Northern eXposure - gold roads, wilderness trails, and bacon.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JMo (& piglet), May 23, 2017.

  1. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Sounds like we have the makings of an impromptu group ride happening during the first week then!

    I've PM'd HeidiHo, and Wind_Rider has confirmed he can also join us for the Friday/start - so together with Board' it's turning into quite the adventure already!

    At this stage, I propose we start out early on Friday (the 16th June) taking the official WABDR route north, and see where that leads us - with the plan to camp on the Friday night unless we do happen on a reasonably priced motel at the appropriate time (no Motel 6 out there I'm guessing Wind' eh ;o), and if there is a bunch of us then I think it will be fun to camp anyway...

    My intention is to aim for Seattle or thereabouts* on Saturday evening, if only to stay on schedule for my Canadian commitments the following week.

    *Twin Peaks fans ought to know I intend to pass through Snoqualmie Falls en route ;o)

    More soon - and thank you all for your enthusiasm!

    Jenny x
    #21
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  2. crashkorolyk

    crashkorolyk just happy to ride

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    Great to see you back on the road again Jenny,looks like a brilliant trip,looking forward to your adventures.If you head north from Whistler,while in B.C. head over Duffy Lake road,some of the best riding in western Canada.Have fun and stay safe.
    #22
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  3. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Aha - that's the plan Crashkorolyk! - initially I was looking to parallel hwy 99 through the lakes to the north there, but it's potentially quite convoluted to rejoin the highway - so I will stick to your recommendation, and then pick up the Pavilion-Clinton [dirt] road to cut that particular corner... Then the plan is to take the [presumably] dirt road from 70 Mile House via Bridge Lake to join hwy 5 south of Clearwater... hell, I've giving all of my secrets away!

    Thanks again for following along, I 'm looking forward to sharing this with you all!

    Jenny x
    #23
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  4. CaribooBC

    CaribooBC life is an adventure

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    The road from 70 Mile to Bridge Lake is a good gravel road (the 70 Mile end does start off paved until you get to Green Lake). Make sure you check out Crater Lake, it's the highlight of this route. After you pass Lac des Roche on Hwy #24, look out for the Opax Mtn Cafe. It is the start of the Eakin Creek road down to Little Fort, again a good gravel road that takes you off the tarmac, following a small stream down to the bottom of the hill. There, I have given up a couple of secrets;)
    #24
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  5. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    If you stick with your original plan to skip hwy 99 and run to the North on the dirt roads you will be in for a treat, not that the Duffy lake road is not spectacular, but the dirt track options to the north easily trumps it... The best bet for easy navigation is to follow the TCAT from Pemberton through to Clinton, this is one of the best big bike friendly adventure routes in Western Canada.. You can get the GPS nav tracks through Gravel Travel. CA :http://www.graveltravel.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=88:tcat-bc1&catid=1
    #25
  6. BELSTAFF

    BELSTAFF ADV NOMAD

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    After following five years of Dakar w/you, I best follow this to see where it leads so count me in.
    #26
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  7. j3ff9ack

    j3ff9ack n00b

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    You may want to check and see if the road is open before you get there - you may not be able to take the entire road by then...

    https://www.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm
    #27
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  8. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Looks like a great loop!
    #28
  9. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi j3ff9ack - thanks for that link! I won't actually be coming through that part of the country until the last week of June, so I'm confident they will have the road open by then - although weather at that elevation is always changeable I know, so I'll check-in closer to the time... It would be a shame to miss out that loop, but I can always continue south east from St. Mary on highway 89 if the park loop is impassable...

    Thanks again - all this knowledge is invaluable!

    Jenny x
    #29
  10. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Great to have you along Belstaff! - and just wait until you see what I've done to the bike this year... much more 'Dakar' ;o)

    Jx
    #30
  11. boardforever

    boardforever Been here awhile Supporter

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    Jenny,
    I've been watching conditions for Section 1 of the WABDR and even though we have a couple weeks of decent weather ahead of us I'm crossing my fingers that the snow melts enough for us to get through.
    #31
  12. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Excellent :-)
    #32
  13. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Board' - yes, Neil sent me a photo the other day of one of the trails around 5000ft - still lots of snow-spits... We'll just have to play it by ear closer to the time - it will be disappointing not to ride some of those trails, but at least there are some equally scenic paved routes in the area that hopefully will have been ploughed/melted by then...

    Fingers crossed! - mX Xm

    Jx
    #33
  14. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Right, time for a little shake down test to try out some new gear (Piglet has a new papoose) and mods to the bike, prior to starting the big trip in about 10 day's time...

    [​IMG]

    I'm heading up to Oregon this weekend with Juan Browne (Visualizerent) to the annual Giant Loop Crystal Crane Hot Springs dual-sport camping/riding event - looking forward to getting some dust and dirt under my wheels again!

    Once I'm back next week, I'll endeavour to take you though my final preparation and packing for this year's big trip!

    Toot toot for now!

    Jenny x
    #34
  15. juno

    juno Long timer

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    @JMo (& piglet)
    Jenny, can you expand upon your pre-trip and in-trip planning? Such as what devices and software you use? IIRC you travel with an ipad, a phone and a Montana. How do you develop, download, transfer etc, routes while on the road?

    Thanks in advance!
    #35
  16. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Juno - good question, with a surprisingly simple answer I hope!

    I'm actually pretty old-school when it comes to route planning - much preferring a paper map and a highlighter pen for planning my initial route, as I feel you get a better overview if you can see the complete beginning and end of a particular leg, without scrolling around on a screen...

    I'm also a bit of a luddite when it comes to translating that initial route into something digital (if I'm honest, I just can't be arsed...), rather I tend to simply create a series of waypoints - typically by tapping the screen on the GPS at any specific via point, and let the Garmin software plot the [through] route between them - using the adage that "Anywhere is an adventure if you've not been there before..."

    Once that leg of the route is highlighted on the screen, if it's not going via a particular point of interest/road/trail I definitely want to incorporate, I simply add an extra via point to force the routing software to incorporate it when it recalculates.

    So with regard to using Google Maps and Maps.Me [offline] for example - this really is in lieu of a big bundle of more detailed paper maps - as I can zoom in on the iPad screen and find a particular road/trail number or junction, then similarly zoom in on the Garmin screen and tap that as a via/waypoint.

    for info. I have the TOPO version of the Montana 600, that has the whole of the US TOPO maps in 1:100K scale built-in. However, I almost always keep it in City Navigator mode - as I've found that in the US particularly, any road/trail you might want to ride solo on a 200Kg Adventure bike is probably in the City Navigator database already, and it allows full routing (and directions if desired) on unsurfaced trails as well as regular highways... To illustrate, I always cite a particular example where I was amazed the first time I rode through the Siskiyou forest in Oregon, and it routed me through a myriad of logging trails that would otherwise have been utterly confusing on their TOPO map.

    So typically during a trip, I'll either look ahead the evening before, or even over breakfast - and plot things effectively in real-time on a day by day basis - factoring in between 200-300 miles per day between stop-overs, depending on the terrain that is likely to be encountered.

    Hope that helps!

    Jenny x
    #36
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  17. mkitchen

    mkitchen Been here awhile

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    Jenny, that helps a lot, even though I was not the one who asked the question (thanks Juno) it gives me ideas and a better understanding. I have also found that if I am traveling solo, I get to meet a lot more folks if I am sitting in a coffee shop with a map open. Meeting the local folks is as much a part of a trip to me as is seeing the area. So I too find I like a paper map but still want to learn more regarding GPS.
    Mikey
    #37
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  18. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Ok, so following on from the above photo - I thought we could warm up with a little look at the adventure Juan and I had over last weekend...


    The Giant Loop, loop
    Pre-trip shake-down ride
    Harold from Giant Loop had invited us both to attend their annual dual-sport ride weekend, and in return we'd offered to host an informal presentation about the kind of riding we do (and in Juan's case, the excellent Youtube video blogs he creates)...

    So using this round-trip into eastern Oregon as the perfect opportunity to shakedown my packing and latest bike modes prior to the big trip, last Wednesday (31st May) I headed up to Nevada City where Juan had offered to put me up overnight before an early start the next morning - and which would also be a perfect opportunity for him to show me the local area, and some of his toys!

    Almost immediately after I arrived, we jumped onto his tiddler trail bikes and headed literally through a hole in his backyard fence and onto an awesome single -track trail network in the Sierra Nevada foothills - priceless!

    After a trip downtown to see some choice examples of the local architecture (and quite the largest gold nugget I've ever seen, let alone actually held in my hand!), it was time for Juan to show me another of his favourite toys:

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    photo. Juan's beautifully restored 1948 Luscombe.

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    photo. fuelling up.

    If you follow Juan on Youtube, then you'll know along with his excellent and detailed CB500X build/how to and adventure riding videos, he's also a key news-source regarding the Oroville Dam drama that happened earlier this year (and continues with the extensive renovation work). Having his own plane means he is in a unique position to report from way above the scene as well as on the ground - and we took the opportunity of light winds and some glorious late-afternoon sunshine to film another segment:

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    I have to say, I've never been in a plane quite as small as this before, and it was a fantastic experience - particularly when he let me take the controls for a short while - thank you so much!


    Thursday 1st June - flying high.
    (290 miles)

    After a lovely evening eating outdoors with the family, we were up early and ready to hit the road:

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    The idea today was to head through the mountains on some twisty river canyon roads and ultimately cross over to the eastern side of the Sierras where we'd arranged to meet up with ADV inmate Nevada Wolf, before riding some more backcountry byways and dirt-roads on our way north towards the Oregon boarder.

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    photo. we met Terri at Sierraville after an utterly awesome road ride alongside the Yuba river on hwy 49.

    Juan had plotted a scenic backroad route north from here, and I was happy to ride piggy in the middle while Terri brought up the rear and filmed the proceedings with a mix of Sena helmet cam and her awesome high-end Mavic drone...



    With the majority of snow gone from the higher elevations, we were able to take the Janesville Grade through the Diamond Mountains, and dropped by the Lassen memorial site south of Susanville, before a late lunch.

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    photo. Honey Lake from Janesville Grade.

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    photo. Lassen memorial

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    photo. "Go home tree, you're drunk..."

    After filming some ride-by/fly-by footage on Horse Lake Road [see video link above], Terri had to head home while Juan and I continued north towards Cedarville on a beautiful backcountry network of trails:

    [​IMG]

    Burgers and beer was a great way to end what had turned out to be the best part of a 300 mile day!

    cont.
    #38
  19. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    cont.

    Friday 2nd June - showtime!
    (245 miles)

    With our presentation scheduled for 6.45pm that evening, and some choice trails to ride between breakfast and our final destination of Crystal Crane Hot Springs that evening, it was another early morning in an effort to get some filming in (Juan had also invested in his own Mavic drone) en route.

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    photo. My panorama of the Cedarville causeway across the Middle Alkali Lake on the California/Nevada boarder. I'm looking forward to Juan's drone footage from here!

    Once into Nevada, we picked up part of the TAT (Trans-Am Trail) route in reverse as we headed east for Denio, and another state-line crossing into Oregon.

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    photo. This is the spot where I crashed on the Trans-Am 500 bike in 2015 on my way west...

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    photo. Summer 2015: Yes, I know... how do you crash on a perfectly flat trail?!

    Once we left the official TAT route, Juan's local knowledge (not least of all the best wild-camping spots!) meant we passed the remote Bog Hot Springs (not just a hot spring, but a hot creek!) before crossing over the nearby mountain range on a twisty dirt road:

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    photo. at the top of Domingo Pass OR.

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    photo. a bonanza of wild flowers are one bonus of a moist spring in Oregon.

    If you followed my Trans-Am 500 ride report back in 2015, then you may recall I forfeit fuelling up at Fields Station, and having realised there was still no fuel* at Denio, almost ran out of fuel on that particular leg! Anyway, had I realised that Fields was not only the only fuel for about 100 miles in any direction, but also sold the most awesome hand-scooped milkshakes ever, I'd have certainly made that detour in the first place!

    *note. later during our return leg we heard from the gas station in Plush OR that the owners of a fuel station in Lakeview will at last be reintroducing fuel at the Denio Junction site in the coming months - hopefully just in time for any TAT riders this summer - although it's still worth the visit to Fields Station for burgers and shakes of course ;o)


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    photo. I always thought the tale of planes landing on the highway outside Fields Station was a bit of an urban [or is that rural] myth... turns out it's quite a regular occurrence, and one we ourselves witnessed as we left!

    From Fields it was a quick blast up the East Steens [dirt] Road alongside the Alvord Desert playa, before slabbing a few more scenic highway miles into Crane and the Giant Loop encampment at the nearby hot springs... Souvenir silicon pint glasses were soon filled with local [Bend] beer and an admitted rather off-the cuff presentation to the attendees apparently all went down rather well!

    cont.
    #39
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  20. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    cont.

    Saturday 3rd June - Trail finding...
    (179 miles)

    The format of the annual Giant Loop dual-sport ride is simple enough - attendees are given a series of GPS track logs that have been reccyed/pre-ridden, and invited to ride them to, during and home from the main campsite over a long weekend.

    Since we'd plotted out own route north from California, we were keen to see what Harold and his team had unearthed, and at the same time, also planned a little exploration of our own (with the intention of potentially adding to their current inventory of routes).

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    photo. high on a ridge-line trail, there were inevitably trees down after the harsh winter weather.

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    photo. it was easy enough to circumnavigate, although unfortunately this particular trail dead-ended in private property a short distance later... still, it would be a beautiful camping location up on that ridge.

    We then picked up one of the established Giant Loop GPS routes, and spent the afternoon winding up and down the mountains on some excellent forestry trails...

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    photo. this fire lookout tower [one of two we visited] was near West Myrtle Creek...

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    photo. ...and was actually open to anyone brave enough to climb those stairs!

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    photo. I don't like heights at the best of times, and it was a long way down!

    Our return to camp later that afternoon included a rather entertaining (and equally frustrating at one point) run down a dead straight series of dirt roads between fields and desert scrub... Each [mile] partition saw the ground beneath our wheels change from dirt to sand to grass to gravel, in a seemingly random combination of each, for mile after mile - much the same as you get along the Oklahoma pan-handle on the TAT. However, in this instance, our progress was now punctuated by the odd wire gate, and at one point, a huge bog pond that required us to get creative on the grid network either side of the main route, again much as is required on the TAT in Oklahoma, particularly in inclement weather.

    More beer and barbecued prime rib was an excellent way to round off a fun day of riding simply for the fun of it!

    cont.

    #40
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