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Old 07-03-2007, 09:56 AM   #1
brad21 OP
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Thumpin' the Steens and Alvord

The plan? Two dudes, two dual sports, two bazillion rocks. Armed with waypoints and knobbies we hastily planned our assault on south central Oregon. What we got was 575 miles of everything the region could throw at us. And it was a blast.

teaser...



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Old 07-03-2007, 11:09 AM   #2
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The weather was still looking like it wasn't going to be Africa hot yet in the Alvord desert of south central Oregon so I posted a feeler on our benddualsport.com website to see if anyone wanted to do a two-nighter mini trip. I really wanted to go with Wachs and Stihlrigg on their trip to Nevada but work got in the way. Thumper responded to my query and the plan was hatched. An e-mail or two to Humunn of highdesertadventures.net and some waypoints were acquired and even a recommended three day itinerary was provided. Thanks Greg! An additional track with waypoints was provided by our buddy Leisureclub so now it was just up to us to load up and get to the desert.



For time and mileage saving reasons we drove the bikes out to Hoss Strode's place in Wagontire and began our trip there. Hoss was gracious enough to let us leave the truck there. And being a Search and Rescue guy for Harney County we felt safe in knowing that if we didn't make it back Hoss would surely find us or our remains in the desert. Here's Hoss from the last trip out there:



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Old 07-03-2007, 11:21 AM   #3
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Hoss looks like the kind of guy that might know his way around the desert! Beautiful picture from the mountain! Looking forward to this...
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:34 AM   #4
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This little guy lives out behind Hoss' place. I wanted to give him a little love but he was shy and mom was a little protective:



So we suited up and were off. Hoss got a shot of us while we were still clean:



This was Matt's first m/c camping trip and only my second, but I learned to pack only necessities. Matt? Not so much. He was loaded for bear. More on that later.

After a small navigational error we headed east on the other side of Wagontire International Airport and were in for a beatin' right from the get go. Holy crap. Rocks on top of rocks. Great warmup. At least we knew we were headed the right direction:



Then we bumped into this guy who didn't really want to move:



No horns on him, but I'm sure he could knock either one of us down.

Our plan for the day was to make it to Plush for gas/grub, then to Frenchglen for more gas/grub/beer, then camp somewhere near or in the Steens mountains. So far so good. Matt picked this up early and it would come in handy later. Look right of the sprocket:



The "trail" we were riding was only a trail in the academic sense and sometimes would just disappear under our wheels. Here we are trying to re-acquaint ourselves:



It did get a little better, but only 9 miles from taking off we decided it was time for a break.



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Old 07-03-2007, 11:47 AM   #5
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Looking good so far guys. I'm in Lake Tahoe for a little R&R but turns out the Motel were at has free WiFi! Keep it coming!
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:22 PM   #6
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More please
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:42 PM   #7
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Schweet!

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Old 07-03-2007, 01:03 PM   #8
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So we're thinkin' this is gonna be a real long day at this rate. And it's starting to get pretty hot. Not unbearable, but at a decelerated rate of travel with not much airflow it's toasty. We're sweating.

We finally bust out into Little Juniper Canyon and the road opens up a bit. Still hot, but fewer rocks and higher speeds. Aaaahhhh.



2nd rest stop:



This is starting to get fun.



Juniper Mtn



More fun doubletrack, we're covering some ground now.





Starting to run into a bunch of gates and start doing the open/close routine, but at least they're unlocked... more on that later.

And eventually we pop out onto a gravel road that will take us straight to Plush. We have an option to go up and over to the southwest and drop in, or take the gravel, but we're hungry and still have a bunch of ground to cover. Gravel it is.



This store has everything, except a cafe. Microwave beef and bean burrito for me and I spiked my hydration pack with Mountain Dew. We fuel up bikes and bodies and head up into the Hart Mtn. Refuge.



Navigational miscue here. One of many.



Nice place here. We ascend up into the refuge.





Not sure if you can legally ride off the gravel here, but we did pass a canyon that looked interesting. Wachs and Stihl may have done it, not sure without re-reading their report.

No time for a soak in the hot spring, plus it's too dang hot. We've got a lot of ground to cover still.



More gravel road for a bit then we decide to bust it over to the butte ahead. It was on the recommended list. Glad we did.



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brad21 screwed with this post 07-03-2007 at 06:21 PM
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Old 07-03-2007, 01:26 PM   #9
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You can't read the marker, but this two-track we're on was some kind of military wagon road or something and was dedicated as such in 1976. I think that's what it read.



Matt's back there taking off clothes or something.



Looking east towards the butte.



Oh yeah, back in the antelope refuge we saw some antelope. Everytime we saw some in the 15 seconds it takes me to get my camera out and ready they are gone. Fast bastards.



Up into the canyon on the south side of the butte. Cows freaking everywhere!

Saw a little coyote here...





Of course the cows always want to go the same direction we do. And the little ones just keep running straight ahead away from mom.



Great two-track around this butte.



Nice views too.



We kinda missed a turn back in here somewhere and Matt's ahead of me so we just wing it back to our waypoints.





We bomb back across the valley on some pumice dust and silt two-track, run into a fence but decide to press on thru. We come out the other side here, right where we need to be. It was too far to turn back. Sorry mr. landowner whoever you are... Oh, and nice sign by the way...



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Old 07-03-2007, 02:03 PM   #10
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We're back on the gravel that comes out of the refuge after our tour of the butte. Frenchglen is not far off.



Slab time.





My camera is really little, and I'm right handed, but I got pretty good at shooting on the fly. I feared droppage though everytime I took it out.

Dropping into Frenchglen. Am I on the wrong side of the road?? I think I actually was shooting right handed, going downhill here.





Our hope was to get some gas and beer in Frenchglen, but we just happened to roll into town at about 6:10pm. Dinner starts promptly at 6:30 at the hotel, and you're supposed to have a reservation, but we started chatting with a woman from Eugene that was walking down the street and she recoommended we just ask if there was room at the table. Lucky us, there was!



Homecooked meatloaf with all the fixin's, not to mention a couple well-earned beers. Not a cheap meal, but beat the crap out of our freeze dried alternatives.

A couple walked in at 6:45 or so that had a reservation but were turned away. So be on time if you're ever gonna eat at the Frenchglen Hotel!

The store is closed in Frenchglen and they have no gas. There's an emergency number, but it's a $30 minimum supposedly. A little more than we needed. Up into the Steens we ride to find a camp spot. We will deal with the gas sitcheeashun later.



We opt out of the camping down lower thinking about the skeeter population, so up, up the mountain we go. It is definitely getting cooler, especially in the shade. Hmmm... I didn't really pack a lot of warm clothes.





We find a spot here. Actually quite a few campers about.



The lady back at the hotel was nice enough to sell us a six-pack. Good stuff too! Not sure how much we paid, but who cares?

Matt hunting for the bottle opener.



A little fire. Very little. I thought maybe Matt packed some firewood in his healthy load.



We've got beer, fire, a slightly sloping campsite and a flask of Crown Royal. We've had no mishaps or mechanicals today, it's cold and getting colder. What's not to love?

More later...
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brad21 screwed with this post 07-03-2007 at 06:23 PM
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:03 PM   #11
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More YESSSSS!
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Old 07-03-2007, 03:41 PM   #12
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More! Gimme MORE!!!

Killer stuff!

DualSport650 screwed with this post 07-03-2007 at 04:37 PM
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Old 07-03-2007, 03:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaveDave
Hoss looks like the kind of guy that might know his way around the desert! Beautiful picture from the mountain! Looking forward to this...
He looks like a guy that might know his way around a Whiskey bottle.

I like Hoss... salt of the earth kinda guy.
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Old 07-03-2007, 04:25 PM   #14
brad21 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RideAbout
He looks like a guy that might know his way around a Whiskey bottle.

I like Hoss... salt of the earth kinda guy.
Except for he's been sober for 33 years.

More on him later.:uhhuh
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Old 07-03-2007, 05:23 PM   #15
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Here's our day one route, right at 200 miles if I remember correctly:



Day 2 coming soon!
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