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Old 01-14-2013, 07:26 AM   #31
tundradirtbiker
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Great report & photos,
Tx
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:50 AM   #32
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Talking Guzzler

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Originally Posted by Mehaniotis View Post
The odd structure with the greenish roof is a Guzzler put there for wild life. It collects water from condensation that collects on the underside of the corrugated roof.
Interesting!
I thought it looked a little low to be a picnic pavilion -- glad to hear it's collecting water for the animals.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:08 PM   #33
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Mark640 and SuperVW and I found that same locked gate in the middle of the Catlow Valley that you found. We were able slide the gate up and drag the bikes under. Took over an hour in the blazing hot sun. I don't recommend the same to others. Awesome riding out there. The RR on our trip is in my signature line.

Tim
Tim. I'd never seen your report before. It's really excellent. I wish we'd read it before we left as there are some cool spots we clearly missed. I'd like to go back and camp but I need to convince Brian and that might not be easy.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:12 PM   #34
Nijntje
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Two losers? Why so self-effacing? You didn't seem like such a bad guy at Fort Rock. Great pics though, I've always wanted to ride out there someday. Out of curiosity, what would you say was the longest distance you had to run between fuel stops?
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:30 PM   #35
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Losers

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Two losers? Why so self-effacing? You didn't seem like such a bad guy at Fort Rock. Great pics though, I've always wanted to ride out there someday. Out of curiosity, what would you say was the longest distance you had to run between fuel stops?
Oh, we're not bad guys -- not losers in the "scum of society" sense, it's just that we can't ever seem to get an early start, we get lost, we make unrealistic plans, etc.

When CrazyBrit & I were getting ready to ride the western half of the TAT last year (report here ), we read lots of ride reports. Ride reports where people broke camp and hit the road at 7 AM. Reports where people put in 300 mile days, changed a flat tire, and still arrived before dark.

Our style is more like: stay at a hotel and still can't get on the road before 10AM. Shortcut the 300 mile planned route, but still arrive after dark. Make it across the creek only to park the bike in a bush on the other side. You get the picture…

On this trip, I don't think we ever had any "gas anxiety". Of course, the DRZ with a 4 gallon tank has about 200 mile range, and CrazyBrit had his 6 gallon monster tank on. I think the longest distance between gas would have been 120 or 130 miles, but we spent a few days looping around the area near Fields and Frenchglen. The limitation there is that the gas station in Fields closes at 4PM, and the Frenchglen one probably at 5 or 6.

Remarksman screwed with this post 01-17-2013 at 09:34 PM Reason: Forgot about mileage
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:18 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Remarksman View Post
Our style is more like: stay at a hotel and still can't get on the road before 10AM. Shortcut the 300 mile planned route, but still arrive after dark. Make it across the creek only to park the bike in a bush on the other side. You get the picture…
You should read our earlier ride report where we used up half of our seven day supply of Coleman fuel (one of two bottles) on the first night. It sure did make the ground burn a purty color.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:49 AM   #37
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Oh, we're not bad guys -- not losers in the "scum of society" sense, it's just that we can't ever seem to get an early start, we get lost, we make unrealistic plans, etc.
...
In other words, true ADVers.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:04 PM   #38
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In other words, true ADVers.

+ 1 More please!
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:08 PM   #39
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Day 4

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+ 1 More please!
Sure.

So we stayed at the Drovers Inn (attached to the historic Frenchglen Hotel).

It was another late start, mostly because we were waiting for the temps to warm up, it was around 40 when we went in for breakfast. The food at the Frenchglen is very good but it's not cheap. I think I had pancakes and paid a few extra $$ for fresh berries and bananas.

Brian had never been to the Steens before so the plan was to head up the paved loop road to the radio tower, take some pics and then do some dirt exploring, we had no real plan, just see where things took us.

Pic of me, I think looking down over Kiger Gorge, next canyon to the left is Big Indian:



Begin minor diversion in time ......
I'd been to Steens once before on a backpacking trip with inmate jalles and my dog Baron. If you ever find yourself in the area in July you have to hike a few miles up one of the canyons as the wildflowers are spectacular.

Later standing on the rim road looking down onto Big Indian my thoughts drifted back to the backpacking trip, almost 10 years ago. It seemed like a different time. Lots of bittersweet thoughts run through my head.

We hiked up the length of Big Indian canyon, camped at the bottom of the headwall



The following day we climbed the headwall upto the rim road and camped at Wildhorse Lake which you can see when you look down from the radio tower.



I remember the following morning at Wildhorse Lake, my dog was so exhausted from the previous day that I had to drag him out of the tent. He didn't move an inch during breakfast or as we broke camp and was still lying in the same spot as we started to walk away. He was a total trooper as we bushwacked our way down Little Indian and back to the car.



Okay, and back to the present:

They were doing some odd road construction between the overlook for Big Indian and the parking lot at the bottom of the radio tower, bulldozing huge speed bumps of sand, no problem for the bike but it kind of made things hard for the passenger cars after they've put all that past effort into making it passenger car friendly. Not sure what the deal was, maybe some winter erosion control?

At the carpark it's a short run upto the actual microwave tower, easy on the bike but I'd not want to go up in a passenger car.

View from the radio tower looking down at the Alvord:



Looking down on Wildhorse Lake:



From there we hatched a plan that we'd ride down to Diamond, guests at Frenchglen had told us it was a cool town with a nice hotel so we figured we'd check it out. Looking at the map we could see a trail heading North from the Kiger Gorge overlook carpark.

It started off pretty easy but I was very very cold:



Great views of maple groves:



Unfortunately we then ran into another private property line and so turned around:



Heading back, fine view of Steens:



Back at Kiger overlook we decided to drop a little further down the rim road and pick up another trail near to Fish Lake:

We ran into 3 dual-sports who were camping nearby and briefly chatted to them, they confirmed the track went all the way to Diamond so we pressed on. Almost right away we passed through a grove of maples:



Then it was into the more familar sage brush:





We passed a few old buildings:



Taking a break, Steens in the distance:



Brian in the distance:



The trail was pretty easy, we had a bunch of possible routes according to the GPS. Occasionally a little dry crossing or bank to rip through:





Final drop down towards the desert floor:



The a wide open stretch:



Before arriving at Diamond:



The Diamond Hotel:





It's about 3pm. We're both starving, we'd brought some granola bars and eaten them. We should have bought sandwiches. Sigh. Of course dinner at Frenchglen is 6 sharp. Losers. Of course the previous night a couple wandered into the Frenchglen Hotel at 7.30pm asking for dinner, got fed and it didn't seem a problem, so maybe we could eat later tonight. Turns out we're actually too late for lunch at Diamond but they take pity on us and make us some sandwiches. Really nice people and a beautiful place inside. I know Hanksmybuddy is laughing at us two loser Portland poseur liberals right now







We're talking to a guy over lunch about the Kiger Wild Mustang sanctuary. He's been a dozen times and never seen anything but I can sense that our loser luck has to end sometime:





Of course we don't see jack, apart from a nice view:



Definitely 90 minutes of my life I'm never seeing again, the road was easy on the bike but nothing special, though I wouldn't have liked to take a passenger car down it:



Once we get back to Diamond we take a gravel expressway back to OR205 and then slab it back to Frenchglen:



We're back about 5.30. I pop into the Hotel to ask if we can delay dinner until 7.30. "Absolutely not". Ok then.

We eat dinner at 6pm, I'm not normally (as a vegetarian) much of a fan of paying the same price as the meat eaters for the same food minus the meat, but there is so much food available that I'm not leaving hungry, so I get over it

We think a little about tomorrow, plan is to reach Burns via Malheur National Wildlife refuge.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:59 PM   #40
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hey fellas, cool trip report
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:49 AM   #41
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Your "maple trees" are actually aspens, but that aside fantastic ride report, the pics do as well as any trying to capture what really can't be captured by photography.

I few years back a friend and I went up and camped at Fish Lake in September. DAMN it was cold. Made it to the top and talked with a guy who had landed his big ultralight on the road near the top. He had flown in from Idaho, and was getting ready to head back. He took off and with the scale of the mountain and the canyons it looked like he was going to fly right into a pinnacle jutting up out of the eastern flank...but he banked and probably had a quarter mile...but it sure didn't look like it. The scale out there is just different.

We took the S. part of the loop back down, and the climate zones were nearly startling. Treeless sub-alpine grassland, the section with contorted mountain mahogany looking like someplace in E. Africa, then the more familiar juniper and sage.

I don't actually like desert much, so its confusing to feel I need to get out there again.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:17 AM   #42
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Your "maple trees" are actually aspens,
no shit, I have zero idea why I said maple. maybe I'm fantasizing about a trip up North, eh
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:56 AM   #43
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Great pictures guys. I really like riding through Oregon. I try to make it up there at least once a summer.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:04 AM   #44
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Great pictures guys. I really like riding through Oregon. I try to make it up there at least once a summer.
Thanks I suppose I should get off my ass and write up the final two days
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:25 AM   #45
knobbyjoe
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Great to see your ride through your pics and descriptions. We often travel just south of your area and sometimes need to fuel up at Fields. Looking for more so keep the trip coming.
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