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Old 10-28-2010, 08:56 PM   #1
oregonlmd OP
Dirt,street,its all good.
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Western Oregon
Oddometer: 154
SE Oregon Loop August 2010, 817 miles

I originally posted this on I always enjoyed reading SE Oregon ride reports, so for y'all who aren't members, here's part 1 of the first of two rides I did this last summer. This ride was from 7/30/10 to 8/1/10

This was my first ride in SE Oregon. Kinda. I did a 3-day, organized, dual-sport type of ride in Christmas Valley this last Memorial Day weekend, road 425 miles around there. Rode the tough version of Fandango. Had a real blast.
The plan this summer was to do a few rides in SE Oregon with my normal riding partner, start figuring things out, find some of the neat places we read about and see pictures of in ride reports here and on ADV Rider. Well, he broke his left shoulder up real bad this spring, and canít ride again until October. And heís gotta take it easy, too.
So, I revised the plan. Iím doing three 3-day trips on my own, unless I can talk someone else into going. I had another fella talked into this trip, but he couldnít get the time off work. The next trip is planned for the 3rd weekend in August. He figures he can make that one. Anyway, I think that after 9 days of riding around, exploring, I can put together a 5-day loop that my buddy and his wife can ride come October.

I revised my 525EXC into a desert touring bike. I had Wachsí bike as an example to follow. Heavier springs, new clicker settings, big tank, soft seat, big headlight, and of course, Coyote panniers and Fandango tank bag. Here it is all packed up and ready to ride at 9:00AM in Bend on July 30th.

I headed out China Hat road to get to Christmas Valley and Fandango canyon. Squirrelly at 25PSI in the tires. Intersection of China Hat Road and FS road 22

Just out of forest, first view of Fort Rock

Rode the pavement into Christmas Valley, topped up fuel. Discovered poor fuel milage, I shoulda re-jetted the bike, too. Got 35MPG on that leg. I expected 40+.

Entered Fandango, discovered the bike rides real different with all that mass attached to it. Still, what a great ride. Hereís a view after the first Ďpassí, well before taking the right down the tougher option.

This pic is at the fence gate in Fandango. A guy I rode with on Memorial Day told me of a guy he knew who hit this gate at over 40MPH in the dark. A bad situation.

Farther into Fandango. First pic is at top of a real hard option (didnít ride it this time). Second pic is looking south from where the road number signs are.

Exit of tough route of Fandango, turned right onto this road, #6124, went to Paisley. Hit 98MPH on my bike on this road on Memorial Day.

Had a great lunch at the cafť in Paisley. After lunch, headed toward Plush. I went back out road 6124 headed east, on the north side of Lake Abert. I guess 6124 becomes road 6104, which is also county road 3-09? The maps are confusing. But, the road connects to Hwy 395. I went north on 395 about ľ to Ĺ mile, took a right (went east), through a fence gate, and onto a nearly unused road (like many out there). It looked like this in one of its easier-to-follow spots.

It had a couple good hillclimb-like spots in it, plus it was kinda sandy. I really enjoyed it.
The point of riding this track was to avoid as much of 395 as possible and take a more interesting route. It satisfied those criteria! It comes out onto Hogback road, county road 3-10, which goes to Plush, about 3 miles east of 395. Another mile-ish east up the road, I took a right (went south) onto road 6125-O-AO, and followed the top of Abert Rim. I hoped for some good views out over Abert Lake, but what I saw was

Oh yeah, and cows, and rocky rough road. I lost my MSR front fender pack with a spare front tube in it on that road somewhere. I am not going back to find it.
I later talked to Wachs, and he told me I shoulda taken the powerline road (which comes off this road, and 6125-A-AO eventually crosses, anyway). The powerline road is 6125-1-00 according to my BLM map.
This road eventually got off the flats and rocks after Mule Lake, and down into Rabbit Creek Ďcanyoní, and got very interesting and fun. Iíd like to ride that part of it again someday. After the powerline crossing, it becomes 6145-O-BO somehow, and that comes out onto Hogback Road, eventually becoming this in the Warner Valley

I chugged into Plush and topped up with gas and snacks and drink. A local fella admired my bike, asked me what I was up to. Told him I was headed out east into the Hart Mtn Refuge or farther to camp that night. He suggested Willow Spring on Beatyís Butte, gave me an instruction for an intersection that finally made sense when I got there.
But. Iím getting a bit ahead of things.
Hereís a pic from the road up to Hart Mtn refuge before the 1st switchback, looking west over the Warner Valley.

The weather, by the way, was perfect all day. High 80ís at most.
So, I rode through the refuge, turned SE onto road 6176. That road was pretty rough for a lot of it. Eventually, a structure came into view as I was approaching Beatyís Butte

And hereís what I found. WTF?

It looks like a bunker, or a cabin that will never be ruined by ass-hats and rodentry. I'm sure somebody on this forum can tell me more about it.

I had cell reception here, made a few calls. Once I finished, I noticed my chain oiler sprung a leak. That was fun to fix. Made a bit of a mess.
Took off once that was taken care of, found the intersection the guy in Plush told me about. A little ways further, over a rise, and I scared up a herd of wild horses.

And in no time, Willow Spring

Where I set up camp

And admired my bike

which worked very well, just as I expected.

There were no mosquitoes here, which makes no sense to me at all. In fact, I neither saw, heard, or felt one mosquito during the entire ride. Thankfully.
The temp that night was perfect. A great end to a 1st day.

The spring here has been developed somewhat. There used to be some sort of ranch I guess. The guy in Plush who gave me directions to this place referred to it as the old ďxĒ ranch (I didnít actually note the name he said). Thereís the fully destroyed old Fleetwood mobile home

And the spring. Uphill, thereís a 1-foot diameter culvert sunk into it, and then apparently a pipe coming out of it somewhere below grade. The pipe exits the ground nearby, and flows downhill via 1-1/2Ē black poly pipe, eventually emptying into:

It runs all the time. It was like being camped next to a running stream With fresh awesome-tasting spring water. Notice how this spring leaves a trail of verdant green well into the desert. Iíd love to see what this place is like in the freezing cold winter.

Late afternoon light

The sunset

I entered the tent, and watched the stars come out. It was good to see the Milky Way again. Later in the night a waning full moon came up and lit up everything. The desert is an amazing place.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:02 PM   #2
oregonlmd OP
Dirt,street,its all good.
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Western Oregon
Oddometer: 154
Day two, July 31, 2010:

I finally got out of the tent at about 7:00AM. Temp was in high 50ís. Clear skies. No breeze. No mosquitoes, still. Morning light was amazing.

4 packs of apples&cinnamon instant oatmeal and a bunch of spring water made a great breakfast. Changed out a filter skin, loaded up the bike, and was on the trail around 8:00AM.
My plan was to ride east and south around Beatyís, try to find a route to the top. If I didnít find a road, I was seriously considering trying to make it up to the top via a route of my own making. Fortunately, at what I think was DL spring, there was a road going UP. And up it went. Forever. Man itís a long way up to the top. Unless I made a mistake, it appeared that the road kinda petered out just before the top. I ended up just pointing the bike at the top, and got up there.

The view, of course, is breathtaking. I took a panorama series, and I hope my kid can photoshop them into a panorama (that kinda stuff is beyond my skills).
Hereís a series, rotating counter-clockwise.

I spent a lot of time up there. Called my buddy who couldnít make the trip. He was just getting to work. Called my family. And sent a pic of my bike up there to Wachs. See, heíd made a journal entry in the geocache up there, and left his business card, back on June 30th. I figured heíd enjoy a surprise pic from someone he didnít know. He texted me on Monday the 2nd, didnít know who sent him the pic. I called him back, and we had a great conversation. Thanks for your time and the trip tips, Dave!
Finally had to leave. The ride back off Beatyís was a trip. The view out east the whole way down was incredible. Should have stopped and taken a picture.
I continued south around Beatyís to East Road Springs, and took the road going NE-ish along that creek to road 6176-0-00. Hereís a pic looking back toward Beatyís Butte.

And one of the road a few miles later.

I rode a very long ways at way over 60, usually 70-80. That road is wide and open. I finally began to feel bad for my bike. I have a plated XR650R needing a new engine. This trip made me understand why it would be such the perfect bike for out here.
I worked my way to Funnel Canyon road.

Honestly, I was disappointed with it. I thought itíd be a narrower canyon and a more involved road. It ended up being re-graded for many miles of the NE end of it, and actually too easy to ride. I guess Domingo Pass through the Pueblo Mtns is the better way to Fields, anyway. Thanks for that tip, Dave.
So, riding along, I see a playa up ahead. I pulled out my camera while riding and took this pic

I think its Slickey Lake. Thatís what the hunt unit map calls it. Anyway, I love these things. Its all marked up from me doing top-gear throttle-pinned feet-up close-the-loop power slides. I thought about setting up the camera to take a short movie of me out there, but decided against it. I wish Iíd have done it now.
So, out to the highway, and over the pass to Fields for some gas. Odo was at 360.6 miles at Fields, and the last gas was at Plush (which was 222.1 miles from Bend with the out-and-back to Paisley for lunch), and with the extra-curricular trip I had planned before lunch it was best to top up. I told the gal who took my cash that Iíd be back for lunch in a couple hours. Things didnít turn out quite as I had planned.
Hereís a pic of a road I didnít want to be on.

Hereís a pic of a field of sage brush I rode through to get to the top a ridge to try to figure out where I got turned around

Turns out, I took what seemed to be the right way, and if the damned Harney County hunt unit map accurately represented what roads were really in this area, I wouldnít have made the mistake.
The mistake burned time and gas and me. I was working my way along the Whitehorse Ranch powerline. What a frigginí waste of effort. Suffice to say I went round and round at the ranch and never did find any of the roads the map showed I could use to connect onto Little Sand Gap Road north of the Alvord Playa.
I basically made my own road along fences, eventually came to a road that came out on the east side of the playa, more or less across the playa from the hot springs.

Riding that deep sand with the bike all loaded up with weight in all the wrong places made for an interesting time. But, I did get out onto the playa, had some fun on it.

Found a coyote out there in the middle of it. It watched me do two big circles around it.
I left the playa, rode up to the hot springs. It was full of people, so I went across the road and up to the fruit tree campsite, just to make sure I really did know where it was. Trees were devoid of fruit. I then rode back to Fields on the main road, got gas and more lunch than I could eat.

After not finishing my meal and milkshake at Fields, I left at about 3:30, and went back up Hwy 205 to go back toward French Glen. I didnít want to ride the highway all the way there, so I kept going west off the highway where it turns north, right where Funnel Canyon road comes out. The Harney County hunt unit map calls the road Catlow Road 8250-0-00. I was going to ride it all the way north to near Rieckens Corner, going through Blitzen and Beckley, 2 miles after which this road was supposed to go east and connect back onto 205, about 2 miles south of the southern end of the Steens Mtn loop. Iíd then do the loop, and maybe even camp up on the loop somewhere.

Well, not much of that plan worked out that way. Following Catlow road was extremely hard. The grasses were so tall it was hard to see the road. Again, the map did not reflect reality when it came to roads actually being there. Iím not sure what well I finally stopped at, and took some pics

Could have been Well Number 7, or Dry Well, or neither. The map was not helpful. Dead reckoning was as good as anything through here. And, I had so much grass wedged in everything it was comical.

The route I took eventually put me out onto the highway a bit south of Roaring Springs ranch. I donít recall why now, but I decided against going up the Steens Loop at this point, which I recognize as a mistake. Instead I went on into French Glen to get re-fueled and something good to drink with dinner.
Ridiní the slab

When I got there at about 5:15, the place was shut down. It appears theyíre pretty non-committal about when they decide to do that.

This really took my gumption away, for no good reason. I should have just blasted up the Steens Loop and made camp wherever I ended up at around 7:30. Instead, I decided to head west. I went back south on Hwy 205 to the top of the pass (P Hill itís called on the maps) above French Glen, and hung a right (went north), trying to get to Rd 411, Jack Mtn Rd according to the BLM map.
At first, it was very cool. Went up Warm Springs Creek to get up to the top above French Glen. The road was interesting and steep here and there, with varied vegetation. I should have stopped and taken a pic.
But again, the maps didnít reflect reality. After getting to the top I ended up navigating by just trying to ride mostly west-ish. I was trying to ride Waterhole Canyon - P Hill road out to Country Road 4-11, then go to Walls Lake where I camped with my family on another trip I did in the truck in June. As before, roads on the map didn't exist on the ground. The roads were very rutted. The going was very slow. At one point it got so bad I managed to get cross-rutted, and actually fell down at zero MPH. Put a scuff on the tank, and twisted the forks. More gumption gone. It was really annoying.
I did finally make it to a main road, after going by Irish Lake and Big Foot Reservoir (which I figured out after-the-fact). Being able to determine where I was finally, I made a plan to just go west until about 7:30, and camp wherever that was.
I rode Foster Flat road west to Haines Cabin at Munsey Lake. Hereís what I found

Fortunately, it wasnít 7:30, so on I went. The road west of there becomes Matties Ark Road, or road 7175-0-00, according to the map. Actually, thereís little agreement between the BLM maps, Harney County hunt unit maps, or the Delorme Gazetteer maps for this entire area. Iím pretty down on the maps at this point, obviously.
But, the Harney County maps show that about 12 miles west of the last cabin is another one, called Denis Cabin. Itís very nice.

It was 7:30, and time to camp. Odo was at 564.1, so I rode 291.8 miles that day. Felt like it, too. As I lay on my bag watching the stars come out, I contemplated my errors for the day. The inaccuracies of the maps really got to me, and I made some poor decisions as a result. I should have been up on the Steens Loop, instead of next to a run-down cabin in the midst of nowhere special. I decided that the next day would turn out much different.
I slept well that night.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:07 PM   #3
oregonlmd OP
Dirt,street,its all good.
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Western Oregon
Oddometer: 154
Day 3, August 1, 2010:

Every time I woke up overnight, I was treated to the noise of critters banging through the metal siding of the cabin. Didnít keep me up, but I did wonder what all was going on in there. So, after my great nightís sleep, I found myself fully awake at 6:00 AM. Temperature was a bit lower than yesterday, but still must have been in low-mid 50ís. I took my time with breakfast, installed a new filter skin, and re-packed the bags a bit different. I was finally on the trail at about 7:30 AM.
I was camped on the NE edge of what the Harney County hunt unit map calls Orejana Rim Wilderness Study Area. I estimated itíd be about 70 miles into Plush, and since Iíve read that Wagontire no longer has fuel (havenít been through there in a lot of years), I was not real certain I could get to Christmas Valley to refuel. So, Plush it was.
I rode counter-clockwise around the WSA, continuing on 7175-0-00. It was really a good route, not too rough. Eventually, I came out onto the very north end of the Warner Valley

It was early enough and temps were cool enough I had reattached the sleeves on my jacket. But, the air was dead still. I rode generally southish. The maps didnít agree with each other, but I knew that all I really needed to do was go south. Eventually, though, the route I chose went west. After it turned south, I looked back to where I had just come, and saw this

Between the moon dust in the lowest spots on the silty roads, and the totally still air, the dust was just being lifted vertically by the rising warm air. It looked really cool.
I really wanted to be riding down the east side of the valley, so I started trying to work my way back on that side. I managed to get into a mess of roads with a lot of fence gates, so I got a lot of opportunity to practice my gate opening and closing. It seems every one of those gates work different in some way from all the other ones youíve already opened and closed.
I found some more horses. I think they were wild, but they were ďbehindĒ a fence, so ???

I finally got to the east side, and connected up to the road that goes up into Hart Mtn refuge. Of course, that meant a long way south into Plush. Still, the morning was warming up, and the Warner Valley is beautiful. I got to the store at 9:30, filled up, got some snacks.
Like when I was in Plush 2 days before, the bike creates commentary. Everyone has to say something about the tank. It does look ridiculous. As I sat outside eating some snacks and thinking about the rest of the day, one guy drove up, came over and looked over the bike real close. He asks about the tank. Says, ďYeah, I got a KL650 (thatís what he said, not KLR). Itís got a 6 and a half gallon tank. I can go 600 miles on a tankĒ. Yeah, right. Nearly 100 miles per gallon, I think to myself. ďOhĒ, I reply. I notice the beer on the guyís breath. Itís 9:30 AM.
We talk about exploring SE Oregon. He tells me about an abandoned glass house on a bluff on the SE side of Crump Lake. Says its all glass or plexi. You can see right in it. I asked him to show me where it is on the map, which he does. Iíll be off to find it next time out. If it exists.
}update: just found it on Google Earth. The dude was drunk. It's between Hart Lake and Crump Lake on the east side.{

I rode back toward 395 on Hogback road. I decided to see what riding that entire road would be like, since Iíd always taken some detour off it in the past. While itís a pretty boring 2-lane gravel road, the country is still breathtaking. And thatís how I decided to deal with maps, and the routes, and the time. Just enjoy the scenery and the experience, donít focus on the route and navigating. Donít try to make it a dirt-bike ride, which it canít be.

I got to 395, went south to county road 3-09 to cut over to Fandango Canyon. After going a ways, I stopped to take some pics.

This is at the very north end of Lake Abert, I think at what the BLM map calls Pike Place.
I noticed that Iíd hit a milestone of sorts. Had to document it.

Went on into Fandango on the easier route, road 6104. I hadnít been on it before. What a change from the harder route to the west. Made time like crazy on sections like this

though its not all like that.
At noon, I stopped at what Iím pretty sure is Coffee Lake on the Harney County hunt map to have some snacks for lunch. Took some pics

Odo was funny. Again

The rest of the ride back was pretty uneventful. Finished out Fandango into Christmas Valley. I tried to take a pic of a serious dust devil, but that failed.
Rode north up Crack-in-the-Ground road, over Green Mtn, turned onto Derrick Cave road, and on north to the China Hat riding area roads. Worked my way NW-ish back to China Hat road, and back into Bend. I should have taken Ford Road, I think. China Hat road blows.
Hereís the bike back to square one

and my messy chain

Iíll be going out again the weekend of August 20-23rd for another 3 days of something. Still canít decide where to ride, and from where to start. I might just drive to Plush and start there, and try to find that glass house.

POST-RIDE NOTE: I did make it back out that weekend, but things did not go as planned. I'll get that ride report posted soon. Thanks for reading this post as if I had just finished it a few days ago.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:44 PM   #4
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Someday I will do a road trip to Oregon. Ben
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:56 PM   #5
just passin' through
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Wait till you see what's next!
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:52 PM   #6
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Nice RR, thanks for posting. Love Fandango.
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Old 10-29-2010, 03:27 PM   #7
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Not always easy to tell but sometimes when they are running away you can tell if they are shod or not by a glint of metal on their hoof. Or if you find a hoofprint it is pretty easy to tell the difference of a wild vs shod hoof.

Nice Ride!!
"but why is all the rum gone?"

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Old 10-31-2010, 07:07 AM   #8
Capt Dan
Just Livin' a Dream
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Great RR, love the way your bike is set up. Wish I lived a little closer..
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Old 10-31-2010, 09:33 AM   #9
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Great report, I need to get back up there soon.
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Old 10-31-2010, 04:44 PM   #10
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cool ride, thanks for posting. Sorry to hear about the freak sage brush incident on your following trip.

On the topo the Domingo pass route you suggested looks much more interesting and avoids mucho pavement over to Fields.
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Old 10-31-2010, 06:13 PM   #11
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I didn't know there were 2 reports... still cool though.

Fine job.

Something to do while down for a while eh?
1999 XR650L
2003 Goldwing
Ridgecrest, Kahliffoanya
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:56 PM   #12
Formerly H20Pumper
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Just finished your other report and now this, You had a great month of riding!
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:39 PM   #13
by hook or by crook
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Just read both RR's, Great stuff, Get well soon!
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Old 12-25-2010, 07:16 AM   #14
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Location: NE Oregon, The Dalles
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Nice. Looks like a lot of fun.
Have: 09 R1200GSA, FLHR Road King, 680 Rincon, 500 Foreman.

Had: CX500, DR650, S2 Thunderbolt.

Need: To win the lottery so I can actually get time to ride.
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Old 12-25-2010, 07:20 AM   #15
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Great ride! Moved to Day Trippin'
ADV decals, patches & flag? Here
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