Long Weekend in the Oregon Outback

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by liv2day, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    I love this part of Oregon, had been dreaming about how to get back to this part of our state since a sorta failed solo rip out that way the year before. I also wanted to introduce my wife to an area she hadn't visited, which is saying something as she's a native Oregonian.

    So, I hatched a plan with my mother-in-law to watch our two minions that not only gave us a much needed adult break, but also gave me the opportunity to let her experience the grandeur that is the Oregon Outback.

    Now, my wife isn't new to camping or roughing it in the woods, but she is new to dual-sport riding and camping off the bike. Rather than hit the deep end and go off in the wild for 3 nights of our 4 day getaway, I decided on one night in the wild with a couple nights in rustic accommodations.

    We'd stage and stay at Summer Lake hot springs, a place I recommend highly. I had no idea what the cabins would be like, but they were perfect for our getaway and afforded us the perfect bookends to a night of camping.

    I'll dive into all the details in a bit, here are a few nuggets to kick things off.



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    #1
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  2. Fast Ferris

    Fast Ferris Shift Shaper

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    Excellent photography.
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  3. seaduck100

    seaduck100 You just got smoked by an old guy on a cb500x

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    Hey, awesomeness! You kick up any sagehens out there?
    #3
  4. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    Thanks @Fast Ferris & @seaduck100, appreciate the comments :-) :-)

    Nope, didn't see any sage hens or other grouse while we were out ripping around. Lots of steer and one incredibly fast pronghorn - couldn't get the camera out in time to get a shot of him as he bolted.

    The first day of our mini-getaway didn't involve any riding, just the ~5 hour trek from our place on the west side of the Cascades to Summer Lake. The drive down I5 is boring, but cutting across the Cascade range on Hwy 58, over the Willamette Pass, then down Hwy 31 to Summer Lake is a great drive. It's pretty damn cool to go from the lush Willamette valley, up through and over a mountain range, then hit the high desert before driving into the outback. 3 distinct ecosystems in less than 5 hours :thumb

    Our little single room cabin (called the Paisley) was perfect, comfy bed, a hot plate to make dinner, and a great 'patio' to kick back with a couple beers. And the scenery...fantastic.

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    After a good soak in the outdoor pool, we made our way back to the cabin to make some grub and play cribbage and cards. Perfect.

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    Hit the sack after several beers and whiskies, with big anticipation for getting on the bikes to head off into the wild :ricky :ricky
    #4
  5. HellsAlien

    HellsAlien a has-been that never-was

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    Hey! I recognize that hose/tarp/watering trough!

    You tell her I showed you how it works!
    #5
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  6. seaduck100

    seaduck100 You just got smoked by an old guy on a cb500x

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    How is the mosquito situation out there by warner wetlands? It can be severe.

    Most folks don't know that the North American antelope is the fastest animal on the continent. "Speed goats" Apparently, they developed this to outrun their predators. At one times on this continent, there were predators (large cats) that were nearly as fast.

    I recall driving along at 50 mph out near Abert rim, and a herd of about 30 of them were skirting me. There was a barbed wire fence that ran in between them and me (parallel with the road.) They were able to cross the fence as through they could levitate and still passed me on my bike. They continued off over the hills never slowing.
    #6
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  7. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    :lol3 :lol3

    Hey @HellsAlien! Yep, we had a good laugh when I told her about Gavin and me wondering why the goofy thing was filled with cold water that very 1st year we camped there. Notice the blue tarp? Hauled that out as when I was there last year, the existing tarp leaked fast enough that the tub was empty before it cooled enough to get in :rofl. Worked perfectly and hope it's there the next time I get out there.

    You back in the US now?
    #7
  8. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    The squiters sucked arse (see what I did there...lol). They were really bad, especially at dusk and 1st thing in the morning. We hung in the tent and played cards as the sun went down, still ended up with a $hit ton of bites.

    I didn't know that about the 'speed goats', not surprising through - we only saw one on our ride, but saw a bunch the year before during my solo rip out that way.

    I'd love to spend a couple weeks out that way, just exploring and camping :-)
    #8
  9. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    The next morning was a bit blurry thanks to too many Pacificos chased by several whiskies, but that fog soon faded with some good grub and great coffee from the French press to start the morning.

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    Made sure everything was strapped to the bikes, moved the truck to where it wouldn't be in the way, and we were on our way in no time.

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    My plan was to take an easy route over to Plush, with the possibility of hitting a section of fun 2-track I discovered the year before. That decision would be made when we got to the turning point. The weather started perfectly, lots of fluffy white clouds in the sky and the temps were excellent.

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    Unfortunately, the ruts took a toll on endurance as my wife doesn't have as much saddle time dealing with this type of stuff like I do.

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    We kept motoring on and when came to the point where we could go explore the 2-track that would add another 30 miles to the ride, we opted to take it easy and cruise into Plush for fuel and a bite to eat.

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    The Hart Mountain store is a cool little place in Plush. For starters, it's the only fuel around for quite a ways. They also have killer burgers, the owner is fond of saying they're they best burgers in the county (which very well could be true as there might not be much in the county as far as restaurants go...lol). Plus, any town with a sign like this is tops in my book.

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    Full of good grub and just a bit sleepy, we hopped back on the bikes and headed toward Hart Mountain.

    Spotted this dude hanging in the street keeping himself warm.

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    Back at Summer Lake, one of the folks we talked with told us about the awesome petroglyphs that could be found on the boulders scattered about on the east side of Crump Lake. As we were making our way toward our destination, I saw something on one of the big boulders right next to the two track and stopped. So glad we did - these are seriously amazing!

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    Kept making our way east and I noticed a Waypoint I'd wanted to stop by and look at the last two years I'd been out this way, but had forgotten each time. Not the case this time, I saw the Waypoint and made the turn. It's called the Glass House and is pretty damn cool. I haven't looked up the backstory of this place, but it affords a fantastic view looking east and seems to have been pretty close to complete, but then abandoned. It's remote, would be a great place to get away from it all if you had a 4x4.

    Anyway, here are some pics.

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    Like I said, killer view from the deck/front of the house.

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    We were only 5ish miles from campt after leaving the Glass House, but as Murphy likes to do, he messed with us. Seems to have been wet of late out this way and there was a good 75 yard stretch of bog to cross. Not a huge deal and I managed to get both bikes through ok. There were also some decent mud puddles and one of 'em took my wife down. Suffice to say, that wasn't fun. But, we made it to camp and get everything setup before the mosquitoes started attacking with vigor.

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    The last time I was out this way, the "hot tub" was in poor shape. The tarp had sprung leaks and the underlying structure also had leaks. The end result being you couldn't fill the tub and let the water cool to the point where it wouldn't scald you - the tub would be empty. So, I packed a new tarp out and it worked like a charm!

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    I'd like to measure the temperature of the water coming out of the ground and pipe, guessing it's 120 degrees or so as there's no way to put your hands in it. I think it's so cool that this water just comes out of the ground, though it is a bit unnerving to think about camping on top of something super heated like this...lol.

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    We had to kick back in the tents for awhile as the squiters were voracious and the water in the tub was too hot to enjoy at first. My wife had the awesome idea of throwing some sage in the tub, so when we scrambled out of our tents and jumped in, it not only felt amazing, but smelled incredible. And supposedly, mosquitoes don't like it that much either (though they still tried to eat our faces off...lol).

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    We hung in there until it started getting dark, capturing a bunch of cool shots of the clouds and sky. Amazing how things look when there's no light pollution and a clean atmosphere.

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    Filled the tub up for the night as it'd cool off over night and then just need a little warm-up in the morning.

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    Captured one more shot of the evening sky and then walked back to my tent and crawled in my sleeping bag. Aside from a couple offs and picking the bike up a few times, it was a great day and a great ride, made so much better by having a fantastic hot spring to relax in. And no people around :thumb :thumb

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    More to come for the next day's ride back to Summer Lake :-) :-)
    #9
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  10. 2 SPOT

    2 SPOT bring the rape whistle

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    great ride and pics,, looks like you two are having a great honeymoon:D
    #10
  11. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

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    Really awesome stuff!!! Love it!! Thanks!
    #11
  12. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    Thanks @2 SPOT! Have to come clean, this wasn't our honeymoon (though I think we would have had a blast had we been doing the dual-sport thing back then). We've been together 17 years and married almost 13. Like life, our riding has evolved over time. Here's a shot of us many, many moons ago...great times back then too.

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    #12
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  13. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    Thanks @Oldschoolrocker! Glad you're enjoying the report, going to get our ride back pics posted and then get another video together :-) :-)
    #13
  14. 2 SPOT

    2 SPOT bring the rape whistle

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    Thats awesome!
    #14
  15. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    Thanks @2 SPOT, both of us miss the track...thousands of miles of fun (with several crashes for both of us...doesn't come without a bit of risk...lol). We might get back into it at some point, especially if our boys express interest in riding street. We both instructed for a local track day organization for more than a decade, tons of great people met and life long memories made.

    In any event, took some time over lunch to put another video together - lots more drone footage in this one.

    #15
  16. seaduck100

    seaduck100 You just got smoked by an old guy on a cb500x

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    Looks like you were out near sunstone. I used to hunt jackrabbits and chuckar out there over my old hounds. It is a beautiful place. A lot of folk can't handle the space and openness of it all. Kind of like claustrophobia, but in open places.

    I love it.

    Those roads are really treacherous right after the snowmelt. When the ground is still soaking up the water and may as well be greased.

    When I was a kid, my dad took a shortcut from lakeview out towards burns. Back then the road wasn't paved and we stopped off somewhere to get some food. There were a couple of drovers sitting at the counter wearing sixguns and cowboy hats.

    When we walked in, one of them turned to the other and said "Looks like the road must be open."
    #16
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  17. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    I'd actually planned our return route to run by the sunstone mining area, but we opted to take the direct route back.

    And I'm with you, I truly love it out there. My favorite section from last year's failed solo rip was after leaving Fisher hot springs, heading up the canyon toward Shirk ranch, then continuing on my way east toward Fields Station. I could spend weeks out there just exploring the various tracks that shoot off this way and that.
    #17
  18. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    Time to put a wrap on this one.

    I was up before sunrise and let my wife sleep in, over to the tub to get some hot water added and then enjoy listening to nothing but the sounds of nature as I made some instant coffee and soaked.

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    My wife eventually roused herself from the tent and joined me for coffee and a brilliant morning. I forgot the oatmeal fixins at home (all packed and ready to go...doh), so we chowed a power bar instead. Didn't matter, the view and lack of people made a perfect morning.

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    Packed up and took one last shot before jumping on the bikes for the return trek.

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    I'd wanted to go check out Petroglyph lake and then ride by the area where sunstones are mined, but the previous day's ride had been a bit much. Part of the "bit much" is from the image below, crashing in a mud puddle is never fun (neither is picking up a bike in the middle of the mud puddle - notice the boot prints in the middle track...those are mine as I lifted the CRF back to its upright position).

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    Once we were through the wetlands and various mud puddles, it was mostly easy riding. And spirits were up as witnessed in the shot below :lol3

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    Have I mentioned how much I dig this part of Oregon. It's awesome here.

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    Aside from dealing with ruts on one of the tracks (same set of ruts from the day before, just going the opposite direction...lol), the ride back was uneventful. We made it back to the cabin we rented for our 2nd night and kicked back.[​IMG]

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    As is usual in the spring months in this neck of the woods, thunderstorms moved through the area as the heat of the afternoon built. We were enjoying a soak in the main bath house as a pretty big one hit, started with heavy rain and then hail. As the hail started, I remembered leaving all the windows of my truck open after moving it from the parking spot to the front of the cabin. Suffice to say, the interior was completely soaked. Snapped this shot after closing things up.

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    We relaxed the rest of the evening and enjoyed watching storms hit where we were or off in the distance.

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    All too soon, it was the next morning and time to pack up and start the ~5 hour drive home. Rather than rush back home, we stopped off at a few cool places we spotted on the drive over. There's so much to see if you take the time to do so.

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    Not sure when I'll be able to get back over there, but I'm looking forward to it :ricky :ricky
    #18
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  19. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

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    So frickin’ awesome! Thats our kinda trip without a doubt..well minus the mud...but thats part of the adventure. We’ve got to make it down there some day and your trip has inspired me. Thanks so much! Cheers!
    #19
  20. Peengwin

    Peengwin n00b

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    Jealous, down here in the southeast! Curviest, hilliest part in the county is an interstate exit ramp lol.

    Scenery? Pine trees and more pine trees. Though if you like mud, we've plenty.

    Miss the west!
    #20