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Oregon Desert Ride Sept 2018

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by ThePod, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. ThePod

    ThePod Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    This is the "movie trailer preview" that I put together of our Oregon Desert ride 2018.
    Full write up to follow.
    This is just to give you a taste!

    #1
    grip-wolrd, Ol Man and GAS GUY like this.
  2. Borrowedbike

    Borrowedbike n00b

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    PDX
    Day 1: The four of us loaded up in Portland at 8AM on Sunday, September 15th; Paul’s KLR in the bed of the truck, Adams 690, Aron’s 701, and Nate’s EXC 453 supertanker in the trailer. We made Burns OR about 4:30. Two of us on the tail end of colds, Adams was just getting in high gear the poor bastard. We blew our noses, unloaded bikes, geared up and slabbed it to The Narrows, a restaurant and campsite just outside the Malheur Wildlife refuge where we set up tents in an overpriced field. Aron had called ahead and it was supposed to be about 20 bucks for all four of us but turned into about 20 bucks each, what the hell we’ll survive. It took a good 20 minutes to get “checked in”, there was a hoard of about two other customers and the staff kept commenting on how slammed busy they were. While we were ready for our last civilized meal for the next couple days we opted to let the "crowds" clear and set up camp. About six we fueled up the bikes, filled the roto packs and sat down to cheeseburgers. Entertainment for the night was a fat man standing on the food prep counter working on the vents. Interesting...


    Day 2: We were up with first light. Big mistake. Waiting for the sun to come up would have been smarter, it was a chilly 28 degrees until then! Adam fired up the jet boil and boiled water for coffee and instant oatmeal (The restaurant didn’t open until nine, and if past performance was an indicator we wouldn’t be rolling until about 11) and were ready to start the adventure portion of our ride. Started rolling about 8:30 and crossed the paved road. That 25 feet of pavement was the last we would see until plush, a good 100 miles later. Some of that was real dirt! We had a GPS track and followed it exactly, it simply did not have a single tire track, much less a road to follow but we were laughing, and often swearing, about it across the Scala units we all picked up before the 2017 adventure. We were all relieved it was completely dry, the track would have been absolutely impassable wet. Otherwise the terrain was technical and challenging, exactly what we all like. Three of the bikes were well suited for the ride. The KLR not so much. First sign of the issues to come was a lost Rotopack of fuel; the bolt in the extender sheared. Six miles of backtracking later we found the missing fuel, about 100 yards from where Paul first noticed his bag moving. With packs resorted, repacked and re-strapped, we were back on the bikes. A short time later we rolled into Plush OR for some much needed cold water, on the way encountering a herd of wild mustangs, a lot of dry watering holes, and a herd of Prong Horn Adam tried to race. After P;ush we had about forty more challenging miles to go: up Juniper springs complete with rocky hill climbs. It was on a steep section of hill climb Adam's hydration pack tube wrapped itself around his rear spokes and threw itself on the trail. Paul called out over the communicators "Hydration bladder on the trail!", but Adam, being Adam, figured it wasn't his problem and rolled on. With water in short supply, Paul heroically stopped and picked up the leaking bladder, tucking it in his jacket. A few hundred yards later a very wet and cranky Paul delivered the salvaged liter and a half to Adam. Paul got his revenge a few mies later when he tipped over (crushing his jet boil in the process) and Adam had to hike up the hill to help him stand the KLR up. Eventually, we rolled up on “Old Rancher Hut” and threw tents up in fading sunlight. That's when we noted the second sign of KLR trauma. Both nuts were missing from the header flange. We simply swore at it and decided to do what we could in the morning when it had cooled off. So we opened up the whiskey and huddled around the jet boil (Complete fire ban, so no campfires this year) and re-hydrated dinner. Tucked ourselves into sleeping bags, all four of us somewhat drunk, and got a comfortable nights sleep. Turns out, the little thorns all over the ground were perfectly suited to creating pin hole leaks inflatable sleeping pads, two of the four woke on hard ground for the remainder of the trip.


    Day 3: Holy shit, it was cold. Scenery was way way too nice to miss sunrise, but about 26 degrees. Water was frozen, so were we! Coffee and oat meal down, the sun up we found few feet of barbed wire and did our best to pull the flange up tight on the KLR’s head, almost worked but still a sizable exhaust leak. Threw legs over the bikes and set off for another 143 challenging and fun filled miles. As we descended we stumbled on Shirk Ranch. Took a few pictures before we moved on to six miles of what may have been the hardest terrain of our route. Flat with two to six inches of soft silt. Adam and Aron led with Nate and Paul bringing up the rear slogging through snot that would turn the front at the slightest laps of attention. (There would be no shame in bypassing those miles if you follow our GPS tracks). We made it through with no falls, but a few close calls. Out of the silt we hooked up on a reasonable gravel road we could carry some pace on, and made up some time. Had a very fun run up Domingo pass, then dropped down into Fields OR for fuel. We were optimistic for some nuts for the KLR but no such luck, the farm fix would need to last longer. Out of Fields we set our sites on the Alvord Desert where we hoped to make camp. At dome point Aron noted one of his shoes missing, he’d strapped a pair to his rack, but a single sole remained, he sacrificed the remains shoe to the trail gods and set off again. We made the desert around 3:30 or 4:00 PM. Good lord that was fun! We rolled onto the dry lake bed and were like dogs being yet out of a car; we just took off! All for of us pinned the throttles, laughing in our helmets. Spent a good hour hooning around, spinning up rears, carrying fronts, flying along as fast as the bike could be trusted and enjoying all the things that are dumb anywhere else. We picked a spot near Frog Springs on the lake bed, set up camp and headed to the hot springs to soak a few days of desert off of ourselves. We had our most unfortunate event of the ride here, when we were treated to an unwanted sausage viewing. After an hours soak we headed back to the Jet-Boils for mountain house dinners and more drinking. We had cell service, and spent a good hour catching up on texts, Facebook, Instagram, Tinder and all other manner of cell phone foolishness before we scolded ourselves, put the phones away and BS’d about Mars and The size of the moon until bed. At some Point in the night Aron suggested we grab pizza on the way home at his favorite Pizza Place “Glory Hole Pizza”. After a good bit of questioning and a hell of a lot of teasing he corrected himself, it was "Glory Days Pizza” but we still want to check his browsing history...

    Day 4: Up for sunrise again, a warm 37 degrees while we enjoyed coffee and breakfast. Packed up and rolling by eight, a few more minutes to play on Alvord then back to Fields for more fuel, and in the case of the KLR, more oil. Out of Fields the terrain was much more tame, Except when it wasn’t! Attempting to skirt some private property, we went completely off road; First climbing then descending two ridges; all of it over sage brush and rocks ranging from the size of a babies heads to recliner sized bounders, very tough going. Aron dropped the 701 twice, once on each side, but when we were done Adam had a balloon for us! More high desert roads, higher speeds, more grip and absolutely stunning views the rest of the day. This was the day we suffered our only real off: Paul hooked his front in the edge of a sharp rut and went down hard. Bruised and sore, but the gear did its job. Bike survived with cracked plastics and a broken weld on the SW Motec crash bars. Bike and rider sorted out, we were rolling again, picked our way through a few more rocky sections, enjoyed a few more views. Noted yet another missing fastener on the KLR (it’s final failure of the trip). Rome was a few miles ahead, so we nursed it to the gas pump, filled up with fuel, replaced the bolt, and spoiled ourselves with tasty cheeseburgers before crossing the highway and setting up camp under the Pillars of Rome. At least Rome had WiFi, the password was “trump wins” if your curious about the politics of the region. Spent a pleasant evening lying to each other and yes, working our way to the bottom of communal whiskey bottles.

    Day 5: After sunrise pictures, coffee, oat meal, and solo trips into the brush with bog roll in hand, we broke camp and started rolling, 208 miles planned before fuel, with a night somewhere in the mix. With the exception of a very challenging 2000 foot drop the days terrain was comparatively relaxing. The first 500 feet was extremely steep with a massive erosion rut full of rocks and sizable boulders. The last 1500 was crossed with half a dozen six foot gullies that took some finesse to enter and a lot of throttle to exit. Fun stuff! We covered a lot of ground, too much as it turned out. We all agreed over the fire in camp later (Thankfully someone said the fire ban was lifted) we should have taken a little more time to enjoy the solitude and views. Ended up covering 160 of out 208 miles, stopping at Malheur caves. After a quick poke of our heads, and perhaps a bike or two into the cave we set up camp nearby, built a fire ring and enjoyed burning dried up cow shit, each other’s company, most of our remaining food, and the last of the booze. We burnt the fire down, put it out and tucked into sleeping bags for our last night on inflatable pads.

    Day 6:
    Packed up for the last time of the trip, lightened our loads as much as possible, dumping water on the ground and Roto-Pax into tanks. Aired up tires to street pressures and headed back to Burns and the trailer. Loaded four much dirtier bikes with much less tire left on them into truck and trailer. Changed into the last of our clean clothes, took whore baths with the last of the baby wipes, and headed to Glory Hole Pizza for the sausage special. Our pizza swallowed, and our chins wiped we hit the road for home. None of us unhappy to be done, but all of us are looking forward to Colorado next year! Another AWESOME time with an AWESOME group of friends.
    #2
  3. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    Hillsboro
    20180918_160916.jpg Here is some video of our six day ride around SE Oregon and Bike Porn on the Alvord Desert.

    #3
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  4. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

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    Hillsboro
    IMG_20180921_200954_032.jpg Pillars of Rome from day 4.
    #4
  5. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Hillsboro
    The KLR by Ranchers Hut in the process of some barbwire header flange repair after Day 2 abusive pounding.
    20180918_083028.jpg
    #5
    grip-wolrd, Suncoaster and ThePod like this.
  6. FongMan

    FongMan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    426
    Location:
    Free State Wyoming
    Nice.
    #6
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  7. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

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    Oct 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
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    Hillsboro
    Mouse! 0918181535a.jpg
    #7
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  8. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

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    Oct 15, 2013
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    G 0918180826.jpg etting good at supervising Pauls work on his KLR...
    #8
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  9. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

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    Oct 15, 2013
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    Great lava tube in the middle of nowhere. 20180920_172559.jpg
    #9
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  10. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

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    Good idea but probably wont h 20180920_140344.jpg elp. LOL
    #10
  11. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

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    What 26F looks like in the morning before Coffee. 20180920_064926.jpg
    #11
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  12. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

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    Oct 15, 2013
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    What lunch looks like a few hours later. 20180919_120622.jpg
    #12
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  13. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

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    Congrats we made it, and its only day 3. 20180919_104015.jpg
    #13
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  14. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

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    Oct 15, 2013
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    Looks like a Bald Eagles Nest towards the top of the rock? 20180918_112245.jpg
    #14
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  15. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist!

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    886
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Awesome guys - so glad you posted a report :D :thumb :ricky. Curious about the silt you encountered after leaving Shirk Ranch, I know we hit some of that before being stymied by the water crossing...assume this is where you ran into it?

    The tracks heading east from Shirk as you make your way to Fields are awesome, crazy cool views and completely remote. Still bummed we never made it down to the Owyhee, glad you were able to.

    Assume there are more pictures?

    Keep this stuff coming, helps given the crap weather we're going through right now.
    #15
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  16. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

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    About half way into day four I came up on Paul's KLR taking a well needed dirt nap while Paul was mending to his bruises.
    DSC04714.JPG
    #16
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  17. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

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    Finally found some water down at the Owyhee. What a great decent with some of the best views we had seen during the trip. 20180920_125011 (1).jpg 20180920_121404.jpg 20180920_120345.jpg 20180920_114319 (1).jpg Pictures really does not due it justice.
    #17
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  18. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist!

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Ahh, so that's what the river actually looks like up close...lol. Did you guys try to make it to the hot springs (don't remember)? Great shots man, and that last shot looks to be of the Chalk Basin?

    :ricky :thumb
    #18
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  19. grip-wolrd

    grip-wolrd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2018
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    Bern, Switzerland
    Quality stuff, thanks for the awesome RR.
    #19
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  20. PBRider

    PBRider Adventurer

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    Wild Mustangs in the distance. DSC04563.JPG
    #20
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