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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    cont.

    Sunday 4th June - barn/storming...
    (277 miles)

    Having witnessed dozens of weary trail-riders bobbing around in the hot spring pool like a herd of hippos [that is not casting aspersions on anyone's size you understand] that previous evening, I got up just after 5am (thanks to my easterly facing tent door) and snuck a hot shower [in one of only two stalls] before the hordes awoke for their inevitable beer-addled slumber...

    All-inclusive on-site catering meant that cooking was not required over the weekend, although my new Jet-Boil Zip (the smallest version) was employed with some regularity to ensure a steady influx of high-octaine caffeine should I find myself flagging.

    Booth Juan and I were too far north to consider getting home by the end of that evening (it was a solid two days back to San Jose for me, unless you were prepared to slab down the interstate, which I wasn't), so we picked a suitable mid-point as an overnight destination, and set up winding our way back through the south-eastern Oregon desert.

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    photo. The [Pete] French Round Barn is a local landmark just south of Crane on the edge of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge... it has an interesting history...

    for more info see Juan's video:



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    photo. swallow nests inside the roof.

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    photo. wonderfully preserved and [mildly] restored.

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    photo. with a picture window like that it would make a nice house if it wasn't an historic landmark ;o)

    Having had to retrace our tracks after a 'shortcut' across the desert petered out in a rocky gully that may or may not have physically been a through route (despite Garmin's protestations to the contrary!), we also stopped briefly in the small town of Frenchglen [named after Pete French and his financial backer Glenn] at the historic hotel for coffee and pie...

    Heading diagonally across south east Oregon towards Lakeview, would mean crossing the high desert through the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, which despite the wind and a handful of heavy downpours, did nothing to dampen our spirits when rewarded with views like this:

    [​IMG]

    Once at lower elevation, it warmed up considerably - prompting us to pause and remove a few layers, and take the opportunity to refuel our bikes and ourselves at the general store in Plush (more burgers, I am ashamed...)

    We then elected to head straight for Lakeview, endeavouring to pick up the TAT route again for the final few miles into town:

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    photo. Juan pausing to take in the view (we all know what he's doing ;o)

    More restorative coffee and pie (a theme of this day in particular I admit) at Jerry's restaurant in Lakeview saw us ready for what was likely to be a last dirt sojorn this particular trip - a fast blast through the Modoc National Forest west of Goose Lake, and the perfect terrain for the CB500X's to stretch their dirt legs again...

    [​IMG]

    cont.
    #41
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  2. Madscientist

    Madscientist Been here awhile

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    Nice update.....Keep it coming!
    #42
  3. juno

    juno Long timer

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    Thanks for the info Jenny! I have not tried that approach (Plotting on my garmin like that referencing a paper map) but I will give it a go this summer.

    #43
  4. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    cont.

    Monday 5th June - homeward bound...
    (420 miles)

    Having taken full advantage of the facilities at a Super 8 motel in Alturas CA - primarily their excellent breakfast waffle machine - we hit the road a little before 7am, with the intention of both getting home in good time later that day...

    However, such an early start meant correspondingly cold temperatures for the first couple of hours as we carved some classic biking roads south around Eagle Lake; and once again, thanks to the innate route-finding capability of Monty the GPS, embarked on a short by nonetheless entertaining jeep trail back onto the main highway after we'd paused for some rather nondescript coffee and hot chocolate in Spalding on the shore (with hindsight we should have simply paused and brewed our own of course...)

    Fortunately this disappointment was redressed at an independent coffee shop in Susanville, after which we went our separate ways - Juan east and south while I headed south west towards Chico (and ultimately the interstate network back to the Bay Area) on Hwy 32 - another one of those epically twisty river-canyon roads that wiggle their way out of the Sierras...

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    photo. time to remove a few mid-layers prior to the final decent into the Sacramento valley.

    All-in-all the past few days had been an excellent shake-down of my current set-up with the odd proviso (more detailed info to follow in a separate final-prep and packing post), and perhaps most importantly I had well and truly used up what remained of my worn rear tyre from last year - no excuses not change this one out before I leave!

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    photo. fortunately I already have some fresh meat ready to be installed!

    More soon!

    Jenny x
    #44
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  5. No-Fret

    No-Fret Tanker

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    Awesome!!
    #45
  6. NevadaWolf

    NevadaWolf Adventurer

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    Now it's my turn to be late - Subscribed! LOL

    It was fun chasing you two through the mountains and really wish I could have continued on, but alas! work gets in the way of play.

    Looking forward to the rest of the trip and definitely planning on catching up with you again in September!
    #46
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  7. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    Holy smokes JMo, no lack of ambition here. This one is guaranteed to be good. Love the new paint job!

    Bring it on . . . . :lurk

    HF :thumbup
    #47
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  8. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hee hee - it was a lot of fun wasn't it, and thank you for bringing the drone - is an amazing piece of kit and the quality is fantastic!

    This is also the perfect prompt to remind you all that Juan and I have an outline plan of a group ride sketched out for mid/late September around the Horizons Unlimited weekend in Mariposa CA... I initially outlined our "[Not the] CBXpo ride v.2" plan here on the Rally Raid thread, and we'll be tweaking the final itinerary closer to the time - but fundamentally it will be built around that weekend of the 21-24th September where I'm scheduled to debut my Canada Trip video/slideshow presentation, together with the 'Packing light' and possibly a re-visit of the Trans-Am Trail section of my presentation from last year too... hope to see some of you there!

    Jx
    #48
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  9. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hee hee - thanks HighFive - although this year it appears I'm going to need my snow-shoes apparently!

    And thank you for the kind words about the paintwork - just wait until you see the latest graphics (currently in the post) fitted - I'm confident it's going to look awesome!

    More soon - this morning I have a rear tyre and some new [tapered roller] steering bearings to fit... what is it they say? P.P.P.P.P.P... or something like that ;o)

    Jx
    #49
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  10. sick_boy

    sick_boy I follow you.

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    Subscribed! I don't spend nearly as much time on ADV outside of F5 season so glad I stumbled on this. I bought my ticket to the Lawrence Hacking Overland Adventure Rally months ago. Hope to get to meet you there. Ride safe and keep the updates coming!
    #50
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  11. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Great to have you along Sick-Boy (will Renton and Spud be coming too? ;o) - really looking to meeting everyone at the OAR too, and hope to have the opportunity to present my Trans-America Trail slide-show while I'm there.

    I've also just bought a GoPro Session to add to my camera arsenal - so looking forward to taking some video footage as well as stills this trip!

    More soon - bike prep this afternoon...

    Jx
    #51
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  12. DualSPRTfan

    DualSPRTfan Been here awhile

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    I'm in too, just live about 20 mins from Campbellville Ont, where the OAR is being held, just picked up a left over 2016 CB500X about 2 days ago, and was looking forward to coming, but already have committed to a camping trip elsewhere that weekend. (camping and watching ALMS auto racing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park), pretty bummed I wouldn't be there to meet you now, so alas, I'll just have to sub to the road trip. Safe Travels.
    #52
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  13. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe BSN, RN, CEN, TCRN, MICN

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    Subscribed! Enjoying this...


    Tahoe
    #53
  14. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Thanks Dual' - congratulations on the new bike - new-old-stock is the way to go - I bought my 2014 model in September 2015, and saved a huge amount...

    I'll be coming across from Alberta via the northern US boarder States during the two weeks prior to the OAR, so who knows - if I'm there in good time, perhaps we'll get the chance to meet up before you head off on your camping trip...

    I'll do my best to keep you all entertained from the road either way!

    Jenny x
    #54
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  15. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Right, I think it's about time we got this party started Piglet!

    Day 1: Tuesday 13th June - San Jose CA to Weed CA (365 miles).

    "On the road again..."

    A bit of a cliche title I know, but apt after a hectic few days fettling the bike...

    First of all, as you are probably aware from the main CB500X and Rally Raid Vendor threads on here, I've been spending the last few days/weeks playing around with some prototype ideas on my bike; and in typical fashion, everything ended up being a bit last-minute - and ultimately I took the decision to put the stock headlight and high screen back on, as its a tried and trusted set-up, and I have many thousands of miles ahead of me over the coming weeks - almost certainly in inclement weather too!

    So to recap, after my inital shake down ride to Oregon a couple of weekends ago, I was happy enough with the new LED headlights (more than happy actually, they are awesome!), but I was getting quite a lot of wind roar at 60+mph from the screen, which I felt would be tiresome during the ride to Toronto and back - especially as there are likely to be quite a few long high-speed road sections (not least another potential Iron-Butt during my return leg)...

    The bike actually works better/really well with the 'short' OEM 2013-15 screen fitted:

    [​IMG]

    ...but of course it doesn't offer the same wind/weather protection - feeling very much like a big naked enduro bike instead.

    As part of the ongoing development, I also wanted/needed to check the high fender conversion worked with the OEM headlight (and particularly the beak), so rather than spend the weekend packing which would have been far too sensible, instead I spent far too long in the garage refitting the stock front end, and hey presto - it all works together too!

    [​IMG]

    Pretty cool eh?

    However, while the high fender adaptor is a complete success (rock solid, even at freeway speeds) - the CRF vs. XR colour mismatch really irks me, so I decided that for this adventure, I'd revert to the standard 19" low fender that comes with the Rally Raid LEVEL 3 wheel kit:

    [​IMG]

    Ah, that's better... ;o)

    So with that, it was time to stuff all my belongings into a succession of zip-loc and dry bags - cram everything into my Giant Loop Coyote, and hit the road - finally, just before 11am this morning...

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    photo. Riding around the west side of Lake Berryessa, north east of Napa - beautiful and remote.

    Leaving before lunch meant at least the Bay Area freeway network was bareable, and before long both the bike and I were suitably refuelled at Cordilia, and buzzing the minor roads that skirt the Napa Valley northwards.

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    photo. The Berryessa-Knoxville road is a corker! - north of Lake Berryessa it turns into single lane, bumpy and pot-holled, and with a good number of creek crossings - some of which were now dry, while others still wet and slimy.

    My plan was to try and cut east from here on what looked to be an unpaved road on the map... unfortunately, when I arrived at the intersection, I was ultimately denied!

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    photo. I've learnt that when they say "no outlet" in the US, they usually mean it... "locked gate" confirmed it would almost certainly be a folly to even try...

    This meant I did have to divert via Clearlake, before picking up the wonderfully swoopy hwy 20 (so at least some conpensation) before joining I5 for the long shlep north...

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    photo. Another detour, but this one far more welcome - an independent drive-through espresso bar in Red Bluff CA. Recommended!

    Suitably invigorated by three shots of Java, it was time to press on into the late afternoon sunshine...

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    photo. Mount Shasta in the early evening sun... and still covered in snow!

    Having pencilled-in a [hopefully] through-route on dirt, essentailly between Weed CA and Fort Jones on hwy 3, as part of my journey north; as the evening drew in I elected to play it safe and stop overnight [in a familiar motel] in Weed - rather than risk riding an unknown trail at dusk, with no guarantee of anywhere to stay or a safe pace to camp... After all, there would be plenty of that to come in the coming days and weeks I was sure, and this way an early night with the intention of being up and away first thing, ought to give me the best possible chance of making the most of the minor roads and trails between here and my destination of Bend OR tomorrow night...

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    photo. A quite spot, a warm bed and wifi... I'm so totally hardcore ;o)

    Toot toot for now!

    Jenny x
    #55
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  16. surfsofa

    surfsofa Adventurer

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    Loving that colour scheme. That does not look like a $6K bike!
    #56
  17. Patobez

    Patobez Adventurer

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    Bike looks awesome Jenny. Can't wait to see it in person. Ohhh Canada!
    #57
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  18. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Just checking in from Bellingham WA - its been a pretty intense few days, the last two especially!

    Planning on crossing into Canada tomorrow lunchtime, then see where we go from there...

    In the meantime, stand-by for a bunch of photos and some tall tales soon... right now I need to sleep!

    Jenny xx
    #58
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  19. visualizerent

    visualizerent Raconteur

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    "More Bacon please..." 20170604_110901 (2).jpg
    #59
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  20. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Ok then, the Motel 6 Media Centre is briefly open for business this wet Sunday morning... so let's crack-on while we can eh piglet?

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    Day 2: Tuesday 14th June - Weed CA to Bend OR (368 miles*)

    "Deja Vu"

    *yes, we went a rather long way round ;o)

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    photo. Mt Shasta in the early morning... just up the road from here is an excellent drive-in espresso hut - result!

    The idea of course was to leave Weed early, and try and get to Bend in good time to see the guys at Giant Loop HQ before they finished work, and then grab some dinner with Harold - but of course there were plenty of trails between here and there, and the CB was aching to get some dirt under its tyres already!

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    photo. "Scarface Road" - sounded promising... and didn't disappoint! - an excellent way to cut back west from I5 to the northern route I had planned for the day...

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    photo. This through-route (its actually on the Butler map as a highlighted unpaved road) gave great views of Mt Shasta as it crosses through the mountains to the north, towards the Oregon boarder.

    I then picked up my first 'Gold road' on the Butler maps - Scott River Road is beautiful, twisty and remote - perfect northern California riding!

    [​IMG]

    ...before turning off on what looked like another perfect dirt route to cut a corner (well, it says it's a through route on the map, and in the GPS!)

    I spent a good hour or more twisting up some easy gravel forestry trail - again, with another awesome view of Mt Shasta for good measure, albeit in the far distance now (damn that is a big hill!), reaching the pass at just under 5500ft...

    Unfortunately, just a few miles down the far side, I was faced with this:

    [​IMG]
    photo. The boulders are there for good reason - this is no longer a through route (and seemingly not so for some time) - the whole trail beyond has sucumbed to the ravages of a waterfall/creek at the apex.

    Fortunately my GPS maps showed a whole network of alternative trails, although only one other through route to where I wanted to go...

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    photo. Backtracking a few miles, initally the new route looked promising... until barely 5 miles from where I might rejoin the highway, I was confronted with this...

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    photo. A far more recent wash-out.

    With no choice but to retrace my steps all the way back to Scott River Road, the silver lining was at least I got to ride the full length in its entirity, although it now meant I'd be far later than planned to Bend - with what would now be a 75 mile detour back towards civilisation.


    [​IMG]
    photo. Still, the highway detour had its compensations (despite the odd set of roadworks), there really are no bad roads in this part of California!

    But of course this was the problem - it was now after 1pm and I was still in California!!!

    Ultimately, I headed up I5 for a short stretch (although it's an interstate, at least it passes through some stunning scenery in this area), and finally crossed into Oregon, before taking the scenic hwy 62 towards Crater Lake though the serene Umpqua National Forest.

    There was neither time nor any physical chance of riding past Crater Lake itself, the elevation and extended winter weather this year meaning the rim road is unlikely to be open before the end of June.

    Once I hit hwy 97 (over the past couple of years a road with which I am increasingly familiar) bizzarely, a freak occurance happened once again - my GPS froze and utterly crapped out on me, just as it did at almost exactly the same time a year before on my way up to the start of the CBXpo ride, at exactly the same spot on the highway too - La Pine is the bloody Oregon Twilight Zone I tell you!

    Fortunately I knew how to reset things now, although fate still had one last trick for me today - my sunglassing dropping out of my pocket at 70mph (fortunately they landed on the shoulder, good job I was keeping right eh?), and at least it happened between two close junctions so I was able to backtrack down the freeway and retrieve them - mercifully intact.

    So all this drama meant I arrived at Bend more than two hours later than originally planned, but nonetheless was still able to enjoy the company and warm hospitality of a few leftover beers from their Hot Springs weekend, with Harold at the Giant Loop shop.

    Phew!

    More soon...

    Jenny x
    #60