Can I still camp? 3.5 nights, Central Oregon...and RLS

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by pdedse, Aug 28, 2020.

  1. pdedse

    pdedse paraelamigosincero

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    Thanks, looks like you're in Tucson? Before OR, we lived in Chandler and my daughter currently studies at U of Az.
    #21
  2. pdedse

    pdedse paraelamigosincero

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    So now I know that the smoke cloud I was seeing was the White River Fire, which apparently was caused by lightening on Aug 17 and had grown to over 15k acres as of 8/29. I got to Antelope and wanted to see if I could find anything out about the fire ahead, but no service. The route I had in mind was Antelope to Shaniko, then take 97 southwest over to 197 then north to Maupin and look for campiste around that area. Or keep going on the blue 216 into the green NF area of Mt. Hood, only two hours away from where I live, but I didn't want to ride at night and it had been a long day already, so campsite anywhere really...just not in the midst of a huge plume of smoke.

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    Didn't know it at the time, but the red dotted line was the forest fire area.

    Starting to ride under the cloud...

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    I got to Shaniko and service was back, so I noticed that just a mile beyond Shaniko there was a lesser road called "Bakeover" that would take me into Maupin and it looked like it would move away from the smoke, whereas 97 looked like it would take me right into it. So NW on Bakeoven, or anything that would take me towards the blue-ish sky and away from that smoke:
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    Bakeoven would head north, then curve west, then NW, then west, then north as it meanders over to Maupin. Little by little it started dawning on me that Maupin was going to be in the thick of things...and what, 630pm? Ugh, another turn coming up towards that...

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    A shame with the smoke because the entry into Maupin would have been a wonderful ride:
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    As it was, I felt like I was riding into Armaggedon, sun was completely blocked out, ash particles were falling, UPS driver had pulled over on the side of the road and was looking at his GPS map...did he know something I didn't? Well, I could always head back to Shaniko and take 97 north to the Columbia River and hiway 84, but that didn't sound fun. So I descended into Maupin and guy at gas station confirmed what I was expecting, that hiway 216 towards Mt. Hood was closed and in fact they were evacuating along that route. So my only option was to take 197 north and towards the I-84. There were clear skies in that direction. But I was really getting tired.

    Looking south on 197 back towards Maupin where I had just ridden through
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    But I was getting away from it, eyes, nose, throat burning a bit, but the air was definetly fresher now
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    Beautiful "sunset"...lots of folks besides me pulling over to take pretty pictures
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    #22
  3. pdedse

    pdedse paraelamigosincero

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    There was still a bit of light, probably around 730 when I finally found a "good enough" spot about 15 miles north of Maupin on 197. I could have pushed on through to I-84 and then home and been there by 10pm, but I was curious as to whether I'd sleep any better. Got the tent up, my last Omeals' packet warmed up, and then when it got quiet I realized that I would be seranaded by the hiway traffic. I don't think I had much choice though; had I continued I'd be looking for something in the dark and that wouldn't be fun.

    Pretty enough spot, but that's 197 right in front of me and it takes cars between 4 and 6 seconds to traverse this particular section.
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    But very glad to be away from the smoke!
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    The first few hours of darkness convinced me that I would simply have to start taking some meds for RLS if I'm ever going to camp again. It's different at home--it still bothers me, but I can get up, walk around, read, watch a movie, check emails, work even--but in a tent, all bundled up in the sleeping bag, no cell service, eyes too tired to read...I begin to feel like a caged animal as the knees are having the fizzy party. I got up and paced back and forth from tent to the edge of the road for about an hour and a half. Lay down to try again...nada. At some point you'd think one would just fall asleep because of the other nights, the long day...nope...double nada.

    About 12:30 I got up again and it smelled like smoke. Put my headlamp on noggin and was startled by the number of insects flying all around. What the hay? Thought maybe the smoke was driving them into the air or something. Then I realized they weren't insects flying around; rather, it was the wind carrying pieces of ash in the air. Looks like the smoke/ash cloud caught up with me because of a change in wind direction. Tried laying down for another half hour but the smoke was getting stronger, more than just a little annoying.

    So not 4 nights of camping... let's call it 3.5. It was time to get going because I wasn't sleeping and this stuff was messing with my senses. Broke down the tent, got everything packed away and put on the bike, checked and double checked that I hadn't left anything behind in the dark...and started north on 197. Deer crossing signs every couple of miles. And my vision is kinda blurry from fatigue and smoke. Didn't feel comfortable riding faster than 50/55, but fortunately only a handful of cars passed me till I got to I-84 at The Dalles.

    The air never smelled so clean as when I got on 84 heading west towards Gresham. No deer sited. Just before 4am, opened up garage and rolled right in. Not the way I was hoping to end the trip, but I was gratefull it turned out as well as it did.
    #23
  4. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

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    I sure hope you are able to find a solution to sleeping in a tent.
    #24
  5. wesley1117

    wesley1117 Adventurer

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    Enjoyed reading about this ride! Definitely check out hammocks if you don't sleep well in a tent. I have one from www.dream-hammock.com called a "Dangerbird" that I've had for several years with no issues. So much better on my back.

    I'm curious - like - I know campgrounds make it obvious, but how to you make sure where you're camping is somewhere it's legal to camp? I'm guessing a lot of the time you just are looking for a spot out in the country that isn't visible from the road?
    #25
  6. pdedse

    pdedse paraelamigosincero

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    Will have to look more into hammocks!

    I dislike established campgrounds...lots, particularly if they charge. Would prefer behind a gas station. When I'm in the national forest areas (green on map below), it's all good. From the the 'net:

    "Can you still camp in national forest?
    Free camping, or dispersed camping, is allowed in all national forests, unless noted otherwise. You can find places to camp on the side of main roads, or follow forest access roads (often gravel or dirt) to more remote sites. ... The general rule is to camp 100-200 feet away from any road, trail, or water source.May 10, 2020"

    upload_2020-9-13_19-6-55.png

    But when you get out there south of Prineville and Burns to border with Nevada and beyond...there's a whole lot of nothing. I think someone would have to be looking for you to spot 'ya.
    #26