Ghost Towns, Gold, and the Backroads of Eastern Oregon

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Macadam Drifter, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. Macadam Drifter

    Macadam Drifter Explorer of the Backroads

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    723
    Location:
    Central Washington
    I'm all packed and ready to go on a short four day road trip from Washington State to Sumpter, Oregon, (about 300 miles). I will be mostly traveling on secondary highways and forest service roads.

    The Bike:

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    This is the maiden voyage of my 2007 BMW F650GS that I bought in late April. Since May, I have purchased various accessories so that traveling with this bike would be more convenient. During May and June I installed these accessories and took some local test rides to make sure that everything was installed or functioning properly. Bike came with ABS, Heated Grips, Engine Guards. And I installed the following accessories:

    Accessory List:

    Happy Trail Pannier Racks
    Happy Trail Top Box
    Agri-Supply Tubes (additional storage off Top Box)
    Wolfman Expedition Panniers
    Aerostich Tank Panniers
    BMW Tank Bag
    Aerostich Headlight Guard
    FuseBlok (additional switched and fused electrical power)
    Battery Bug (monitors battery status)
    Garmin Zumo GPS and Ram Mount

    The Town:
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    Now comes the first longer ride scheduled for four days. This ride is based on a book (Ghost Towns of the Northwest, by Norman Weis). The first chapter of the booked looked at the mining industry in eastern Oregon near Baker City. So, I decided to ride south and base myself out of Sumpter Oregon for several days, where I plan to explore the following mining ghost towns; Granite, Susanville, Granite, Whitney, and Galena. Note: In 1977 Sumpter was designated a ghost town but since then has seen significant growth.

    I will be up and on the road by 0600 PDT tomorrow and I hope to be posting a ride report some time before 2100 PDT tomorrow, provided I have internet service, everything works, and I know what I'm doing.

    Until then Good Night see you tomorrow
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    The Macadam Drifter

    PS The link to my Travel Log is listed below in the signature and provides greater pre-ride detail for anyone who is interested.
    #1
  2. mcc66

    mcc66 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    forrestfield, western australia
    :lurk
    mcc66
    Michael
    #2
  3. PinkPillion

    PinkPillion Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Northeastern California
    Sounds Excellent!!!! I'm watching...
    #3
  4. Macadam Drifter

    Macadam Drifter Explorer of the Backroads

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    723
    Location:
    Central Washington
    Well I am in Sumpter Oregon. Great ride today. Lots of backwater. I will complete a ride report later. This is just quick note on my cell.

    MkD
    #4
  5. Macadam Drifter

    Macadam Drifter Explorer of the Backroads

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    723
    Location:
    Central Washington
    Well I'm checked into the motel and the internet service here is quite good. I uploaded the pictures to Smug Mug about 80 or so and it took about a half hour, (not too bad for a wireless motel service).

    I got off to a slow start this morning. It took much longer to finish loading the bike than I thought. The good news is next time it will go much faster.

    The weather today was perfect riding weather, the winds were very light and the temperatures for the most part remained in the 70s with an occassional 80s thrown in at the lower elevations.

    The bike ran well. Only fuel up once today and averaged over 58 mpg. Tomorrow I will fill up again and I'm curious as to what the fuel economy will be.

    Picture #1 Bike Loaded and Ready to Roll

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    Picture #2 State Route 812 The Yakima Canyon

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    Picture #3 Canyon Road GPS Shot-"A Twisty Road"

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    Picture #4 Canyon Road

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    Picture #5 Smoke From Grass and Brush Fires. For the last few days it has been real windy here and grass fires have been out of control. Now the Yakima Valley is choked with smoke.

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    Picture #6 A Tribute to "Paul the Octopus". Actually I had this for years-my wife installed this last night. What's a guy to do?

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    Picture #7. The Columbia River from Patterson, Washington.

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    Picture #8. Oregon Wheat and Windmills, SR207.

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    Picture #9. Lunch in Lexington, Oregon SR 206.

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    Picture #10. Heppner Oregon Town Park.

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    Picture #11 and 12. GPS Leads me to a dead end. The road is long gone behind this dam--damn!

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    Picture #13. Blue Mountain Byway Signage.
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    Picture #14 another of the BMW posing.

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    Picture #15. Driving though an old forest fire.

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    Picture #16. Town of Granite Entrance to town.

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    Picture #17and 18. Granite, Old and New General Stores.

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    Well tht's it for today's ride. More tomorrow.


    MkD
    #5
  6. Blagadán

    Blagadán Kevin

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    170
    Location:
    Ireland
    :lurk
    #6
  7. Ladybug0048

    Ladybug0048 Bug Sister

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    12,388
    Location:
    Spokane Valley, WA (the dry side of the mountains)
    You're off to a good start and I'll patiently wait for more.

    While I'm waiting, someone pass the butter :lurk
    #7
  8. teamchaos

    teamchaos That should work!!

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    119
    Location:
    Walla Walla, WA
    GOOD STUFF!! :clap

    We use to always go camping in Sumptner when I was a kid. Great riding and things to look at.
    #8
  9. Macadam Drifter

    Macadam Drifter Explorer of the Backroads

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    723
    Location:
    Central Washington
    :huh Well, Good Morning.:clap

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    I'm sipping on motel coffee and munching grocery store donuts (yummm) while planning todays events.

    Last night before going to bed I decided to wipe some bugs off the bike. The motel owners let me park the bike under the motel's entrance cover and they blocked it off so cars could not get in there-they also left out some rags that I could use to clean the bike.

    Very nice of them to do that.:clap

    So I'm going to put a little plug in for them-The Depot Inn Sumpter, Oregon (they do have a website) Also their secure wireless is pretty fast-I uploaded 92 5mb pics last night in about 35 minutes-not bad.

    Today's Planned Events

    I'm going to visit the dredge this morning. I also need to gas up-the local gas station will be open after 7am or so I'm told.

    This year summer in the Pacific Northwest has started a bit late-its been relatively cold and wet. This has impacted the tourist traffic and local merchants' behaviors. Here in Sumpter Mon-Thurs do not expect shops, restaurants, etc to be open as scheduled. They seem to open later than posted on their schedules and tend to close early. Now that things are warming up maybe that will change. Fri-Sun things are pretty much by the posted schedules.

    After the dredge and fueling up. I plan to find and visit the following ghost towns:

    Susanville
    Galena
    Whitney

    I might run down to Prairie City and/or John Day for lunch before returning to Sumpter.

    Again good morning to all and its time for another donut.:huh

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    MkD
    #9
  10. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    105,759
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    :lurk
    #10
  11. Rainier_Rider

    Rainier_Rider Gone

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,560
    Location:
    Delete this account.
    This is going to be good.
    #11
  12. wvdeuce

    wvdeuce Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    97
    Location:
    WEST VIRGINIA
    I am waiting for more. :clap :lurk
    #12
  13. Macadam Drifter

    Macadam Drifter Explorer of the Backroads

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    723
    Location:
    Central Washington
    As mentioned previously, I started this morning with the breakfast of champions-motel coffee and C-Store donuts.

    At 530 both the sun and I were up. But since I failed to get gas last night and the only gas station in town does not have cardtrol, I will have to wait until they open. I have been told both 7am and 8am - but the general consensus is when ever he gets there-duh:eek1

    Anyway I get myself ready for the days activities do a little route planning and stuff a little yellow paper into top plastic ofmy tank bag that's the game plan for the day.

    About 7am I ride up to the gas station-nope not open-so I go down the the Dredge Heritage Site for a look around. I run into Gary from Colorado-he's on a BMW R1150RT and he's on the way to Redmond Oregon to the big BMNW rally this weekend.

    The dredge is definitely worth the visit so I take a bunch of pictures both inside and out before heading back up to the gas station-which is now open-YEAH:clap

    The bike is giving me a respectable 68 miles per gallon.

    After the gas station the next stop is Whitney. Whitney's livinghood center around the railroad and logging when both came to an end in the 1940s so did Whitney. One ranch is still lived in the rest of the buildings are falling into decay. There is a sign just off the road explaining the history of Whitney.

    After Whitney the next stops were the two towns of Susanville and Galena. Actually Galena was Susanville first but the miners stole the Susanvillle office so the Post Office had to replace a Post Office and old Susanville became Galena. I bet this plan was hatched at one of the local saloons-Hey Hank! Now that we a drunk on our asses-- What do you think about going up to Susanville tonight and let's go steel us a Post Office....................:lol3

    Anyway I didn't find Susanville-I found the general location and a couple of buildings but the core of the old town I couldn't find. There was another canyon I need to checkout but I got lazy and decided to do this another time.

    Galena was any easy find right on SR20. Not many of the old structures left. But there has been alot of new construction and mining activities are still going on in and around town. There seems to be about 10 full time homes in town.

    From Galena I decide to continue west on SR20 to US395 down to John Day. In Mt Vernon I stopped at a cafe for lunch and gassed up in Prairie City. For today's ride the bike delivered over 76 miles per gallon-that really impressed me.

    I was pretty tired and sunburned when I got back to Sumpter. So I took a quick shower and then took a nap ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ:snore

    I woke up at 6pm and got some groceries--And so ended today's activities.

    Tomorrow I plan on riding up to the Anthony Lakes and then loop back to Sumpter via Baker City.

    Today I took a bunch of pictures with my other camera but I can't upload these pictures to SmugMug from this computer-so that will have to wait until I get back home.

    But I have a few from the ride down SR 20 today and a few others.

    Picture #1. 0530 (Oh! Dark Thirty) and its feels cold outside

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    Picture #2. When I travel I collect business cards which I store in the top box.

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    Picture #3. Getting ready to load up the bike for today's ride. The bike will be much lighter today.



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    Picture #4. Today's route is along the Journey Through Time Byway.

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    Picture #5. Town of Galena.

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    Picture #6. Galena-Old Building grown over.

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    Picture #7. Middle Fork John Day River.

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    I will post more pictures from today's ride once I get back home.

    Good night-Until Tomorrow.

    MkD
    #13
  14. Macadam Drifter

    Macadam Drifter Explorer of the Backroads

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    723
    Location:
    Central Washington
    Today was again another great day to ride,warm and ssunny. I rode around the Elkhorn Massif which is part of the Blue Mountain chain.

    My route took me past the town of Granite which I visited on my first day but this time I had a little more time to look around.

    The old Drug Store established 1901

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    Granite Road Sign

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    Anthony Lakes Area: Lake Grande Rhonde

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    Anthony Lake Ski Area

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    Haines Oregon:

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    Nice Barn In the Baker Valley:

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    MkD
    #14
  15. teamchaos

    teamchaos That should work!!

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    119
    Location:
    Walla Walla, WA
    Thank you for the update!!
    #15
  16. Macadam Drifter

    Macadam Drifter Explorer of the Backroads

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    723
    Location:
    Central Washington
    Got up early this morning and headed home, I wanted to beat the heat.

    I took forest service roads to Starky and the picked up I84 for the sprint home.

    I still have a few more pictures to post and then this ride is, "in the can".

    This was my first outing on the 650GS and I'm favorably impressed; the fuel economy was spectacular averaging over 66 miles per gallon, with the best fuel mileage for a single tank exceeding 76 mpg.



    It was really cool almost cold this morning-the streams were steaming in the cold morning air, and I was glad to have heated grips since my only gloves were a set of summer armored kelvars.

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    I still have a few more pictures from this ride to post for the dredge and the town of Sumpter. So please check back early next week for some updates to this report.

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    MkD

    The River Dredge:

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    #16
  17. Dekay

    Dekay Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    45
    Location:
    half-life, Washington
    I will have to put Sumpter on the destination list. Looks like there are several side trips one can take. Thank you for the report!
    #17
  18. wvdeuce

    wvdeuce Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    97
    Location:
    WEST VIRGINIA
    Great RR. :clap :super I am going to have to see that part of our great country.
    #18
  19. Macadam Drifter

    Macadam Drifter Explorer of the Backroads

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    723
    Location:
    Central Washington
    The OBDR runs by Sumpter. I posted a link below that will provide some additional information. Also I will try to locate a link to HodakaGuy, this gentleman is well versed in the area and has traveled the OBDR and knows the route and area very well, and has done some excellent ride reports.

    Lake Grande Rhonde (Anthony Lakes Area):
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    http://www.soundrider.com/archive/rides/oregon_backcountry_discovery_route.htm



    I'm hoping to ride the OBDR solo someday.

    There's lots to see and do around Sumpter and the town has adequate services. While I was there a group of three riders pulled into the motel to get cleaned up they were northbound on the OBDR their destination was Tollgate Oregon where they were going to be picked up.

    There are two local organizations that provide free riding maps for ATVs, Motorcycles, and Skidoos.


    MkD

    PS: I recently ordered a wall tent which I plan to use as a base camp for riding---- the tent is 10x14 and has a pellet stove. It fits into my cargo trailer along with the bike and riding gear. Cheaper than motels and about as comfortable. The pellet stove extends my camping season by several months March-October. I can camp in weather that you really don't want to ride in.

    Link to Hodakaguy's RR:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=503392/

    Picture of My Base Camp Tent:
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    #19
  20. TorontoDragon

    TorontoDragon Just starting

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    50
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    What a great ride. Fantastic pics too. Makes me want to head out to your neck of the woods
    #20