The bigger picture

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by wachs, Apr 25, 2015.

  1. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    Recently connected with some experienced guys from the Hood River/White Salmon/Seattle areas that were looking for an alternative to the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route as there was some recent snow in the higher sections and it probably wouldn’t go at this time.

    Got a call from Rob and Pete about the possibility of taking a little desert tour down here in Oregon. My good buddy Geoff and I did some re-arranging of our responsibilities (pushed them aside :lol3) and put together some old and new routes for a 3 ride down towards the Nevada border.

    When my fingers thaw out . . .


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    . . . there will be more soon!
    #1
  2. brad21

    brad21 We have a pool... and a pond.

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    In. :freaky
    #2
  3. mfaoro

    mfaoro Been here awhile

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    S u b scribed :)


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    #3
  4. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

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    Tease - :lurk
    #4
  5. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    Ladybug!


    Just for you -


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    #5
  6. bluestar

    bluestar sheep shagger

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    :lurk
    #6
  7. Mr Dual Sport

    Mr Dual Sport No longer uses ADV, ads and malware suck!

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    Adiós! Malware from advertisements chased me away.
    Those fingers thawed out yet? Bring it! :super
    #7
  8. brad21

    brad21 We have a pool... and a pond.

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    :*sip*

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    #8
  9. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

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    WOW! Flowers :clap I can't believe you slowed down for them. This is going to be good.
    #9
  10. deadbird

    deadbird Very Large Bird

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    Come on Dave, give us the good stuff....
    #10
  11. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    Was thinking about you and could not resist!




    Here you go EZ! -



    We got a late start for sure, 1:30 pm is not exactly perfect but the first 100 miles or so will go quick and everyone should get comfortable with the conditions and the weight on the bikes. We staged here on the ranch and will meet Geoff at a gas station in town.

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    Right on que, Geoff shows up. We’re all fueled and ready to get out of Bend.


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    A fun rocky and sandy warm up run out east gets everyone’s blood flowing and a quick shedding of layers prepare us for the next chunk of high speed dirt.

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    It’s dusty but with the cool temps and a nice breeze to keep the air clean, we roost - Geoff on his really nice DRZ.


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    We have 3 KTM 690’s on this ride, here’s Rob.

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    Pete is on a well-travelled 950 SE that sounds amazing.

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    Brad is one of the 690 riders

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    He’s using a Rotopax for extra fuel

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    Phil lives in Seattle area but is originally from Newfoundland and is the 3rd 690. He had said something about not having much sand riding experience. We told him it’s the best for crashing. :lol3


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    Some of the route has changed a bit. I haven’t been out this specific way for a couple years and miss a turn but it goes near where we want to be and is not a problem.


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    We are spread out but keep an eye out for the others as we continue eastward.

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    The light is beautiful now as we pass the big sand dunes and head into this strange, unusual and beautiful part of Oregon.

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    It would’ve been fun to take a lap around the dunes but we don’t have flags (to be legal) and we still have a long way to go today.

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    Rob making the 690 look like a 125 through the sandy track.

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    We’ve ridden through here after a big rain and it’s incredible, still not bad today, the wind is certainly helping with dust management. Brad -


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    Phil didn’t get a chance to crash in the sand. Here is the official end of it.

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    The sand transitions into miles of stoney ground that is somehow much easier than I remember from the last trip through here several years ago.

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    I didn’t stop to shoot the worst of it and this doesn’t look too bad but you get the idea.


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    As we drop down off these rocky humps, the flat bottom country is smooth and fast for short sections.

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    Oops, bike tipped over or maybe it wanted to lick that salt block?


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    I was sweating like a pig but didn’t want to stop to stash my jacket until we got to this spot.


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    Seems like we are in the middle of nowhere and we certainly are although highway 20 is just beyond that little pointy summit on the horizon.


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    There’s some of that smooth bottom track.


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    Despite the dry winter, there’s water in that dirt tank back there.

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    The sun is getting low in the sky and I don’t think we’re going to make it to gas or our intended camp site for tonight. I almost hit a wire gate with the sun in my eyes even though I knew there was another one coming. At the last second, I locked up the wheels and came to a stop with my front tire touching the barb wire - whew!

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    So we made the decision to make camp on the side of a small mountain where there is a spring we know of.


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    We gotta get some mud on those fancy new white boots of Rob’s :clap

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    We are well past happy hour and found the grassy camp near the spring.


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    It’s cool this evening but there’s plenty of firewood layin’ around, hunters and ranchers have camped here prior as evidenced by the old fire ring.

    Confidence and perspective I guess, are what contain or lure you towards the horizons of adventure. Familiarity and knowledge for me allow the revisiting of regional haunts - knowing the way or at least having an idea where you are without the digital help is fun for myself and others as we keep the bikes rolling and there’s minimal fumbling around.

    Then, around the campfire Pete and Rob unroll some of their tales of riding in Africa, on small bikes in Vietnam and other Asian and Central/South American experiences and suddenly the expanse of our campsite doesn’t seem so exotic, or does it?

    Those guys were so happy to see the country we all share and were equally pleased to see some of these spots for the first time. I realize there’s another layer of adventurer out there that has seen so much more than I ever will and yet these same world travelers are stoked to see what we are sharing with them on this trip and that is part of the bigger picture.

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    Geoff decided to use a waterproof motorcycle cover burrito style, as his bivouac set up. That will prove to be a fateful decision later on! :eek1:wink:


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    more . . .
    #11
  12. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    Yeah Dave! Thanks so much for showing us around out there!

    Man that was just too much fun. Those eastern oregon landscapes are just totally breathtaking and you are an awesome guide. I can't wait to get back to that corner of the state and poke around some more.

    I also have some pics but will wait to post until later in the ride report so they're not out of sequence.

    Pete
    #12
  13. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    dave kicking up some dust

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    #13
  14. andrewsw

    andrewsw Been here awhile

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    Nice stuff! Love hearing about adventures in my backyard. Keep it coming!
    #14
  15. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    Early to get up, walk around our spring fed site and ready to get to the next one -

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    The essence of our being - fresh water.

    Or . . .


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    Time to go!

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    Turn it up loud and hear the thumper doing its job.


    Stroke for stroke - XR's Forever!


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    more . . .
    #15
  16. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    Very nice morning cruise to fuel under interesting skies with wispy horse tail clouds that only made the photos better.


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    Wagontire used to be a legit' gas station, cafe and small motel on HWY 395 but has long since shut down for regular service. I know the caretaker Marty and called ahead for gas so he had 30 or 40 gallons of pump gas waiting for us in cans. That’s about all there is at this lonely spot and I think he enjoyed our pit stop visit but kinda hard to tell as after we were topped off and paid, he just kinda shuffled away back to whatever he was working on without a goodbye or even a wave.

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    Marty said there had been 2 separate gun fights out here in the past 6 months! Nothing about that in the local Bend newspaper. :eek1

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    He told us about a couple dudes trying to break into the old cafe and he scared’em off with his own weapon.

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    I had filtered enough water into my hydration bladder for today’s ride, Marty filled up Pete and Rob before we rode the 5 miles of pavement south to our next section of old 2-track east and south.


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    This chunk has miles of dried ruts in the track which seem easy enough but can quickly catch you off guard if you’re not paying full attention.

    Up onto another plateau.

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    One of the first times we came through here we got all tangled up on the wrong side of a fence trying to get to this track but know know there’s a way around and it’s a rewarding ascension to higher ground with huge views.


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    Phil is pumped and exclaiming positives about the conditions. I think he really likes his new 690 too!


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    I got us all lost on a section that has given us directional challenges in the past and missed the intended track down off one of the many bluffs we traversed but we took a peek at Rob's GPS and popped out in good position despite my momentary lapse in routing.

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    We make to the spot where I thought we might camp the night before and stopped for lunch.


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    We’ve camped by this big stone several times on our way to Nevada but there is no evidence of anyone else having done so since our last visit.


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    I had a Clif bar buried in my bag and chewed that blob down but these guys actually have real food and made a lunch beyond my pathetic little bar of nuts and goo.

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    A bigger bike has no problem packing a civilized meal or maybe it’s the easier ingress/egress of their luggage?


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    After lunch we continue south into the Antelope refuge. There is a work around if the single creek we have to cross is flowing too deep but this year it was dry as an old cow skull without even a puddle or hint of water. The track takes us to this old stone line shack that must’ve been a haven to the cowboys that rode herd out here.


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    There were probably windows at some point and the door has a significant stone wind break built on the south side.

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    The wind is blowing strong again and the temps are perfect for riding, just cool enough to keep the jackets on.


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    Above, clouds are building and it looks like something might be blowing in.


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    With darkening skies and increased wind, we had a little discussion about tonights’ camp deciding to pitch tents near a spring a couple miles from here. Yesterday was a half-day forced march, we have no place to be and there’s a cool mountain top to visit.


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    So, we fill up our water at the spring, dump the gear off the bikes real quick and ride upwards to the 7900’ summit above camp.


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    It’s a several mile climb of about 4000 vertical feet to the top. Pete is laughing at the hilarity of the super fun jeep track up onto this howling promontory!


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    Squalls of rain are cruising across this huge valley to the north and the wind up here is nuking.

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    Geoff has decent cell coverage up here using Verizon and checks his device for work related issues.


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    Our gear is stashed at camp way down there behind Brad.


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    I rode around exploring some side tracks that dead ended till Geoff rolled down the rocks back towards camp.

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    One of the dead ends and looking westward to where the weather is coming from.

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    The weather is getting heavier and it looks like rain is coming our way.


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    Look carefully and you can see the guys down there setting up tents with snow on Steens Mountain on the horizon to the northeast.

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    Rob and Pete scouted an old tree that had blown down and dragged some wood down to the fire ring for tonights’ campfire.

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    Yup, looks like rain to me.

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    We had a decent fire, cooked dinner and as the light rain turned to mixed snow, everyone climbed into their tents - except for Geoff who rolled himself into his motorcycle cover burrito-style for the night.

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    more . . .
    #16
  17. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

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    It rained steady all night. My old North Face single wall, one-man stink shed is no longer water proof and leaked pretty good but I stayed warm and never really got wet.


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    It did the job for many years off the bike and in the mountains but I think it’s useful service life is over. Big Agnes insulated inflatable pad kept me up and out of the water.

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    Stuck the lens out of the door to snap a pic of Geoff’s burrito. There’s snow up in those clouds.


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    He must be soaked as his burrito worked more like a taco. At least his bike didn't tip over on him. :lol3

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    He said at one point he considered building a tiny fire inside this contraption as he was miserable and only slept a total of a couple hours in 30 minute chunks.


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    We got the fire going so Geoff could dry out and warm up a bit.


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    Pete’s new MSR tent with gear shed worked great and so did the others'.


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    We can see the storm is passing eastward and the sun will certainly be popping out for the ride back home today.


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    Ahhhhhh, smoky morning coals with coffee and breakfast.



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    Snow on the mountain we rode up the day before.


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    more . . .
    #17
  18. ct-ktm

    ct-ktm Long timer

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    Nice shots..
    #18
  19. snoslydr

    snoslydr woodsweapon

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    :clap Nice guys!!!
    #19
  20. uncle t bag

    uncle t bag Geoff

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    Bend, OR
    I'm ready for another round asap! This time I'll bring my tent.
    #20