Oregon’s Desert, Dirt, Dust & Downpours

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Sideoff, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Hood River, OR
    Four of us &#8211; Rob from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:placeName w:st="on">Hood</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">River</st1:placeType>, Dave from <st1:City w:st="on">Portland</st1:City>, Phil from Seattle (all ADV lurkers) and Pete from Hood River (me, a recovering ADV lurker) &#8211; rode a section of the OBDR in Eastern OR last week. We were on three different generations of BMWs, including Phil's brand spankin' new 1200 that was in serious need of dents and scratches, which it now has lots of. Rob was on some kind of odd looking motorized bicycle from Austria with an old-school chain drive. You'll have to ask him what it was called because I don't really recall (kidding of course... I get just as hard as the next guy over a KTM... in fact I have one too).

    I had the entire week off so I started early with a few days solo at the Alvord desert in SE Oregon. We all met up Wed night in Spray and did the OBDR trip together.
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    Lots of booze&#8230; good times!
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    Days 1&2 &#8211; Getting to the Alvord
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    <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Left</st1:placeName> <st1:placeName w:st="on">Hood</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">River</st1:placeType></st1:place> Sunday afternoon. Rode to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Bend</st1:City></st1:place> on pavement. Took a mix of pavement and dirt to Burns. Stayed in a hotel in Burns, got some work out of the way Monday morning, and then rode mostly dirt down to the Alvord, exploring side roads, stopping at the diamond craters, and checking out the bird refuge en route.

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    #1
  2. Buck Nasty

    Buck Nasty Rhinestone Cowboy

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Bend, OR
    Great pics!!!:clap
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    66,982
    Nice!! :thumb Didn't know there's a desert in OR. :shog!
    #3
  4. clapped_r6

    clapped_r6 The Spoad Warrior

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    :lurk
    #4
  5. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Oregon
    Actually this is all photoshopped stuff. In reality, Oregon sucks for adventure riders: No desert, no sagebrush two-track trails, no forest roads high on mountains, no mountain nor Ocean views. :D

    #5
  6. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Hood River, OR
    Next morning woke up early to blue skies and perfect temps. Spent the morning exploring. Lots of different playa surfaces and little ponds, mtn views, etc. Good times.
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    Saw a big dust storm forming down the playa &#8211; I&#8217;ve been on the wrong side of those things before so I wanted to get the F out of there. Packed fast and got off the playa minutes before the storm hit camp. Found a great site on higher ground above the playa. Set up camp in 45mph wind and horizontal rain. Mopped up the water with a towel and stayed dry after that. Great view of the storm from up there. Whiskey, spam/cheese sandwiches, music.
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    Rain continued for a while and then cleared. So I explored some roads heading up into the Steens. Big day, crashed early. Dinner, drinks, music&#8230;

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    #6
  7. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Next day got up early. It was raining but not too bad. I broke camp and hit the Alvord <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">hot springs</st1:place></st1:City> on the way out to get cleaned up. Ran into some cool ADV riders working their way from <st1:country-region w:st="on">Mexico</st1:country-region> to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canada</st1:place></st1:country-region> on dirt. From San Diego, Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland if I recall correctly.
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    Then it was maybe 30 miles if dirt-turned-mud back to the pavement and a mix of pavement and dirt on up to Spray. Almost ran out of gas leaving the Alvord, made it to Crane with 1/4 gallon in a 7 gallon tank. Found a hotel in Spray (wasn’t sure if there’d be one) that had a house for rent next door: $100 a night and the place had 4 beds, 5 if you count the bunk, and lots of floorspace. Plus a washer/dryer.

    A few hours later the rest of the crew rolled into town and we hit the bar!

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    #7
  8. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Next day we hit the road headed for the OBDR. Great riding, high speed dirt all day. Rob tried to have sex with his KTM. Found a cool campsite and unpacked for the night.


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    #8
  9. killurtv

    killurtv free range moron

    Joined:
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    Location:
    central oregon


    We like to keep this a secret around here. There really is no desert, just green lush rain forest:rofl. Rains all the time. :lol3

    Nice pics, waiting for more. I did the OBDR last year, great ride, this year should be nice with the thunder storms keeping all the sand compact.
    #9
  10. pookiebear

    pookiebear Long timer

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    Location:
    NC
    cool riding place.
    #10
  11. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    Yeah man, the OBDR is a really cool thing. We've been kind of working our way through one section at a time, one trip at a time, one year at a time. It would be awesome to ride it all the way through. This yr the first day was a little dusty and then like you said the rain settled it down and it was nice and tacky.

    The guys who set those routes up really knew what they were doing. Like it's not just a bunch of boring gravel roads through the woods. They picked some fun shit to ride. Quality dirt. Interesting doubletrack. Great views, good unofficial campsites everywhere. On the section we did this year there were obstacles that only a bike could navigate (downed trees etc.). What a cool thing to have in our backyard.

    Thx for all the comments guys.
    #11
  12. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Next day woke up to full-on rain. Hung in the tent for a bit, coffee, etc. Got a break in the rain mid-morning, broke camp, slogged our way to pavement through deepening mud bogs.
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    Stopped in Ukiah for breakfast. Saw a kick-ass little hotel, the Antlers Inn. $35.35/night single, $45.45/night double. Learned it was built in the 1860s and was a brothel among other things. Plus it was dry. Sold. Dropped our bags and did the day&#8217;s ride unladen. Decided to loop back to Ukiah later, only about 20 miles out of our way, rather than camp in the slop.
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    Rob wrenched on the KTM. Laziness on the porch of the Antlers. Great perch for watching the small world of Ukiah unfold.
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    Waited for a rain break and hit the road. Great riding. Mix of trails and roads. Made it back to the Antlers by dark. Dinner and drinks at the Thicket. Weird 1960s british motorcycle movie about frogs with &#8220;Ed&#8221; aka &#8220;Shred&#8221; aka &#8220;Zed&#8221; (Zed&#8217;s dead, baby) in the lounge of the Antlers, which he runs, surrounded by an assortment of deadish-looking creatures.
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    Someone stayed up late and got drunk. Zed watched.

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    #12
  13. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Somebody woke up feeling like crap, but it wore off mid morning…
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    Hit the road headed for Pendleton on more OBDR dirt. Our initial route had been dredged up (government…. hunters… private property?) but we backtracked and found a way around.
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    Another great day of dirt and exploring. Last stretch was pavement to Pendleton. First time in Pendleton NOT during the famous Pendleton Roundup. For once, finding a room in Pendleton was no problem. Ribs at Hamley’s, pool at the Rainbow Room, and drinks till closing time at Crabby’s.
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    We had some fun with the locals. Or maybe they had fun with us. Cocktails. Beer. Pendleton never fails to impress.

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    #13
  14. bravnug

    bravnug ESTEBANOS!

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    Nice RR! What is OBDR?

    Dan
    #14
  15. Mr.Moose

    Mr.Moose Living the Adventure

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    i must be honest i have lived in Oregon almost my entire life and I have never seen that part of the state. I need to get out of the Willamette valley more often:lol3. I had the same question what does OBDR stand for and can you post a map of where you were riding? I would love to check out that area. Great RR
    #15
  16. RedWolf

    RedWolf Corporate Zombie

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    Slacking off
    Oregon Backroads Discovery Route

    just don't tell the nature nazis about it...:deal
    #16
  17. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    Yep, what he said. There is lots of info on this site if you do some searching. Or PM me. I don't know that much about the creation but basically, you buy maps and gps waypoints by 'section.' I think the deal is that somebody private (i.e. not the govt, state parks, etc) figured out how to connect all the best dirt routes and doubletracks to get from California to Washington on dirt (750 miles). Plus a bunch of significant detours in between. The total size of the different routes is over 1,500 miles now and growing. People are kind of touchy about sharing GPS tracks. You can buy them cheap directly from the OBDR and the money funds their continued research. I gather not everyone in oregon is so happy about this setup: hunters, property owners, the state, etc. I don't really know that much about it, I just like the riding.
    #17
  18. Matt

    Matt Dirt Virgin

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    Great RR and amazing scenery.

    Yet another area on the list.........
    #18
  19. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Joined:
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    Yeah guys, let's keep this down a bit. :D The OBDR was actually once an official route, with signs and shit. But the nature people decided this route should not be made that official in the name of the wilderness project goals they have. So, if I recall correctly, on the same year all the signs were put up marking the entire route, the nature people won a hard battle in court and all the signs were removed (there is at least one sign left, I think, close to California). Now the route lives virtually on a website and someone's private collection of maps (you can buy the route in segments), on a few people's GPS's, and via the stories we tell here and on similar blogs.

    What is important, for the future of the kind of rides we like to do here in Oregon, is that we ride on roads, two-tracks and the like (not wander on fields, etc), if you encounter farmers and ranchers along the way, be nice to them or at least to not instigate them negatively, always close the gates you open along the way (if you don't want them to start putting locks on them), do not leave trash behind, and do all that nice diplomatic stuff.

    There is a delicate balance between us riders and the communities that live along the way of our routes. They can be our allies, we can bring them business. But we should know the nature people can co-opt them... you know, bird watchers also bring them business. The farmers and ranchers are also at odds with the enviromentalists at times, but that does not make them our friends by default.

    So, as a friendly reminder for all of us, whenever we are riding, we should remember that we are the ambassadors of our sport and what it represents for the people who are viewing us from the outside.

    Lion


    #19
  20. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    Great stuff, guys. Nice ride, great photography, and not a bad ending to it!
    Lion

    #20