A Thin Red Line DS Tour Oregon, Idaho, Nevada

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Hootowl, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. Hootowl

    Hootowl Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
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    Location:
    Bend Oregon
    In early June I suggested to my friend Ken and fellow KLR rider that we ride a loop thru Eastern Oregon, Idaho and Nevada. He liked the idea and he started looking at maps for a general outline of a route. We're both not big on extensive planning preferring to make route decesions as we progress thru the ride.
    We dislike riding the KLR's on pavement so we wanted to travel off pavement as much as possible.

    The thin red line in the title refers to the road symbols in the Benchmark Road Atlas' that we like to use for route finding. Big heavy red lines for limited access highways, solid thin red lines for secondary roads, red dashes for gravel and finally thin red lines that can be anything from good dirt to double track. In our travels we find that the map symbols don't always correspond with what we find on the ground in front of us.

    Our ride was 6 days, a bit over 1200 miles and what seemed like hundreds of gate opening and closings. Near the end I injured myself so we had to finish the last 200 miles (more or less) on pavement.

    Day one was a long but easy day (except for the bull standing in the road when I came around a corner) ending at Warm Spring Reservoir via Crane (page 79 in the Oregon atlas)on the Crane-Menator Rd. We didn't hear or see any airplanes, vehicles or human made sounds while we were camped there. Remarkable!

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    We were riding again the next day by 7AM, retracing our route from yesterday to pick up Cowley-Riverside road heading south-east (pages 79,82). The road was little used, the vegatation encroaching on the track and the views were beautiful. Here are a few photo's of that section.

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    We then came to our first water crossing of the trip. We had several of these during our ride, unusual for a desert journey.

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    The route grew more deserted by the mile

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    And after about 20 or 30 miles we came to a stop here

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    Fuel was becoming a concern so I brought up the "its better to beg for forgiveness then ask for permission" mantra and we proceeded onward. We could see the ranch headquarters in the distance but we reached a county road without being detected.


    From there it was pavement riding south on Hwy 78 to Burns Junction and then west to Rome were we got off the pavement, crossed the Owyhee River (which we'll see again in a few days) and road up hill past a ranch house and barns to look for the Old Idaho, Oregon, Nevada "Highway" which parallels Hwy 95 heading east (pages 92-93 in the atlas.)
    Here's an example of where the map legend shows a dash line but in actuality it should be a thin red line.

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    The Old Idaho, Oregon, Nevada Highway was a 19th Century wagon road and there's not much of it left.
    Near the end we drop down towards a well maintained county gravel road.

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    Further along we're stopped when the road ends at a dam and irrigation diversion. We backtrack to the hamlet of Arock and ride the pavement towards Jordan Valley. After refueling we finally enter Idaho around 2PM. Its taken us almost two days to reach Idaho! We could of ridden from Bend to Jordan Valley in 4-5 hours on pavement.

    South East of Jordan Valley we pick up Flint Creek Rd. and the scenery ramps up a notch or two.

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    Flint Creek Rd. takes us to Antelope Ridge Rd. (pages 70-71 in the Idaho Benchmark Atlas). The ridge is outstandling beautiful.
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    At Mudd Flat Rd. we turn left and end our riding day at Poison Creek Picnic Area.
    Its been a 10 hour day of riding and I notice Ken's asleep in his tent at 7:30.
    Since he took the only level spot for a tent I decide to use a picnic table.

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    #1
  2. Hootowl

    Hootowl Long timer

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    Bend Oregon
    Part Two Coming Soon
    #2
  3. Hootowl

    Hootowl Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Bend Oregon
    Another early start to the day found us in the hamlet of Bruneau Idaho for fuel and food. I've floated the Bruneau River several times but I've never seen it from the overlook so we headed south on Hot Springs Rd (paved)(page 72, 82,83).

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    The road changes names to Clover-Three Creeks Rd. when the pavement ends. Its a long, boring but fast ride to pavement again where we turn east but after a short distance the views improve and the pavement ends.

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    We're soon in Nevada heading south to the mining hamlet of Jarbidge

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    After I had a mix up with the Diesel pump in town (don't ask) we decided to have a short day and camp up stream from town. I was happy to take the opportunity to rest.
    The next day was the start of the homeward leg.
    Heading west here's what we saw:

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    The road then began to climb and we entered an area of high elevation meadows

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    Later that morning Ken road into a migrating swarm of insects that neither of us had seen before.
    We found out later that they're called mormon crickets

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    We continuing on towards hwy 225 and the town of Owyhee where we hoped to refuel.
    There was a big group of Harley riders refueling as well and it was odd that none of them would look or talk to us. Strange.

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    After refueling and talking to a few of the locals about routes west (don't always trust local knowledge)
    we were soon back in Idaho on 45 Ranch Road and although we didn't know it at the time it was going to be the most difficult section of the entire journey.
    On this day we rode ten hours and covered 152 miles.

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    Looking down on the ranch

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    If you look carefully about the middle of the photo just below the edge of the hill you can see me.
    I had to stop and collect myself. I was spent from the heat, the terrain and the long hours in the saddle and I was facing a steep rocky downhill (I don't do well with steep rocky downhills!)

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    At the bottom we found the only way across the South fork of the Owyhee was a ford. We had no choice, retracing our route wasn't an option. (Pages 80,81 of the atlas)

    Unloading the KLR's

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    I wish I could of gotten a photo of us walking the bikes across but I didn't want to mess with setting up the camera for a timed shot. It was too darn hot and we were filled with anxiety about getting the motorcycles across the river.

    We made it without incident but it was a slippery, slimey mess.

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    We're now heading SW towards Star Valley Ranch on a thin red line.
    After the river crossing and dumping the KLR on a pile of rocks crossing a ravine I was mentally and physcially spent.
    We spent the night at the ranch. (page 80). With Horse drawn farming equipment, tractors and a barn we could tell that the ranch was, at one time, a home place for someone or a family. Now it was abandoned and had been for a long time. I'd like to know the history of the ranch. With old stone buildings we could tell that it has a history going way back in time.

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    Wondering around the old place I found a hand dug well and a bucket. I was soon cooled off.

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    The next days route had us heading towards McDermitt

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    After a quick refueling and lunch we continue west towards Fields Oregon.
    Somewhere in the Trout Creek Mountains (page 104 Oregon Atlas) I was riding along on a easy double track thinking of cold beers and the stories I would be telling my GF soon when WTF happened and I was on the ground with my right foot under the KLR and my shoulder hurting like hell. Ken came along and got the KLR off my foot and I determined that nothing was broken but I was in a great deal of pain. We made it to Fields after enduring a violent thunderstorm.

    I recoverd somewhat overnight thanks to ice and rest but the goal of riding home off pavement was over.
    The next day we slogged home via pavement.

    This trip exceeded anything I had ever done before. It was difficult, very challenging but oh so rewarding.
    Ken said it was the best dual sport ride he's ever done. I have to agree.
    #3
  4. E-man

    E-man 4-4-09, 12-6-09, 1-13-10

    Joined:
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    I'd say Front Page material right there bro

    BEAUTIFUL ride....
    :thumb :thumb
    #4
  5. BSTT

    BSTT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Braunschweig, Germany
    Thanks, for showing me the west of Oregon! For someone living in overcrowded Germany it is unbelievable to see this enormous landscape without towns.
    It must be great to ride there.
    Very good pics :clap.

    Gero
    #5
  6. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

    Joined:
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    Hootowl,

    Looks like a fun ride in beautiful country! Heal up fast and send us more!
    #6
  7. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    Beautiful rugged ride, report and pics! thanks for posting :thumb
    #7
  8. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

    Joined:
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    Great pics and roads. Its those local adventures i really like. Very nice job guys.:clap
    #8
  9. GSgal

    GSgal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
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    Location:
    NW Montana
    Oh, now I really wish I'd been along with you guys on this one!

    Well done... fun report and what a great ride you did! I hope you're healed and back on two wheels after the ankle injury. :thumb
    #9
  10. ronsolo

    ronsolo Hooplehead

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    Pacific Northwest
    Wow, damn cool. I'm breathing dust just reading it. :clap

    One of these days I'll get out to Jarbidge. It's been years since I've been there.

    Thanks for sharing.
    #10
  11. Dirtnadvil

    Dirtnadvil Long timer

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    Is there any posibility that you could down load the tracks from your GPS to your ride report.:clap
    #11
  12. orion94

    orion94 Hold my beer, Watch this

    Joined:
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    Them thar hills
    great rr and pics . Thanks for sharing
    #12
  13. KMA

    KMA KicksMyAss on BDS

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
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    Thailand
    Nice job guys! Check out your local riding buddies at benddualsport.com
    Good peeps are always welcome!
    #13
  14. flyingreg

    flyingreg just ridin' along

    Joined:
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    Bakersfield, CA
    Great ride tale and the pics are awesome. Glad the mishap wasn't more than it was.
    #14
  15. IDScarecrow

    IDScarecrow Long timer

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    Nice RR! Watch out for those mormon crickets on pavement - they are slippery! DAMHIK.
    #15
  16. CO_Native

    CO_Native Been here awhile

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    Where the hell is the popcorn icon...this looks like a great trip!
    #16
  17. luckybum

    luckybum old n tard

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
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    Location:
    Redmond, Oregon
    Nice report Richard! Get that foot healed up so we can take on our next foolhardy trip. Gsgal and I will miss you in Hells Canyon next weekend.

    Luckybum
    #17
  18. pckopp

    pckopp Aged Adventurer

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    Where are the pictures! :ddog

    Ah, nevermind. 'Bandwidth exceeded'.
    #18
  19. jeckyll

    jeckyll Kneedragger

    Joined:
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    Vancouver
    Great photos, looks like an awesome trip!
    #19
  20. Hootowl

    Hootowl Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Because I have a 2610 which only records 5 hrs. of data its just about useless for recording tracks on a trip like this.
    We used the GPS frequently to find our coordinates on the paper maps but for nothing else.
    #20