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Old 07-26-2014, 09:47 PM   #1
Comrade Art OP
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Oregon Back Country July 2014: Route 5

Introduction:
The idea of a back-country discovery route and the inspiration for the BDR movement was the Oregon Back Country Discovery Routes (www.oohva.org). Today, BDR is an actual non-profit with a mission to establish and preserve off-highway routes for dual-sport and adventure motorcycle travel (www.backcountrydiscoveryroutes.com).



This July my Cousin Ed and I rode Route 5 from Walla Walla, Washington to Goose Lake, California.
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:02 PM   #2
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Day 1: Sunday, July 13

It was hard to get any sleep Saturday night. My mind kept racing, trying to remember if I packed everything and knowing that a few things were left undone. The next thing I know the alarm clock rings and itís time to go. We loaded the bikes into my old, rickety trailer and hit the road at 8 AM. We debated if we should ride our bikes to the start of Route 5 or trailer the bikes. To be honest, riding over 250 miles on a single cylinder dual sport is not enjoyable, especially when record temperatures were forecasted for our trip.

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I ride a 2006 KTM 640 Adventure


Cousin Ed rides a 2008 Husqvarna 610


The drive to Walla Walla was long and uneventful. We had to wait a half hour on HWY 12 while an accident was being cleared up.




When we arrived in Walla Walla the temperature gauge was at 100 degrees. We finally changed and hit the trails at 3 PM. The start of Route 5 took us through the Umatilla National Forest.









The trails were hard packed and fast with unbelievable scenery.

















Late in the afternoon we ran into this scene that Iíve seen in South American ride reports: hundreds of sheep everywhere!







It was getting late and we needed to set up camp. We couldnít find a suitable camp site along our route so we jumped on HWY 84 and camped out at Emigrant Springs camp ground in Meacham.

Mileage for the day: 125.5 miles
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:08 AM   #3
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Day 2: Monday, July 14

Thereís a strange phenomenon when camping. At home I can sleep in for hours but once sunlight breaks through the tree line Iím up and ready to go. We woke up at 5:30 AM and started getting ready.

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Emigrant Springs camp ground is well maintained and clean but the only downside is the noise. Our campsite was close by HWY 84 and you could hear the constant traffic. The campsite fee was $17, the most expensive of our trip.





During the night there were scattered rain showers but the weather cleared in the morning.



We left the camp site at 8 AM and rode HWY 84 back to where we left off Sunday afternoon. The trail took us through open meadows.













Late in the morning I experienced my first wipeout. I was riding at a good pace and saw thick mud up ahead. I should have gone around the mud but I gassed it, the back end lost traction, I got tossed off and the bike turned 180 degrees. I packed my bag with just the bare essentials but despite that, the bike was too heavy to lift alone





Taking a break in the shade.



At around 2 PM, Cousin Ed was in need of gas; his Husky has a small tank and the gas light turned on. The GPS mentioned that there was gas at Starkey Station so we made a run for it. Once we arrived the place was closed; not sure if closed for the day or permanently closed. We siphoned gas from my KTM and continued with our trip. The Starkey Station fiasco cost us one hour of riding time.



The first of many cattle gates we needed to open.







Heading toward Tower Mountain Lookout.







Tower Mountain Lookout was built in 1929 and stands about 92 feet tall.







Tower Mountain is the highest and most prominent point in Umatilla County.





Cousin Ed calling air support.




Tower Mountain was a nice needed break but we continued on.





John Day River

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Motorcycling is more than just getting on a bike and riding. I believe thereís a physical and mental component to riding as well. When we crossed the John Day River we were physically and mentally exhausted. Physically, we rode over 9 hours and the heat was relentless. Mentally, I was worried about our gas situation; we were two city slickers into the wild. We filtered some sublime John Day River water and headed for a nearby campground at Olive Lake.



Campsite fee at Olive Lake $12.









Had a tasty Mountain House meal for dinner.



Mileage for the day: 161.3 miles
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Old 07-28-2014, 02:56 PM   #4
goldtooth
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glad to see your report!
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Old 07-28-2014, 03:26 PM   #5
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I dropped mine on its side hitting sand a littel too fast. I ended up pulling the luggage off mine in order to stand it back up. LOL

Great report by the way! I need to get back out there and finish the Northern section of route 5.
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:11 PM   #6
redog1
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Thumb I'm in...

I'm another one that needs to finish the northern section of route 5. Bailed out when we crossed Hwy 7 going south to north. I also need to do the south end as we picked it up in Christmas Valley after doing a trip to Crater Lake. Unfinished business that needs to be completed.
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Old 07-29-2014, 03:57 PM   #7
effensteve
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Lets see some more pics so I know where Im riding this weekend Gonna get as much of Unity to Tollgate as we can.
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:49 PM   #8
Comrade Art OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldtooth View Post
glad to see your report!
nate
Quote:
Originally Posted by PBRider View Post
I dropped mine on its side hitting sand a littel too fast. I ended up pulling the luggage off mine in order to stand it back up. LOL

Great report by the way! I need to get back out there and finish the Northern section of route 5.
Thanks, hopefully you guys will finish it.
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:51 PM   #9
Comrade Art OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redog1 View Post
I'm another one that needs to finish the northern section of route 5. Bailed out when we crossed Hwy 7 going south to north. I also need to do the south end as we picked it up in Christmas Valley after doing a trip to Crater Lake. Unfinished business that needs to be completed.
Go for it
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:21 PM   #10
Comrade Art OP
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Day 3: Tuesday, July 15

Had a good nights rest and woke up refreshed. Drank our coffee by the lake and watched the fog burn off.

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Packed up and hit the road again. Yesterday it seemed we had to work hard for our miles but today the trails were fast and our bikes ate the miles.

DCIM\100GOPRO

Stopped by the Fremont Power Station but it was closed to visitors.





Temporarily had to leave the trail and ride to Granite for gas.

DCIM\100GOPRO



Granite only has one gas station/convenient store and it was closed. We were in a predicament: ride to Baker City or beg for gas. We walked to the house behind the convenient store and knocked on the door. Luckily the owner was home and she sent her daughter to turn on the gas pump. I never got her name but we were thankful and appreciative of her gesture. We found out that the gas station is open long hours on the weekend to accommodate tourists and closed Monday and Tuesday. We fueled up and continued.





Taking a water break.



During our trip we would consumed close to 6 liters of water (2 camel back 100 oz/3 liter reservoirs) a day. If you plan on riding the OBCDR or any of the BDRís bring a water filter because fresh water is not always available. Cousin Ed had a Katadyn water filter that worked great.







Stopped at the Burnt River Market in Unity for gas and lunch. It was soft taco Tuesday











As we rode on, the scenery was changing from dense forests to open, high desert scenery.







Reached our first river crossing.















Reached our second river crossing. Why do people feel the need to shoot signs?









We decided to call it a day and camp out at the Malheur River. We unpacked, set up camp and decided to go for a swim. Thanks to the person(s) who set up rocks creating a chest deep pool

DCIM\100GOPRO

DCIM\100GOPRO

DCIM\100GOPRO


Ended the day with a tasty meal.



Mileage for the day: 182.6 miles
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:24 PM   #11
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Day 4: Wednesday, July 16

Sunrise on the Malheur River.

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The name of the river is derived from the French for "misfortuneĒ. For us the river was a good fortune because we were the only campers and the campsite was free.



Today was a lazy day for us and we didnít leave camp until 9:30 AM; usually we would be on the road by 8 AM.



We started riding and it was deja vu. Cousin Ed experienced his first wipeout by gassing it and losing traction in the thick mud.



The trail started fast in the valley and gradually climbed into the hills. Once in the hills our speed was reduced due to all the switchbacks. The heat was intense and tiring; at one point we had to stop and siphon gas for Cousin Edís bike.













We left the trail and headed to John Day for gas. After filling our tanks we decide to have a gourmet meal at Dairy Queen. As we pull into the parking lot, we see two parked bikes: a Honda 650 and Suzuki 400. It turns out the bikes belong to Mr Dual Sport and LittlePosum, two married advriders from Bend. Cousin Ed and I thought we had a long journey but those two lovebirds were coming home from a month long ride through Coloradao, Utah, Idaho and other exotic locations. Talk about a ride!

Mr Dual Sport



LittlePosum



The Dairy Queen stop was a nice break and we marched on. Watch out for those cattle gates.















We were riding into the early evening, hoping to find a camp site. Cousin Edís GPS showed a small campsite with a stream. As it turns out we reached Emigrant Creek camp ground, a small obscure campground tucked into the Ochoco National Forest. The campsite was clean, nobody else around and only $6.





The best part was the creek. Someone placed rocks to create a small wading pool. The water was shallower and cooler than the Malheur River but after a long day of riding, water does a body good!

DCIM\100GOPRO

DCIM\100GOPRO

DCIM\100GOPRO

Mileage for the day: 181.2 miles
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Old 08-02-2014, 02:41 AM   #12
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Day 5: Thursday, July 17

Woke up, ate and left camp at 7:30 AM. The riding was fast and easy.

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We were riding through cattle country (even though I didnít take pictures of cattle today). Cattle production is Oregonís largest agricultural commodity in terms of sales, representing about 15 percent of Oregonís entire agricultural sector.





Around 10 miles out from where Route 5 intersects HWY 20, the trail got tricky with rocks crisscrossing the entire trail. Our fast pace came to a grinding halt. The following pictures show rocks but these were taken after passing through the tougher sections.





We were riding for days and many times the thought ďare we going the right way?Ē crosses your mind; it was nice to see this friendly reminder.





Stopped in Riley for gas and lunch; station only carried 87 octane gas which didnít affect bike performance.







Leaving Riley, the trail opens up allowing us to ride fast again.





This reminds me of The Who lyrics, ďI can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles, oh yeah...Ē











Later in the afternoon we run into goldtooth and PBRider; advriders from the Portland area combining different OBCDR routes. Hereís a link to their trip: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=995972



We finally make it to Christmas Valley, with a population of around 800 people. We stopped and ate at Jackís Restaurant.



Had a good tasting tuna sandwich which made up for the Hot Pocket gut bomb I had in Riley. We ask the waitress if there any good camping spots and it turns out thereís an RV campground just behind the restaurant.



Cousin Ed cleaning off the dust.




As we are setting up camp this older guy stops by and starts chatting with me. We start talking about bikes, kids, wives and next thing you know 45 minutes have passed. His name is Art Stevens, the grounds keeper at the RV park. Art is 83 years young and a Korean War Veteran. Stop and say hello if you travel through Christmas Valley.





Campsite fee $10



Mileage for the day: 170.1 miles
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Old 08-02-2014, 08:24 PM   #13
Mcgee
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Great ride report! Looks like a lot of fun and the weather is good.. Thank you and looking for more!
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Old 08-02-2014, 09:01 PM   #14
Bob
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Nice ride report, great pics and narrative.
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Old 08-02-2014, 10:10 PM   #15
redwine65
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I just spent 4 days riding south of bend oregon on a rented honda 250, it was pretty fun. mostly west of sun river resort and north of china hat hill. to cool down a couple of times I went into a cave just off china hat road. and just a few feet down it seemed like a 40 degree difference. enjoying your posts.
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