byway. It is interesting that cattle would even go on a hillside so steep.


Hell's Canyon Scenic Byway
Getting closer to the Wallowas. Starting to green up a bit.


Pine Valley Lodge in Halfway, Oregon
I could have camped, but a nice lodge with a shower and food seemed like a good idea after riding in the heat.


Room at the Lodge
My room was in an adjacent building. Friday night in mid-August and mostly empty. Go figure.


Seven Devils Mountain Range above Hell's Canyon
On the road in the morning on day three. And awesome road, with great views of the mountains of Idaho.


Overlook
A little side trip to see the gorge better. You can't actually see down to the Snake anywhere. Too steep and deep.


Eastern Wallowas FS39 Road
A great cycling road.


Wallowa Peak
Eastern edge of the Wallowas. Not sure what the peak name is.


Wallowa Lake
At the Joseph end of Wallowa Lake. Probably one of the prettiest areas in Oregon, and an awesome range for backpacking, if you don't mind a strenuous hike up to the alpine lakes area.


Grande Ronde seen from Rattlesnake Grade
There were guys floating by in fly-fishing inner tubes. Hard to see at this resolution. Rattlesnake road is an awesome, curvy road down to the river and back up the other side into Washington. Brand new chip-seal and no centerline painted yet.


Fluid Reload
Back to civilization. Glugged down about 60 ounces of fluids. It was 107 in Lewiston. About 35 miles to home. Not really looking forward to riding in the heat.


Headed home on the Spiral Highway above Lewiston, Idaho
A must ride route out of Lewiston up to the Palouse. It gains about 1800 vertical feet. An easier climb for my little 250 than the freeway.
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:17 PM   #2
N-Id-Jim
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Nice! That is my favorite area, but lets not blab about it too much.

Cheers
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:34 PM   #3
CDNbiker
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Looks like a nice trip! BTW, what make is that little camp stove you have?
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:30 PM   #4
pullmanDave OP
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re: Eastern Oregon loop

Quote:
Originally Posted by CDNbiker View Post
What make is that little camp stove you have?
The stove is by Brunton, and has a piezo start. It was about $50 and nests inside a GSI Dualist, fuel too.

So small, no reason not to cook something.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:20 PM   #5
JackJack
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Nice job! How many miles was that? It looks like a fun ride. I am totally digging those panniers on the TU, too.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:28 PM   #6
RedRockRider
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Nice set-up. Looks like a great trip. Attractive photos.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:23 PM   #7
NotAllWhoWanderRLost
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Thanks for sharing your RR and photos! It looks like you had a great trip through some beautiful country.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:19 PM   #8
Domromer
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Looks like a fun trip. I used to live out that way. That's some very beautiful country. Hows was the bike? Was it comfortable for the whole trip. Those little tu250s have interested more for a long time.
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:07 PM   #9
pullmanDave OP
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Eastern Oregon Loop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Domromer View Post
Hows was the bike? Was it comfortable for the whole trip.
The TU was fine. Most of the miles were on empty mountain roads where 45mph is practical. No freeway miles on the 650 total. The only issue was weather - extreme heat for the final 60 miles. I guess I need some mesh pants.
Dave
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:19 PM   #10
Ladybug0048
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pullmanDave View Post
The stove is by Brunton, and has a piezo start. It was about $50 and nests inside a GSI Dualist, fuel too.

So small, no reason not to cook something.
I've been using one of those for the last 7 or 8 years. I sure do like it. I've looked at others but stick with the Brunton.

Nice ride report. I like that loop too. There is some terrific riding in Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington but it's over looked by so many people which makes it nice since it's not over ran.

Thanks for taking the time to share your ride with the rest of us.
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:18 PM   #11
Apple Jam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pullmanDave View Post
Typical Traffic
Just empty, which is fine by me.


Love that about Eastern Oregon
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:43 PM   #12
Ginger Beard
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Great mini RR. How does the TU do loaded @ freeway speeds ? Glad to see someone out actually enjoying one of these bikes instead of just relegating it to commuter status.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:25 PM   #13
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Great report!! Thanks for sharing!

How wide is your pad and what width would you rather have?

Derek
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:38 AM   #14
pullmanDave OP
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The pad is 20" wide. I may just need a sleeping bag with a pad sleeve to keep every thing lined up. It certainly packs down small.

Regarding highway speeds on the TU, the saddlebags do add some additional resistance. I try to plan my trips around the awesome Northwest Scenic byways, which are 2 lane, 55mph (or less in the mountains). For sure not the right bike for long expressway rides, but perfectly adaptable to touring. There is actually very little freeway in Eastern WA, Northern ID, where I ride most. So no big deal.
dave
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:38 PM   #15
k7wcb
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Nice ride. I just got back from hiking/camping/fishing around Anthony Lakes. It is also on the Elkhorn Scenic Byway that goes to Granite, paved road to the lake, it sits at 7100 feet and was well stocked with 18 inch rainbows that were tasty cooked over an open fire. A few good hiking trails to explore. A few nearby lakes as well. I go there at least once a year.

I found this RR perusing the Minimal Touring Thread. I'm sold on the concept. I'm getting into this pretty late on- turned 42 this year and never rode. I am planning on taking the course and buying a bike next spring. Right now it's a toss up between an XT250 and the TU250x. Weighing it all out on paper I'm leaning towards the TU. I don't see myself doing anything that will require a high clearance goat trail machine so long as the TU is good on gravel.

Also spend many lazy days at Central Ferry before the state shut it down and gutted it. Too bad, it was a nice place. I hear that Lyons Ferry down the road is looming closer to a similar fate.
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