SE Oregon, Late August 2010, bad ending

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by oregonlmd, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Western Oregon
    I originaly posted this to benddualsport.com starting in August and ending in September. To those who have read that thread, they know why this report has the title it does. For those who know, don't spoil the end.
    I had done a 3-day ride in SE Oregon 3 weeks earlier, and it's ride report is here:
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=632791

    Now, to get on with it:

    Day 1

    I left Corvallis, OR at 6:00 AM on Friday 8/20/10 for the 6 hour, 322 mile, drive to Plush. I wanted to get to the Owyhee rivers on this trip, and I had to be back to work on Tuesday the 24th, so I needed a real miles jump-start this time. Plush seemed to be the best spot for that.
    I called the Plush store 2 days prior and asked if I could park my car there. The owner said he had a spot I could park.
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    I ate lunch and gassed up there, finally getting on the trail at 1:00 PM. I immediately headed across the north side of Hart Lake to get to the road that goes down its east side.
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    There are rock fences on the mountainside to the east
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    The road is a ton of fun, with a lot of dried deep puddle depressions that created easy-riding whoops at the beginning, then smooth and open later on
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    There are big rocks close to the road in one area. Look for petroglyphs
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    At the top of a rise, you see south toward Crump Lake.
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    There’s a road to the right that goes to the famed Glass House
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    This house is a complete trip. A must-see for any Eastern Oregon explorer.
    Going south from here, and by making the right turns, you’ll easily find the hot spring on the east side of Crump Lake. I hadn't been riding long enough yet for me to want to stop and get wet.
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    Going back north just a bit, I found the entrance to the road that would take me east. There’s this monument at the beginning
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    It winds up atop the downsloping south end of the Hart Mountains, and is a bit rough. N2MOTO on BDS.com had this to say about this road: "To say 'those roads are a little rough' is an understatement. After I was on a few of them, you start asking yourself 'WTF?' " He's right. Later the following day I found plenty of roads that were equally bad. Anyway...


    Good views
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    You eventually hit road 6106, and this sign
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    About ¼ - 1/3 mile away to the east is a cabin
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    Continuing east on 6106, the road drops off suddenly toward Shirk Lake
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    And you come out by Shirk Ranch
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    There was lots more to take pics of, but I really needed to start making time, so fewer pics for the rest of the day.


    Going around the west then south then east side of Shirk Lake, the road finally heads east and intersects Beatty Butte Rd. At that intersection was the first of dozens of hunters I saw over the next 48 hours. Three RV’s, some trucks, and a generator blasting away. I didn’t stop to say Hi.
    I went across that intersection to find the road that goes N-S and is as straight as it can be (Wachs told me to ride it, and it's a good tip). Before getting to it, I saw another cabin to my right. Took a pic.
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    Found the road, took a left and went North. That straight road was a blast, just as Dave Wachs told me it would be. A bit before it ends, I hung a right, went SE toward Acty Mtn/Acty Spring. It was slow here and there, but riding was great. At one point there’s a feature called Chimney Rock. Here it is zoomed in.
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    Near Acty, looking north toward west side of the Steens and Catlow Valley.
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    Here is where I began a navigation error. Dave Wachs explained a route to Domingo Pass. I wanted to do it a bit differently. With plenty of time, my route is just fine. Cool stuff to see, like Granite Spring, a cold-water spring
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    I dunked my head, though it wasn’t all that hot out
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    More pics around Granite Spring
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    I realized that I was going to have a hard time making it to Fields before they closed at 6:00, so no more pics until after I got gas there. Made it there at 5:55, after basically pinning it on the hwy where the road dumped out. The higher gearing I installed for this trip, the tank, and the bags kept my speed under 90.
    With gas, and time to rest
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    I went north to the powerline and took off east for the “crossroads”, about 10 miles east of the highway. Went south toward Whitehorse Ranch Rd
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    But it was late enough that I had to camp nowhere special. 7:00 PM, 142 miles.
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    Found this when I picked up my boots to put them in a trash bag for the night
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    Honestly freaked me out. Traipsing around the camp in my flip-flops and these things are out and about?!?



    #1
  2. Capt Dan

    Capt Dan Just Livin' a Dream

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    Starting to look really fun, keep it coming. The area looks great, good job...
    #2
  3. marcus-st12

    marcus-st12 frenchy

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    awsome so far.....just change the font color.....
    #3
  4. Watercat

    Watercat . . . gravity sucks

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    Looking forward to more . . . . . . :thumb

    :lurk

    Nice riding country.
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Starts off well... that scorpion and flip flops.. not good..

    :lurk
    #5
  6. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    OK, that font-color thing was really a stupid mistake. All fixed now. Won't do that again.

    Day 2 coming up!
    #6
  7. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
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    Western Oregon
    Day 2:

    I didn’t make an unusual effort to get going early this morning, probably got moving at about 8:00 AM. My goal for this day was to make it the hot springs on the Owyhee River near 3 Forks. It meant about 250 miles, a pace I find easy when I'm just riding on my own.

    There was one of these by where I camped, and had seen them on another road near Acty. What is this? Anyone know?
    [​IMG]
    I took a turn off the main track just to add some variety. It got real varietyful, with the road being very deeply rutted (way above footpegs) and overgrown occasionally.
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    Came out on to Whitehorse Road at an old ranch with abandoned buildings, but irrigated fields.
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    Now that I was on Whitehorse Rd, the next order of business was to find Willow Hot Spring. Going east, I was going to take a “shortcut”, as the map called it, that would get me off the 2-lane gravel road earlier. I managed to turn too early, and rode a bunch of roads that didn’t get me where I wanted to go, but they were fun and with good views.
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    I did finally make it to the spring, and its pretty nice.
    Hot side
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    Cold side (which isn’t cold, just cooler)
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    Seen both together
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    There was a fella camped there, he was talking on his cell phone. So, I made some calls too while walking around checking everything out.

    I left going south, on Trout Creek Rd. It climbs steadily up into the Trout Creek Mtns, and the views just get better and better. Riding is good, not real smooth road, but not rough (rough comes later this day).
    After a good number of miles, the road goes through some trees. In my experience so far in SE Oregon, trees not associated with a spring or river are extremely unusual, so I took a pic.
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    A little farther, and more good stuff
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    I am pretty sure the pointy one is Disaster Peak in Nevada.
    A closeup of the glacier
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    And of Disaster Peak
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    Eventually 15 Mile Res Rd goes east off Trout Creek Rd, and I went that way. At one point on 15 Mile Res Rd there’s an option. Going left is the main road, and easily climbs to the “top”. Taking a right goes into a little valley, with a very nice camp spot
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    The road is narrow, and nice. Not too far brings you to some old buildings
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    Taking a left, you get the hard option to go up to the top of the ridge
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    Looking south off that ridge, into Nevada
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    The road finally hooks north, and you’re treated to an amazing road with incredible views. Wachs told me not to miss this road, and he was SO right.
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    I came across easily a dozen hunters on this road.
    The road finally dives east off the plateau, to come out onto Oregon Canyon Rd
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    When you come to Oregon Canyon Rd, you see this, a building that is twisted, then falling over diagonally. It looks comical in real life
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    I went into McDermitt via Hwy95. I’d come 110 miles that morning, and it was 11:41. I figured I had plenty of time to find the hot springs at 3 Forks. I got lunch and talked to a local about roads in the area, and specifically about Flag Crossing that is shown on the Harney County hunt unit map. He didn’t know anything about that crossing, so I figured I’d play it by ear as to whether I’d try to find it.

    Dave Wachs was nice to give some route ideas for this trip, and warned me about the rockiness of this area. I can say it is impossible to overstate how bad it can get. I failed to follow one of his suggestions, and paid dearly in terms of route roughness.

    I went north out of McDermitt and went east on Wilkinson Rd.
    After gaining a lot of elevation (looking west back toward the plateau I rode in the morning):
    [​IMG]
    I was trying to work my way to Airplane Reservoir Rd that generally follows the south side of the West Little Owyhee. Although I did eventually make it to that road, it was tough navigating, and roads turned to crap. VERY rocky. I passed a guy working on his horse, and about a mile later, came to this cabin. I think it may have been his
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    The roads got real faint, and I even went through a gate that said No Trespassing. I think the worst stuff was going through the Indian Reservation. Here’s the absolute worst shit I rode
    [​IMG] I was so involved with trying to navigate, ride the rough roads at almost no miles per hour, and not get bent out of shape about not following the route Wachs suggested to me, I didn't take many pics for a lot of miles. Its all the same anyway. Rocky road, flat-ish terrain, scrub.

    Wachs told me to go south into Nevada and ride east out the roads along the Quinn River. I am certain it would have been the right way to go. So, out that road, connect up to Tent Creek Road, and ride across Anderson Crossing headed west. But, I did my own thing and just had a hard ride. Airplane Reservoir Road did connect to Tent Creek Rd, and I then went west to Anderson Crossing on the Owyhee.
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    There was actually water in the area, just not right at where the road crossed it.
    I have to admit that occasionally, things smooth out temporarily. I took a pic just to remind myself of that actual fact
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    The weather was getting interesting. I was expecting to get wet.

    I wanted to find Flag crossing just to see what it was like.
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    I have to admit I accidentally found it, took the turn to go to it rather than the correct turn to continue on north. It is WAY too steep and full of brush to ride up. The pic, as usual, doesn’t do it justice.
    This pic is of the west side coming out of the canyon. If I'd have followed my original plan of finding the east side's entrance, and IF I'd have gone down into it, then came to this, I would have been so screwed. I guarantee there's no way to ride up this slot through the rocks.

    The farther north I went, the better the road got. Was actually fun after a while
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    I’d say those pics are east of Sacramento Hill.
    The road does eventually go to the confluence of the West Little Owyhee, and the main stem of the Owyhee. Down in the distance
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    And there’s this thing at the top. I almost coudn't see it because it was camoflauged so well:wink: .
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    The road down is steep. I had in my mind “this would be interesting to ride back up”, mainly because of my pretty bald rear tire and totally highway gearing I’d installed (and was loving up to this point).
    Incredible landforms
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    At the bottom, there is really only one way to ride, and that’s generally downstream, with minor river crossings. Eventually, it comes to this crossing
    [​IMG]
    Not too deep really, and the flow is slow, so just went on across, though it wasn’t apparent to me where the road went on the other side. It’s obvious once you get to the east side. It goes UP!
    The bike’s gearing was making things a challenge. Killed it here and there, gave me an opp to take a pic
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    And another
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    Yes, steep. In fact, near the top of the climb above this point, I got off to the right, and that was a bad choice with my no-traction condition and high gearing. Took some work to get up. The bike was grateful I was able to fill with premium in McDermitt.

    I was kinda confused. I expected the hot spring to be at this crossing. I figured well, its supposed to be at 3 Forks, so I continued north. I rode around there confusedly a bit. I had begun to think that I just was going to miss it. I pulled out the maps that I’d already studied to death, and discovered the crossing I’d not seen. Knew just where the turn was to it. 3 miles later:
    [​IMG]
    Across the river (crossing was similar in width and depth to the other crossing), then up to the hot spring. I was in that spring for a long time. Its just perfectly warm, not crazy hot (I can’t deal with the temp of most hot springs too well)
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    Made camp in a wide spot near the creek, hunkered near the rock outcropping to shield myself from the blasting wind. I estimate it was blowing constantly at 30MPH. The clouds hadn't released their load on me yet, but I was fully preparing for a went and windy night.
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    Had one last nice scene at sundown. The sun got below the cloud deck, lit up the opposite bank
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    The wind really howled, but it only barely rained. Finally quit altogether, and I got to see the stars that night. I was quite relieved.
    I'd ridden 93.6 miles from McDermitt. Very challenging miles. The total for the day was 204. I was really gonna rack 'em up the next day!
    #7
  8. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    251
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    Western Oregon
    Day 3:

    Next morning I got up earlier than the prior day and was going by around 7:30. The ride out to the west was fun, and when I got to the top, there were cows for as far as you could see. I rode for some miles, finally stopping to take a pic.
    [​IMG]
    I could smell smoke in the air as soon as I got out of the canyon. I still am unsure which fire the smoke was from.

    Unfortunately, the road got worse. First, it got rutted, but was still plenty ridable. Then it got torn up, like from heavy equipment, and I was riding in moon dust that was 6 to 12" deep, for mile after unending mile. At one spot, there was a weather station in the midst of nowhere
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    Finally the road work ended, and I continued west. I was trying to ride west out Rattlesnake Creek Road, but I kept finding locked gates. I’d go north, try a new route, find another locked gate. I should have just went out Bowden Ranch Road (I think it's Bowden Ranch that owns the locked gates).
    I’d come across neat stuff
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    And then a locked gate :becca :kboom [​IMG]
    I was pretty upset at the point I took the pic of this one. I'd really just completely had it with locked gates.

    I found a way around it, and karma set in. About 5 miles later, I got what was coming to me.

    Here's the x-ray I got 2 days later:[​IMG]

    I was moving right along at about 40-45mph on a GREAT 2-track about 10-15 miles after the gate, going north, about 3 miles south of Hwy 95, and about 5 or so miles west of Rome. In a slight left hand corner, in a real nice 2-wheel drift (traction was perfect for it, it was the nicest road I'd been on in 100 miles), while in the right-hand track, I snagged my left foot on a clump of sagebrush. Foot got pulled off the peg, leg rotated down, foot smacked into the ground, and the impact drove the tibia into the femur, causing the break. That's at least what the ortho and I have decided what most likely occurred, since it all happened way too fast to know what hit when it happened.
    I can say for sure that my leg ended up fully behind me, my thigh cantilevered under the Coyote bag and I'm pretty sure lifted the rear wheel off the ground. But, none of this caused me to crash. I believe the Scott's damper did its job once again.
    I rolled to a stop, trying to catch my breath. The shock and adrenaline was doing its job, masking the pain enough to help me keep my wits about me. I could tell immediately that I wouldn't be able to lift my foot back up onto the peg. I was hoping that I'd just had a bad twist, and could ride back to Plush.
    HA!
    I got my foot lifted onto the peg. By hooking my foot under the shifter, and pulling up on my pantleg (very painfully), I got it shifted into 3rd, and rode out to the highway. Still hopeful that I could make it back to the car, I took a left turn. By the time I made it shift into 6th, it was apparent that my ride was over. I pulled over, looked at the map, decided Rome was my best closest bet for cell service to call my wife to come get me. Slipping the clutch mercilessly, killing it twice, I got going again headed east to Rome.
    I pulled up to the boardwalk in Rome and killed it. And waited. There was no way I could get off the bike on my own, as I could not put weight on my left leg, nor move it much. Finally a guy that had stopped came over to talk to me about the bike's 6.7 gallon tank. That tank is such the conversation piece. We talked about where I had been, then I told him I'd injured my knee a few miles back, and couldn't get off the bike. He ended up bear-hugging me under my arms, and just yarding me off the bike. The pain was extreme. He then helped me get to the bench in front of the store. I was feeling queasy. Then, a lady came out of the store to see what was going on. And I hurled all over. I couldn't be more embarassed.
    With no cell service there, they let me use their phone to call my wife. She hopped into the truck and came and got me. Took her 6.5 hours from Corvallis to Rome. We stayed in one of the cabins there that night. Got up at 6 Monday morning to drive to Plush to get the car & trailer, then drive on home to Corvallis. We finally got home at 4:45 that afternoon.

    As long as I kept my leg immobile and at just the right angle, it didn't hurt. The swelling was what was really uncomfortable. But, I was able to drive the truck since it has an auto.

    This situation had absolutely the best possible outcome. I am so lucky in many respects.
    1. Didn't crash. There is no way I could have gotten back on the bike, and crashing at 40-45 rarely doesn't hurt. And, since no crash, the bike is ready to ride!
    2. Had e-start. No way I could have kicked the bike over, even though it was my left leg that got hurt. I couldn't support the bike with my left leg.
    3. I was real close to help AND could ride to help. The Owyhee area is nowhere to be and get hurt and be by one's self. Time for assistance to arrive even if you do invoke the help or 911 features of the SPOT would be considerable, and really inconvenient for the helpers. I'm more than lucky in this situation.
    4. Don't know why the pain wasn't more of a problem. I should have thrown up in my helmet when it happened, but didn't even feel sick then (just in severe pain). Still, it was late Sunday eve, after my wife got to Rome, that I felt I was finally thinking completely clearly.
    5. My wife is amazing. No hassles in any way. She helped me to understand that there are ways to pay for my medical bills that wouldn't potentially involve selling the bike (though I'd just get another as soon as I could). She continues to take care of my every need.
    6. I have an AFLAC policy, and it has paid for nearly all my annual out-of-pocket expenses from my insurance policy, plus the disability income policy has made a huge difference in income while I've not been able to work.
    6. I got to ride out there for 5 days this summer. Even with this crappy end to riding this year, the memories of my rides are excellent. Plus, the support of this interloper by the members of this forum has been overwhelming.

    As I post this, it is 2 months exactly since the surgery.
    Here's a pic of the hardware. 8 screws and a t-shaped plate.
    [​IMG]
    I got the 27 staples that were used to hold the incision together out on Sept 15th. Stung a bit. Doc said I'd probably be able to put weight on it by 10/15 (I was, bone healed perfectly). I'd then likely be walking on it (carefully) by 11/15 (I've already walked without aid, though with a severe limp, about 100 feet, and have done that twice). He suggested I might be walking normally by 12/15. Finally, I'll feel like I can do pretty much everything normally by March 2011, or 6 months out from the operation. My goal is to do a serious ride on February 22nd, or 6 months after I had this accident.

    The real deal with my injury: I completely obliterated the anterior (outside) portion of the top of the tibia (lots of little pieces), big chunk broke off the interior side, the portion of the tibia the ACL attached to broke off completely (saving the ACL from real damage, thankfully), and bruised the bottom of the femur. I have lots of pictures that were taken with the arthroscopic camera during the surgery. Its supremely ugly. Like scrambled cartilige and bone. The meniscus, or cartilige, was badly damaged as well, but mostly to the rearward area. Still, the doc thinks my recovery will be pretty good, and depending upon how I use my knee, I'll be able to avoid joint replacement for 15-20 years.

    My biggest recovery issue is that its been very slow going to get my leg to bend past 90 degrees. I've hit 100. Every degree I gain is hard. I am in fact flexing it now as I type, and it f'n hurts.

    SO: Next spring as soon as the snow melts in the higher elevations, I'll go back out to SE Oregon and ride the rest of what I missed due to what I've been calling "a motorcycle incident" to all the non-riders. They don't really care once I say "motorcycle".
    A guy I saw at a motorcycle race last weekend had a great reply to say to people when they ask If I'll keep riding: "I just broke a bone, I didn't die".
    #8
  9. mars

    mars Starbucks anyone?

    Joined:
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    I had exactly the same thing happen to me. My left foot caught on some brush and when it released it shot forward and hyper extended with the same results. I don't even notice the repair any more but it took three years and didn't really heal until i started running again.
    #9
  10. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Not what I really wanted to hear. I'm hoping my physical therapists have more magic than yours did!:D
    #10
  11. KHVol

    KHVol Long timer

    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
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    2,488
    Just think what would have happened if you had been using hard panniers ?
    #11
  12. Mista Vern

    Mista Vern Knows all - tells some.

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    McMinnville, Oregon
    Hell of a great ride report and some mighty fine photos! You are one lucky guy to have gottan yourself to a place where you could get help. Mkes me have the heebie Jeebies just thinking about how bad it could have been! :eek1

    Glad you are on the mend and hope all turns out well for you! :1drink
    #12
  13. mars

    mars Starbucks anyone?

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    My advice, don't favor it and start bicycling as much as you can until you don't notice the injury.
    #13
  14. Michaelfish

    Michaelfish Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    216
    Nice report. Right up until the oops.

    My buddy caught a sage with his foot & it spun his foot out 90 deg. He was out for 6 months. Spiral crack on the big bone from the ankle to the knee, what ever the name of that one is.

    Sorry to hear about the break. Hope you get going again without permanent problems.

    Again..... nice report.:thumb :thumb :thumb
    #14
  15. Watercat

    Watercat . . . gravity sucks

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    Heal well & heal fast, amigo.
    #15
  16. mars

    mars Starbucks anyone?

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    One more thing, throw the vicodin in the toilet and get several cases of wine. At least the Wine has anti oxidents.
    #16
  17. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
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    Western Oregon
    I have put a lot of thought into this. The quick answer is that, to me, it seems likely that my injury would have been worse with hard bags, but I don't really know.
    I had the left side of the bag packed with my stove and cooking pot at the very bottom, and they were really packed down in there firmly. Since the GL bag ties down very securely (one of its numerous positive aspects), it turned the bottom of the bag into a pretty immobile and hard object. Thus, when my thigh hit it, there was no give (which explained the big bruise I had on my thigh).
    In the future, I will make sure to have the bottom of the bag soft and flexible. I will make sure that if a similar incident occurs, my leg will glance off the bag and not get stuck under it.
    I hope others who've been thinking of getting a GL bag do not decide against it based on my unlucky experience. I LOVE the bag and feel it is superior to any other solution for riding where and how I was than any other option. And for sure, a hard case pannier would have caused AT LEAST as much injury.
    #17
  18. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
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    I am about 10 degrees of flexion away from being able to turn the cranks on a bike. I have a quality recumbent exercycle lined up for use as soon as I gain appropriate flexion. Then, once I feel I can, I will be commuting to work by bicycle. A bicycle will be key in my recovery (it better be, I am the GM at an outdoor sporting goods store that sells bicycles).
    #18
  19. oregonlmd

    oregonlmd Dirt,street,its all good.

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Western Oregon
    If I could, I would. Me and wine, beer, spirits in general, don't mix very well.
    #19
  20. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,288
    Location:
    Fulltiming in an RV! Currently NW Oregon
    Wow, great report and photos! Very sorry to hear about your accident. I hope you heal quickly.

    I'm not far from you -- right up here in Salem. I did a weekend trip to Crater Lake a couple weekends ago, just before the snow came. Fun trip, but didn't take many photos and wasn't really worth writing a ride report for it.

    If I'm still in the area when you're ready to ride again, and if you want some company, PM me. I'm waiting to find out if my contract is getting extended, or if I'm headed for SoCal.

    Rob
    #20