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Old 07-03-2013, 08:11 AM   #16
ORexpat OP
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Looks like you're doing your retirement right there Dan! Thanks for sharing your continuing adventures with us. Not missing too much over here on the east coast; it's your typical 4th of July week with showers & thunder storms! They do say that it should taper off tonight and only be partly cloudy tomorrow! I'll believe it when I see it.


Looking forward to the rest.
Thanks Denis. Sounds like you're keeping yourself busy over the 4th too, working on the big Mall show.

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And just so I'm clear, you chose the Pacific Northwest over Northern Virginia again, why?

Gosh, I dunno . . . call me crazy I guess! Check out the seemingly endless expanse of high desert hills and canyons in the next post!
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:36 AM   #17
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Sunday's ride out.

Oh, what a ride!


Up early, coffee, pack my trash, ready to roll by 0645. I only rolled as far as the Squeeze Inn Restaurant for some breakfast, then I headed home, way up north, by going south!


Up Canyon Creek on US 395, dancing through the twisties on Starr Ridge again, caught up with a slower couple leaving the rally and headed towards Paulina. We all turned west on the Izee road towards the old camp. My Dad worked there in the early 1950's logging, IIRC. There was a big lumber camp there, and a mill I think. Absolutely nothing there now; I rode by several ranches unable to figure out the old mill site.





Another old burn





Wonderful curvy roads winding their way through the mountains. Starr Ridge was my old playground; the only thing that's changed here is the bike! Oh Brunhilda just ate up that road-at least until we caught up to the the other two . . . !


But I was really intending to go north, even though I was heading south and west . . . so I angled off towards Dayville just as the paved road arced west towards Paulina, where I'd been during the March excursion. I was going north, down the South Fork of the John Day River on a great forest road. Downstream past the road we came out on in March, the gravel in fine shape for the most part with dry bare dirt and small rocks giving excellent traction. Until I happened on a road grader in mid swath. I stopped, he got out of the grader and we talked. "How come you're working on Father's Day?" "Got to get the road fixed before fire season." "Yeah, it seems dry this year even though the grass is green right now." "Yeah. By the way, there's five haul trucks coming this way . . . you might want to wait a bit."


We chatted a bit more, and I elected not to wait the 20 to 30 minutes it would take for all the haul trucks to arrive. As I scooted my way across the soft new unpacked dirt roadbed, the first haul truck arrived. Man was that thing big! Huge tires and at least as wide, maybe wider, than a log truck. I met the other four on the way down the road, raising dust and hauling ass . . . I mean dirt. The road was narrow, and I tried to stop on a wide spot. If I'd been in a pickup, there's no way we could have passed in most of the spots. With the bike, they slowed, and we worked our way around each other. They were courteous and professional, each and every one.





Dancing down the gravel

Push the bike down in turns

Eyes up

Elbows up

Careful on the corners

Blind, know there's

Four more haul trucks coming.

Knobbies bite

Bike feels good

Always careful

I ride alone

And don't want to pick up

A 700 pound motorcycle!


Down the South Fork road, lovely morning ride towards Dayville. This road didn’t even exist during Izee’s heyday. Now it’s a major forest road linking the lower John Day valley with the Izee-Paulina road.





Then US 26 west to Picture Gorge, a stunning example of the complex eastern Oregon geology.








Picture Gorge pictographs. We used to look at a few right next to the highway but now those, if they were indeed pictographs, are defaced and covered with graffiti-the modern pictographs that future anthropologists will look at and try to conjure the meaning of them all . . .





These are red, a color that wouldn’t seem to last too long, and may look too modern. But these are the real deal. I wasn’t sure when I looked at them, but the National Park Service seems to think they’re original . . .

http://www.nps.gov/joda/historycultu...an-indians.htm



They're a few feet away, and down from the road; not signed. You have to get off your bike or out of your car and scramble towards the river, then look back up to see them.


West on US 26 through Mitchell, then a right turn towards the Painted Hills where I stopped last March on my first ride back to the home country. The others in that group rode through to Ashwood; I want to ride north to Antelope.





You can see the edge of the fossil bed formation behind the bike. It was gravel and dirt ranch roads for the next couple of hours. I’d fueled in Canyon City, and put the extra two gallons in here.





So I rode, and rode, and rode. Then I rode some more.





The GPS wanted to put me on Muddy Creek Road, but it looked like it went into a pasture so I decided to stay on the main cow track towards Ashwood and hope that Divide Road was good. Like I said earlier, I tend to ride alone a lot, Brunhilda weighs a ton (well, over 700 lbs with all my crap), and I’ve had Delorme lie to me before. Hmmm, cow pasture, two-track ranch road . . . . so I stayed on the road. Later I checked other maps; it seems Muddy Creek road does go through. Oh well, another day.





Beautiful country; think the photo is of the John Day River, near where Bridge Creek joins. I floated the John Day-this portion-once, while working for NW Outward Bound before joining the Navy. Floated the lower portion several more times. This is a far different view. I saw a car with a small raft on it heading towards the BLM access point. That was before the road took on cow track status . . .








Through a creek crossing, shallow at about 6-10” and zero problem. Out of that drainage, and over several ridges, through valleys with cows, guess the Cherry Creek Ranch doesn't like trespassers. No trespassing signs are routine, but this seems a little over the top. Especially way the heck out here, though there are river runners who put into the John Day up around Bridge Creek.





Lots of history here; wish I knew more of it . . .








And the views from over the top of the ridges were spectacular. High hills, twisty tiny creeks, a complex series of ridges and draws.








Further north and after what seemed like an interminable series of canyons, draws, and ridges, the topography gentles and the road improves too, with more ranches and alfalfa fields.





A bit of local color. Feral pig, I think. When I first rode by I thought it was a bear, but I think the snout and ears suggest pig . . . A warning his brethren to stay away!





Both disappointed and relieved to be back on pavement, and I can see the high Cascades off to the west. Many miles to go before I camp tonight.




Getting tired now. Counting the South Fork road, I’ve been on gravel or ranch roads for 2½ to 3 hours; I wasn’t counting at the time! Took a quick break in Antelope, no services, peed in Maupin at the city park where the September Airhead gathering will be, and got gas in The Dalles. About 250 miles, and I had a bit over a gallon in the tank. I didn’t see too much gas on Sunday on the road (maybe Mitchell had some, I didn’t check, and I didn’t see any in Maupin). Those extra two gallons were a great insurance policy.

I wanted to stay in the woods one more night, so I crossed the Columbia at The Dalles and turned west on WA 14 then north on the Wind River Road at Carson. Camp was a Paradise Campground in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.





Kinda spendy for a campground, but my Old Guy Agency Pass got me half off, so it wasn’t too bad. Beats the hell out of flea bag motel, that’s for sure.


The Wind River, pretty little thing.











Decided to go fishin’; here’s what I caught. Cold creek water makes a reasonable refrigerator.





A little dinner, and a happy camper.








The sunlight was playing summer games on the cedars this night, slipping through the huge Douglas Firs in the campground and dappling the Cedars with late afternoon light. “Sunshine on Cedars” to modify the book title . . .







Different coals, same daemon . . .





Monday morning dawned just as fabulous. After breakfast and striking most of camp, the sun peeked over the eastern ridge with an almost iridescent morning light.








Nurse stump, with new growth sprouting from death. An interesting allegory for sure.





Yesterday evening we had "sunshine on Cedars." This morning we have "moss on Maples."





Out of camp, and up the canyon towards Mt. St Helens. FS 25 is open to Randle, despite what the sign said; twisty turning, full attention to the road, up and up, over the ridge, and there she is, breaking through the clouds.




Both SweetBird and I climbed Mt. St. Helens back in the day, when it was considerably taller. I was deployed to the Western Pacific when the mountain blew, but SweetBird said she heard and felt the boom all the way up at Whidbey Island to the northwest. Later, driving home to John Day I stopped near Yakima to pick up some St. Helens ash by the roadside. I still have a bottle of that in the living room . . . .



We both knew a photographer killed during the eruption. Reid Blackburn, who went to Linfield College with SweetBird and was working for National Geographic at the time IIRC. I think everyone expected a lava eruption, with time to get out of the way. When the mountain literally blew up and spread ash and debris so quickly and in incredible quantities, no one was prepared for the violence.



On towards home.



FS 25 is paved all the way through to Randle. Looking at the pavement, it would probably have been more fun graveled. At least that would have cut down on the number of tourists . . . . although the pair I met from Holland at the Mt. St. Helens were nice guys; one had an R1200R back home.





10 MPH? Really? Well, if I’d been driving SweetBird’s 325cic, I would have gone slow over the whoops too. As it was I did manage to bottom Brunhilda's ass once.





Last day, not many more photos-here’s the Tacoma Narrows Bridge from the south. Pretty cool bridges.




Home at last! 1224 miles. While a lot of Friday and Saturday were spend sitting on my butt at the rally instead of in the saddle, I learned a lot and met some interesting people.





This was a great trip, a trip back in time and a trip home. Learned a lot. Old roads, new roads. New people, old friends, old memories.


Yes, you can go back.


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Old 07-03-2013, 09:51 AM   #18
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Stunning pics. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:54 AM   #19
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Stunning pics. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks again!
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:09 AM   #20
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New screen saver, thank you!
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:13 AM   #21
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You're welcome, sir!
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:13 PM   #22
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NoVa rider's got his new screen saver . . .

Appreciate all the views and comments. Hard to predict how a ride to your old home town will be seen by others . . . . .
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:56 AM   #23
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Going Home again?

Absolutely enthralling in every way for me; the journey returning to your childhood years and the locations of prior homesteads, your parents history in those areas, their workplaces, friends like Mary Ellen. Threads in the tapestry that become a treasure to possess and share. I certainly hope you enjoyed the return trip to your home area as much as I enjoyed my first visit. Thank you.
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:31 AM   #24
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Nice report.

Thanks for sharing!

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Old 07-04-2013, 11:12 AM   #25
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Absolutely enthralling in every way for me; the journey returning to your childhood years and the locations of prior homesteads, your parents history in those areas, their workplaces, friends like Mary Ellen. Threads in the tapestry that become a treasure to possess and share. I certainly hope you enjoyed the return trip to your home area as much as I enjoyed my first visit. Thank you.
Wow, thanks for the kind comments. I'm really glad you enjoyed the story. There's not much ultra macho mud bogging, cliff climbing, or canyon jumping action. But really, most of us don't ride like that anyway.

Riding the GS through my old "stomping grounds" was both a thrill, and liberating. For me at least, I did go back.

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Nice report.

Thanks for sharing!

.
Glad you liked it!
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Old 07-06-2013, 03:56 PM   #26
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Well Done

Its the storyteller that makes the story.
Your remembrances and recollections are the stuff we are made of.

I grew up in Miami and on my last visit there was even less still there.
Where I used to plink with the .22, its surrounded by 10 miles of housing now. Oh and still no mountain views.
After 35 years there, I only miss the Bay.

And you with your new friends, they seem sorta sober too. WOW!

Thanks for a view from the West World.
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:48 PM   #27
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Wow!
Couldn't stop from the first picture I saw. Love those roads in EO, been on many of 'em but your story and accompanying pics were fantastic.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:19 PM   #28
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lovely report and pics!

i like your style :-)

cheers

Shane
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:58 PM   #29
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I've really enjoyed reading your report, and I'd like to throw in my 2 cent's worth. John Day must have been a well traveled and memorable dude. I've run into several hills, streets, creeks, etc. named after him over the years, all over the western U.S. I'm in Mendocino County, and there's a John Day hill here with a road over it, leading to a lumber mill that is long gone.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:05 PM   #30
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Its the storyteller that makes the story.
Your remembrances and recollections are the stuff we are made of.

I grew up in Miami and on my last visit there was even less still there.
Where I used to plink with the .22, its surrounded by 10 miles of housing now. Oh and still no mountain views.
After 35 years there, I only miss the Bay.

And you with your new friends, they seem sorta sober too. WOW!

Thanks for a view from the West World.
Porcupine, thank you for the compliment, and the insights. I surely enjoyed riding with you guys back in Virginia. Still think you ought to make a trip out this way some year; lots to see, lots of roads to ride. The "Hollister Imitation" put on by those two airhead riders was hilarious. But, more to the debauchery point, I've discovered a 6th and 7th microbrewery a few minutes from my house . . . and one of 'em's connected with a distillery. Now there's a reason to make it out here!!

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Wow!
Couldn't stop from the first picture I saw. Love those roads in EO, been on many of 'em but your story and accompanying pics were fantastic.
Wow, thanks! You guys (well, guys/gals . . . ) don't know how much your kind words mean. Makes the effort of putting a ride report together, however poorly, worth it.

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lovely report and pics!

i like your style :-)

cheers

Shane
Shane, thanks! I suspect the wet side of the mountains compares to your part of the world; I love the almost "instantaneous" transition from wet to dry here in the northwest.

So much to see, so close to home.
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