My schedule and my friend's (Dave) schedule finally aligned for a 3-day trip around SE Oregon. With only 3 days, we decided that starting in Fields would give us the best jumping off point for the ride. We left Corvallis early afternoon Thursday for the 6.5 hour drive to Fields. On the way there, we decided we wanted to check out the Steens Loop. I called the BLM office in Burns to find out if the loop was open yet (no - closed at 3rd gate). No matter, we'd just go up and back. So, we modified our plan. Stop near French Glen for the night, get up at sunrise, and ride up the loop as far as it allows, return to the car, go to Fields, then start the rest of the weekend. (pics taken by Dave are noted [DW]) Up at sunrise [DW] Bikes off the trailer, no bags.[DW] Up the loop. First stop Kiger Gorge [DW] Dave coming fast toward Rim Overlook Looking out at Loch Alvord (instead of a playa) Part of the reason to come up here was to see if the LAKE was too large to risk riding the road along it's eastern edge, as the plan was to go to the north end of the lake and get onto the road to Mickey Hot springs. There appeared to be water everywhere, so it seemed more prudent to ride the gravel road along the west side. So, after riding back to the car, loading the bikes, driving to Fields to park the car for the weekend (they're a wonderful bunch at Fields!), we got out of Fields at 10:00AM. Up the East Steens Road to go along the west side of Loch Alvord. 10 new miles of pavement, too! [DW] Here's a pic of the lake just after the rise in the road, mountains on it's east side reflected in the lake. The road to Mickey Hot Springs goes all the way to Hwy 95. Our next gas stop was to be Rome. Mickey Hot Springs gate Dave through a large puddle At Hwy 95, I planned to go a bit north, then take what the map shows as a COUNTY ROAD through Gilbert Ranch as a non-paved route to somewhat near Rome. However, the entrance to the road had a no-trespassing sign. I wasn't very surprised as that's what happened on the other side of that ranch last summer - locked gate after locked gate. Whatever. Slab to Rome, with side-trip to Pillars of Rome. [DW] Very unimpressive. At Rome for gas and lunch. The blue cabin is what I stayed in last summer after wrecking my left knee (trying to find a way around that damned Gilbert ranch) [DW] Next on the agenda was to find the hot spring creek (map calls it Warm Springs Creek) that ends in a waterfall into the Owyhee. I missed an important turn, and ended here, Antelope Corral, instead About 100 degrees, in the shade. This was a major navigation malfunction. To backtrack would have been an additional 20 miles round-trip of crappy rutted dusty road, and we had places to go. So West we went. We came across a local and I talked to him about where we've been so far this day. He was shocked. Most people don't understand how much ground a motorcycle is able to cover. We got onto Jackson Creek road, which was a very good road, and were really making good time. Dave was goin' so fast he escaped this pic And I escaped this one [DW] Just west of Jackson Summit, looking west. Lots of moisture and dust in the sky Jackson Creek road hits hwy 95 exactly across from Oregon Canyon road. Good and bad. Good in that it was where we wanted to go next. Bad was that we weren't sure we had enough fuel to make it back to Fields without making a sidetrip to McDermitt. After consulting the maps, we decided we could squeak it out. Looking east on the road up to the top Up on 15 Mile Road after getting up Oregon Canyon Road. Dave's headed south toward me. Had another navigation error that resulted in about 5 miles of out-and-back, frustration with my navigation error, and a slimy course of water to cross [DW] And a close encounter with some wild horses! Finally back on track and headed to Willow Hot Springs for the night. Creek Crossing Thunderheads were developing, and we got a bit of rain on us. The sun was just barely obscured by the clouds, which kept it out of our eyes as we were headed west late in the evening. Made for a pretty yellow glow to the clouds [DW] Beautiful sky at Willow. Lightning and thunder show that evening. We got camp all set up, made dinner and ate it while soaking in the springs. Got a good rain that night. And got a good night's sleep after a 295 mile day.