All burnt up in SE Oregon

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by oregonlmd, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Western Oregon
    After gas and lunch in McDermitt it was time to make my way to Warm Springs Creek on the Owyhee.

    NE of town, things are good and burnt up. You can see a retardant drop on the hillside
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    Vid of some real rough road in a real fun canyon
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    Made my way to Jackson Creek Rd. Smooth squirrely gravel.
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    Turns to dirt after intersection with Pole Creek Rd
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    Burned up countryside
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    5 points - a terrible fence gate collection
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    Antelope Corral
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    The road in the distance is on the other side of another river crossing I've been wanting to do for a while
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    Did I say river? A creek.
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    Up the road on the other side
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    Road near Sacramento Hill. No remnant of vegetation left
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    The ol' trailer's in pretty poor condition
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    Looked like this the last time I was here
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    I didn't take a pic of it but the door was pried up from the bottom. I wondered if a firefighter tried to get in to make sure nobody was in there? Was probably just some thieving idiot.

    Down into the Owyhee Canyon
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    Pic from August 2010
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    It took a while to get to the final crossing (there are several). I got, well, stuck, on a gravel bar. Portents of things to come.
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    Time to head up the road on the other side
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    And now its getting tough.
    I put highway gearing on the bike, 15-45. That was in planning for a NW Cal mostly road trip I was going to do, and didn't. I figured I could make do with it out here, and I did mostly.
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    3 vids that tell a better story:
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    Gas dripping out of the airbox, the bike had a heck of a time staying running once I'd get it restarted
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    In fact, I had to remove the air filter entirely to make it up to the top. The filter got 1/2 soaked in gas. Once at the top I was really worried to see how dirty the air box was, but there was no need to worry. It was spotless inside. After all, the road was loose rocks on bedrock.

    I really thought I was at risk of a heart attack I was breathing so hard, heart beating so hard I could feel it in my extremities.

    I'd taken all the bags off the bike to reduce its load. I took the rear tire pressure down to 8psi (shoulda gone lower) to help with traction. And I slipped the clutch mercilessly. What a massive effort to get up that steep loose rock road.

    Once at the top with the bike I had to hike back down to get my jacket, helmet, backpack, GL Coyote bag with tent, plus the air filter and cover. Again, coming back up with all that, I thought I was going to die. I had to drop half of it, get back to the bike, then go back down and get the other half of it all.
    A neat side-benefit of the design of the GL bag: it goes over your shoulders like a yoke really nicely and is really well balanced for carrying that way. I wish I had a pic of all that.

    Onward:
    There aren't any more pics from this day. I got to the top just before sunset and rode another 8-10 miles in the dark, doing the last Owyhee crossing in the dark, crossing to hit the Warm Spring Creek and camp for the night.

    Pics from 2010, and what I'd hoped to see before dark:
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    #21
  2. benwiggin2

    benwiggin2 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
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    Brea, CA
    Holy crap!

    :lurk
    #22
  3. PinkPillion

    PinkPillion Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Northeastern California
    Oh yah, the desert!
    Looking forward to more oregonlmd.
    :lurk
    #23
  4. Belgian Waffles

    Belgian Waffles Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    875
    Location:
    Green. Wet. Oregon.
    Beautiful! I'm looking into a DRZ in the next year or so and would love to hit up this area then. The Transalp is just a bit too much for me for those kinds of roads the way I have it set up. How long did it take you to get to Christmas Valley from Corvallis? I'm at OSU and would love to go out that way some time.
    #24
  5. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Behind the Redwood Curtain
    >"I really thought I was at risk of a heart attack I was breathing so hard, heart beating so hard I could feel it in my extremities."

    You have a SPOT or some other device?.
    It's a long ways from help out there.
    #25
  6. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Tumalo, Oregon
    Ironman trip Larry!

    "Its fun to share what I saw and I want to do a better job of capturing it as close to reality as I can."

    (Hope it's OK that I grabbed your quote from BDS) Your pictures are good man - what you need is a a riding buddy to take shots of you! :clap
    #26
  7. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Western Oregon
    There are plenty of routes that you can ride easily on the Transalp, I just pick the harder ones when I'm on the XR. I was going to do this trip with a guy on a 950 Adventure and this trip would have been MUCH different if he were along.
    It takes about 4 hours from Corvallis to Christmas Valley. Its not much longer if you go to Bend (2.5 hours) then just ride to Christmas Valley on dirt. I don't plan on staging in Christmas Valley again.
    I'm into a trip next spring and summer, its just too cold and snowy out there now to get anywhere. Hit me up next spring and I'll give you a tour out there.
    #27
  8. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Western Oregon

    I carry a SPOT, and nearly had to use it a couple years ago
    See the report on that disaster here

    My dad had a heart attack when he was younger than I am now, but then again, he didn't take care of himself so well...
    #28
  9. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Western Oregon
    Thanks for the pic compliment. They're OK, I want to do better.

    I have good riding buddies who are usually either too busy with their work schedules, life schedules, or not as into riding DS as I am. I'm lucky to have the free time and freedom I do.
    #29
  10. Belgian Waffles

    Belgian Waffles Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    875
    Location:
    Green. Wet. Oregon.
    Cheers. I might take you up on that once I put some progressive springs up front on the TA.
    #30
  11. nrspence

    nrspence Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    91
    Location:
    Pleasant grove, Utah
    I love a good solo exploration ride, like you just shared with us.
    #31
  12. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Western Oregon
    More to come, just be patient
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    #32
  13. norcalstew

    norcalstew Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    Westwood, ca
    Nice trip. I ride solo a lot too. Dropping the bike in the rocks by yourself always makes my heart skip. You never know what might break miles from nothingness. Nice pictures, I really like that Owayhee. Never been there.

    This is adventure riding!
    #33
  14. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,079
    Location:
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Nice report!
    #34
  15. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Western Oregon
    I got across the river and to camp at 5:15, it was 61 degrees according to the bike computer. I'd ridden 248 miles that day, and 90 since McDermitt. Funny, the last time I climbed that hill I'd just come from McDermitt, and the route I took that time from McDermitt to this creek was also about 90 miles.
    I set up camp then went down to the warm creek for a soak. It wasn't as warm as I recall it being in the past, but still inviting enough for a 1/2 hour soak. Being in the warm water helped work out some of the soreness from the afternoon's struggle up that damned hill. Back to camp and ate some dinner, then settled in for another long night.

    What a long cold night. Didn't sleep much. I really failed on the sleeping bag situation. Last year when I was out and about the last weekend of October I brought a liner for the bag and was very comfortable in much colder conditons. I won't make that mistake again.

    Up at 6:30 the next morning, day 3, and its 32 degrees. It took me a while to get going this morning, probably due to the cold. I changed out the air filter, ate breakfast, got packed and ready to go. But first, lets visit the creek.

    Steam rising off the creek
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    One of the pools seemed a bit deeper than usual, I now see why
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    Pic zoomed upstream to the crossing I did at night. Had to briefly dab a foot once but didn't get water in my boot
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    Leaving the creek I took another pic of the stream crossing
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    You can see that the fire went right down to the river. In fact, this little canyon was the eastern extent of the fire. Supposedly. There was actually a burnt patch on the other side of the river not too far from the top of yesterday's hillclimb.

    Up out of the canyon and on the burned-out plains. This scene really framed the situation quite well
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    All those square miles of burned up countryside was startling. There are plenty of patches where the fire jumped over or ran around the vegetation, but so much is just black. It will be interesting to watch it all grow back over the upcoming years

    Potomac Ranch?
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    I think that bedframe has been there a long time
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    There were so many beds around and in this cabin. I counted 12 all together

    I wished I'd seen this place before it had burned
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    Headed out to 95.
    This pic looks down to another working ranch and in the distance there's a real pattern to the ground
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    Once I got closer I saw 3 tractors working the valley. They were pulling seed drills. They're re-planting the desert.

    Out to 95 with the plan to take Wildcat Rd over to Mickey Hot Springs and the Alvord. I decided to take a new route taking me farther north into the Sheepshead Mtns.

    Ran across this
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    And then I got lost. I got really turned around and just kept finding dead-ends. It finally occurred to me that I might have a low-gas situation. And I did. A lot of gas ran out onto the ground on that hillclimb yesterday afternoon.
    I did eventually find my way to the right road.

    Coyote Lake in the far distance
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    The Alvord Playa is out there, too
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    Finally on the right road. Steens loop is probably out of the question now.
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    Down to Fields for gas. I've been riding very slowly for about 30 miles now, needing to make sure I had enough fuel.

    Coming up to the hot springs, there's a couple guys on dirt bikes in the new parking lot
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    Jeff on the right, Greg on the left.
    They were nice enough to take a pic of me
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    They're from Yakima and were making their way toward Moab for their annual trip. They'd never been here and did the usual playa shenanigans and were headed up into the hills above the hotsprings. They gave me a splash of gas and I tagged along
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    Here comes Greg
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    Jeff in the shadows
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    Dead end, turn around
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    Playa's getting wet
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    I bid them fun travels and rode out to Fields for gas and gas for me. I hit the playa real quick to see if I could trust that back tire to some sliding. No dice, it just felt like it'd let go and not get reeled back in. Some vid of the big circle I did. You may notice the bike ran out of gas toward the end and I had to put it on reserve.
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    Hit Fields at 2:30, temp was 76 degrees. Amazing weather.
    I put 5.5 gallons in the bike. With a usable 6 gallons out of the tanks supposed 6.3 gallon capacity, and 263 miles since McDermitt, I really did push it farther than I wanted to.
    I dawdled too long and realized that to make it to the night's destination, Hart Mtn hot springs, I had to get moving. The highway gearing finally paid off well.

    Miles of cattle headed south toward Roaring Springs Ranch
    Vid:
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    Tried to get a pic of my shadow from the low, setting sun
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    Long shadows, it was getting late. More throttle
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    The ride west on Rock Creek Road was terrible. The sun was so low I couldn't dip my visor low enough to keep the sun out of my eyes and still see the road.
    Quick vid of what I got to try to deal with
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    Finally made it to the campground, and before dark. 5:30. 264 miles.
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    I was ready for a soak and very much enjoyed the hot springs - it was the first time I'd been in them.

    Dinner and sleep - another long night coming up.
    #35
  16. Mr Dual Sport

    Mr Dual Sport Roamer

    Joined:
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    Waheezer Idaho
    And I'm guessing not your last! Cool place isn't it. Very special to me.
    #36
  17. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Nice RR. :thumb
    #37
  18. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Western Oregon
    It is special. I'm looking forward to sharing it with my wife next year.
    #38
  19. ThanatosF

    ThanatosF Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    207
    Location:
    Fargo, ND
    Great RR! I've never been to these areas. Is it acceptable to set up camp basically anywhere? Like...at the top of Beatys Butte? :evil
    #39
  20. F.P.

    F.P. Clown who is sick

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    472
    Location:
    San Josey, CA
    Visited the Hart Mtn hot springs last year on the big GS, great spot, very nice pool. We camped outside Plush, fantastic riding around that area. Thanks for posting!
    FP
    #40