"The Rest of the NW is on Fire" Oregon BDR Route 6 Solo Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Sachou, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. Sachou

    Sachou Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    238
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    The scenario - I just accepted a new position as the dedicated IT administrator for a large asphalt company, and I had a week off while between jobs.

    Everywhere I wanted to ride - Going up in flames. The summer of 2015 is likely going to be remembered as one of the worst years for forest fires in the Northwest. I live in Richland, Washington, and I really wanted to ride the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route, or the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route, but either of those were mostly out of the question, as they route directly through several active forest fires.

    But then a plan was hatched - A friend of mine was making his annual pilgrimage to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, his planned arrival just so happened to be on the Saturday before I had to start my new job. And lo and behold, Oregon has a Backcountry Discovery Route that routes directly to the Oregon Dunes, and most importantly, it wasn't on fire!

    The Machine - 1996 Suzuki DR350SE - Wasn't quite prepped in time! Through frugal ambition, I had decided foolishly to attempt to shave and re-foam my seat for my 29" inseam, but as soon as I cut into the foam, I realized that I was in over my head. I deemed the $160 Seat Concepts Low Seat to be much more cost effective than pissing my time away on something that would not only be frustrating, but turn out like crap. Regardless of the warning of high lead times on their website, they still managed to get the seat to my door before their estimated arrival time, which happened to be the morning of my departure. I really couldn't be any happier with Seat Concepts.

    Day 1, 09/08/15 - 220mi road - Richland to Portland
    Stapled the new seat to the pan, changed oil, cleaned and oiled air filter. Didn't have enough time to throw on my new rear tire, so I strapped my new Shinko 244 to the rear and I hit the road on my bald Kenda K270 (stupid thing didn't last for crap - would not recommend).

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    Loaded up for a 6 day ADV ride​

    And enjoyed a beautiful sunset as I headed west.

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    Columbia River​

    I arrived at my friend's apartment in Portland late that night, after first indulging in a midnight Shawarma downtown.

    Day 2, 09/09/15 - 193mi road - Portland to Eugene to Crescent Lake (Route 6)
    After a lively session of cussing and grunting at my rear tire, I finally got the new rubber mounted before lunch time.

    Since this trail is being maintained by the Oregon Off Highway Vehicle Association, I had to purchase a $19 map for the route. They couldn't ship it in time, so they offered a local pickup at their Eugene office. Honestly, I wasn't too happy about paying money for a map when other BDRs offer free GPS tracks, but so be it. I got the impression that the OOHVA doesn't really believe in the reliability or precision of GPS. But I do. So I graciously accepted the physical map, stuffed it in my pack, and ignored it for the rest of the trip, in favor of the GPS tracks that they had sent me a few days prior.

    The bike had been running lean and backfiring all day since I had rode in last night, but I had implemented a "fuck it" repair strategy by just cranking up the idle screw. It wasn't until I pulled over for a break and stared at the carburetor that I realized the vacuum block-off that I put in after removing my vacuum petcock had fallen off. A quick roadside ADV repair consisted of cutting a portion of gas cap vent hose and shoving a piece of twig in it. My baby now purrs like a kitten:
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    I almost made it to the start of the route, but it got dark before I could make it to Crescent Lake, so I begrudgingly forked over $14 for a lakeside campsite at Odell Lake, just a few miles from the start of Route 6. I fell asleep to the sound of water lapping up on the shores from the gentle breeze.

    Day 3, 09/10/15 - 75mi offroad - Crescent Lake to nowhere in particular
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    Odell Lake Campground with my Hammock and UST Hex Tarp​

    I had a mostly unfilling and overpriced breakfast at the Odell Lodge, and fueled up at the Odell Sportsman Center, which was a pretty full featured outdoors shop, with a decent inventory of fishing poles, food, camping supplies, and even had a chainsaw for sale.

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    Crescent Lake​

    I hit the trail and quickly yearned for a nap, so I stopped and set up my hammock where I should have set up camp the night before, at Summit Lake, about 3 miles from Crescent Lake.
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    Summit Lake
    43°27'50" N 122°6'59" W​

    And chilled for a bit.

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    Summit Lake
    43°27'50" N 122°6'59" W​

    The description of the route made it seem like Diamond Peak was an important landmark in the area, so when I came across the Diamond Peak Rockpile hiking trail that led close to the peak, I thought it would make for a good view, so I hopped off the bike and hiked a couple miles up. The view was mostly disappointing, and I killed 3 hours in the process. Should have stayed on the bike.

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    Diamond Peak
    43°29'27" N 122°8'33" W​

    Back on the road.

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    43°32'18" N 122°13'35" W​

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    43°32'6" N 122°12'50" W​

    I turned onto USFS Road 23, as marked on the GPS tracks. Had a lot of fun getting some air on what looked to be speed bumps that the USFS dumped every 15 yards or so.

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    And then came one really huge bump.

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    My fun ended when I reached an impassable trench.

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    43°33'19" N 122°15'12" W​

    This meant the road was clearly closed, even though it was not marked or gated as such, which was frustrating, and it was also trenched pretty far from the turn-off. I made dinner, then turned around. I had to backtrack several miles, and then ride slab for many more miles, bypassing Juniper Ridge altogether. This wouldn't be my first disappointment.

    All that jumping caused my affordable dry bag to tear out a rivet. Pretty disappointing, but you get what you pay for, however the rest of the bag is pretty good quality.

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    Nelson Rigg Survivor 40​

    An hour later, I make the planned turn onto USFS 3818, which was to lead about 3/4 mi to the next road. I was greeted by this familiar sight:

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    43°29'42" N 122°29'37" W​

    But, there was still a route around that took many more miles, but still ended up where I was supposed to be, so that wasn't too big of a deal.

    As it got dark, I made my way through an overgrown road that was marked on the route, and ran into this:

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    43°30'36" N 122°30'19" W​

    And that's when these dirt mounds got reeeal old. What's the point of paying into a trail organization, when they don't know about obstructions such as this that were planned and placed by the Forest Service (or other organization)? Once again, I consulted my GPS topo map and found a route around. I rode for a few minutes, but it became pretty much pitch dark out, so I found a couple good trees to string up my hammock on, and called it a night.

    More to follow as soon as I edit the rest of my photos! The next day was a big one.
    #1
  2. msteward

    msteward Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,279
    Location:
    Spanish Fork, Utah
    A good start to an adventure. keep it rolling for us.
    #2
  3. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    762
    Location:
    Birmingham,UK
    Looks good even with the obstacles
    #3
  4. Neil_The_Wheel

    Neil_The_Wheel Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,177
    Location:
    Idaho
    Looking forward to more on this one.....
    #4
  5. Sachou

    Sachou Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    238
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    Wow, people are actually interested in my ride report! I'm flattered! I have some amazing photos coming soon, I promise! So far, the amount of time that I have spent editing photos, video clips, writing this report, and geotagging is probably 20x that of the time I spent planning the trip. But what a great way to spend time between rides.

    Here's a teaser for the time being. I found this selfie by accident while my Gopro footage was paused during editing:

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    #5
    roespan, Neil_The_Wheel and puddytat like this.
  6. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
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    11,394
    Location:
    Behind the Redwood Curtain
    Great photo... (if by accident)!

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    #6
  7. Sachou

    Sachou Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    238
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    Wow, people are actually interested in my ride report! I'm flattered! Here comes the high quality content! So far, the amount of time that I have spent editing photos, video clips, writing this report, and geotagging is probably 20x that of the time I spent planning the trip. But what a great way to spend time between rides.

    Day 4, 194mi offroad - 09/11/15 - Random spot by Spring Butte Creek to Epic Mountain Vista (Dean Mountain)

    Having lollygagged for the majority of the first day on the trail, I knew that I had to make up for lost time if I wanted to make it to Coos Bay by nightfall. I awoke at sunrise and hit the trail.

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    "Random Camping"
    43°30'47" N 122°28'59" W​

    Being a traditional 24 year old, I normally fare quite poorly in the early morning, and prefer to hit the sack past midnight. But it's incredible how well the body and mind adapt in the backcountry. Must be because I know I get to wake up to this:

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    43°30'51" N 122°29'5" W​

    And ride beside this:

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    43°32'55" N 122°31'39" W​

    This peaceful little lake would be a fantastic camping spot:

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    Gertrude Lake
    4721ft
    43°35'14" N 122°32'55" W​

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    Gertrude Lake
    4721ft
    43°35'39" N 122°32'21" W​

    And directly behind it is a road that leads up to another great camping spot.

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    43°35'32" N 122°32'29" W
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    (I'm really proud of this photo)
    43°35'30" N 122°32'47" W​

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    43°35'32" N 122°32'41" W​

    vroom.

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    Next stop was a marked waypoint on the GPS Tracks: Fairview Peak Lookout Tower. As much as I have been on back roads, and how much I have wanted to, I still have not visited an intact lookout tower, active or not. It looks like this trip would not change that:

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    43°34'47" N 122°38'23" W​

    But, lo and behold, there is a road less travelled directly to the left of this gate, where I encountered this large padlocked cage that is large enough to contain a good sized bear:

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    "Take no prisoners"
    43°34'57" N 122°39'8" W​

    That in itself creeped me out a little bit. But, then I turned the corner, and just 20 feet behind the cage lay this ominous hole in the side of the mountain:

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    Vesuvius Mine, Wild Hog Tunnel
    43°35'1" N 122°39'22" W​

    Do I dare venture into the unknown? But of course! That's what adventure is all about, right?

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    I sloshed through the thick, bright orange quagmire of clay and mine runoff for about 200 yards, until I got to the point where figured I should probably turn around, lest I get legitimately lost in the darkness.

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    The mine was marked on my GPS's Caltopo map (I use the Backcountry Navigator Pro Android App for my Samsung Galaxy S4 as my only GPS, and it works great) as Wildhog Mine. Googling it now yields this: http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/ECSI/ecsidetail.asp?seqnbr=3166#characteristics so luckily, it wasn't classified as being blatantly toxic, but I still could have exposed myself to some nasty chemicals. It was pretty cool in there, so I'd say it was worth it.

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    This shit stains everything​

    It appear I have just trudged through a cavern of baby poop. Time to get back on the road and find a stream to rinse this off (my boots are now permanently tinted orange).
    #7
  8. Comrade Arturo

    Comrade Arturo Veterinario

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    913
    Location:
    Oregon
    I rode Route 5 a few years ago and was wondering about Route 6. Looking forward to the rest of your trip.
    Keep posting :thumb
    #8
  9. Sachou

    Sachou Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    238
    Location:
    Richland, WA
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    RRRRRRAMMING SPEEEEEED!!!!!!!
    43°35'4" N 122°40'26" W​

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    (Ramming Speed...)​

    Really nice section of empty, gently curving blacktop to haul ass on:

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    Canton Creek Road​

    The most ecologically interesting feature about this area was the diversity of the flora. On one side of the road runs a creek that is home to dense, lush, green, moist, mossy plant life, very reminiscent of a rainforest. Literally on the other side of the road grows tall dry grasses, almost reminiscent of steppe lands. It's a pretty unique locale; you can cross the road and virtually feel like you're in a different ecosystem.

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    43°23'56" N 122°52'12" W​

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    Rock Creek Recreation Site
    43°24'4" N 122°55'10" W

    The next 40 miles or so became incredibly disheartening, as it is home to some of the most clear cut, deforested land I have seen. Acres and acres of bald mountain sides, completely scavenged for lumber in neat rectangular parcels, left completely barren of anything green. Timber is necessary for modern society, but there are better ways to get it.

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    43°23'54" N 122°55'47" W​

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    Additionally, the area is home to many active quarries.

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    43°23'56" N 122°52'12" W​

    Back in the woods again.

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    43°22'49" N 123°5'44" W​

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    And now back into civilization. The first city one will encounter when riding Route 6 is Sutherlin. I opted to go to Tolly's historic restaurant for lunch:

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    Tolly's Restaurant
    43°25'20" N 123°17'55" W​

    I had a Patty Melt. It was pretty good. Though my grungy-ass, fully geared self felt super out of place in the historic establishment with its comfy and rustic upholstered chairs.

    Now back to the woods. Again, it looks like poor planning is rearing its ugly head again. Everywhere is on high fire alert, for obvious reasons. Honestly, I was depending on the OOHVA to at least be aware of any active restrictions regarding the trail, but they didn't make any mention of this:

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    43°25'50" N 123°33'53" W​

    But I pressed on anyways. Most of the roads I would be riding would be "improved". For several miles past Sutherlin, much of the route is paved.

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    Umpqua River
    43°25'50" N 123°33'32" W​

    Up on a barren mountain top, and I encounter my fourth and final blocked path. This time with rocks dumped from the nearby quarry.

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    43°30'55" N 123°41'11" W​

    And another re-route it is... This time wasn't too bad. And I ended up at Loon Lake:

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    Loon Lake
    43°34'54" N 123°49'14" W​

    Pretty lake, in a nice tiny community far removed from any major city. I went under a bridge to take some photos of the giant rocks in the creek that feeds it.

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    43°35'57" N 123°50'50" W​

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    43°35'55" N 123°50'45" W​
    #9
  10. Neil_The_Wheel

    Neil_The_Wheel Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,177
    Location:
    Idaho
    :thumbup
    Excellent pictures and report. Thanks for taking the time to post.

    It seems from your report and many others that the OOHVA exists primarily for fee collection.
    #10
  11. Silmaril

    Silmaril Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
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    Location:
    Australia
    More!
    #11
  12. thumperpilot

    thumperpilot Thumper Pilot

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Southwest Virginia
    Thanks for sharing!

    .
    #12
  13. gblkz550

    gblkz550 n00b

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Great post! I'm just into ADV riding, so this sort of ride report inspires me. Looking forward to seeing more of your trip.
    #13
  14. HDLNR

    HDLNR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Oddometer:
    405
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    This is awesome. Love the PNW's outdoors.
    #14
  15. Sachou

    Sachou Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    238
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    Thanks for the kind words, guys. The ride is almost over, but...

    Throughout this trip, I have been holding out for that one epic vista - the mountaintop from where you can see for miles - the one spot on top of a mountain that just takes your breath away. At every side road up a peak or crest that I detoured to see, I was ultimately disappointed by poor topography, or too many trees in the way. At this point in the route, I had very much left the cascade mountain range, I had resigned myself to not seeing my golden viewpoint. I had a good ride, and was actually looking forward to a shower in a hotel. I had about 2 hours of daylight left, which was just enough time to get into town before nightfall, but as it turned out, I'm glad I got that crazy thought out of my head.

    I was 12 miles from Coos Bay, with 30 minutes until sunset. I look down at my GPS and see this:

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    So close to the road, I'd be a fool to not check it out. This is what I found at the end of the road:

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    43°29'46" N 124°2'16" W​

    Here is the photosphere I made that is now featured on Google Maps Streetview for this location: https://goo.gl/maps/dWKspLMfUwj (click and drag to look around)

    If you're not familiar with photospheres, I highly suggest you download the Google Camera app for Android, or the Photospheres app for iPhone. It allows you to take a succession of photos 360 degrees in a sphere around you, and automatically stitches them together in your phone to create a Google Streetview image. The best part is - on your phone, when viewing it, it uses the accelerometers and compass to orient itself, and when you move the phone and pan/tilt, it moves the scene with it, and it's almost like virtual reality. Here's another one I made on the Lolo Motorway in Idaho that I feel is the most immersive photograph I have taken: https://goo.gl/maps/xzhuMzJqBnt

    Okay, now I'm done with my shameless plug for Google services. This mountain top right here...

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    Trail Butte
    43°29'46" N 124°2'16" W​

    So serene. And this is one of those random mountain tops in the woods where you can get full cell phone coverage, but only if you stand on this log:

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    43°29'46" N 124°2'16" W​

    New favorite pic of the 2 wheels of fury:

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    43°29'46" N 124°2'16" W​

    I arrived at just the right time, in just the right weather, and in just the right atmospheric conditions. As I watched the sun set, thick fog just above mountain elevation began to slowly roll in from the West:

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    On top of the world:

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    Me! Hi.

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    The horse I rode in on:

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    This spot really sold me on Vizio TVs. I mean, the colors are superb:

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    Really a great camping spot. There was a decent backstop nearby for backcountry shooting, and of course the litter on the ground is indicative that this was not a secret spot. There's gotta be a rule somewhere: It doesn't matter how far out in the woods you get, there will be a can of Keystone. No exceptions. Luckily, I had the mountain to myself.

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    In the course of an hour, I witnessed one of the most beautiful meteorological phenomena that I have seen. I wish I had set up my Gopro up sooner, and left it running longer, but here is my best attempt to capture the transition from bright, clear, sunny day, to a land obscured by fog:



    Must be something unique about a coastal mountaintop. The elevation was ~1200ft, ~9 miles from the ocean as the crow flies, and it made for a spectacular place.

    Well that's the end of the forest for this trip. Next stop: Ocean and Dunes!
    #15
    nephron, 2 SPOT, 23103a and 2 others like this.
  16. McGlockin

    McGlockin Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    18
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Great report! Loved the pictures and full explanations. Makes me wanna ride in the North West
    #16
  17. Cigar

    Cigar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    545
    Location:
    Chapel Hill, NC.
    Home run!

    Thank You.
    #17
  18. Chip Seal

    Chip Seal Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,484
    Location:
    Western Orygun
    Tolley's Restaurant is actually in Oakland Oregon. Sutherlin is about 10 miles south.

    Thanks for posting your pictures. Great trip and adventure.
    #18
  19. Sachou

    Sachou Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    238
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    Day 5 , 278mi asphalt - 09/12/2015 - Dean Mountain to Shore Acres and Oregon Dunes NRA, to Portland

    I woke up with my head in the clouds:

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    I had to set up my tarp in the middle of the night, not because it was raining, but because of the condensate dripping down from the tree branches.

    Just a handful of miles of the BDR left.

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    And near the end I am greeted with a fun, swoopy section of road:

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    Now, the drive from my home town is a little over 7 hours, so I had many hours to kill before meeting up with my dune companions (who would be arriving with my safety flag).

    I checked out Shore Acres State Park. Neat little Japanese Lily Pond:

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    Shore Acres State Park​

    Botanical Gardens (lots of unique plants from all over the world):

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    Rose Garden:

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    And dipped my feet in my old friend the Pacific Ocean at Simpson Beach:

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    My roommate had tasked me with finding a piece driftwood to be made into a cribbage board, and I found the perfect specimen:

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    Some time this morning, I had received a text from my friend, who reported that one of the tow vehicles had broken down about an hour outside of town, and it was probably going to be around 6pm when they would arrive. I decided that I didn't want to miss out on the dunes, no matter what, so I got some fish and chips and stuck around until he arrived a little after 6.

    Checked out Umpqua Light House with my Log:

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    I'm debating keeping this log on all my adventures and creating a blog about this log. A log-blog. For I am the captain of this motorcycle, and this is my captain's log.

    My friends finally arrived at Spinreel Campground (which is almost literally on the Dunes - I'm learning that the OR Dunes is an OHV heaven) and I converted my mile eating DR into "Full Sand Trim" mode. Which is pretty much just removing all my luggage, folding in my mirrors, swapping my 15t front sprocket for a 13t, and airing my tires down to 10psi. Who needs paddles, anyways!? Let's see how 50/50 street/dirt tires do in the sand.

    [​IMG]
    Spinreel Campground​

    A LOT of wide open throttle. No sound, but imagine the 350's low performance engine screaming at 9k rpm:

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    And the front tire gets pretty sketchy:

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    It was very dark by the time my friends unloaded and hit the sand. They get more traction than I do:

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    It was a pretty surreal ride. With the dense fog in the air and a sea of sand, it felt like the middle of winter, like I was riding in snow.

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    But at least I made it over 700 miles without breaking down!

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    Man, that 20 minutes of riding was the most fun I had this entire trip. The miles of curvy dirt and slab roads were a huge blast, but I really had the most fun riding with and making new friends on the sand. Maybe next year, I'll ride down with a paddle tire strapped to my rack.

    I put the bike back into "ADV Trim", BSed a bit, and by then, it was almost 10pm, and I was still wide awake. Now, it's 430 miles from home, and I really did not want to ride all that way in one day. So badly, that I was willing to ride 210 miles in the middle of the night just so I could get some rest before riding another 4 hours. So I donned all my warmest riding gear, said goodbye, and rode for 4 hours nonstop, arriving in Portland at 2 am to crash on my friend's sofa after a much needed shower.

    The End

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    So that ends my journey! I hope you enjoyed my experience with route 6. Would I recommend it? Well, if you're planning on hitting the dunes afterwards, or are at least going to spend some time on the beach, I'd say it's a good way to get there. I had fun, but it's definitely not one of those rides I'd want to do again when there are other roads to explore. The blocked roads were pretty frustrating, and who knows what I missed there. All in all I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars.

    I definitely need to explore some more of those Dunes, though.

    The Stuff
    • Canon Powershot S100 (90% of my photos were shot with this amazing point and shoot)
    • Gopro Hero3 Black (the rest were shot with this)
    • Fly Trekker DS Helmet
    • Camelbak H.A.W.G. Backpack
    • Nomadic Rear Rack
    • Ken Sean Folding Mirrors
    • Incipio Atlas Samsung Galaxy S4 Waterproof Case
    • Quadlock
    • Acerbis 4.25 Gallon Gas Tank (~240mi range)
    • Nelson Rigg CL-1045 Adventure Slim Tank Bag
    • Nelson Rigg Survivor 40 Dry Bag
    • Tusk Fender Tube Pack
    • Tusk Fender Pack
    • Generic Amazon.com LED driving lights
    • Seat Concepts Low Seat
    • Agri-Supply Tube

    This report featured animated GIFs from my gopro, but if you have an older computer, or were on a mobile device, they might have been pretty choppy. Here's a link to the gfycat album that should be smoother: http://www.gfycat.com/sachou/september_8_to_13_2015_-_oregon_bdr_route_6_360p

    And the imgur album: http://imgur.com/a/PHJAR

    Thanks for following my report!
    #19
    Pohaku Rider and 2 SPOT like this.
  20. Silmaril

    Silmaril Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
    Oddometer:
    16
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks - great report!
    #20