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Old 10-08-2014, 10:51 PM   #1
Bryangla OP
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Joined: May 2012
Location: Bay Area CA.
Oddometer: 26
2014 Oregon BDR Adventure Ride Walla Walla WA to Bend OR

2014 Oregon Back Country Adventure Ride Report

9/5/2014 to 9/12/2014

Walla Walla WA, to Bend OR Routes 5 and 4

 photo OBCDRTreknow_zps2264d1a8.jpg

Picture from TrekNow


2008 Suzuki DRZ400sm with dirt wheels (Bryan)
2014 KTM 500 exc (Tyeler)
2014 KTM 350 exc (Steve)
An Old and Cranky Honda XR650L (Ryan)

 photo 1day0_zpsfa14f116.jpg


Cargo Carriers:
Giant Loop Coyote Bags (all of us)

2nd Cargo Carrier:
Sea to Summit hydraulic dry bag 35L
Sealline Dry bag 35L
Sedici Tail Bag (this little guy was big enough to hold a cooler with ice ;-)
REI Duffle bag

We all carried typical backpacking type gear including our sleeping bags, pads, tents, tarps, emergency food, stoves, water, water filtration, as well as tools for motorcycle repair. We doubled up on stoves and water filtration in case of failure. However, we assigned specific items to individuals to reduce redundancy and extra weight.

At the end of this trip we all agreed, we still had too much gear. We need to evaluate, what we had, and eliminate additional gear to reduce the loads.


Garmin Oregon 450t: This worked but screen was small and hard to read on the move. Also the pre-installed 100k maps were not as good as higher quality 24k maps available. I did not have some of the roads necessary to navigate some forestry roads if the TrekNow tracks turned out to be bad or the roads were not usable.

Garmin Montana 650: Better unit for this mission, larger screen, 24k maps with higher detail.

DeLorme InReach Explorer: GPS Sat Beacon with SOS for really bad emergencies. I was able to send text and email via satellite to family. Good tool to keep the family at ease.

TrekNow OBCDR tracks: with Routes 5, 4, and 3 loaded

MVP of equipment:

Giant loop bags: Very durable material, strong zippers, and holds a large volume
TrekNow GPS tracks: very accurate and easy to follow (I researched gas/food stops)
GPS units: Tracks were loaded and proved to be invaluable

Dry bags: invaluable, they kept clothes dry even under river water
RotoPax Gas cans: although not deployed held extra fuel with no issues
Fry Pan: about 8x 14, used every night to cook / used little space when packing between bags

Folding Grill: about 10x20, used every night to cook and heat water
Medical kit: We had a first aid kit, trauma kit, and numerous meds for many ailments. Imodium, Pepto Bismol, pain pills and electrolyte supplements were used on this trip to keep us feeling better…

Fishing poles: for fun and food
Wet wipes: you know why
Oregon out of state fishing license, a bit pricy but worth it, $16.50 per day

Day 0:

We loaded up the bikes on our trailer and headed out to Bend Or. We started our drive at about 6pm and arrived in Bend at about 3am. It was a long drive but we were all pretty excited about the ride and it went by relatively quickly.

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Once in Bend, we broke out our sleeping bags and get a few hours of sleep. At 8am we headed out to the Uhaul rental location and got our box truck. (Our plan was to use the Uhaul to get us and the bikes to Walla Walla. From there, we ride the back country gravel roads to Bend, where we load the bikes up and go home.)

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We reserved a 17’ truck but they gave us a 22’ truck for the same price, so we took it. The 17’ would have been fine for four bikes, the extra room, however, was welcome. Better to big than to small… We got back on the road and headed up to Walla Walla Wa. About six hours later we arrived at the Uhaul rental location.
2008 DRZ400SM
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Old 10-10-2014, 01:26 PM   #2
Bryangla OP
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Joined: May 2012
Location: Bay Area CA.
Oddometer: 26
Day 1:

Note: all miles are estimates based on route plan provided by TrekNow.

Total Daily Miles: 40
OBCDR sections: Route 5 -4F
OBCDR = Oregon Back Country Discovery Route

****There is a link to the long YouTube video on page 2 of this RideReport.*****

This was about a 40 mile ride from Walla Walla WA to our first camp site. We looked for the first good site in the 40 mile range just to make it an expected short day of riding since we knew we would start the day in the afternoon. About 15 miles of this ride were asphalt the remainder was gravel roads.

We started the ride at the Uhaul drop off point. We unloaded the bikes and our gear. Most of the gear was already loaded and attached to the bikes; however, we dressed up and made the final touches to our gear. We were all loaded way over what the bikes were designed for. I’m guessing one bike exceeded the GVW by over 100 lbs.

We took off and headed to the gas station as our rally point and then we would begin the official ride. Unfortunately, things went bad for me at this point. As I pulled into the gas station, a left turn against two opposing lanes of traffic, I watched traffic to make sure I did not pull in front of a car. I crossed the lanes and looked left at the driveway and noticed it wasn’t there.

I saw the driveway in my peripheral vision and failed to notice that it only extended a short distance and ended far sooner than I expected. I did a major rookie move and grabbed front brake. Yes, the front washed out and down I went. The bike and I sled perfectly into and over the curb, slamming my left leg between the curb and bike.

My leg hurt like crazy and the bike was heavy. I realized I was stuck under the bike and could not get up. I saw at least four locals run over and picked the bike, me, and my pride up off the ground.

I sat down and thought and said several times, “we haven’t even started the ride yet!” I thought to myself the ride was over for me, and I just screwed my friends out of a great adventure ride.

I stood up and limped around a bit. I felt shock setting in and concentrated on relaxing and getting my wits back. I started drinking water like crazy, paced a bit, and sat down. I weighed my options and decided I needed to make a decision whether I would continue or not. My left leg hurt like hell around the ankle, but I was able to stand and even hop on it.

I finally decided (after about 30-40 min of pacing) that I would continue today and see how it was in the morning. If I couldn't deal with it tomorrow, then I would rent a truck and head home, leaving the guys with the option of continuing the ride without me…

On We Rode On...

We have no pictures of the accident, I wasn’t in the mood, and I probably would have yelled at the guys if they started taking pics at that point… I don’t know, I may not have noticed. Either way, we didn’t take any…

I had the tracks downloaded and ready to go so I was leading. I used an Oregon 450t to navigate. Off road it worked well but, in the city it was a pain. Many of the streets would not have names labeled until you zoomed in or out, and one major glitch that I did not notice until much later…. When I stopped abruptly, the GPS would sense that and think I turned around 360 degrees. So at numerous red lights I was getting confused because everything would randomly look backwards. I thought I was losing it… between me and the other navigator, we figured out how to get out of town and toward the route. It took us about 15 minutes.

We headed east on Mill Creek Rd. and drove for many miles. It was asphalt for a long time, much longer than I expected from looking at satellite pics. Finally we entered the gravel roads and the adventure truly began.

On the first day we logged about 40 miles total. It was a short day of riding as we expected due to the mid afternoon jump time. My delay at the gas station made it worse of course… We only rode for about three hours. This leg of the trip was all gravel roads (excluding the asphalt.) We continued on Mill Creek Rd. and eventually merged onto NF 64. NF 64 eventually brought us to our camp site for the first night.

We saw a lake near NF250 and decided to make our way there; however, we encountered a roadblock across the road. We did a lot of reading on the OBCDR and expected some of the trails would be blocked for autos. We saw dirt bike tracks going around the fence and followed.

A couple of miles in we found a tree across the road and dismounted to deal with it. Again we expected this type of obstacle and were prepared for it. We had several small saws, and a big corn fed rider to move heavy things. (We also snuck random pieces of gear into his pack so we didn’t have to carry it :-)

We, well they, moved the tree and geared up to continue. At that moment we saw a hunter with a bow approach us. To say he did not look happy was an understatement. He kept an arrow notched, and to sum it up, told us we were idiots and should not have come this way. (We thought he was an idiot for hunting on a road, but kept that to ourselves.

We turned around and continued on NF 64 which is also named Kendall Skyline Rd. We rode for several more miles and eventually stopped and evaluated what were capable of. It was near sunset and getting pretty dark. We did not want to set up in total darkness so we rode until we found a place where we could pull off the road and not be seen.

Camp set up:
National Forest Development Road 6403
Weston, OR 97886
45.828543, -118.001819

We set up camp. The guys helped me out, they even whipped out an REI chair (I didn’t expect that to make the trip) sat me down and gave me some ice and I elevated my leg. After this ride I realized the most difficult aspect of riding with my injury was up-shifting. The upward pivoting hurt like crazy. When left in a neutral position, it wasn't too bad.

Then we broke out dinner and medicine in the form of Jack, Ole Smoky, and some Ibuprofen. I took my boot off for the first time and inspected my leg. I was swollen pretty good around the ankle and could see bruising. My shin also hurt , and I saw bruising starting there as well.

After a couple hours around the campfire we turned in for the night.

This is our complete route as saved by my Oregon 450t.

This is the Day 1 tracks saved by my Oregon 450t

We stopped for a quick break and check of the maps to make sure we were on course…

We set up camp and had a quick dinner, and a little medicine.

Ice on the foot with the chair falling back…

Ole Smoky (pic from their website)

BS’ing around the campfire, Ole Smoky in hand ;-)
2008 DRZ400SM

Bryangla screwed with this post 12-13-2014 at 09:59 AM Reason: Updated picture with tracks saved by GPS unit
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Old 10-10-2014, 05:51 PM   #3
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Oddometer: 26
Days 1-8 soon to follow.

Day 1 is posted and waiting for moderator approval....
2008 DRZ400SM
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:48 AM   #4
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Location: Deep South, USA
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I am looking forward to this report as I will be in Oregon with a bike again next July and this network of trails look like a nice way to wind down from the TAT.
"I don't have an opinion... I have a dyno." - David Vizard
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Old 10-11-2014, 08:58 AM   #5
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:54 PM   #6
Bryangla OP
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Joined: May 2012
Location: Bay Area CA.
Oddometer: 26
Day 2:

Total Daily Miles: 110
OBCDR sections: 5-4f 8 miles, 5-4e- 53 miles, 5-4d 49 Miles

I woke up to find my leg in about the same condition. It hurt, but I could stand on it and limp around. I was worried about my riding ability with the leg. I felt I could continue, however, I intended on riding easy and planned on dropping the bike to the left and rolling off at any moment if necessary.

I had my buddies turn the bike around for me (we were in the woods and I just did not want to deal with that at the moment…) I rode out and back to the road and waited. Tyeler came out next, and then we heard the sound of Bertha complaining. Bertha is old, cranky, and does not like cold mornings. Bertha is the XR650, with a racing carb modification. There is no choke on the carb and it was chilly.

We checked the annual weather records for the area during the month of September, and expected highs of 70-80’s and lows of 40-50’s, we were wrong. We felt it was in the 30’s over night.

Bertha cranked over many times for a long time. Just as I was getting worried about the battery dying, I heard the cough of life, and a belch of blue smoke. (We are guessing the rings are non-existent) numerous more cranks and she woke up and fired to life.

We jumped on Hy 84 south to La Grande. In La Grande we fueled up and grabbed lunch. We found a cafe called Houghts 24 flavors. Ice Cream and burgers Mmmmmm. Most of us ordered the Hought’s burger, which was excellent.

We rode back on Hwy 84 and got back on the route and continued. Lots of gravel roads mixed in with some dirt roads. We rode for about 20 + miles and found a small campground on a beautiful pond that looked ripe for fishing. I believe it was called Indian Lake. Located on Indian Lake Rd. (45.370006, -118.551142) We met the camp host and inquired about open camp spots, and the quality of fishing. He said there were numerous open spots and the fishing was great… if you have an Indian fishing permit… We all agreed it would be painful to camp at a location like this and not fish. So we moved on and looked for something better.

We rode through an OHV area and talked with a couple teenagers driving a Polaris RZR. We asked about good fishing spots and they attempted to give directions, they ended up showing us the way. They stopped short on the last turn and pointed us to the area. We continued and found a very small pond with goldfish, and numerous travel trailers with generators running. Again it was getting late so we prepared to set up camp, while one of us scouted the area for a better location. 30 minutes later, the scout comes back and we all end up moving on. About an hour later we arrived at a much better location for camping.

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
1550 Dewey Ave, Baker City, OR 97814
45.292247, -118.605660

We fished and caught numerous small trout, catch and release. The water was cold and felt great on my sore ankle. We spent about an hour or more fishing and retreated to the camp to prepare dinner. Nothing special, pasta mixed with chili. I doesn’t sound good, but when you’re camping and hungry it tastes great. Soon afterward we turned in for the night.

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Putting the fire dead out in the morning

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Bertha waking up in the morning

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The DRZ waiting patiently to be started in the morning…

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Bertha riding out of her bedding area

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Scene from a vista point looking over a small town, it was a couple hours away from our first campsite.
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Same lookout overlooking the town of Summerville OR.
Summerville, OR 97876
45.491396, -118.004144

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This plaque was in the vista outlook structure

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A few hours later we stopped on the trail and took a quick break.

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Great burgers at Houghts 24 Flavors

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Leg update,,, its sore,,, the bruising is moving down the foot…
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Cooking chili and pasta looks like crap but actually tasted great!
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Warming boots
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Cool night time shot, this was the view from our campsite

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More night time camp pics
2008 DRZ400SM
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Old 10-12-2014, 04:42 PM   #7
Bryangla OP
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Joined: May 2012
Location: Bay Area CA.
Oddometer: 26
Day 3:

Total Daily Miles: 64
OBCDR sections: 5-4c 48 miles, 5-4b 16 miles
GPS Tracks
 photo Day3_zps79e1b91c.png

We woke up to an even colder morning. Frost had formed on our bikes and gear, and I definitely felt the cold in my feet. I didn’t sleep well that night. I should have worn more clothing.

We got up, packed our gear and prepared to move on. One of the more valuable items in our gear turned out to be a propane torch. Believe it or not, we used it to warm up Bertha. Careful to not burn wires and fuel lines, the cranky old hag started up much quicker despite the colder morning. Don’t worry; she belched the blue smoke as normal.

Steve was typically up at five or six every morning, the rest of us woke up at about seven. After a quick breakfast and packing, we usually hit the trail by about 0930.

We jumped on to NF 125 and continued south west. We rode for several hours and stopped in Ukiah for gas and lunch. The gas station was run by and eccentric man who liked to talk to all of his customers. He had some interesting opinions, and told unusual stories. We chuckled at the signs that I’m guessing he painted on the buildings walls. For lunch, we stopped at a bar and grill called the Thicket. The beer choices were limited, and the menu was basic. We were hungry and thirsty so that was fine with us. The waitress helping us was extremely cranky. Even more so than Bertha. We were all dirty, hungry, thirsty, and had very low standards at that point. We were not hard to impress and she did not. Oh, well.

We moved on by jumping onto Sawmill Gulch Rd. It was asphalt for a while, and then eventually turned into gravel and dirt. We turned onto NF 1060 which was easy gravel and dirt roads. Some of the ride was at or near the summit of the hills and offered beautiful views.

Next we came to a fork in our tracks. The OBCDR tracks offered two ways to continue along the route and would later meet back up and about and estimated 40 miles or so. We scanned the two options and decided on the route that traveled in the canyon. The alternate route traveled near the summit most of the way. We felt we would stop for camp prior to rejoining the other trail and picked the canyon route. The canyon route seemed to follow a river most of the way and would most likely offer a better camp. We turned onto NF 5507 and headed into the canyon. After a couple hours we located a dry camp right on the North Fork John Day River.

NF 5506 at Oriental Creek campground
Umatilla National Forest
Pendleton, OR 97801
44.974675, -118.727596

This turned out to be a good decision. We set up camp, broke out the poles and started catching fish. Most were released back, but a few were kept for appetizers. However, the main course of the day was a surprise. We were all fishing, and one of us returned to camp for supplies. At the same moment, three grouse happened to walk through our camp. As a result, a .410 was pulled out of a pack, snatched from its caring case, and quickly assembled. Two shots produced three grouse on a frying pan. Mmmmmmm. We went to bed with full bullies and a smile on our faces that night.

After dinner, we saw a doe walk up to our camp. At first it was interesting how close she came to us. However, it was apparent that she had grown used to people and was scavenging. We also noticed an injury on her left rear leg that may have been the result of a hunter. She kept coming closer and closer to us, looking for food. Eventually, we had to chase her off, several times. Even after that, she came back at night while we were sleeping and licked the frying pan clean. (We decided to clean it again though.)

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Frosted over when we woke up

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Bad instant coffee never tasted this good. We were surprised how much it warmed up by 0930. The warm up made the early ride much better.

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Warming Bertha

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Bertha talking to us, telling us she is not a morning girl….

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Lunch at the Thicket (not so friendly waitress ;-(

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This was the store next to the Thicket, interesting.
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Gas station artwork
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The owner talked to everyone who came to his gas station. Many stories with an interesting personality.
Some of his personality comes out in his sign below… posted on the front wall of the building.
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Snagged a snake, not a keeper.
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Dead or near dead salmon. We would like to say we caught one, but they had spawned and were all dying.
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Dinner preparation. The grill attached to the fire ring leaned at a steep angle. We had to use alternative methods to make it level for cooking… you can see the large stump and log wedged into the grill to keep it level.. . It worked, we had a great dinner.

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Fresh grouse, Mmmmmmmm

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A view from our camp with great fishing

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This was the stubborn doe who wouldn’t leave, and eventually licked the pan clean.
2008 DRZ400SM
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Old 10-12-2014, 04:50 PM   #8
Bryangla OP
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Joined: May 2012
Location: Bay Area CA.
Oddometer: 26
Sorry this is out of order,,, but here is a picture of our complete tracks as saved by my Oregon 450t.
Unfortunately I could not get rid of that diagonal line down the middle. I turned the GPS on a home and it combined that track in CA with the Day 1 track... I'm still learning how to use and save thing on the GPS unit...

 photo CompleteRoute_zps1db237b5.png
2008 DRZ400SM
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Old 10-14-2014, 12:16 AM   #9
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Joined: May 2012
Location: Bay Area CA.
Oddometer: 26
Day 4:

Total Daily Miles: 99
OBCDR sections: 5-4a 39 miles, 5-3k 31 miles, 5-3j 29 miles.
GPS Tracks
 photo Day4_zps0a5c987e.png

We woke up and located the licked clean frying pan and re-washed it, packed up and jumped on the bikes. We turned onto NF 5506and NF 1010 and headed southbound. We rode the gravel and dirt roads for a couple hours. We arrived at a fire lookout called Desolation Butte Lookout. Its elevation was 7028, and the fire tower looked about four stories tall. There was a sign that advised caution and a limit of four people at one time. We climbed it and the view was beautiful. Most of the gravel roads were fast and easy riding. They offered nice views of many valleys as we were riding at or near the summits. Most of the riding was around 5K in elevation.

This day was an easy and enjoyable riding day. We covered quite a bit of off road miles almost 100, and made pretty good time doing it. It was a warm day, high 70's or low 80's, so we were comfortable all day. We pulled into Sumpter in good spirits. We were hungry and thirsty and we're all looking forward to a good lunch.

We rode through the Main Street and looked for gas and food. Sumpter did not disappoint. We fueled up first and inquired about a food. The man at the gas station referred us to the cafe down the street called the Scoop N Steamer. (363 S Mill St Sumpter Or.)

We located it and found it to be a quaint little cafe with one waitress and a cook in the back. It was nice cafe, well kept and run. The waitress was nice and again talked with us most of the time we were there. The burgers were excellent. We found out the man working at the gas station was her husband. Pretty good marketing technique, tourists fuel up at his location, and he refers them to his wife for a good meal.

We asked the waitress about camping and fishing. She referred us to a camping site just out of town on Granite Hill Hwy. She told us the fishing was good. After the lunch, we moved over to the market for supplies.

I told the woman in the market we were heading into Unity and I was looking for a steak dinner. She picked up the phone and called the diner in Unity and asked about steak dinners. That was pretty cool. They talked to us about riding and camping, and good fishing spots. A few people came in and out of the market while we were there. Most talked with us while we were there. Good people.

Camp at McCully Fork Nat Forest Campground
Granite Hill Rd at Mcully Fork Rd.
National Forest Development Road 2200
Sumpter, OR 97877
44.766641, -118.247515

We fished for a while and caught numerous trout, several were keepers. The fishing was from a small creek. We saw and caught many small trout; however Tyeler and I saw a big one (just under 12 inches or so.) I was now on a mission to catch him. We saw him hiding in a hole that was covered by brush and some tree limbs. As a result it was hard to cast right into its hole.

I Spent about 40 minutes trying to drop the worm in just the right place. Finally, the worm drops about 12 inches outside of its hole. I jiggled the worm a few times and about 20 seconds later, I see the little guy swim out of its hole and grab the worm. He instantly turns back into his hole and I set the hook. Got him.

We had cooked pasta with hamburger sauce that night and enjoyed the fresh cooked fish. Our bellies were now full, and warm. It was a good thing because the night quickly grew chilly. To help with the chill this night, we indulged in a little Makers Mark, and Ole Smoky, possibly a little too much for me.

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Video thumbnail of trail riding

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Stopped for a break on our way to Desolation Butte. We rode along the ridgeline for many miles. Very pretty ride.

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Signage advising of weight limit…

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What a view

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You can see there was still some water on the roads evident by the fresh mud…

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Lunch at the Scoop and Steamer, Good people in this town, we enjoyed talking with the locals.

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Ryan in action, stuffing his face. Keep your hands away when he’s eating
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The woman working in the Gold Post was very nice; she even called ahead to the next town to see if they had steak on their menu.

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Ole Smoky was gone so we tried this. Yes, a ceramic bottle and its attached by 550 cord. It stayed attached this way for many miles no issues..

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This is a lousy picture, but is our only picture of this camp. We spent most of the time fishing and cooking.

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Lots of little fish, a few keepers at this camp

Day 5:

Total Daily Miles: 105
OBCDR sections: 5-3i 8 miles, 5-3h 13 miles, 5-3G 20 miles,5-3f 31 miles, 5-3e 33miles.
GPS Tracks
 photo Day5_zps0a519001.png

We woke up to another cold morning. Hot instant coffee and oatmeal warmed things up a bit. We set out riding back through town. We jumped on NF 1675 and continued south. Seneca was our next fuel stop and this was expected to be the long stretch where fuel may become an issue. We all have RotoPax filled with additional fuel, but we were still worried about our total range. Especially, when factoring wrong turns or closed roads.

We rode on for a few hours and came to another fork in the tracks. We sat at the fork and observed an OHV trail to our left and the gravel road continued to the right. We had all had enough of the wobble inducing gravel roads so the OHV trail looked good. My leg had been doing pretty good, and my up shifting had gotten much smoother. I was looking forward to this section.

It was a good choice as it offered additional technical riding, and a much better riding surface. The trail was however, littered with rocks of all sizes, pebbles, baby heads, and boulders. This added to the fun factor. I have been looking at the maps and tracks after the ride and I believe, but not positive, this was NF1060. I would say this, if you are looking for a change from gravel, or more technical riding, pick any of the OHV or blue trails indicated by the OBCDR.

My conservative riding was put on hold, and Tyeler and I had a little fun. I lead the way and Tyeler followed. Tyeler, who is a far better rider than I am, was filming with the GoPro, and rides close when filming. During this several mile stretch I rode at the edge of my limits, and he was able to stay right on my tail. The fun level was high, some of it was caught on video. Unfortunately we lost some of the video close to the end of the trail in a very dramatic way. During most of the trail, Tyeler was deflecting many small rocks from my rear wheel. However, I kicked up a fist sized rock right at his face.

He later told me he saw the rock, said Oh Shit, and ducked his head. The rock smashed into his helmet mounted GoPro, knocking it back at a 45 degree angle. It was a hard enough hit to shut the video off and caused to freeze up. He had to remove the battery to get it to turn on again. The rock had hit the case on the lens and probably the on/off button. There was a nice scratch on the lens cover. Tyeler later checked and that video file was corrupt. I guess it took too much of a hit and lost that file. It’s too bad, that would have been a good video.

On this same day we encountered several trails that had some nice whoops and jumps. A couple of the short inclines were tall and steep enough to give me some concern. I was still worried about my leg. I didn’t let myself think about it too much and just went for it. I told myself again, screw it, it’s slow enough I can just drop the bike and roll or walk away…

The bike and I did fine, no issues, and again we had fun. Right after this stretch, we ran into two riders pulled over and taking a brake on the side of the route. They looked like us, dual sport bikes, and a lot of gear. We stopped and talked with them for a while. They were riding a DRZ400sm (just like mine) and a KLR650. Their Inmate names are KBDubs and Portlandguy.

They started the route on the California border and were heading north. I believe they were riding the entire stretch of Route 5 which runs north south on the east side of Oregon. We planned on turning off Route 5 and heading west on Route 4 as soon as we encountered the junction. Route 4 takes you to the area of Sisters and Bend Oregon.

It was good to see other Adventure Riders doing the same thing we were. After the short break, we moved on and headed into Unity. While in Unity we fueled up and ate lunch. The people were nice and talked with us for awhile

We rode for a few hours and made our way into Unity. Unfortunately, the dinner the nice woman from Sumpter had called, failed to mention today was the one day of the week they were closed. No steak for me. To bad.

We located the local gas station and cafe, the Burnt River Cafe In the center of Unity. This was a very small town. Most of the locals looked like farmers. Good people, polite, but not a lot of conversations with us.

Toward the end of the day, we came to the first river crossing, the North Fork Malheur River. The four of us stopped at the river and developed a plan of crossing.

River crossing: North Fork Malheur River: 44.161486, -118.372934
NF774 at Malheur River

Tyeler entered first. He was standing on the pegs and carried speed when entering. As it turned out, probably to much speed. The rocks ranged from fist to the watermelon sized and they were slick with moss or algae. The rocks steered Tyeler to the right which was the he deeper area. He tried to correct, then the he front wheel hit a large slick rock and slid out. Down goes on the KTM.

I was videoing and close to the river, I ran /hobbled in and helped with picking up the bike. Once back on, Tyeler rode out with no other issues. Ryan, mounted on Bertha, was next up and learned from Tyeler. He chose the slow method, sitting down and picking a safe line. His feet came out like skis rather quickly, but Bertha chugged her way through the water and up the bank. Steve was next; he also went with the slow but steady method and made it across with no problems.

I was last, and my feet were already wet from running in with Tyeler. This turned out to be a good thing. I watched all three go across and even had the honor of walking back across the river to get back on my bike. I saw the best route with the smallest rocks and noticed it was relatively shallow.

I jumped on the bike and entered the water. I realize now that I was moving too fast, and the stones all moved a lot more than expected. I aimed for the easy and shallow area and soon realized that I had less control of direction than I hoped for. Unlike Tyeler, I want far left, right through the shallow area and back into the deeper water. Don't worry, the front wheel hit a large slick rock I didn't expect and down goes the DRZ. My leg hurt, I was tired, and bit ticked off. Tyeler waded into the water and we got the bike out. It wasn't pretty, but we were out.

Although out of the water, Tyeler and I were standing in 8 inches of water trapped in our boots. We had ridden enough miles and saw a sign for a campground less than a mile away. We decided to find the camp and set up for the night and dry off. We located a good camp site less than a mile away, very close to the same river. Likely good for fishing.

Malheur National Forest
Canyon City, OR 97820
44.161486, -118.372934

I, however, was not done crossing rivers for the night. Our camp site was close to the river and I believed (incorrectly) that the trail on the other side of our camp linked up with our route. I wanted to say I correctly negotiated a water crossing so I jumped back on the bike and followed the small OHV trail that re-crossed the river right next to our camp.

I didn't tell anyone what I was doing; I just jumped on and started before I could change my mind. My friends later told me they thought I was simply re-positioning my bike. Nope. I took it slow this time. It was half the distance of the last crossing so I figured I had a pretty good chance with this one.

About halfway in I saw some of the biggest boulders yet. Things didn't go well from there. Again, my intended direction was different from where the bike actually went. Big slippery rock met front wheel, down goes bike.

I was angry enough that I picked up the bike on my own. Ryan saw and heard what I was doing and headed my way. He helped me re-mount the bike and I rode out, with a good push from the corn fed man.

At this point they tell me I will have to cross it again because the OHV does not link up with our trail. Ohhhh crap.

We set up camp and some broke out the fishing poles. After about an hour, I make the decision to re-cross the river that I did not need to cross in the first place... I tell Ryan my plan and ask that he spot me knowing that I am 0 and 2 with water at this point. I gear back up and he scouts the water. With the water being clear he tells me about a couple big boulders on either side of the crossing and advises me to stay center. I give the thumbs up and head in.

I quickly run directly into one of the rocks he told me to stay away from (hey, I didn't want to wreck my stellar water crossing record) and you guessed it, splash. We picked up the DRZ and I rode out. I'm pretty worn out at this point, and the exit heads up a steep OHV trail laden with big rocks. I head up the trail and start going off course, so I lay it down on the left to hear a loud clunk. I didn't think anything of it, as I have dropped it much harder in the past. We pick it up, finish the climb after a few deep breaths and park the bike for the night. (Later on, I find out I smashed the left radiator when I laid it down on the hill. It wasn't leaking but that’s not good.)

I focused the rest of the night on drying my clothes and boots. I will say this, the investment in the Giant Loop bag and Sea to Summit dry bag was worth the money. The Giant Loop also came with dry bags that fit its U shape. Everything that was in the dry bags stayed dry. Even after several downs and crashes with the Giant Loop, it had no damage. It's nice to know that with at least one more crossing, my clothes and electronics will stay dry. And with a 0 and 3 record, I fully expected to get wet again.

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Gas station in Unity

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Fuel, market and cooked food. They did it all.
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Quick selfie while on the trial. This dirt was a great change from most of the gravel we saw on the prior days. Some of the gravel was very loose and deep.

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ADV riders we met outside of Sumpter, DRZ400SM
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AVD riders we met on trail, KLR650 (KBDubs and Portlandguy)

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I really need to get rid of some of that stuff, that stack gets higher every day… At one point during the trip, we noticed all we could see was Steve’s head over his gear…
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Ryan keeps moving along on Bertha. He was the most consistent gear organizer. It was almost always packed the same. Our gear on the other hand, was set up different every time we packed…

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Steve explaining how you just lean back when you’re tired. His gear is getting close to his head at this point…

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Our first river crossing… time to wash my bike.

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Action shot from my video (thumbnail from video taken)

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Not many pics of this, we ran video during the crossing. I will link some videos when I figure how, and edit the video we have…
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This is the small river I crossed (which I had to re-cross because it did not link up with the tracks…

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Action shot of my 3rd fail, almost made it. Note, Ryan running to assist.
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Ryan and I washing the DRZ.
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Time to get dry and get the camp ready, it was a beautiful camp as you can see below:

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Tyeler’s selfie

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My foot showing deep purple bruising. Still hurts, but I’m getting used to riding with it. Shifting has been better these past two days. Going down three times in the water, however, made it sore on this night..
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While I was drying, others caught these little tasty morsels.
2008 DRZ400SM

Bryangla screwed with this post 10-19-2014 at 10:34 PM Reason: typos...
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Old 10-14-2014, 05:57 AM   #10
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: New England
Oddometer: 3,433
Cool report..
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Old 10-14-2014, 07:57 AM   #11
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Lakewood, CO
Oddometer: 421
Awesome report! I want to do this ride next year.
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Old 10-14-2014, 06:20 PM   #12
Bryangla OP
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Joined: May 2012
Location: Bay Area CA.
Oddometer: 26
Day 6:

Total Daily Miles: 107
OBCDR sections: 5-3d 28 miles, 5-3c 40 miles, 5-4b 39 miles.
GPS Tracks
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We woke up to what might be our coldest night of the trip. None of us slept well, many cold feet. One of the late sleepers was up at five in the morning due to the cold. I'm now glad I chose to cross the river last night, because my leg is pretty sore, and cold water in the morning would not have gone well.

We head back toward NF 774, and continued southbound. A couple hours later we reached NF 1651 and the Malhuer River (farther south of our last crossing.)
river crossing: Malheur River44.086965, -118.579740

We, Tyeler and I, were leading so we stop and set up to video the crossing. Ryan and Steve arrive and I waive Ryan on. He enters with Bertha and thumps his way through, slow and steady, feet out like skis. Then, Steve on the KTM, and next Tyeler. All make it slow and steady.

Now it's my turn. I flip the video on and head in. This crossing looks about as long as the first, but not as deep, and the stones look smaller. I keep a slow pace and stay center, which is what I planned, until half way. At that point I start heading right and see deeper water and bigger rocks. I force myself to look left, the direction I want to go, and a second later, the front wheel slips on something, and the bike goes down. Crap, 0 and 4. I now officially dislike water crossings. Each time the bike went down, it was on the left side, weak leg, and opposite of the pipe.

The water was deeper than I estimated; it was coming over the seat. I found the strength to pick the bike up before help arrived, but waited before doing anything else. I was again tired, and my leg felt like crap. Steve arrived and I pushed the starter. It cranked several times and then stopped. I clicked the starter a couple more times and I just heard click, click. We saw that the headlight was on, although flooded with water, so electrical was good. It was hydro-locked. Not good.

We pushed the bike out and onto the gravel road which was a very wide switch back offering ample work space. The wet guys removed the waterlogged clothing and I began stripping parts off the bike. First all the gear, then the seat and the gas tank. I took off the side panels and removed the air cleaner, which was waterlogged and muddy from the dust we were breathing for several days.

Our mechanic asked for the spark plug socket. Uuuuuhhh, I thought you brought that. He did, for a KTM. It didn't fit the DRZ. Nor did the Honda. Oh, crap. What do we do now? With options not really existent, we did the following: we lifted the bike up 90 degrees on the back wheel. No water came out of the pipe. We then tilted the bike on each side and past 90 degrees a bit. Water came out of the air box and the carb. We then rotated the bike upside down on the bars and tail. More water came out of the air box and carb.

We tried the starter again and, click, click. At the recommendation of our most mechanically inclined rider, we put the bike in 4th gear, and gently pushed the bike. It dragged the wheel, and then turned over. We did this a few more times, then drained the carb of any possible water and tried the starter. We heard the sweat sound of the starter spinning and the engine cranking. Yes.

We hooked up the tank and tried it again. After a bit of cycling, it fired up. It ran like crap and likely still hade water in the carb or intake. I turned the choke on and let it idle fast for about 10 minutes. It got hot enough that the radiator fan turned on. I've owned the bike since 2008, and only heard that fan actually turn on a couple times, so it definitely was hot. We put all the parts back on, and loaded up the gear. Minutes before we were about to take off, Steve said, take a look at the oil. Yeah, that's a good idea. The DRZ does not have an oil window, so I checked the dipstick, milky. Cmon!

It just so happens that Bertha Consumes oil almost as fast as gas. As a result, Ryan has about 5 liters of fresh oil, sweet. The DRZ gets fresh oil. We did the best we could to keep the area clean. Luckily we had a few empty 1 gallon water jugs. We cut them and did the oil change in-field.

The DRZ ran rough for a few miles but quickly cleaned itself out and ran like a champ. The in-field repairs kept us there until about 4:30. Much later than we wanted, so we hustled into Seneca. The gravel roads were fast and we made good time. We fueled up on the Main Street and saw a dinner on our way to fuel. While gassing up, a few locals stopped and talked to us. One said he heard us riding by his house and came to the gas station. He needed a fresh six pack. I think he came to check out who the strangers were in his town.

He said he was many generations native to East Oregon, and explained the difference from the western side of Oregon. He said those Californians took over the west side. (Were Californian's ;-) but we understood. He gave us some info on a good campground that seemed to be on our route. We thanked him and headed to the diner.

The dinner was a pleasant surprise. It was very nice inside, with a very friendly waitress. I unfortunately did not take any pictures, and Google maps and yelp do not show any dinning establishments in Seneca. I guess it is to small of a city for that type of technology... It should not be that hard to find it if your in the area, it's likely the only dinner. We had burgers and roast beef. They were all good. Tyeler tried a shake called the Blue Moon Huckleberry. Yes, Blue Moon as in the beer. I tried a taste, not bad, but I don't think I could finish the whole thing.

We pushed on, and headed west on Shirttail Creek Road. We saw signs for a gun range ahead of us. Then we saw that the road actually goes directly through a trap shooting range. No one was shooting when we rode by, but that was interesting.

We continued and looked for the campground we were told about. No luck, we saw some of the landmarks he told us about, but no camping area. I'm guessing we missed it riding too quickly. This area was set in a valley following a lot of streams. None of which offered good camping. Too steep, or wet.

Eventually it opened up to a meadow spotted by groves of trees. We found a spot out of sight of the road and set up camp. We never saw or heard another person or vehicle all night. Same drill at night, dinner drinks and sleep. No fishing, just packed food which was good when hungry and camping.

Set up Camp:
Malheur National Forest
Canyon City, OR 97820
44.103712, -119.212876

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Leaving camp and heading to river crossing #2.
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Water crossing view from where we worked on the DRZ
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We came up on the second water crossing pretty quick and did not get any pictures on the way. Again, we shot video while crossing the water so no real pics…

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Thumbnails from video, the below angle is pretty cool. I mounted the camera on the swingarm. The water went above the camera. After I go down, the water clears up and you can see the big rock I ran into with the front wheel.

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After watching the video several times. I realize I dropped it every time mainly because of my injuried leg. Each time I noticed I didn’t even put my foot down to hold the bike up. I just let it go down. My leg was pretty sore, and I was worried about the slippery rocks and bad foot placement in and around the rocks. I really did not want to hurt it any more than it already was…

Next time around, I will do better…

Okay, so here are the pics showing some of the repair process from the hydrolock:

As you can see I pulled all the gear off and threw it to the side… tipped the bike to all extreme angles to allow as much water as possible to drain…

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No spark plug tool meant we had to try something different when done.
We used 4th gear and slowly pushed the bike and let the rear wheel drag. This allowed the engine to cycle, pushing past the hydrolock. Note, this could have caused major damage, so we did not push it hard… we got lucky and it pushed through and past the hydrolock.

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We checked the oil and it was milky. Lucky for Bertha’s oil consumption, we had about 5 extra quarts available.

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We used empty water jugs to catch the oil. We also poured fresh oil into the filter to push out the milky oil inside it. It took a few minutes but gravity pushed quite a bit of the milky oil out of the filter.

The DRZ started up pretty quick after this, ran like crap for a while, but quickly came back to normal after about 10 minutes of idling and a few miles of riding. I checked the oil again the next day and it stayed clear. I felt better about that.
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Blue Moon Huckleberry shake.
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Leg update, looks like crap. Still sore but dealing with it.
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Long day riding, we found this camp out of sight of the forestry road. No water so no fishing… oh well. The chill was moving in quick, we expected a cold night again.

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Some glamour shots of Bertha

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KTM 500
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2008 DRZ400SM
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Old 10-15-2014, 12:19 PM   #13
Bryangla OP
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Joined: May 2012
Location: Bay Area CA.
Oddometer: 26
Day 7:

Total Daily Miles: 165
OBCDR sections: 5-3a 29 miles, 4-f 40 miles, 4-e 24 miles, 4-d 36 miles, 4-c 36 miles.
GPS Tracks (for some reason days 7 and 8 combined…)
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This is the portion that was traveled on day 7

We woke up to ice and frost again, however we were bundled up in thermals and warm bags, so we were good. Bertha needed some warming up to. We actually parked her over the morning coals to help warm up. It actually helped, much less cranking over to start up.

Again, hot coffee and oatmeal never tasted and felt so good in the morning. I wasn't as diligent about drying my boots this time and paid for it. They were damp and cold. I doubled up the wool socks, no cotton, and it wasn't to bad.

We loaded up and jumped back on the trail. We headed west, now on route 4, on NF 31. We rode for a couple hours and encountered a sign that advised of road closures. It closed almost all of the NF roads for a short portion of on the west end of route 4. We talked with a hunter who said they give big fines if they catch you on the closed roads.

He told us a way around the closed roads, but it was to complex. Way too many turns to remember. We scanned the GPS and found a faster way around using hwy 63 through the town of Izee. This saved us some time, but the route on asphalt was about the same amount of miles as the gravel.

We got back on the route and enjoyed the gravel some more. We planned on riding to Mitchell for food and fuel, however, we decided to keep going straight to Prineville. We felt we could make it because the long stretch to Seneca was not an issue. None of us needed to use the RotoPax up to this point. After several hours we stopped at a gravel road junction. We were all hungry and needed a break. We broke out jerky, beef sticks, trail mix, and Cheeto’s. It’s amazing just how good it all tasted. After about 20 minutes we jumped back on the bikes and continued.

At about four of five we rolled into Prineville. We stopped and fueled up, then went to a market for food. No meat. Of the last four stops, none of the markets had meat for sale. I'm guessing it's related to the remoteness combined with small towns and hunting to provide the meat. We got basic supplies and asked about fishing and camping. The cashier told us about a good spot outside of town. We headed out of town and rode on Hwy 27, aka S Crooked River. It was further from town than we expected, about 20+ miles or so. But the camping spot was good.

Castle Rock Rec site
Crook County
44.158076, -120.834748

It was just off the road, but it was set deep in a canyon with beautiful views. Oh, and the fishing was excellent. Who would have thought that our best fishing would have been right off the road, when compared to some of our remote locations? We caught many fish and ate well this night. We had no wood to burn so we had to improvise with the frying pan and two jet stoves.

It was the first time we needed the stoves, but they were key on this night. Ryan and I supplemented the fish with beef stew, Tyeler and Steve had ravioli with theirs. Doesn't sound good, but it was. Oh, we also packed several 24oz cans of various cold beers. They fit perfectly in the cooler. Mmmmmmm cold beer.

Castle Rock Rec site
Crook County, OR
44.158076, -120.834748

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Warming Bertha up over the fire, it worked well, just be carful to not burn anything…

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We ran into this sign today and had to find alternate routes. Note the dates if you plan on doing this ride. This is the west end of Route 4.

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Another junction near that NF road closure.

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The past couple days have been chilly during the day. It was just a bit colder than I would have liked, but the jacket made it fine. I was expecting mid 70-80, so the 50-60’s during the day caught me by surprise. Still awesome riding.
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This was our lunch break on the side of the road. This was the time when we decided to ride all the way to Prineville from the Seneca area. Tyeler’s KTM500 had about 5 miles left in the tank when we got to Prineville. (we had a boatload of fuel left in the RotoPax, untouched, so we were not worried.)

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Interesting area to ride through, very old fire damage made if feel a bit desolate. The dirt road was a good ride, fast with rocks ruts and some dips here and there..

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Camp found! It was beautiful.

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There was fish

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Many fish
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I didn’t realize I looked that bad…

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Formation of an improvised stove.
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We had no firewood, and the area was already scavenged so we improvised. This was the first time we had to use the stoves. We cooked with wood fire every night up to here. Again that fry pan saved our butts, that fish was awesome.

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Steve the cook with his secret recipes and spices..
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This is the sunrise we woke up to!
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Day 8:

Total Daily Miles: 83
OBCDR sections:4-b 37 miles, 4-a 46 miles
GPS Tracks
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It was cold again even though we were much lower in elevation. Not a problem for us, but Bertha did not like it. We had no fire to park her over, and the propane torch was not heating her up enough. We needed a new plan. We pulled out one of the ratchet straps and decided to bump start Bertha. A few pulls later Bertha was running and smoking like champ.

We rode back into Prineville and had breakfast at a local diner on the main stretch. The chicken fried steak was good. The locals were friendly and struck up conversations during most of the breakfast.

After breakfast we headed out and got back on the gravel roads. We rode on Hwy 26 to NF 1394. We continued west toward Sisters. We rode by many rural towns and farming communities. Some roads were asphalt but most were gravel. The gravel roads were fast, mostly hard packed dirt, with silt, gravel, ruts, and whoops mixed in at varies locations. It was rather entertaining as far as gravel roads go.

There were numerous times when I had to slow down. I noticed I had a big smile on my face, but I was pushing the limit again. I slowed down and told myself to enjoy the ride.

Another factor that slowed us down was the silt. The silt dust would sometimes hang like smoke in the air, forcing us to slow down and even stop until the dust settled. In some areas there was no wind, so the silty dust would just hang there for a long time.

About mid afternoon we turned onto Hwy 20, ending our off road adventure. We headed south to Bend. We exited Hwy 20 when we saw a KTM dealership. We stopped at the first gas station and then stopped at the KTM dealer. I looked up Giant Loop, knowing they were based in Bend, and they asked the employees at KTM. We realized Giant Loop was less than a mile away. We mounted up and rode over to Giant Loop.

Giant Loop LLC
63025 O. B. Riley Rd

When we arrived at Giant Loop, a few employees came out smiling and welcomed us inside their shop. They were a cool bunch of guys and talked with us for over an hour. They showed us some of their gear, including their personal equipment. It was obvious they were true riders. We saw a line of well used bikes all fitted with various types of gear. All the bikes looked personally owned and well used, but taken care of. They showed us some of the gear they were performing R&D on. It was apparent they continually upgraded their product, making it better every year.

They were a down to earth bunch of guys and good to talk with. The recommended a hotel for our last night in Oregon. McMenamins Old St. Francis School Hotel Pub and Theater.

We looked it up and called to reserve a room. They advised all they had was a four room cottage, called the Nunnery. We Booked it and rode to McMenamins. It was a great recommendation. There were several bars including a whiskey and cigar bar. The people frequenting the restaurant and bars were good spirited people which made for a good atmosphere.

McMenamins Old St. Francis School Hotel Pub Theater
700 NW Bond St
Bend, OR 97701

I enjoyed seven nights of camping on the bikes, however, the bed in the Nunnery was fantastic! I had a good night sleep that night. I will say this though; my leg was killing me after a short walk around downtown. The next morning we loaded up and headed back home.

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This was an awesome ride around a lake. There were a lot of cars and RV’s on the road so it was slow going, but still a good ride around the lake.
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It was still cool, even down at the 3k elevation. The jackets were needed to stay comfortable.
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Giant Loop Visit.

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In the cottage, with the leg up. After walking around Bend, it was real sore, the worst I felt all week… it looked like crap here too.

Despite my injury, I enjoyed the adventure ride thoroughly. I'm glad I made the decision to continue, after all, it probably was not the most prudent decision I have made. It's the difficulties we have to overcome that make for truly memorable adventures. I will definitely remember this adventure.

Although I texted my wife daily using the InReach sat device, I did not call or tell her I was injured. She would have freaked out had I told her, and my ride would likely have ended at that point. Soooo, once I got back I had X-rays and a CT scan of my leg. The diagnosis, the fibula was broken about three inches from the bottom of the bone, and slightly off alignment. The tibia had a one inch chip knocked off the bottom left side. Ouch.

I had surgery which resulted in a plate securing the fibula, and screws re-attached the chipped portion of the tibia. I was really surprised by the fact that it was broken. I did not think I would be able to deal with a break for that long. I think the tight boot really helped me to continue. Also, the tibia (with the chip) is the load bearing bone, (allowing me to stand on it) while the broken fibula is there for the articulation of the foot/ankle. My boot kept it mostly immobilized.

The other benefits of the injury, I was able to write up this report rather quickly after the ride. I have some time on my hands now.

Here are some after pics of the leg…

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The plate is holding the fibula together, and the two screws on an angle at the bottom are reattaching the chipped tibia… Now I have 5 weeks off the leg, and a couple months rehabbing it after that. My calf has already shrunk dramatically.

I figure in a few months we will start planning the next cross state adventure ride. My goal is every two years I participate in this type of adventure.

Ride On!
2008 DRZ400SM
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Old 10-16-2014, 04:04 AM   #14
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Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Deep South, USA
Oddometer: 39
Sorry about the leg, don't skimp on the rehab - even the slightest. You have a nice assortment of hardware now. ;) Welcome to the club.

This is the best report on these trails I have seen. Nicely done.
"I don't have an opinion... I have a dyno." - David Vizard
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Old 10-17-2014, 05:11 PM   #15
Bryangla OP
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Joined: May 2012
Location: Bay Area CA.
Oddometer: 26
Originally Posted by Power-Tripp View Post
Sorry about the leg, don't skimp on the rehab - even the slightest. You have a nice assortment of hardware now. ;) Welcome to the club.

This is the best report on these trails I have seen. Nicely done.
I've got 3 more weeks off the leg, then rehab starts. I'm looking forward to it because crutches suck, and my leg has atrophied.
2008 DRZ400SM
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