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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DR. Rock, May 23, 2008.
Not sure that would work, Rock. :dog
there was another ranch,
and again we waved at the guys as we crossed over the Owyhee river,
and again, I wondered when the last time was that they saw people riding out of the hills from that direction.
it had been a fun morning's ride. We pulled into Rome Station for gas and a little break,
but it was starting to heat up, and time to get moving.
Wait'll you see Paris! Shoot, you could drive there in an hour!
on our agenda was the Pillars of Rome via Kiger road, which we'd take all the way out past the Saddle Butte lava fields, and Iron Mountain.
The cliffs were cool,
and after a few pitchers, we headed out into the abyss
it didn't take long to leave civilization behind,
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and all the nice trappings like food, water, and smooth riding surfaces.
find some lava in the lava fields,
Sorry about not having bikes in the photos, but they were too fast for me.
I'm pretty sure this was Saddle Butte,
and maybe Ryegrass Butte in the distance, both about 1000ft higher than our current elevation at 4700ft.
we were to hit was hwy 78, and my original plan put us on a course to simply cross it on dirt. We got to a larger graded dirt road which was to be my bail-out plan, but it turned out to be the only option. We took a snack break.
half past noon,
Pretty awesome riding so far...
stop and smell the flowers,
we'd have to ride 6 or 7 miles on pavement, but we had the opportunity to jump back into the dirt about half way according to a line on the devil box. We decided to check it out:
can you see the road going off to the right of the reflector? It's there! Do we want to take it, or ride another 3 miles of pavement to get to our next dirt section? Dave gives it the thumbs down:
and so does LDF...
Straw polls are one area where having three people rocks.
The trail would have taken us past the herd of cattle you can barely see, then loop us around the range, and about 12 miles later we'd have arrived 3 miles up this highway... not.
Honestly, I don't see it.
but before long, we were thwarted by this:
Our route took us up and over that ridge beyond the corral, and the GPS and map road passed right through, but the rancher had another idea:
We consulted the maps, and saw a couple of options... the bigger looking road was further up the highway. I recalled that I had a real hard time finding anything on satellite imagery that registered as a trail for that one, which was weird since on the atlas it was a thicker red line. Regardless, we passed the closer option, and barreled on to the second.
I think we were high on pavement.
that road veered off the GPS line, and petered out to nothing:
it looked like at one time there had been some structures up there, but only stone foundations remained. So we tracked back to the pavement,
and tried the other possibility:
we rode past a small quarry, and then the road seemed to end here at this gutted car.
Beyond is where the GPS had our route, and behind us was the corral that had stopped us before, but where's the trail? Dave the explorer is on the job: He takes off up the mountainside, bushwhacking, and just as his voice is starting to crackle over the Scala, I hear... "I think I've got something here"
We climb and climb and climb, and the trail leads to a gate, and on the other side is a much better defined two-track! Here is looking back down into the valley of the cows:
the first real big navigational challenge of my routing conquered, or so I thought. LDF had her doubts:
This time it was 2:1 to push on. From (appropriately named) Folly Farm, we'd pass through Mary's Lake, Anderson Valley, Camp Creek, Riddle Mountain, and Happy Valley. We had an option here, and I told Dave, who was leading at the time, "They both lead to the same place... take the fork that looks better traveled"
LDF was still not amused. :ddog
was having a ball! This is some of my favorite riding.
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Over the range...
into the next valley below:
Hey, it's me!
There was one section that was extra-wide, a little soft, but graded, and paved with grass...
We couldn't quite figure out what was up with that.
but it was a nice break from the technical two-track.
The next couple of hours,
following a line on a GPS,
which every once in awhile would reconstitute on the ground into something that resembled the idea of a road...
but more often than not,
remained a road only in theory.
I was a little concerned about getting turned back,
since we'd struggled so hard to get this far.
Nice getting back into these RR's. Its also nice seeing more pics and writing, and less vids. The vids are cool, but require more dedicated time..easier to breeze through the pics and writing while "working".
Beware the deep green grass..for where things are green there is water and where there is water, there is mud.
we were well past halfway to the next main, named road...
We started to descend into "Happy" Valley.
We were running out of water, and hadn't seen a soul since... well, all day, actually.
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LDF is ahead of me on the road to "Happy" Valley. Can you see her? She's camouflaged better than a rattle snake.
Finally graded gravel!
We are out of water, and have decided to press on to The Narrows campground in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. But I pass this sign, and it looks like there may be water there.
I stick my head in the door of the visitor's center, and there's a silver-haired cowboy behind the counter.
I ask, "Hi. Do you have any water?" and he replies with a warm smile... "Sure, in the bathrooms, or if you want, there's a hose on the side of the building -- it's all potable. Let it run for awhile so it gets cold." I say,
"Thanks, but I don't want to waste water out here in the desert" and he replies,
"No worries, we've got plenty". So I step back outside, give my compadres the thumbs up, and we start doing the end-zone touchdown dance.
LDF asks me "What's in there?" and I realize that I was so fixated on water that I didn't really know.
But the guy was so nice, I suggested we walk in and look around. Turns out, it was a museum and interpretive center chronicling the Jenkins Family's five generations of ranching in the area, and displaying years of photographs and collected stuff.
We started chatting, and he asked us where we were from, and we tell him NYC and Edmonton Canada, and then he asks where we'd come from...
"Oh man, you wouldn't believe... we started at Jordan Valley, then took Kriger road over to Hwy 78 and Folly Farm, and then took the back way on these crazy cow trails..."
He cuts us off: "Trails? Those are our roads!" But I'll say, you've got the bikes for it... you musta come past Mary's Lake, Anderson Valley, Camp Creek, Riddle Mountain, and then Happy Valley, right?"
Damn, the guy really knows the area like the back of his hand... then it dawns on me... this must be Mr. Jenkins. (Click the link if the embedded video doesn't appear)
</code>We start asking him what it is like living here, and he tells us how his wife drives up those trails (roads) to drop off salt licks, but last year she took a helicopter. And how when they were young and out "Buckarooing" [he actually used that word] when they got thirsty they'd just find themselves a riffle [I don't know what that is], and hop off their horses and have a swim and a drink, if the water was running, it was fresh to drink, and if they had to they could always just set up and camp overnight. That's all they needed, and it looked like we could do the same if we had to." It was one of the coolest conversations we've had on our trips, and a real treat to have met him.
He told us about the round barn and recommended we visit, and even though it was getting late, we decided to drive out to see it.
"There was one section that was extra-wide, a little soft, but graded, and paved with grass..."
A runway? We often used a small plane to find missing cattle on our place when I was a kid...there was a limit to finding them on horseback in really brushy areas or ravines.
Riffle: A swift spot in a slow moving stream. Hence the water was moving so it wasn't stagnant and likely safe to drink.
What a great adventure! I will go see that guy when I head out west.
A little scavaging for wire behind the old service station and field repairing the vapor speedo is a breeze
Mid day route briefing
No hassles yet today
This stretch before Happy Valley was the most difficult sustained riding of the trip for me. It seemed like it would never end and I'm thinking LDF would agree with me.
These green bits were all about faith in solid ground. I knew why they were green...and there was some water in places but was I blindly riding into quicksand?
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Mr Jenkins was a beauty ...
When I first noted the round barn on the map when I was creating the route, I thought it was some kind of novelty tourist attraction, like the worlds largest ball of twine.
but in fact, it was an impressive accomplishment of pioneer ingenuity and engineering.
Of course, LDF was obsessing over this animal track which she was convinced was from a beast spawned by the crossing of a mountain lion with a bear with a wolf.
or so to The Narrows... and we were feeling much better after our stop with Mr. Jenkins. Here's my recap:
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"Stop looking at me like that!" I don't know why, but the cows were creeping me out.
It was some nice trail to get to the Refuge. You can see the wetlands in the distance.
The last bit was paved,
and I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say we weren't a little disappointed when we saw what our camping opportunity would be:
an RV parking lot, a grassy knoll, no fire pits, no view... sigh. We gassed up, bought some appetizers and cocktail fixin's at the gift shop,
and set up our tents.
The good news is that there were hot showers. Or showers, anyway... the one Dave had was curtailed, but the stall LDF used never ended, all off of one quarter. I chose that one. We had a nice dinner in the restaurant, and a small campfire in a fire bowl made from an old washing machine inner drum with legs welded onto it.
After the day we'd had, no one was complaining.