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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by jonomoto, Sep 11, 2020.
Ignore these first two, go down to the third post.... Lord I'm a computer goof...
Grrrr... first try at posting. Give me a minute.... ignore the above....
Trip Report Sept 3-7
I was going just 35mph as I rounded the corner of Oregon FR 6230 near Davis Lake on the OBDR Route #3 to discover my 19 year old son Jake stopped at a highway crossing looking down at the Garmin. Immediately I went into what I learned at Jimmy Lewis’ offroad class, throwing my ass back over the Mosko bags, right foot hard pressing the rear brake for control and right hand squeezing that front brake for stopping. The snap I heard and felt with that hand, and the total lack of stopping or even slowing was thrilling, with the WR250R speeding across the Cascade Lakes Highway as though I was pushing forward across the finish line of one last race. I didn’t really even look to see if some big truck was coming. (None were.) There was no reason. The brake line had burst and I was not going to stop. Almost 3PM on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, we sensed some more trouble before this adventure ride was over...
But that was on Day 3. Here’s some front-story: Randy on a sure footed Honda CRF250L, Jake and me switching back and forth between his Yamaha WR250R and my brand new Husqvarna FE350s. We began up near Hoodoo and Big Lake off of US20/OR126 north and east of Sisters. Meaningfully, we were just about 6 miles as the crow flies from the Green Ridge fire, at the time one of the larger in the state. More on this later but we felt pretty lucky to be “putting in” on the trail and heading in the opposite direction. I’m 64, and my son and I just took up riding last year. He’s already dang good, and I’ve planted myself solidly in “medium-skilled at best.” I had done A LOT of planning though, figuring 5-6 days to cover the almost 400 miles ahead, with enough food, and reasonable amounts of water and gas. No need for all the details, but I’ll end with a list of hits and misses for you to compare to your own experience. We paid a friend of Jake’s to trailer the bikes the 3+ hours from Portland and got on the trail about 1. First day just 36 miles, camped by brown-watered Whychuss Creek in the Three Creeks Lake area. One “hit” was a soft-sided cooler by Ice Mule into which I had stuffed a frozen sockeye fillet and veggies from Randy’s garden. And beer. Yum.
Day Two aimed for 100°F and at some point we decided to play safe and find gas. I have a few things to say about the maps (and partic the .gpx files) that the good folks at OOHVA supply. Mostly they’re good things. A lot of work went into these for sure. Here though I might suggest that some notations for gas locations OFF MAP be considered. We headed for Bend after an obligatory stop (and lunch) at Tumalo Falls.
I was so over heated by the time I got gas and stopped at the grocery (for some more ice and beer) that I felt strangled by the required mask in spite of the AC inside. It didn’t occur to me until later that I had failed at staying hydrated. Really stupid. And by the time you figure it out, you’re already late to the brain party. This was underscored by us not doing the obvious and topping off our water bladders. Our next campsite needed to be next to water, then, and the little blue lines on the maps were turning into dreams, not the promised creeks, so we got off the trail and rode 10 miles to Sparks Lake, past Mt Bachelor, bushwhacking to a stream bed as only a smaller dual sport can and loving the babbling cold water for cooking and cleaning. 115 miles.
Day Three began just fine. Even super. Let me tell you about a father’s joy when after a night of 32° and camping under killer stars, heading out all packed and full of oatmeal and go, to hear over the helmet comm, “wow, this is the best day ever,” from a teen’s mouth. Oh yeah, baby. Let’s Ride. A quick ride up to the top of Wango Butte which includes circumventing a f’ing gate and bit
of a hairy uphill to find a stellar view…blocked entirely by big gorgeous firs, starts a 40 mile run with a stop at Wickiup Reservoir where, to quote Randy, “there’s an awful lot of water that is NOT there,” that leads us to that fateful crossing I took without the dang front brakes.
Here’s what followed: We find a motor cycle guy in Gilchrist who answers his cell with “Well, I’m not there, I’m in Medford, and anyway I just do Harley’s. There’s a guy up in La Pine called Moto Aspirations, you know, turn right at the McDonalds and he’s down there a bit. He works on all those Jap bikes.” So we find his website but don’t have enough bars to make a call. The site says he closes at 3. It’s Saturday of the holiday weekend, 2:45. La Pine is 25 minutes away. We are about out of gas. It’s all the opportunity for disaster that it sounds. Jake says, “Dad, I should ride the WR, I’m the better rider.” to which I reply, “Jake, someday you’ll be a father and then you’ll know why there’s no way in hell that’s going to happen." Off we went, reasonably fast to try to hit the store before closing, yet not so vigorous as to run us out of gas early, with me super sensitive about not having real stopping power. We pass through Crescent first. Randy pulls aside and says into the comms that he’ll keep trying to call the moto shop and get also gas. Jake and I push. “Nine miles” I hear over the comm. “3.6 miles.” Then “I’m out, and pulling over” from Jake. “I pushing on and remember to turn right at McDonalds,” I yell as the comm goes out of range. On I go, turning as I should and finding an open and waiting moto shop, and a smiling and friendly proprietor. It’s hard the share the relief I felt. Really hard. Trust me. Feel it yourself. The options we were facing included trying to work through an auto parts store to re-do and bleed the line, or ride the OBDR with just a back brake. I had determined that one or the other was going to happen, dammit. Glad my bluff to destiny wasn’t called. Jake made it 5 minute later, having turned the Husky on its side to shake that last cup of gas onto the pump side of the tank. Randy 15 minutes later, telling us he pumped 3.2 gallons into his tank that might not even be rated for that. We were all low.
You have to meet Kyle, owner of Moto Aspirations. From moment one you feel welcomed, and in good hands. It’s not a big city shop. He looks over the bike, rubs his chin a bit, looks around and says, “well, I’ll just borrow this line from that bike over there for now. Gotta get you back on the trail, don’t we?” An hour and a bit later, we had a new, bled line up front, and bonus work on some loose nuts and bolts and misc. I’m just going to say this. Kyle saved our ass by staying into his holiday weekend and is a skilled, consummate, fairly-priced professional. A late lunch, early dinner at Cinco de Mayo made for a magnificent stop in La Pine. No joke.
Am I crazy to think that this side trip was a fine addition to our adventure? I’ll argue not.
So on we go, finishing the day at Three Lakes OHV, the best starry sky I’ve seen in a decade and another 32°F night. Next day was number 4, winding through plenty more hot and dusty trails that I am NOT complaining about including plenty of whoops and edgy spots like this one that surprised me around an uphill corner…
and then south into Prospect OHV, that huge area west and south of Crater Lake encircling the upper Rogue. It’s a favorite riding spot as good friend Bill has a cabin in Union Creek that has been our home away from home, and towards which we aimed all day. By GOLLY we were going to sleep in beds that night before riding on to the California border and Route #3’s end in Dorris, and we did. Comfy and warm, with the Rogue doing a white noise thing all night out the window. Then sadly without prediction, our trip stopped.
The power line road at Union Creek is a favorite. Good whoops, a fine gravel pit for play, at the south end some slight phone and internet connectivity in the library parking lot in the small town of Prospect. Today, though, it began the end. Love my Mosko Reckless 40 (on the Husky) and 80 (on the WR.) We’ve had them for a year and a half. We added a Tusk rackless knockoff from Rocky Mountain ATV on the third bike, brand new for the trip. Weren’t we surprised when one after the other showed signs of failure from the beating they took on this trip, with the right side Tusk bag ripping catastrophically and smaller but noticeable tears in a seam on the 40 and the molly supports on the 80. They weren’t overloaded more than should be expected, IMO, and yes, we were riding hard. By the time we got to Prospect, we were exchanging glances of “is this a sign?”, just about the time we downloaded a message from Maxine my wife saying ALL Oregon OHV’s were closing due to EXTREME fire potential. Whoa. It’s grand to be offline for a few days, until it isn’t. Conditions went from bad to terrible in the next couple of days, and as one climate scientist said, “This is shocking but not surprising.” So we stopped our OBDR Route 3 trip a day and a half early. Maxine was coming down to pick us up and spend a couple of days on the Rogue. So Randy and I just hung out. Jake bolted for Portland cuz hey if he couldn’t trail ride he may as well hang with his girlfriend (4+ hours of highway on a 250….oh to be so young,). Here’s my dog and my own girl arriving to gather us up.
SO a great if shortened trip. The fires are devastating and my eyes burn as I write this from home. We’re on with our lives. Dorris, CA, the end of Route 3 will wait. Here’s a short list of hits and misses:
Pre-planning, to the point of pre-driving in your mind the mapped route along with Google Maps to get the right rhythm.
Ice Mule soft sided cooler
My 30 y/o Whisperlite camp stove
Choosing warmer sleeping bags at the last minute
A cabin to crash in along the way (or in this case, at the end.)
Helmet comms, a hefty back up battery and a 4 way USP splitter.
A mechanically minded son, careful choices in companions
MOTO-ASPIRATIONS IN LA PINE!!!
These 3 250-350cc bikes, although I wish the RaceTech suspension we had ordered for the honda had come in time. Note that I was told outright that the composite subframe of the Husky would break under load. I’m 205 naked and have about 40- pounds of clothes and gear. Just saying.
Bringing eggs, even hard boiled, in the soft-sided cooler. Duh.
Knowing where to find water better
The .gpx files in our Garmin 680T (likely user issues….)
Tusk bags. I reckon they’ll replace, but so far they haven’t responded.
Riding through lunch and forgetting to even stop for an energy bar.
A son who has the GoPro but isn’t inclined to be a movie guy.
Post script: In La Pine, Jake was standing by Kyle watching him work, but with a distant crease on his brow. “What’s up?” “A bit overwhelmed is all, a lot of pressure.” “Here’s the deal, son. Life happens. We’re here to live it very, very fully. Something bad could have happened, and at various times in your life, bad things will happen. But don’t let this or them bog you down. Shoulders back, fail forward. Life awaits.”
I'd rather be riding than trying to figure out how to post about rides....
First trip on your own, first GPS that you got 3 days before... you didn't do to bad.
Great story thanks for posting!
hahaha. what an adventure!
what else could probably go wrong? and this didn’t happen at the nOObs rally!
congrats guys for taking a big bite on one of OR best backcountry roads.
jonomoto. not too shabby on your first RR. keep us posted on the next one.
Nobody got hurt, Nobody died, you overcame a potential trip ending mechanical problem
you spent quality time with your son and buddy and you had fun.....
It really doesn't get any better. Thanks for the report
Oh and you finished it off by spending time with your wife and dog
We should all be so lucky
So in agreement, Roaddog12. Thanks
what is the verdict on the 350?
and more pics please.
Well, Joel, the Husky is a great bike. As I mentioned above, we loaded it up a bit, not as much as the two Japanese bikes, but reasonably loaded. Its light wait and quick response are a nice combo, since it's more lively on the scree and duff than the other bikes, but then easier to recover, imo. Before we left, we traded out the supplied 80/20 continentals for a Dunlop 606 rear and Parelli mt21 front. I also installed a G2 ergonomics throttle tamer, which made all the difference for control on start up and response.
We took 3 air filters with us that we pre-oiled, The first we changed after 2 1/2 days...too long. The second after day and a half. The last filter in the image had not yet been installed, but is now.
My new Seat Concepts Tall didn't come in time, so needless to say the standing was good. I did throw on a sheepskin cover over the brick of a seat. I liked that. Luckily we had just installed bar risers cuz Jake and I are both over 6'. Me at 6'2"+. Jake at a hair less. He rode the Husky a bit more than I did, and would be pretty far out ahead at any given time. Good bike, better rider. My excuse was I was waiting for his dust to settle, if you get my drift.
Great story. I attempted route 3 with a couple buddies in June, we were on adventure bikes and the sand around Big Lake was more than we were ready for. After some detouring we did make it to 3 Creeks Lake, some great riding in that area. Kyle sounds like a great guy. I hope to do more riding in that area, glad to know there's support available if things go sideways.
good idea bringing the spare filter. normally i only carry 1 spare, though having a third one doesn't take that much space and almost weightless.
seems the green tinted filter is from the factory and the other 2, i'm guessing NoToil. i use a OxyClean detergent and warm water to clean the foam filter.
OxyClean doesn't work on the OEM (green pigment), have to buy a kit for a ridiculous price to clean it. probably you already know it by now.
stay with one brand oil, in my case it is the TwinAir. my bike shop recommends using paint thinner to dissolve the oil, instead of buying the TwinAir $$ solvent.
i sill use NoToil on my XR400 for many years and have no issue, but others experienced it differently. on my next brand new filter, it will be TwinAir.
Absolutely outstanding @jonomoto! Glad I stumbled upon your report, can't tell you how frickin' cool it is that you're out riding with your son and only after a year on the bikes. It'll be some time before I'm able to do the same with my boys, and likely only the older one as the younger didn't take to 2 wheels like my oldest (11) did; but my hope is trips like these and more are part of life.
Can't frickin' believe you lost the front brake - any idea what caused the failure? Did the line actually split and burst? Talk about a short-changing moment, especially approaching an intersection like that on a holiday weekend. Seriously cool to find the shop in La Pine, I'll be keeping that gem in the back of my mind for when I travel in that neck of the woods.
Not sure how far you've traveled in our wonderful state, but if you like solid dual-sport riding and camping in amazing places, throw the bikes in whatever can haul 'em and head southeast ~5.5 hours to Summer Lake. If you're bored and want something to read (and possibly be of inspiration), I did a ~1100 mile solo ride in June that took me out to the Owyhee River and back through some of the best landscapes anywhere (IMO).
Great job on the report and good on you for getting out there to do it. Truly sad what we're going through right now, damn stir crazy staying inside because of the smoke; but nothing like the poor folks who've lost everything.
Anyway, well done and thanks for taking the time to get it together - misfires and all
Keep the knobby side down
@liv2day. loved the post on your solo. @jromoto and @Mofrid (son Jake and friend Bill) and I did the alvord/Steens this summer, camped on the playa and moving about.
I use some of these shots as the virtual background on my video conferencing (COVID face-to-face) and totally freak people out. I'll head back in an instant, and take in some of your tracks. Thanks for sharing your own RR.
The brake line broke because the line was bulging at the spokes and we held it back insufficiently. It wore through and burst at the sudden high pressure. We learn.
Thanks for the kind words. We're hooked. We'll soon be on bigger bikes and traveling further (without the trailer-need.) though not necc on some of the trails we ride at present, I suspect.
FWIW. Rocky Mountain MC has decided, after a certain amount of "conversation" to replace the failed Tusk bag. Took some work, but I do give them credit for this. They even sent me a return label so they can re-examine the bag for possible improvement. (Hint: heavier thread.)
Glad to hear that.
I've always had good service from them myself
Hey Dudes and Ladies. For those of you whom may be lurkers or wannabes to the riding world, i strongly suggest you contact that friend you know that rides and ask the questions, do the research, become informed, make the investment (ATGATT) and get the right bike for you. (Size matters, meaning start small go from there). Many years ago i was that guy riding all over creation, mostly wooded single track trails in the coast range. No cares, no helmet or proper riding gear. Tearing it up and having a blast. Decdes later and and a few more developed brain cells and self preservation, I am back riding again! Having some past experience and a friend to help and motivate me in the right direction regarding proper gear and training, along with a good plan and the right preparation made all the difference when it came to the best riding experience of all. Getting back on a bike, especially off road has increased the smile by the mile factor ten fold! When Jomoto, Jake and i set off on this adventure we had excitement and expectations of what may lie ahead, yet i for one had no idea just what a great experience and sense of joy there is on so many miles of back county roads and trails. Riding in the clear open air and even the dusty and difficult sections was amazing. So much to see and soak in, so many more miles of fun ahead! Thanks guys!