Oregon Backroads Discovery Trail. No's 3,4 and parts of 5

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by boney, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. boney

    boney Ride > Post

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    We offcially start our trip in Ashland, OR at Geoff's place. We had ridden up the day before and done some of the last minute prep. The goal: Trail 3, 4, and sections 3 & 4 of Trail 5 of the Oregon Backroads Discovery Trail. http://www.oohva.org

    The ride is the brainchild of my friend Geoff, who wants to ride south to north in Oregon, as much on dirt as possible. Luckily, such a route exists.

    Oops. I was trying to move it around in the divoted grass.
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    Route 3 winds it's way through the Cascades from CA to Sisters, OR. Since we have a limited time span and an ambitious schedule, we took the liberty of cutting off some of it. But first, we get our stickers from GI Joes:
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    Motorcycle travel (as well as ATV's and 4x4's) are required to get a tag. Word is that the forest service has been cracking down on non-compliant vehicles. Get out those stock pipes folks, and slap on them turn signals.

    So we roll out 140 toward Fish Lake with plans to cut north where the trail crosses it. We find it and promplty get lost. After a while we started getting good at the navigation thing. It just takes a bit to get the hang of it.
    Wherethefugarewe?
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    After a few stops to figure out the navigation thing, combined with the GPS waypoints I had pre-programmed, we came up with a plan. The poor-mans roll chart:
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    The list of roads worked great since the published OHV maps didn't match the NFS maps, which were different than the GPS maps (if the roads were even in it). AND, that's even if the road had a sign. We worked it out though, and started to make some time.
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    Yours truely, with a dirt goatee.
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    Some KLR action:
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    We left the dirt to go get some gas, to find that there wasn't any in the town that the map set had listed as having some (Union Creek). we ended up back-tracking a few miles down the road to get some in Prospect, and then back up to the trail. Mental note; get gas whenever possible.
    What is my problem anyway? A fitting end to the day:
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    Camped by the Rouge River at Hamaker Campground:
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    Totals so far:
    169 Miles.
    More to follow...
    #1
  2. robodave

    robodave Been here awhile

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    I really like this trail, keep up the good work. please add details about routing.

    Drive fast and take chances.
    #2
  3. sixer

    sixer I suffer from Ainrofilac

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    looks like it wants to take a nap...
    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Great! Keep it comin' and I hope your second day the bike is more cooperative! :D

    :lurk
    #4
  5. commo_soulja

    commo_soulja Supa Thumpa Pilot

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    :lurk
    #5
  6. boney

    boney Ride > Post

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    Day 2 begins by backtracking across the footbridge we used to access the Hamaker Campground. Last evening we had looked for the road to the campground, but only had a GPS waypoint (on the other side of the river) and no knowledge of a road. We stopped in a nice meadow intending to camp, then found the bridge...
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    A little early morning Rogue River:
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    The trail wanders north along Bear Creek to the east of Crater Lake National Park along a few ridges and meadows and has some pretty stunning views.
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    Panorama big view: http://www.beachbus.net/storage/ODT/odt13.jpg

    We found Windingo Pass Road to be of better quality than the local highways. It was good for a 70 MPH run. The other side of the pass is bow-hunters paradise, so slow down when the season is open, everyone and their family is up there.
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    Past some lava formations:
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    We ended up off the official trail again when all the mapping devices we had stopped agreeing with the roads. We found two dead-ends, and eventually just kept riding until everything started to match again. It wasn't far, but it consumed a good amount of time.
    Wikiup Resivoir, where the roads are wide and fast:
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    Back into the woods:
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    Wanoga Butte Lookout Tower:
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    The further north we went the colder it became. At some point we talked to some hunters who told us that the forcast was SNOW about 5000 ft. I looked in the GPS at all the campsites we'd been considering and they were all around 5500 ft. My sleeping bag was rated for 45 degrees- forgetaboutit- we're headed for town.

    Interesting things were happening today... At ABS shutoff button was acting up. It worked sometimes but not others, and several times I couldn't turn it off. It was a bit of a pain, and something that I'd investigate later.

    We picked a hotel in Bend near downtown, checked in, hit the showers, and went out for dinner and a beer.

    Totals: 150 miles today, 319 so far...
    #6
  7. boney

    boney Ride > Post

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    I've got the tracks, waypoints, and some routes that I'll post after I have a chance to clean some of it up.
    #7
  8. Tiras

    Tiras Been here awhile

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    *Thats Rogue River! :lol3 Great report. :thumb Can't wait for the rest! :lurk
    #8
  9. boney

    boney Ride > Post

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    Thanks! Fixed it! Trying to catch all my typos, but I'm not succeeding.:1drink
    #9
  10. boney

    boney Ride > Post

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    Day 3.
    Sure enough it rained last night, and it looks like it snowed up in the hills.
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    As the rain was slowing down, I found the reason my ABS switch stopped working.
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    So I fixed it the way any self-respecting adventurer would. I pulled the other wire off the back of the switch, stripped them, and pinched the wires together for the rest of the trip.
    The weather cleared some more, so we put on all our gear and went to finish the northern most section of trail #3. The rain had dampened things just enough to kill the dust but not make the roads too slippery for the Gripsters on the KLR.
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    The higher we went, the colder it became.

    Vanity shot:
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    The riding was fast and fun through the forest. I was running a TKC80 front and a Karoo rear. It was pavement like traction through the dirt, mud and snow. It was clearly the best day of off-road riding I've ever had. That is, until we came across the Forest Service "gravel" roads. They're really shale, and it's deep and unnerving. Ugh. Take a look at the bottom of this pic.
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    The Sisters came out to play:
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    Panorama biggie: http://www.beachbus.net/storage/ODT/odt231.jpg

    We followed the route along the base of the Sisters for a while then just when the end was near:
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    Fire Closures. Less than 5 miles from the end of the ride... We toyed with the idea of folding up all the gear nice-like and putting it in a little "official" looking pile alongside the road... But neither of us have the balls for that- and getting busted could have reprocussions at work...

    We skirted along the edge of the closure, and eventually wound up on the highway back to town.

    Totals: 101 miles today. 420 Total.

    Stay tuned for the arrival of Searge...
    #10
  11. brad21

    brad21 We have a pool... and a pond.

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    Sweet report Boney...:clap

    :lurk

    baconsandwich at benddualsport.com
    #11
  12. RMac

    RMac Cheese!

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    :thumb

    :lurk
    #12
  13. boney

    boney Ride > Post

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    This is Searge:
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    Some of you Bend locals might recognize the location.

    This is Searge's new (to him) bike:
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    Some of you Bay Area residents might recognize it. He just bought it on the Penninsula, and it came complete with an ADV sticker. It's clean (for now) and heavily accessorized. Needless to say, Searge is a happy camper and spent little time deciding that he needed to come up for a day or two of adventure. He's had it less than a month, and I think he's already put 3,000 miles on it...

    Aside from getting a flat (blowing out a plug?) and realizing that the tire looks like it had been previously plugged, I think he's pleased.

    Keep in mind that Searge is back into riding after a number of years off the bike. As a previous lumberjack, and a history of flat-track racing (yes I'm gong to ask if he has old pictures) and other off-road interests, not to mention that he's just a BIG guy, the Adventure might not be such a big bike after all. Time will tell...
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    #13
  14. boney

    boney Ride > Post

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    Day 4:

    We start late at the Bend Coffee Company (or something like that). Nice place for scones, pannini and coffee.
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    Off to Route 4. Sisters to Seneca.

    Big guy, big bike. Little guy, little bike.
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    Initially I was worried about Searge's riding skillz. He was an "unknown" coming into the middle of a somewhat tightly scheduled ride. His comments were not terribly reinforcing either, being sure to add in that "it's been a long time" and "we'll have to see" element.

    Sandbagging is apparently one of Searge's other talents.:lol3
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    We followed the trail through The Cove Palisades State Park...
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    ...and on over to Prineville. Where we ate, gassed up, stopped at the Wildland Firefighters Memorial, and replugged Searge's rear tire- something he would do again tomorrow on his way home.
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    The late start didn't allow much picture taking in the afternoon. It was getting late and we kept the pace up across "Skyline Road". As the sun went down we found ourselves in Scotts Camp. There was no water, but lukily we had a gallon to split.
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    Today 149 miles. Total milage: 569
    #14
  15. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Excellent report and pics! Thanks for posting :thumb
    #15
  16. coho

    coho unfinished

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    I'll be heading out from Portland tomorrow, south to pickup the trail at the California border. Any takers? 503-201-7397
    #16
  17. boney

    boney Ride > Post

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    Day 5:

    This morning we bid Adieu to Searge, who was only able to get a couple of days off and had to head back to (warm) California. He headed north up Scotts Camp Road then out 26 to John Day and south on 395. He made it all the way to Reno for the night, only having to stop and re-plug the tire once. The hole must have been getting sloppy at this point, since he had to back it up with Slime to get a seal.

    Geoff and I kept heading east toward Seneca where we would have already met the 3rd section of the Oregon Backroads Discovery Trail #5. We heard that gas in Seneca was sometimes difficult to attain, but we had no idea...

    Early morning:
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    It wasn't long until we could see the Wolf Mountain Lookout from the road.
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    This is one of the closest "detours" you can make on this set of trails, so we decided to take a look around:
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    Big ole pan-o-rama: http://www.beachbus.net/storage/ODT/odt381.jpg

    The stairs were steep:
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    The deck height, two feet shy of the Aerial Ladder we use at work came to 108 feet. For the geeks; that makes this the tallest wooden tower in the United States. We met a nice gal named Wendy who works up there and gave us a brief tour- It's not very big. From the lookout (with binoculars) we could see several other look-outs and all of the 600+ acre ranch that Wendy owns and works when she's not up in the tower looking for fire.
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    It wasn't long until we were approaching the end of Trail #4 and going to pick up #5 and head into Seneca for gas.
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    Two more false starts on dead-ends and we decided to pack it in the easy way. Wide gravel roads to the highway. Let's get some gas and get going...
    We arrived at the Gas Station in Seneca at 3:15 Sunday afternoon. Here are the hours:
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    After some time of discussing the options making a 50 mile round trip to John Day, we decided to approach the neighbor about who else might have gasoline. We had received a tip or two from several hunters we had spoken with about a ranch who might sell us a few gallons, and a resort thay may have gas. The neighbor began giving us grief about our comments regarding the hours of the gas station. He said something like, "you know they have lives too," and "why would they want to open up for you on a day like this?" To which my not-in-the-mood-for-catching-shite reply was "to make money" I mean, after all, they don't own a gas station for fun do they?

    It turns out that the owner was standing right next to this guy, having just finished helping hi move some stuff into the place. I'd been had, and fell for it hook, line, and sinker...

    The owners were happy to turn on the pumps if we bought with exact change and even sold one of the hunters outside the place a can of chew. The dude next store, in the yellow house, rides a Uly and an R1200GS. Apparently there is some sort of conspiring going on between the two so that the neighbor may begin to sell gas out of his 50 tank in the racing trailer, during the off hours of the station, when he is home. Don't quote me though...

    Along the way:
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    We continued on to Malhuer Ford where we would camp for the night.

    Me, stuck in a hole after getting bumped off track in the ford:
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    Geoff, about to cross. My camera battery quit after this shot, so I missed the "water shot."
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    Only our feet got wet. The water was probably between 12 and 16 inches deep.

    No mosquitoes!
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    There's nothing like Cliff Bars, Beef Jerky, and Freeze-Dried food after a long day of riding.
    Today, 152 miles for 721 total.
    #17
  18. boney

    boney Ride > Post

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    Day 6:

    Thank goodness for the support team. Discovering the first night out that we were in for much colder termperatures than the weatherman had predicted, my wife overnighted the over-stuffed, Gore-Tex, down sleeping bag I usually save for the moutaineering trips. Now, instead of sleeping with all my fleece and long-underwear on, I was unzipping the bag to let some cooler air in. Even in the frosty morning.
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    We took some extra time to warm up and get some maintinence outta the way.

    Finding the middle of the chain:
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    KLR center stand:
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    Local Resident:
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    New "to do" list:
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    Setting out on another perfect day for riding, the trail took us off the GPS's known roads an onto the reliance of the "to do" list. We still couldn't find half the roads, but we kept riding and eventually found ourselves back in the GPS and to-do list.

    But not before we crossed a few barbed-wire gates.
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    And finally down a long dusty and rocky road through the sage to the North Fork of the Malheur River.
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    This is where we met Ed. The nicest guy EVER. He and his buddies we camped along the river fishing and riding, riding and fishing. They had a base camp that came complete with a yurt-looking canvas tent and wood burning stove. Ed offered up coffee right away. Something I couldn't say "no" to. He seemed truely pleased to find a couple of guys riding the trail and made reference to having read about an adventure or two on ADVRider. I think he would have hopped on his 225 and come along if we invited him.
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    Splash:
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    And through a lot of ranch land. Out here in the east part of Oregon, the meadows seemed much wider and drier. The towns were further apart, and much smaller.
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    We stopped in Unity to get gas and eat:
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    Geoff was starving. He asked for the Beef Stew on a Biscuit and couldn't get the waitress to commit to how big it actually was, so he asked for "extra" if it was possible. When the food came, she set down the biggest mound of food I've ever seen plopped onto one plate. I wish I had taken a picture. Geoff ate the whole thing too. OMG, I would have puked if I tried to get that all in.

    After lunch, more fantastic riding and scenery:
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    The prediction for rain was passed along to us by the Forest Service guys in Unity. A 30% chance didn't have us too worried, but we did take precautions:
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    Again, we finished late in the day. Somehow we only manage an overall daily average of about 15- 17 MPH including the many stops for navigation and the few stops to eat. I feel like we're pushing it sometimes, but it certainly doesn't reflect in our daily milage.

    We had planned for China Creek Campground, near the road closure that everyone says you can get a motorcycle around, but we found Gold Dredge Campground, an NFS facility along the John Day a bit closer and decided to stay. Nice place, no one home. No water either. We filtered river water then boiled it.

    165 miles under the tires today, for a total of 886.
    #18
  19. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    other people's point of view - how you guys perceive our great state of Oregon. just finished 1000 mi of dirt right out the front door and seeing your pics make me want to keep going!
    #19
  20. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    you 'effers are making it hard to get any work done. but please continue.



    Nate
    #20