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Old 09-12-2014, 08:47 PM   #1
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9 Days in the PNW - One Day at a Time

Crater Lake National Park

Been a while since I posted here - and exactly 2 years since I last went on a real tour.
I was sidelined for almost a year and a half with a torn ACL and major reconstructive knee surgery.
Took me a year after surgery just to be able to get both my feet on the pegs.

Now that I'm back in the saddle I decided to take a tour fairly similar to the last one.
Starting memorial day weekend with a Dave Matthews concert at the gorge, but this time I want to see more of Oregon.

Here's the general route spread over 3 maps for the 9 days of riding.

Edgewood to Crater Lake

Crater Lake to Carson WA

The Dalles WA to Edgewood WA via Mt St Helens

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

9 days, 1,814 miles.
Come along for the ride if you like.

More to day at a time.

Hominid screwed with this post 09-15-2014 at 08:58 PM
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Old 09-13-2014, 08:49 PM   #2
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Day 1

The Gorge Campground - George, WA

The goal for day 1 is the Gorge Amphitheater near George WA to see Dave Matthews Band.
First I gotta pack the bike up, though.

Gotta get all this stuff on the Vstrom?

Gotta make room for the cooler!

Clothes, food, and cooking equipment.

The top box is the miscellaneous grab bag.

Done and done. Hit the road the next morning with about 4 hours of sleep. Why does it always happen that way?

Edgewood to the Gorge Amphitheater

Finally get my own piece of grass despite the best efforts of the parking lot "helpers".

My next door neighbors were a married couple - 76 and 78 years old - how cool is that?

Camping with several thousand of my closest friends - all there to see Dave.

The trip was well worth the $ and effort. Got to meet some of my neighbors and the show was outstanding. Danced with some pretty girls, had a couple drinks, and it's always fun to watch the guy who got way too smashed way too early in the day. This one dude made it all the way up to the front of the beer line and then lost his lunch all over the blacktop. "Having fun big guy? I guess you won't be seeing the second half of the show?" There's one (at least) in every crowd

Now I get to sleep in my tent for the first time in 2 years. Hmmm...smells a little musty...

More to come - One Day at a time.

Hominid screwed with this post 09-13-2014 at 09:04 PM
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Old 09-13-2014, 09:53 PM   #3
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Day 2

The weather man decided I'm going to spend the night in Pendleton, OR

George WA to Pendleton OR

Sometimes the best plan is no plan. I've decided to choose my destinations one day at a time. I'll think about it when I go to sleep at night and decide every morning where I'm going. I figure I may end up at Crater Lake at some point, but nothing's set in stone.

I'm up and have the bike mostly packed by the time most people are struggling out of their tents. Which way to go? East or South? I had toyed with the idea of heading to Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. There's a big storm system moving in from the West with Thunderstorms predicted in the Rockies. East is out - South it is.

I fueled up in Vantage last night so I'm good to go - say some goodbyes to the peeps and I'm off, running off very little sleep for the second day in a row.

I figure I'll be lucky to make it to Pendleton, maybe as far as John Day on 395 or some camp spot in between.
I'm battling winds the whole way, watching the skies turn ugly as I go, and just after making it to Pendleton a huge wind & rain storm hits. I'm getting pelted with dust, debris, rain, and dang near get blown off the bike a few times.

That's it, I'm spending the night in Pendleton. Budget motel in the old downtown area is a good move. A lot of places within walking distance to have dinner and drinks.

I end up at the Prodigal Son Brewery

These folks make their own beer and serve really respectable food.

I ordered A Beer Named Sue...

...felt kind of funny saying it, but what the heck. When in Rome...

Cool place, good background music, nice funky feel.

It was fun hanging out at this place, talking with some of the locals at the bar. If I lived in Pendleton I would probably be a regular at Prodigal Son Brewery. Good beer, good food, cool atmosphere, nice people.

By the time I'm done with dinner you would hardly know there was a storm earlier...

Sleeping in a hotel tonight and I don't feel the least bit guilty about it.
Think I'll keep heading South tomorrow.

More to come - one day at a time

Hominid screwed with this post 09-18-2014 at 09:20 PM
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Old 09-15-2014, 08:26 PM   #4
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Thumb Day 3

John Day Fossil Beds Paleontology Center

A big goal of this trip was to ride on scenic roads I'd never been on before - so I listened when one of the guys I was talking to last night at Prodigal Son Brewery recommended going to see the John Day National Monument areas. I'm heading South to John Day anyway and the Monument areas are just West of there off 26.

Cool, I have my plan for the day. Take 395 from Pendleton to John Day and then go West on 26 from John Day to Prineville. All new roads to me except the stretch of 395 between Ukiah OR and John Day

Pendleton to Prineville

This Little Piggy Goes to Market

My motel parking lot neighbors have three pigs in the back of their pickup truck. One of the porkers seems particularly curious about where this train is going. Pigs are supposed to be intelligent. I wonder if this guy sticking his nose out at me is thinking "somethin just aint right here". Something tells me he's gonna be food in the very near future - They don't appear to be pet piggies out for a holiday weekend cruise. As for me, I'm hitting the road. So sorry piggies

Just South of Pendleton

Had to stop just South of Pendleton to put an extra layer on. It looks nice out, but it's cold.

395 between Pendleton and John Day is sweet. Lots of great curves and great scenery the whole way down. There are some real fun sweeping twisties in many places. The weather gets cloudy and windy along the way and I'm thinking I'm screwed. Looks like another major system moving in from the West. I'm not far enough South yet! I'm just eating up miles, expecting to get hit with some slop

John Day - The Light Says Stop - I Say Go

Make it to John Day for lunch and the sky clears up. I have an extremely average meal at this place...

...order the burger and fries. Meh...on to Prineville.

Two of the three John Day National Monument "units" are about halfway between John Day and Prineville off highway 26. I have a chance to visit two of them; Fossil Beds and Painted Hills.

Detour to Fossil Beds Unit and Spray OR.

Fossil Beds area on 19

The Paleontology Center is an interesting place to stop.

Painted Hills

View from Paleontology Center

Paleontolgy Center

On the Edge?

I met this guy on a 2014 R1200RT Beemer at the Paleontology Center. He almost dropped his bike TWICE trying to get it parked in this spot. Seriously - flopping it over to where I didn't think he was going to recover it - foot slamming onto the ground to save it at the last second - throttle accidently twisted wide open (with clutch lever squeezed, thankfully) - engine revving up to red line - YEEEEOOOWWWW! Taking a close look at his bike, I see it's been down at least once. It has scratches on the side in a few places and some of the trim is missing from the side bag

He struggles off the bike, limping. Fella is about 70 as far as I can guess. I give him some space, but come back later as he's leaving to talk. He says he's headed for New Mexico and planning on making it to Boise tonight. It's mid-afternoon and I'm thinking he'll be lucky to make it to Burns OR. I should have told him that. I did say "that's a long stretch from here". I hope he took my point.

He Dang Near Dumped it Again Pulling Out of This Parking Spot!

The detour up 19 to Spray and then back down 207 to 26 is some work, with demanding curves, but well worth the effort. The route is filled with spectacular views. About 70 miles of amazing American scenery. The painted hills glow in the afternoon light - red, white, green, blue, tan. My photos don't do them justice. Check out the web stes.

Painted Hills Unit

I've put a lot of miles in today, mostly new road, and make it to Prineville about 7pm. Fortunately I had the foresight to reserve a room at The Stafford. Nice, clean, comfortable hotel with a decent bar/restaurant next door. I know, I know - not exactly adventure riding. I'll camp tomorrow. I'm satisfied with having a good day on the road today. Nice to be back in the saddle. I sleep well

More to come - one day at a time.

Hominid screwed with this post 09-16-2014 at 10:30 PM
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:01 PM   #5
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My neck of the woods. I'll be following along, vicariously, so to speak.

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Old 09-15-2014, 09:38 PM   #6
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I like central Oregon. Many more roads to explore...
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Old 09-16-2014, 11:00 AM   #7
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I'm thinking he'll be lucky to make it to Burns OR. I should have told him that. I did say "that's a long stretch from here". I hope he took my point.

He Dang Near Dumped it Again Pulling Out of This Parking Spot!

Does he have enough stuff, Should be riding a GS (Got Stuff)

Anyway enjoying this RR stay Safe
"It sucks, It's always gonna suck.
You've got to learn to enjoy it."
Enjoy the Suck
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by TheYeti View Post

Does he have enough stuff, Should be riding a GS (Got Stuff)

Anyway enjoying this RR stay Safe
I'm writing this report form the comfort of my living room recliner
Started the ride on August 29th and finished it Sept 6th.

I've never figured out how guys have the time to write a report while out on the road

Hominid screwed with this post 09-16-2014 at 09:22 PM
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:09 PM   #9
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Day 4 - Prineville to Crater Lake

Wizard Island - Crater Lake OR

Wizard Island is actually a cinder cone from way back when...

The goal for today is Crater Lake National Park. I want to get there early enough to snag a camp spot. If none are available there are other campgrounds reasonably close that I can check out.

Prineville to Crater Lake

It's a slog down 97 to Crater Lake - lots of slow moving RV's on the road today - not much fun.

Mazama Village Campground - Site D16 - Take Note of It

There are actually plenty of spots available at the campground when I get there just after noon. I managed to score what might be the best site in the whole campground - D16. I had more than a few people tell me they thought so, as well. The tent spot, fire pit, and picnic table are visually separated from everyone else and it has a large private "back yard". There is a trail that runs behind it, but I saw 6 people, at most, using it during the 2 nights I was there.

Rim Drive - Road Around the Volcano Rim

I set up camp quickly so I can go for a ride around the lake - the circle is about 30 miles. I have to say, the road around the lake was a bit sketchy in places when I rode it two years ago. It's much worse now - downright dangerous in some places. There are are a large number of huge potholes that have been left unfixed and the road is almost washed out in a few places. Add people in cars who aren't necessarily watching where they're going into the mix and you have a road that demands slow speeds and a lot of care. Still, there are some spectacular views at the turnouts.

Phantom Ship Island

Back at Camp

I finally get to have my first campfire of the trip - long overdue. I loves me a campfire and this one helps me flip the switch and really feel like I'm on vacation. I can feel the stress fall away while watching the flames gradually do their work on the wood.

Aaaaaahhhh - Relax Mode Achieved

I knew This Cooler Would Come in Handy


Watching the Campfire

Living the good life tonight - playing with the fire, cooking dinner in a pouch, sipping on a few brews. When it's done load everything into the bear box and crash in the tent. There are signs posted that say "BEARS ARE IN THIS CAMPGROUND", but I'm surprisingly unconcerned and sleep well. I've done what I can to avoid tempting them and don't let it worry me

More to come - one day at a time.

Hominid screwed with this post 09-16-2014 at 10:08 PM
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:56 PM   #10
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Shameless REI Plug

New Camp Chair - Sweetness

I added this camp chair to my kit for this trip. It fits nicely in the dry bag with my sleeping bag and sleeping pad that I strap to the back seat. Major upgrade from the little stool I have been using. Definitely worth a test sitting if you have an REI in your area. Maybe not a good fit for large people, but I'm just a little guy I can get in and out of it easily and it's great to have a chair I can lean back into. $79 plus tax and paid for itself on the first night as far as I'm concerned
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:36 PM   #11
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Nice report, I have the same chair and it is great and light.
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:40 PM   #12
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Laugh Day 5 - Taking it Easy

Hanging at Mazama Campground

I wake up this morning to the sound of my neighbor's generator This same clown with the gigantic 5th wheel RV was driving in and out of the campground at midnight and 2 in the morning with his big noisy diesel Ram pickup. He's got a really noisy generator and he and the wifey like to run it for hours on end. That's it - if he's staying here another night, I'm leaving. I don't understand people who camp with all the creature comforts of home, but it takes all kinds, I guess. As I'm walking by his site I notice the reservation slip has been taken down from the site marker post. I actually approach him and ask if he is leaving today. He says "yeah, we're leaving". My response, "okay, good". Then I turn around and walk away. Yes, I can be a bit of an ass

Despite being an ass I now have a plan for the day so I'm glad I asked him. I'm going to take a break and spend another night here. The plan for the day is to go take a shower and then take a ride out on some more roads I've never been on before just West and South of Crater Lake.

Mazama - White City - Back Again

I'm not really taking pictures today. Just taking a cruise to check out campgrounds West of Crater Lake. There are quite a few camping opportunities along 62 between Mazama and White City - something I'll keep in mind for the future. None of them are really destination places for me, but any of them would do in a pinch. The roads on this loop are good with a lot of nice curves and some great scenery.

White City is another story. I stopped for lunch at Miguel's Friendly Family Mexican Restaurant. Apparently an Oregon chain. I get a bad vibe as soon as I walk in the door - should have turned around and walked out immediately. The "host" gives me the stink eye when I walk in and gives me attitude while showing me to a table. Same attitude shows up with the chips and salsa. His buddy, one of the other servers, also gives me the same stink eye - whatever. I keep my composure and politely make my order. "I'll have the lunch special tacos - no cheese on anything, please". Order shows up and - you guessed it - cheese on the beans and tacos "I'm sorry, I requested no cheese." He's polite enough about taking the plate back and when he returns says "The chef made a new plate for you". he didn't - he re-used everything he could after scraping the cheese away. Lunch was okay, but guess what I left for a tip. That's right - zippo - nada - zilch - zero. Did I say I can be a bit of an ass?

I met three people in White City - the two "friendly" guys at the Mexican place, and the clerk at the convenience store next door. Despite my best efforts, all three of them were completely obnoxious. I'm really not that hard to get along with and start out friendly with just about everyone. There may be some nice folks in this town and I realize it's a small sample size, but 3 out of 3 jackasses doesn't make me want to come back here anytime soon.

On the other hand, I met a couple nice gals when I stopped for gas just West of Klamath Falls; a little mom & pop gas/grocery/garage in the middle of nowhere. Had to walk in to let them know I wanted gas. Gal asks, "are you on a motorcyle?" My response - "well either that, or I'm really over dressed". I'm wearing full gear, heavy pants, riding jacket, boots; and it's about 80 degrees. That got a good laugh out of both of the gals at the counter

It was a nice 150 mile day of riding and it's good to come back to a camp that's already set up. My second night here - campfire, dinner in a pouch, and a few brews. All in all, a successful day

More to come - one day at a time.

Hominid screwed with this post 09-18-2014 at 09:10 PM
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Old 09-20-2014, 02:26 AM   #13
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Day 6 - Covered Bridges and a Cool Shortcut

Steamboat Creek Shortcut to Cottage Grove

Woke up to a layer of ice on the top of the trunk and seat of the Vstrom. No, not frost, but a thick, chunky layer of ice. I'd show you a picture, but all I wanted to do was break camp and get to lower elevation as soon as possible. Needed to wear my gloves while packing up my gear. I met a nice couple riding BMW's last night who were lusting after my camp site so they started moving in as I was moving out.

The plan for today is to head West and North so I can cover some more central Oregon mountain roads. Not sure how far I'll get today, but I'm thinking I want to put myself in position to check out Mt Hood and surrounding areas. It's a vague plan, but that's okay by me. We'll see where I end up. I'm being flexible this morning - all I can think about is hitting the road and getting out of the cold. I admit it, I'm a cold weather wimp

Mazama Campground to Creswell OR

It's a beautiful ride heading West from Crater lake, but I feel even more like a wimp when I meet a nice German couple in their mid-fifties heading the opposite direction as me between Diamond Lake and Steamboat Creek. We happen to end up at the same place at the same time on the side of 138 to check our maps. They're riding bicycles and heading to Diamond Lake on the way to Crater Lake. That's some kind of tough. I prefer a motor on my two wheeled vehicle I ask the wife about Steamboat Creek road and she points it out to me and tells me I can get "petrol" at a store just prior to the junction.

Convenient Gas Stop on 138

I'm headed for the Eugene/Springfield area and spot what looks like a promising shortcut, Steamboat Creek Road, which cuts up to Cottage Grove and saves me from riding out to Roseburg and then having to take I-5 North. I'm doing my best to avoid freeways. The guys at the store tell me the road is single lane with turnouts, but is paved all the way to Cottage Grove. I'm not opposed to some gravel, but pavement is always nicer for me.

1999 Road King

I meet a nice couple riding this '99 Road King Who are heading to Crater Lake. He's a Vietnam vet and she is just as sweet as can be. They've been riding two-up on this machine for 15 years and he tells me a story about how they, and it, survived a collision with a deer. Apparently they name all their vehicles and this one is named King. We spend quite a few minutes talking about road conditions in front of them and in front of me. They've ridden the road I'm headed for and give me the low down.

Shortcut to Cottage Grove Via Dorena

This road is just as promised - paved one lane with tight curves that climbs over the mountains and then back down again. It's a BLM road that is actually in really good shape. It would have been quite a challenge for me if it was not paved - I spend most of my time in 2nd gear for a lot of it - turns out to be a lot of fun

BLM Road

Crossed a Handful of One Lane Bridges Along the Way

View From the Top

This road was a really good choice. It keeps me off the freeway, gives some great scenery, and as a bonus I stumble onto a few covered bridges after making my way down the hill and through Dorena.

Dorena Covered Bridge

Dorena Covered Bridge

Restricted Parking

I have my ass with me so I figure it's okay for me to park here while checking out the Dorena Bridge

Currin Covered Bridge

Currin Covered Bridge

Covered Bridge Under Renovation

This covered bridge, just down from the Currin Bridge is actually intended for use - there be peeps living on the other side. Renovation is supposed to be complete by October of 2014.

I need some renovation myself after a poor night's sleep at Mazama last night. I was cold, even trying to sleep in my clothes inside the sleeping bag, and with my riding gear piled on top of me Did I mention I'm a cold weather wimp? I'm exhausted and end up at the Super 8 in Cresswell. The only good thing about this motel is that there is a bar/resaurant that's about a 30 second walk from my room.

Well, maybe not such a good thing. Sure, they have beer, but the service is ridiculously bad and the food not much better.
Take the positive reviews with a grain of salt - they don't have a lot of choices in this town - really was quite bad

Still, I'm ready for bed and get a good night's sleep

More to come - one day at a time.
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Old 09-20-2014, 03:58 AM   #14
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9 Days in the PNW - One Day at a Time

Nice ride report. I live in North Carolina and have been fortunate to travel in your part of the world. Beautiful country!!!!

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Old 09-20-2014, 09:42 AM   #15
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Sounds like great fun. GF and I took a trip through this part back in May. More in Central Oregon from Government Camp to the John Day Fossil Beds area. Lots of twisty roads like Bakeoven creek road and 218 heading for Fossil. Loved going through the Ochoco NF.

Have a great trip.
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