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Old 09-20-2010, 11:59 AM   #1
MadChap OP
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SE Oregon Loop-Hot Springs, Hamburgers & Hurtin'

How often does a man really have an adventure? I mean the average man? Sure there are some riders on this forum who have become semi-famous for their extreme rides in far foreign lands.

But you, the one reading this, how often does that happen for you?

Me, I've had a few. Seven Day rafting trips in Alaska fishing for King Salmon,





Two weeks in the San Juan Islands on my own sailboat:





Being rescued from what was suppose to be an overnight snowmobile ride in Eureka, AK.




But for the majority of us, if we are honest, such adventures are not that common. That's what keeps me glued to the ride reports on this forum.

It was time for me to have another one. I'll be turning 50 in a year and want to have some off road adventures on two wheels while I still can. In addition, if the federal government continues its course, much of the Oregon Desert may be off limits to motorized vehicles in the near future.

So, one wintry day last February I began to concoct my own plan of adventure. The ride reports about the Oregon Desert caught my attention and I wanted to plan my own.

At the time, I was riding a 1993 TW200. I had bought it 5 years ago it to just run back and forth the two miles to work. I hadn't owned a motorcycle since college days. However, I fell in love with riding again and in 5 years put 10,000 miles on the little bike.

July 2009, I completed a 3 day ride from Portland back to central Oregon where I live. That report I posted on the TW200 Forum.

I was hungry for a much longer ride.

I began really scouring ride reports and the Benchmark Oregon Atlas. My GPS software was getting a good workout also, or maybe I was getting a good workout trying to figure it out. I received tracks from a few others and began to work a route plan.

I posted my thoughts on this forum, the TW200 forum and on Benddualsport.com. On those other two sites my online name is jclovesu. I had done a few rides with guys from those two sites. It was early yet and I didn't get any real interest in going.

Fast-forward to May of this year. I had been casually reading about other dual sport motorcycles, thinking of adding something a little more long-distance worthy to my collection. The more I read the more a Suzuki DR350SE seemed to be what I was looking for. Now, I'm a self-confessed Craigslist junkie. One Sunday morning I spotted 1997 DR, one owner, low miles, $1,600. I just couldn't pass it up and grabbed it before the rest of the Craigslist wolves did.





Now my ride planning just changed dramatically. Not only that, but I had to get this new bike adventure ready. I'll skip all the details, but lets just say that a lot of work was done on the bike between May and September 5th, my planned day of exit.


I posted the change of ride and now was getting some interest. Pretty soon Mark and Jonathan from the Benddualsport forum were at my home for a Sunday route planning session. They were IN!! Mark rides a beautiful KTM 640 Adventure and Jonathan rides a really customized for off road BMW F650 Dakar. I was still going to be the small bike this trip.


I think three is about the perfect size group. You don't have to wait long at a stop for everyone to catch up and if someone gets hurt there is one to stay with them and one to ride out.


Now I know you're probably saying, “just get on with the ride report”, but this is my first one on ADV so I may be a little too detailed. Just deal with it. If you're the picture's only type of person, you already know how to scroll down.


Our plan was to have a general sense of all the places we wanted to go. Have GPS tracks and waypoints for many of them along with good maps, but not plan what each day would look like. Ride until we found a place we wanted to camp at and then see what developed the next day. We didn't want to “have” to be anywhere at any certain time.


The list of potential places to go and see were:


Worlds largest Western Juniper
Hart Mountain Wildlife Refuge and Hot Springs
Beaty Butte and cave spring
Steens Mountains
Alvord Desert
Three Forks on the Owyhee
Leslie Gulch
Succor Creek
Hell's Canyon
Wallowa Lake
Then some of the OBCDR back to Bend


Getting the bike ready took too much of my time. Finally the new tires, sprockets, chain and skid plate arrived Friday and we were to leave Sunday. I still had to work Saturday, but everything got done.


One of the most difficult things was deciding what NOT to take. I tend to take way too much stuff and didn't want to do that this time. Even at the last minute I was pulling things out of the packs and putting them back in the garage


Here's a track of what our final route ended up being:


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Old 09-20-2010, 12:08 PM   #2
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Old 09-20-2010, 12:17 PM   #3
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Day 1

Day 1


I was up till after midnight trying to finish stuffing everything into it's place.

Finally got the DR loaded and ready to leave my home in Madras at 7:15am



Quick slab to Terrebonne when I waited just a few minutes for Mark to arrive:



Then more slab to Walmart because the night before I couldn't find the bite piece to my Camelback. Ran in bought the bite piece, water and raced back to the bike only to find the bite piece wouldn't work with my tube . Back into Walmart to buy the entire water bladder, while Mark calls Jonathan to let him know we're running late.

Quickly fill the new bladder, jump on the bike and head out. Only to realize that I am so stoked I forgot to fasten my helmet. As I stopped once again I was wondering if Mark was asking himself what he had gotten into.

Slab it to Jonathan's near Tumalo. Leave his place within a few minutes. 5 miles down the road Jonathan pulls over. He forgot his cash and has to run back to his house.

Man this is starting out ridiculous but hopefully we have our jitters out of the way. Finally hit the dirt:
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Old 09-20-2010, 12:21 PM   #4
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Day 1 continued

The idea for today was to see the Largest Western Juniper, then head over to Crack In The Ground before heading to Christmas Valley for fuel and lunch. Blasted out Ford road and Jonathan took lead as he "knew" where the Juniper was. Took Sand Springs then NF23 heading....West??? After a few miles we convinced Jonathan that he was taking us to LaPine and so we headed south on China Hat and tried to find our way to the tree. After getting lost for awhile, we just decided to head for Crack in the Ground. I took lead as I had that marked on my GPS, but we hit locked gates and just decided to head east and make our own way. Mark lead

As I came around a corner, two huge Belgian horses crashed through the brush across my path. What are Belgians doing out here???



Continued east only to be blocked numerous times by lava.



Had to back track numerous times. Finally just bushwacking through the sage brush until we found a road without a locked gate. Jonathan's custom skid plate collected quite a sage sampling and began to smolder so we had to stop several times to put out the fire.



Fiddled with the GPS until it showed a route to CV and took off. Hit more slab into CV where we grabbed a burger and gas....for the bikes.
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Old 09-20-2010, 12:38 PM   #5
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Day 1 continued

From the beginning our idea was to catch lunch and fuel each day around noon so that we would have at least one full meal each day. After CV headed south on Fandango. Fandango is a notoriously rough, rocky two track that most Central Oregon riders are very familiar with. After 5 years on a TW200 with it's limited suspension, it took me awhile to gain confidence that the DR could handle the rocks just fine and that all I really needed to do was twist the throttle and hang on. It's amazing how much abuse the tires, suspension and gear can take.

When we got to the Halfway Buttes road we had to make a decision: Head west to Summer Lake Hot Springs or south to Plush. The hot springs were too big a draw and won out.

Got there only to find it was filled with people returning from Burning Man. Grabbed a campsite a ways away from the noise, set up camp and took a soak.






Man it's nice to soak the weary body after a day or riding.



Camped next to us were two guys from Eugene. One on a GS1200 and the other on a Yellow KLR650 with "Caterpillar" on the front. They were meeting up the next day with a bunch of other riders. I think they were going to be staging out of Crane Hot Springs?

Final stats for the day not spectacular but decent:



and elevations


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Old 09-20-2010, 01:04 PM   #6
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Day 2

Day 2

Woke up to frost after being serenaded to sleep by an amazing guitar player on the stage as SLHS.

We were slow getting packed as we were trying to let things dry out a bit. Zipped into Paisley for fuel and fresh water. When I pulled in I noticed smoke coming from the back right side. Guess during a stupid tip over out in the lava my rack was slightly bent and was pressing the side cover against the muffler. Bend the rack back out and all's good.

Rode back out the way we came then headed south to Plush. When we got to Hwy 395 we could have gone straight out into the brush, but Mark and Jonathan had done that before and from what they said it would take an hour to cover 10 miles. So we blasted up 395 to Hogback which is wide smooth and dusty gravel for miles and miles.





Arrived in Plush right at noon so took advantage of a nice hot lunch and fueled again. When Mark pulled up he realized that the zipper on his tank bag was open and his camera was missing. What a bummer as I'm sure he had an awesome picture of me clearing about 6 feet of air over the Fandango cattle guard.

Left Plush and headed NW for Hart Mtn Antelope Range. Stopped at the Head Quarters for a minute.



Then a quick ride to the Hot Springs.





What a cool place, we got there about 2:00 and took a good amount of time for a soak.



Now we were all relaxed and not really in any hurry, but Mark and Jonathan were slower that me in getting ready so I said I'd go look for some shade to wait under. Well the trail leaving south from the hot springs immediately turns into a narrow,steep, rutted and rocky jeep trail. So I didn't stop for about half a mile until I got to the top and waited....and waited.....and waited. No show. I really didn't want to head back down because I didn't want to run into one of them heading up, but down I went. Finally met Jonathan about 2/3's of the way down. He said Mark had a no-start situation. By the time I got back to Mark's bike they had it figured out as a bad connector coming off the battery. Quick fix and all is right with the world.




Back up the jeep trail. What a fun trail. Water bars, small water crossings, just really interesting.






Everything eventually flattened out back down in the valley and there were antelope everywhere. Who would have figured.




Mark was leading via a GPS route and came to a water crossing. As he did, ducks took off...



While Mark and Jonathan hemmed and hawed, I fired up the mighty DR and blasted across. No problem.

Jonathan was next:




Check out his wake in this one:




He put his foot down about half way across so when he got onto dry land, he had to dump the water out of his boot and wring out his sock.

The mosquitos were vicious.

Mark was next:





Fun stuff. Rode a little more and came to just what looked to be a short water crossing in some deep ruts. Mark took the left rut which didn't look too good to me. Nope it wasn't. Really deep, he took water over the top of his windscreen:



Traveled some rutted roads and came to this sign which I've seen in a number of other reports:


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Old 09-20-2010, 01:09 PM   #7
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:29 PM   #8
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Day 2 continued

From that sign we head east until we come the to edge with a great view of Shirk lake.



Steep rocky road down but not too bad. Arrived at Shirk Ranch. Cool old place out in the middle of now where.



Debated about camping here or try to make Beaty cave spring. Decided we wouldn't have much sun left after poking around the old ranch so made camp there.


Jonathan noticed his tail light was trying to remain in the desert:





Mark assisted him with a high quality back country fix:





As the sun set we were dive bombed by a couple big barn owls and numerous bats.



Took some pics of the old buildings. They won't be around forever so get out and check them out for yourself.















The second day stats:



and elevations

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Old 09-20-2010, 01:51 PM   #9
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Day 3

Day 3

Woke up before sunrise. Cold night. Took a few pics before the others woke:



Love the light coming through the windows on this one:







When I went to get water for coffee from my camelbak...no water... tube was frozen. No frost because there was no humidity.

Got all packed up and this time it was my turn for no-start. My bad. When I wired up my hot grips, I ran a new wire for the grips and for and 12v power supply direct to the battery. Some time when moving things around I placed something on the dash and must have switched them on.

Took just a minute to get Mark's tow strap and bump start the DR.





When doing the wiring before the trip I put in a headlight switch so I switched it off for awhile to charge the battery.

We took off and headed east then north for Beaty Butte. Passed the pink trailer, someone was there with horses.

Poked around until we found the trail to the top. Wow, what a steep climb. Near the top we ran out of trail all together and bushwhacked around to the south finding a nice flat parking lot. If you do this ride, be careful, someone dragged some fencing panels up near the top and Jonathan almost got hung up on them.



View from the top is amazing:

North:



East towards the Steens:



South to Nevada:



And West towards Hart Mountain:



Jonathan checking out the Geo-Cache.




I signed us in:




Marker on top:




Had cell service so called family. Found out that it was pouring down rain in Bend and the weather was heading our way.





Jonathan is stoked that his heavy Dakar made it to the top:




Wind on top was cold and strong so after enjoying the views we headed back down, needing some water for our camelbaks.

View of the general area:



Headed for the cave spring just a short jaunt from the trail to the top. What a cool spot:






Hiked up to the cave:







Amazing fresh, clean and tasty water



Hike back down, got to keep moving.

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Old 09-20-2010, 02:14 PM   #10
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Day 3 Continued

Took Old Military Road east. There was another single motorcycle track I kept seeing that didn't seem to be that old. Wonder who that is? Never found out.

Some great terrain and really cool two track to ride:






Continued east, losing the trail a few times.





Finally ended up at a locked-posted gate that someone had removed the fence next to it. We tried several different options. Had to make some tough choices

Suffice it to say that we found our way south through the Catlow Valley. If you are planning a ride like this you need to be aware that the northern part of the Catlow Valley is private property so you need to make it south before heading for Fields.

After riding many miles came to another locked gate. Just on the other side of the gate was a marker facing the other way that declared it was a hunting boundary. We had to get to the other side so we got a little creative. Let's just say that dragging three dual sports on their sides for about 8 feet isn't a lot of fun. “Are we on BLM yet?”




We continued south, got lost some more, maps and GPS showed tracks that just weren't there. Just kept heading east and south and finally popped out exactly where the paved road turns out of the valley towards Fields! Man we are excellent navigators or what!

To Fields for a late awesome Hamburger and shake lunch and some fuel.




Now must make a choice: Alvord Hot Springs or Willow Hot Springs. I know it's a tough choice. With potential weather heading in we choose Willow and decide to take Whitehorse road part way then a small track south and approach Willow Hot Springs from the south. If we have more time, we'd take a little longer route. When we got to the turn we were all ready for a soak and to call it a day so choose the shorter track. It was still fun. When we got to Willow Creek, Mark was in the lead and missed the crossing. I was trying to catch him but the two track was very overgrown. It all ended up good because we found this:



Close-up of the sign:



These two brother had built amazing stone houses. Walls were around 2 feet thick.



They even thought to cement boards into the walls, I assume to attach shelving or cabinets. Very well built and thought through:




Other brother's home:




Backtracked to the creek crossing and headed north for the Hot Springs.





We were spread out because of the dust. Mark passed the turnoff so Jonathan and I waited and watched him ride out of sight. After a few minutes we see him on his way back. So we turn and head in to find a camp site. Mark pulls in and right behind him are two guys from Portland. One on a Kawi DRZ400 with a bad stator and the other on a WR250. Cool guys that have done a lot of awesome trips.

We all hit the hot springs. While there a very old geezer sauntered in and made sure to instruct us that it was proper etiquette to not wear clothing in the hot spring. Guess we all decided to be unfashionable.

Later we sat around eating dinner and swapping stories while watching an amazing sunset:





Skeeters weren't even too bad.

Day was short on miles. I forgot to clear my GPS the night before so the stats are 123 miles for the day.

The elevations really show Beaty

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Old 09-20-2010, 02:29 PM   #11
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Day 4 - Forboding music plays

Day 4

It's probably the most critical day of the trip.

We have a great view of the Steens from our camp site and things don't look good this morning at all. Very dark clouds cover the mountains and we see showers all around us. Even if we rode through the rain into the Steens, the cloud cover would be so thick that we wouldn't be able to see anything. So part of a trip like this is leaving some things unseen, it will draw you back again. We decide to head south then east for McDermitt on whatever roads look the most stable.

I begin the morning with a nice hot soak while everyone else slept.

With the decision made to carry on without the Steens in the bag we pack up. The last few minutes we were packing it started to sprinkle. As we get on the bikes, the heavens open up and we get absolutely dumped on. Man, rain hitting your lips at speed really hurts. The humidity was extremely high and keeping the goggles clear was difficult.

No Pictures of this because I didn't want to get the camera soaked. Jonathan grabs one quick:





After about 45 minutes of downpour it turns to off and on sprinkles. Trout Creek Rd. isn't too bad but Disaster Peak road lives up to it's name. We get into the poof dust. Just enough rain to keep the dust down, but not enough to make the riding easy. Man that stuff is tough. I mistakenly got into some deep ruts and found out that down in all that powder are some really big rocks. We all tried to ride the left edge and found it easier than anything else. Glad when that was over and we blasted into McDermitt to catch an early (11:00am) lunch, fill up and try to dry out.




From McDermitt we took another rider's suggestion as he took a different route which turned really rocky. So we headed south into Nevada then east along the Quinn river. I can highly recommend the Quinn river road, it was awesome. Like riding a rollercoaster.





Lots of fun.

The rain was off and on and the road varied from excellent to sloppy, to really sloppy-slippery mess.

We headed north on Tent Creek Rd. then east on Pole Creek Rd. to Anderson Crossing:





Anyone spot Mark in this next pic?



Leaving the canyon:



Rain had swept through the area in very spotty patches so the roads continually changed. Sometimes we were struggling to do 20mph and other times we were doing 50+

Here's a spot that was excellent:



The views were nothing but flat forever....



Headed north on Jackson Creek Rd. we were clipping right along. I was in the lead. After awhile I could only see one headlight in my mirror. I kept watching and started to get concerned that someone had gone down. I waited for what I thought was a smooth stretch of road, stood up and turned around to see if they were both behind me. Bad idea...Very bad idea.
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:51 PM   #12
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Day 4 Continued

It was about 3:00pm and I was going 40-45mph at the time. My front tire caught a deep rut which sent me left. This section of road had a very shallow ditch at the edge of the graded roadbed then a dirt berm close to three feet high at the outside.

My tire dropped into the ditch then hit the berm. From what I put together, the bike pretty much stopped right there and launched me through the air. I landed hard on my left shoulder and my head smacked the ground pretty good.


In this pic my track starts left and crosses over to the right of the pic. The straight track is Jonathan's





Here's Marks description:


Let's just say he flew through the air with the greatest of ease. Muddy rut, 40 mph, looking backward, not a good combination. Looked like he might save it, just for a second. A real quick swap, left turn and LAUNCH over the berm at the side of the road. I was standing on the pegs and Tim did a flat spin that was right at my eye level. Prefect two point landing, head and shoulder. Luckily no rocks only sage brush and loose dirt”


I was a little dazed but was on my feet pretty quickly. I shut the bike off as Mark and Jonathan quickly came running over.

They saw the whole thing and from what they said it was really good looking crash. I think one of them gave me a 9.5 for form but only a 3 for not sticking the landing.

Of course they were asking if I was OK. And that is exactly what I was wondering.

My helmet was twisted around my head a little, my goggles smashing my glasses into my face, so I got that off quickly.

After checking myself out I realized that my left shoulder was really hurting, but it didn't see to hurt enough to be broken. I could still move, just with some pain. My left knee felt like I might have torn a ligament or something and my right pinky finger didn't want to straighten out. All in all it could have been a lot worse.

As the guys got my bike back onto the road I walked around collecting my wits. Seems they were scattered all over.


Mark showing how high I was in the air:




The bike didn't fare too badly. The forks were tweeked some, the left mirror was bent at a weird angle and there was a fine collection of Oregon dirt on various parts:





In that first pic you can see that the forks and the bars don't seem to be pointed in the same direction. Mark put the tire between his knees and gave a good reef on the bars. That helped. I took off the mirror and put it in the pack.

If you look at the ground in the pics, you will see that the mud was sticking to our boots. That will give you an idea of what we were riding on.

What to do now?

Surprisingly I wasn't feeling that badly and thought we should continue our planned route down to Three Forks Crossing of the Owhyee.

Mark mentioned that maybe we should head to Jordan Valley and have me checked out by a Doc. But I didn't feel that was necessary and convinced them to continue the ride.

Getting back on proved to be some effort with the bad knee, but once on the bike I felt I could continue.

I heard later that as I took off Mark slipped in the mud and dropped his bike. I didn't see it as I no longer had a functional left mirror.




We took it slow at first, but soon I was back to about 3/4 speed.

Arrived at Five points and were trying to figure out which of the roads we were to take. My GPS was saying to take the very lightly traveled route along the fence heading east.



As we check the maps here come several pickups and ....what is that...a steamroller. It was some BLM contract road crew. Seemed all they were doing was smashing sage brush?





We asked directions, and the guy checked out my maps. He directed us to take the track to the right of the one I thought.




We took off in the recommended direction but my GPS route which I had taken care to plan well was showing we were off course.

I trusted my GPS more than the road crew guy, so we backtracked. Sure enough, the road crew guy was WRONG. We eventually got to the waypoint I had set which should be the trail that headed down off the canyon rim, to the Owhyee river.



Yep the track was right where it should be, however it wasn't much of a trail. I looked like a rocky riverbed with a very steep slope to it.

There really wasn't any other option, we either had to go down it or miss the one thing I had been really wanting to see from my very first days planning this trip back in February.

Let's go. Mark took lead and I went second. This would have been a good trail for a rock-crawler jeep or a trials bike, but for three fully loaded dual sports it was tough.

These pics really don't do it justice. That's probably because I stopped to take pictures after the tough stuff.



Mark and I made it to the hot springs which are about 50 feet above the river. We waited for Jonathan but saw and heard nothing. After waiting for 5 minutes or so, Mark headed his bike back up the trail and I began walking. Mark eventually found him. He was on his bike and riding. When he passed me he was shaking his head and his eyes were pretty big.

He stopped at a small turn around point by the hot springs and slowly crawled off his bike moaning about smashing his foot.

He was hopping around and not putting any weight on the leg. We didn't know what to think.



After he sat down and pulled off his boots and sock and here's what we saw:



To be honest, it seemed like much ado about nothing. However Jonathan explained that three times his foot got raked off his foot peg and smashed into the portion of his center stand you use to bring it down. The last time he actually fell onto his left side. Getting a F650 off your leg doesn't seem like an easy thing to do, but he finally managed.

While Jonathan nursed his wound, Mark and I explored the spring:





My leg didn't allow me to get down to the water with my boots on. Mark said the water was only bath water warm. On our way back we scared up a pretty good size rattler. Good thing he wanted nothing to do with us and slithered under a rock.

After some discussion we decided that Mark and I would ride our bikes down the last extremely difficult section then come back and get Jonathan and his bike down.

You can find other reports on ADV about this section, it's pretty amazing. I totally screwed up my line and thought I was going down but managed to save it.

We eventually get Jonathan and his bike down and set up camp while Jonathan soaks his foot in the cold river.

After a really tough day, the sun found a way under the clouds just before sunset and we were blessed with an awesome view of the sun hitting the canyon rim:



Mark and I set up Jonathan's tent and gear and we hit the sack pretty early.

You'll have to see Jonathan's foot pic the next night...ugly, ugly, ugly.

Here's the day's stats: Actually a pretty good moving speed considering that some of that was after my crash



Check out the last section of this elevation. You can see how steep the last section is:


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Old 09-20-2010, 03:34 PM   #13
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Day 5 Heading for a good rest

Day 5

The rain began about 10:00pm that night accompanied by the wind. Tents were shaking and snapping. With the injuries it made for a long night for me. In addition we hadn't forded the river yet and I was concerned that it might rise with all the rain. I had walked it that evening and it was knee deep at the deepest spot. Bottom was tennis ball size rocks with a few basketball size thrown in for fun.

Next morning, got completely dressed and packed everything that I could before crawling out of the tent. We skipped breakfast as no one wanted to mess with it in the rain. Granola bars to the rescue. Packed up the tents soaking wet.

The plan was to get to Ontario early in the afternoon. I would call ahead when we got cell service and make arrangements to sleep in the church I used to be a pastor at there. They have a large outside covered area where we could dry out our tents, showers which we really needed and a washer and dryer for our clothes.

But right now we needed to cross the river.

Mark volunteered to go first. I took a bunch of pics so just deal with it.










Then Jonathan with his gimp leg went next:











My bike was running terribly. It's always been a little cold blooded, but it just wasn't running right. I think some water must have gotten into the tank as I had lost the gas cap vent tube on the first day. I just had to keep the revs high and slip the clutch all the way across. With the bad knee, sore shoulder and bike that didn't want to run, I was concerned. I made it but with a quick dab of my right foot. Fortunately it didn't come over the top of my boots so all was good.


Jonathan didn't have a good view of my crossing so just snapped a couple quick pics:







The road out was super muddy. Within a couple hundred yards there was so much mud packed into the chain that rocks started to be picked up. It sounded like they were getting caught between the chain and sprockets. Very loud cracks and grinds. A couple rocks must have jammed between the chain and lower chain guide as when I washed the bike than night, the bottom of the guard was broken out.

Jonathan snapped a few pics of the mud mohawks our bikes were sporting.







It was a couple miles of nasty, muddy road to get out of the canyon. Up on top the roads were still muddy but not as bad. Again we adjusted our speed to the conditions – between 20 and 50mph. We were cold and a little wet so we took the fastest route we could to Jordan Valley. Silver City, Idaho was going to have to wait for another trip.

Stopped at a cafe in Jordan Valley for some hot food. In walks another rider, Carl, on a dual sport – goes by Idahoskiguy on ADV. He was riding a 640 like Marks. He had just come from Silver City and was heading for Leslie Gulch. I was thinking of riding Leslie Gulch, but Carl's description sealed the deal. After checking weather reports, Carl and I rode over to refuel.

12 miles of slab out of Jordan Valley we turned on to the gravel to take us to Leslie Gulch and Succor Creek. Jonathan rode up and asked how far it was to the next gas. Carl and I guess 45 miles, maybe more. Jonathan admits that he didn't gas at JV and now his low fuel light was on. The only real option was for him to ride back to JV for fuel and we would ride on and wait at the Leslie Gulch turnoff.

Mark took the opportunity to catch a little snooze.



Leslie Gulch was amazing:















The road dumps out at Owyhee Reservior.






GPS shows we were riding on the water.




Back out the way we came then north through Succor Creek. It was beautiful, but paled in comparison to Leslie Gulch.






When we hit the slab, Carl headed for home and we blasted to the church for a quite, dry, warm rest and good dinner at the local Mexican Restaurant.

When Jonathan finally took off his boot, things weren't looking too good. Check it out, even his toe nails were purple:



It was great to have a hot shower and a plush carpeted floor for a good night's rest.

Here's the stats and elevations for the day. Notice the deep ride to the lake and back on Leslie Gulch Road:




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Old 09-20-2010, 04:32 PM   #14
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:45 PM   #15
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Day 6

Day 6


It's amazing how a good nights sleep, clean clothes and a shower can change a persons perspective. We took stock of our situation. Jonathan and I were not up to technical riding and we had 3 more days to enjoy some beautiful Oregon scenery. The weather was perfect!


With several old friends stopping by to say hello, I was late getting packed and out the gate. We ran the the truck stop for fuel and donuts.


Decided we would slab it to Farewell Bend and the ride along Brownlee Res. This is the start of the Hells Canyon area. Lots of graded gravel with the occasional hairpin outside turns to keep your attention.














Eventually, the road heads over the hill to Richland and back to slab.





From Richland we slab it to Halfway for another hamburger and fries. The special included a trip to the salad bar – nice. Fuel and down to Oxbow reservoir. Nice narrow gravel road along the reservoir to the start of Hess Rd. What an awesome road. Steep, tight switchbacks on dirt out of the canyon. Kleinschmidt grade is across the river in Idaho. I believe Hess is a little less traveled.





I tried to get a pic of my GPS showing all the turns and switchbacks.





Once at the top we ran into our first hunters. They would now become a very common sight for the remainder of the trip.


Short slab to Hells Canyon Overlook:





Cool views of Seven Devils Mountains in the distance:





Unusual storms had washed out the paved road. We really didn't want those anyway. So we turned and began to head west. As we rode along I was thinking how we had made the turn and now were officially heading home.


Typical FS roads, some good some, not so good. Because of the storms there were crews putting down some really sharp rocky road mix. We just kept moving along quickly. Passed many different hunting camps and quad riders. I think it was the start of Bow hunting season as everyone seemed to be in camo.


Came around a very potholed corner and slowly moving down the road was a red Nissan Sentra loaded to the gills with guys and gear. They had so much gear that it wouldn't all fit inside so they loaded to trunk and tied everything to the whale tail. So funny. Wished I had stopped and taken a picture.

It was getting really cold at the higher elevations. Our loop took us back to Halfway then we headed northwest looking for a place to camp, preferably at a lower elevation, as the sun slowly was going down. Finally came to Eagle Creek and found a great campsite for the night.





I was tired and sore, trying to turn around I hit a rock, the bars jammed my shoulder and the pain shot up through my body and I just couldn't hold it up anymore. Thanks Mark for helping me get it back on it's feet.





It was our only campfire of the trip. Sat around for quite awhile just enjoying the caveman TV and conversation.





Stats for the day:





Checkout the pull from 1750feet at the Snake River up to the top of Hell's canyon in just a short distance. Starts at about mile 115. Wow!



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