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Old 06-19-2014, 10:29 PM   #1
oregonlmd OP
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Western Oregon
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Back to SE Oregon, with a new bike

I got an '07 990 last winter, replacing my XR650R. I've explored a lot of SE Oregon on the XR, and it is really close to my ideal of what a bike needs to be for exploring the Great Basin. But, like many, I've wanted a 950 or 990 for years.
This 990 was in need of some maintenance, and a big mistake on my part turned a valve adjustment and de-smog job into a huge job. After over a month of work on the 990 to get it worthy of a ride to SE Oregon, the day finally came. The plan was to ride solo from my home in Corvallis, OR on Wednesday June 4 through Monday June 9, covering a wide swath of SE Oregon and the northern edge of N Central Nevada. Come home for a couple days to work, then off again for 3 days from Thursday 6/12 to Saturday 6/14, ending at The Funky Chicken race to root some friends on, lend support. Nearly half that plan actually worked out...

Bike loaded and super-clean and super-maintained



Way overloaded. I figured, "its a big bike, I've got space, pack it in"! Stupid.

A nice leisurely pace over the Cascades. Stopped at Atomic Moto in Bend to check out some gloves, which they didn't have. I got a new jacket instead. You'll see it in later pics.

Food and Gas (41.75MPG, the high data point for the trip, but it showed that Zuber's (another inmate here for those who didn't read the entire link from above) promise of better milage paid off), and off to Pine Mtn east of Bend. I took the highway instead of Ford Rd, figuring I'd see lots of dirt soon. I blasted up to the top, down the other side.


At the bottom looking back


Angled over to Millican Rd, took it to Christmas Valley. Fuel and drink, then down Fandango Canyon and out to Hwy 395.
Immediately upon turning onto 395 to go North to Hogback Rd, the back end tried to come around on me when I rolled on the gas. That could be only one thing.


DAMMIT!!!!!!!!
I've no idea how long it was flat, but I did recall thinking that the bike was less predictable handling down much of Fandango.
Peeling the tire bead off the rim bead seat on the rear wheel of these bikes is not easy. The rim has an extra ridge around it that you have to lever the tire bead over to get it into the "valley" of the rim. Since the sidewall is so stiff, that just makes it even harder to do. I left the wheel on the bike to get that done.

Noticed this, thought it was going to be the cause of the flat, and that I'd finally have to use the tire patch kit I always carry.


Wheel off the bike


I patched the tube, put it back in (I did not have a spare 18" tube along - stupid again). The sidewall tear did not go through to the inside, but made me worry for the rest of the trip. The tube had a small hole in it. As you'll see later in a pic from the next day, the tube was just way too small. I think it was just stretched so far that a flaw in the rubber tore and thus, a hole. I contemplated where I would get a proper sized tube.

First, I had to contemplate getting done.
600 bicycle pump strokes later, the tire was at 25psi. Standard pressure is 37, and I decided for this trip I'd just run the standard high pressures and deal with the way the tires thus worked in the dirt, as I did not want to have to change a flat. Fat lotta good that did me.

Wheel back on, and I was off toward Plush. Total time spent dealing with the flat was 65 minutes.

Fuel and snack in Plush, and then off to Hart Mtn Hot Springs. It was getting late, and shadows long.


Made camp and into the hot spring before dark, but made dinner in the dark. It was cold that night. My shorts were frozen stiff, and I set them on my boots the next morning to dry out in the sun


Anyway, It'd been Nov 2012 since I was there last. It looks like the surround around the hot springs has been rebuilt. Didn't get a pic.

More later...
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:32 AM   #2
glitch_oz
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IN!

LOVE that area! Only ever had a short sniff of it but boy, there's some awesome country out there. Hope to get back there to have a proper look one day!!
And yeah....I HATE flats, too
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:48 AM   #3
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Capital "A" for adventure! .........
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:40 PM   #4
oregonlmd OP
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Over the night I made the decision that it best that I work my way toward a real tube for the back tire. I think the two nearest towns with a likelihood of having a motorcycle shop were Bend and Winnemucca. Having just come from Bend, and since it was in the wrong direction, Winnemucca it was.

But first, a ride to Beatys Butte (one "t", no apostrophe).

I took the road south off of Rock Creek Rd through Flook Lake (which is dry in the summer), eventually getting what I call The Bunker in sight. I stopped to take a rest and a quick pic of it. There it is in the distance, with Beatys in the background.

It has 2-foot thick concrete walls, steel plate over the windows, steel plate doors, and the roof is steel plate, too. It really looks like someone's end-of-days hideout, or they just overbuilt their desert cabin

So there I am. stopped to take that pic, then, I smelled gas.


That's the rear inner bottom corner of the auxiliary gas tank, punctured by the axle puller after a g-out just a little ways back


You can see how I strategically positioned the handle up, to keep it from getting hung up on anything, from getting wrecked by a rock. I had it in that position when I rode through the rough route of Fandango Canyon and back in April this year, and no problems. I really figured that the whoops going through the China Hat OHV area that same weekend would have revealed the error of having it positioned that way. I guess I needed to have the bike way overloaded.
So, I re-positioned the axle pull facing rearward, and continued on, 2-gallons lighter. For the rest of the ride.

I ran across another one of these. Can't believe I never saw this one before

There's another one a bit SW of this spot, and I found one in NW Nevada, too.

This is Willow Spring, at the end of the road from Flook Lake, and the base of the North side of Beatys. Tasty clear water running out of a poly pipe. I re-filled my water. I've drank lots of water from this spring from that pipe and have never had any bad results.


SE around Beatys to the road to the top. But first, a side-note.
  • In December 2012, it was discovered that Beatys Butte was for sale. There were several actual parcels, and I put in several bids on the parcel that included the top. For a bit, I really thought I might get to own the top of Beatys Butte. Then, the bidding went nuts, with all the parcels selling for tens of thousands of dollars. The parcel that included the top was Parcel 1, and was 412 acres. I had my bid at $7/acre when it suddenly became clear that someone else was going to win it. It eventually sold for $200/acre, or $82,400. I've been very worried that access to the top would be restricted by the new owner, so I just had to go check it out. Because I broke my left shoulder at the beginning of the riding season last year, I couldn't do it until this ride, on June 5th.

The miles-long ride to the top was a first and second gear affair, and the bike finally started to get warm. I was ready to turn it off and let it cool down just as I was nearing the top.
Here's a view from the top


And a pic of the bike not at the top


I didn't have the nerve to navigate that heavy beast through the rocks to the top. After that last crash, I am very injury-averse. Especially when I'm out by myself.

There was no indication that the route to the top is being closed off to anyone getting there via any method. I was very relieved.
The geocache at the top has a logbook, and there weren't too many entries since I was last there. I added another.

On the ride back down, it was fun to see the trench the 990 left up the road to the top.

Once at the bottom, I decided to see if I could find a route over to Rock Creek Road, via other than back to Flook Lake. After failing to find anything that looked promising toward the north, I decided I'd go SE around Beatys on Rd 6176, see if I could find a road east through the Catlow Valley to the highway from French Glen to Fields.

The map showed a route that looked promising, and here's what the start of it looked like on the ground


The route was solid, then faint, then non-existent (had to ride through a lot of sage for a while to pick up the track again once), then good and solid again.
I came across this weather station


And eventually this


I was worried that the Roaring Springs Ranch would have all the routes gated off, but I did find a way through once in 2010, and hoped I would luck out again. Nope.
So, back toward 6176.
Took another road going north, in the hope it would come out onto Rock Creek Rd. It never did, but rather kept turning more westerly, back toward 6176.
Found this thing


I figure it must have been what made most of the roads around there. I've never seen one of these pieces of equipment before. I like it. Reminds me of my Tonka Toys from childhood.

So once back onto 6176, I just took it to Acty Mtn/Acty Spring, then toward Domingo Pass.
Domingo Pass on the east side


And finally Fields for fuel and food
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:50 PM   #5
oregonlmd OP
Dirt,street,its all good.
 
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Western Oregon
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After a nice rest and meal at Fields, it was time for the pavement slog to Winnemucca to get a correct sized tube for the rear wheel. 120 miles of


It was actually worse than that. About 15 miles out of Winnemucca, I got to take a break from forward progress courtesy of road construction. It gave me some additional time to contemplate the bike's road-ability.
It eats straight pavement miles just fine. There are those who can hack the mind-warping boredom of straight desert roads at less than 100mph, but I am not one of them. I kept it under 80 to try to save some of the rear tire. The last time I was on this route, I was on a TDM850, and though that bike is its own series of compromises, it does go well beyond 100 with ease, thus making the ride tolerable. And, mentioning that bike, on that ride I had to go to the same motorcycle shop, Sonoma Motorsports, so my buddy could get a new chain for his TDM850 (we were both riding them).

I parked the bike in a spot of shade in the parking lot, went in and bought the tube, then back out and dismounted the tire, removed the tube. It was much more difficult to break the bead this time, not having ridden it flat for, well, I don't know how many miles I rode it flat yesterday before I discovered my lack of luck.



The tube that was in the tire was fully 1/2 the size it really needed to be, and wasn't a heavy-duty tube, either. It had to be stretched to paper-thin to fill the tire.

Their parking lot was full of side-by-sides of every type


After getting the tube in, inflated by their shop, the wheel back on, the bike packed back up, then refueled, I went east on I-80 for 10 miles to Golconda, then north on Eden Valley road to Shelton Road to Greely Crossing Road, for miles and miles of gravel road. A pic near Greely Crossing where I stopped to figure out just where I was and to figure out if I was going to make it there before dark


Turns out I was only 4 miles away, and I camped at a pond by Greely Crossing, which is on the North Fork of the Little Humboldt River

Lots of birds; waterfowl. It was pretty nice, though the ground was all dust.
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Old 06-22-2014, 07:46 PM   #6
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Enjoying the great pics, and the great story!
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Old 06-22-2014, 07:50 PM   #7
Countdown
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Do you have any GPS tracks of where new gates were? Roaring Springs lets us thru but not sure if we are effected.
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:15 PM   #8
oregonlmd OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Countdown View Post
Do you have any GPS tracks of where new gates were? Roaring Springs lets us thru but not sure if we are effected.
No GPS on this trip. Sorry.
How did you arrange to get them to let you through any part of their land?
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:18 PM   #9
oregonlmd OP
Dirt,street,its all good.
 
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Western Oregon
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Campsite in the morning


The next day's immediate goal was to make it to 3-points, the intersection of the border of Oregon, Idaho, and Nevada. I've tried so many times and never managed to make it.
I took a side-route to get what is usually regarded as the most remote 3-points in the country. It was a more direct route.
I stopped at nearly every intersection and looked at the map again to ensure I didn't miss my turns. After one of those stops, I got back on the bike, hit the start button, and nothing.

I about freaked out.

I checked the main panel of fuses. All were good.
I then pulled the switch apart. It was just fine.
I then decided I should have a look at the battery connections (even though the lights worked, but I wanted to eliminate the easy before I got into the hard).
For those who don't know, the battery is at the front of the engine, behind the skid plate


Connections were good. I was starting to think I'd have to get at the starter itself, buried between the cylinders, which means removing the tanks and air filter and intake system. Ugh.

I fumbled with the solenoid, whacking it while pushing the starter button. I checked its pair of 40-amp fuses. Thankfully - kind of - they were good (I did not have spares).
I started checking wires, all that I could get at. I could not find anything that seemed wrong.
Then, it occurred to me to try bridging the solenoid terminals. I did so, and the bike lurched forward!

Oh. My. God.

What that meant is I somehow whacked it into gear at some point, AND did not notice that the neutral light was not lit.
I clicked it into neutral, hit the starter button, and it started right up. I am not the brightest bulb in the pack sometimes.
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:02 PM   #10
longrides1
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We've all done that a time or too, don't feel bad just chalk it up as a classic rookie mistake.

Nice report can't wait for more.
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:20 PM   #11
oregonlmd OP
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Joined: Nov 2008
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This is where that incident happened. The Great Basin is a vast, empty space full of days of interesting variety. I love it, but when facing the possibility of a really long hike for help, views like this does give one pause.


But, its not so very empty. Wild horses, and lots of them. I saw many this day. Wish I could have gotten a close-up shot.


More horses later.

Notice the tracks? Somewhere along there a side-by-side had come through before me. At this time of year, there are lots of people out exploring.

The road was a lot like this for most of its length


Just south of the Idaho/Nevada border






Cathcart Place on Calico Creek
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:34 PM   #12
Countdown
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonlmd View Post
No GPS on this trip. Sorry.
How did you arrange to get them to let you through any part of their land?
First you drive up to Ranch Headquarters and see an XR200 parked in front yard of Ranch Manager then you admire the custom mouldings in the house, then you give them T-shirts and caps for your ride.

I am interested is the road from Piute Windmill to Basin Cabin to Pearl Camp. Is it open?

Actually we turn up Bartlett Creek just before Pearl Camp then go down Craine Creek then up to Knot Creek
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:11 PM   #13
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Fabulous pics
Thanks so much for posting this.
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Old 06-25-2014, 11:02 PM   #14
oregonlmd OP
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Joined: Nov 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Countdown View Post
First you drive up to Ranch Headquarters and see an XR200 parked in front yard of Ranch Manager then you admire the custom mouldings in the house, then you give them T-shirts and caps for your ride.
Nice. That oughta work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Countdown View Post
I am interested is the road from Piute Windmill to Basin Cabin to Pearl Camp. Is it open?
Last rode that in June 2012, and it was all open. No idea about now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Countdown View Post
Actually we turn up Bartlett Creek just before Pearl Camp then go down Craine Creek then up to Knot Creek
I'd like to try that route
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Old 06-29-2014, 12:25 PM   #15
Baja Ho
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oregonlmd, I have read your reports in the past, thanks for posting. You live in a great riding area. I hope I can get back up there some day.
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