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Discussion Starter #1
Perhaps surprisingly, I still have a job! Outa here for a week in the middle of August for Idaho and points east; then great weather looming in mid September, so.... more of the same!

The impetus was a weekend at ORP with my buddy Jason - third year in a row for us, and I think my fifth out of six. I love that track, and September it's at its best. Dry, warm (not hot), not overly crowded - one of my favorite weekends of the year.


67732147-MotoFit_Sept_10_2016_ORP-2209 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr



67732148-MotoFit_Sept_10_2016_ORP-1145 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


...and the surrounding countryside is spectacular!

IMG_6181 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


Jason and I were joined by Bobby (blueflamegsxr) for the track weekend; then Jason headed back to the city and work, while Scott ( the bartender) joined us to tour for the remainder of the week.

but 'the telling of tales' will have to wait for another nite, cuz my evening has just disappeared in a long phone call regarding a friend who is in not such good health...
more later; your patience is appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
^^^ that'd be great. it's really REALLY an excellent adventure! ORP is a super-challenging track to learn ( but less balls-out fast than the Ridge), with a bazillion undulations and every curve different - plus a couple places that can be truly frightening to try to get thru at a good pace. it pays patience - there were 8 low-side crashes in the first two sessions on the first day - people just trying to go too fast ( thru one particular corner especially), too early, before the track, the tires, and they had warmed up. plus we rent a nearby ranch-house, so it's steak and wine in the evenings ( not so much as to interfere with the riding the next day, but enough for a good time). love it...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
day 1: Moro to Baker City

Jason loaded at the track and left mid-afternoon, and Bobby and I stayed till the last session, then went back to the lodge, where Scott had already arrived after a ride down thru Leavenworth, Yakima Canyon, Klickitat, etc. Monday morning, we loaded our touring gear onto the bikes, piled the rest into Bobby's truck, and ( with permission) parked it at the side of the pad outside the bungalow where it'd be safe and out of the way while we we're off on our bikes. Then we lit out south to the outstanding Shaniko to Fossil run. I could do this time and time again and not tire of it - there is so much variety and the scale is big enough (about 40 miles) that there's little chance of repetition leading to much more than genereal familiarity. Awesome road!

South of Shaniko

IMG_6192 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


near Clarno

IMG_6196 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


We rode north to Condon, then east to Heppner. Unfortunately, starting just above the big switchbacks about 10 miles east of Condon to road was freshly chip-sealed, all the way to the junction with OR 207.

The 'switchback' section on OR 206, about 10 miles east of Condon OR:

IMG_6199 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


On a recommendation from the girl working at the gas station, we had lunch at the Mustang Diner in Heppner. The atmosphere was genuine old-west and the food was good, but the service seemed awfully slow, since we were at one of only three occupied tables... then we realized there was another ( crowded) section to the diner!

After lunch we set off on the Blue Mountain Scenic Byway towards Ukiah. Oddly, one has to backtrack a short distance south on 206/207 to hit the intersection, which is not marked as towards Ukiah or with a BMSB sign. The initial 15 miles or so follows a delightful ranching valley, then the road climbs into the forest. Trees and meadows alternate for about 30 miles, then one descends to Ukiah, in a broad grassy basin. This is sweeper country, big time!


Awesome terrain and high-speed straights, just east of Ukiah OR:


IMG_6217 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


The Byway climbs back into the forest southeast of Ukiah and carries on for about 25 miles of delightful sweepers, altho the speed needs to be moderate, as there are cattle about. A branch to the left takes one onto the Elkhorn Byway, where one climbs to over 7000 feet and passes the Anthony Lakes ski area. It was cold and just at the edge of raining up here, so sorry, no photos from this section. Then a twisty descent led back to the flatlands, where some side roads brought us into Baker City by the back door.

Accommodation can be tight in Baker City. I had stayed in the Best Western a couple times before, but they were booked, so the neighbouring Rodeway was the choice for the nite. Actually, for two-thirds the price, it was clean, comfy, and attractive, plus they had a room with three full-sized beds. A good ribs chew across the road at Big Chief's rounded out the day.

map:
https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Moro,+OR,+USA/Shaniko,+OR,+USA/Fossil,+OR,+USA/Condon,+OR,+USA/Heppner,+OR,+USA/Ukiah,+OR,+USA/Ski+Anthony+Lakes,+Union+County,+OR,+United+States/Baker+City,+OR,+USA/@45.3611685,-119.6279675,8.75z/data=!4m60!4m59!1m5!1m1!1s0x54bd9114b66c8077:0x4846540d46b52ca2!2m2!1d-120.731168!2d45.4840141!1m5!1m1!1s0x54bc2c81bce89303:0xcd7dd038c41b546f!2m2!1d-120.7522665!2d45.0037364!1m5!1m1!1s0x54bc6d2175747d35:0x40705c635ef45a8b!2m2!1d-120.2161373!2d44.9981864!1m5!1m1!1s0x54bdabaad0acfc7f:0x940626b71d782b79!2m2!1d-120.1850344!2d45.2342966!1m5!1m1!1s0x54bcde9fefa0ff5f:0x8c43eb5baecaeb35!2m2!1d-119.5577997!2d45.3531842!1m5!1m1!1s0x54bcb2624533646d:0x77df958cc077b870!2m2!1d-118.9324815!2d45.13403!1m15!1m1!1s0x54a4a3171e0db6c7:0xb482f0f5b48c3503!2m2!1d-118.2335053!2d44.962974!3m4!1m2!1d-117.9729553!2d44.8603463!3s0x54a49527c3c66787:0xaf9c850f255de29!3m4!1m2!1d-117.9044609!2d44.8001154!3s0x54a4ebcc64ae512b:0x529f9036c69c70a8!1m5!1m1!1s0x54a4f31743002599:0xecdae70e16d4743f!2m2!1d-117.8343848!2d44.7748748!3e0?hl=en

440 kms 7 1/2 hrs
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Baker City to... well, Baker City!

The plan for where we were going to ride was not at all clear, except for the expectation that we were going to highlight what northeastern Oregon could offer. After a bit of discussion, it was decided that, since we were already in the center of a great offering of superb riding, there was little justification for rushing off somewhere else, so we'd make a circle on Tuesday and return to Baker City. There is a section of about 15 miles of excellent riding on OR 86 along the Powder River, before reaching Richland, and perhaps even better awaits, beyond Halfway, on the descent to the Snake River.


OR 86, beside Pine Creek, near the Snake River

IMG_6236 (3) by Don Serl, on Flickr


We intended to ride north along the reservoir to the Hell's Canyon dam, then return, and this was both an exciting and aesthetic ride.


Bobby and GSXR, Hell's Canyon

IMG_6244 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


Scott and Tuono, Hell's Canyon

IMG_6245 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr

Hell's Canyon. Do not miss a curve...

IMG_6249 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


After a nice break at the dam, we doubled back and just reached the Pine Creek service station before they closed... noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays (?). Then we headed up onto the Wallowa Mountain Loop road. The first 10 miles or so of this was repaved a couple years ago, and is awesome - smooth, predictable, empty, and fast.

IMG_6274 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


The pavement is somewhat poorer once the road begins to climb in earnest, but still quite acceptable. The Hell's Canyon Overlook makes for a nice mid-way break.

IMG_6285 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


The second half of the Loop is worthwhile, but it must be admitted that the pavement is less than ideal in some sections. Eventually one reaches the attractive little touristy town of Joseph; then it's mostly a long highway run back to Baker City ( altho there is one phenomenal 6 or 8 mile section of sweepers on OR 82 between Wallowa on Minan ). My rear tire was looking mighty 'tired', and I wanted to get back to civilization in time to see if I could arrange a swap somewhere convenient. Q3's are certainly grippy for track days, but they're a poor choice for covering miles...

Humour for the day was apparently provided by me inadvertently rolling I-84 from La Grande to Baker City at a consistent 150 kph. With a dull display and tinted visor, I thought I was seeing '130'... No harm done...
 

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Discussion Starter #11

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
day 3 Baker City to John Day

I'd better get on with posting the rest of the trip...

This was a varied day....

First off, the start was delayed, cuz I had to get a rear tire change. Turns out the local Honda dealer ( Cliff's Saw and Cycles - which is a name that doesn't inspire huge conficdence, but which turned out to be a splendid dealership) had something suitable ( Dunlop Roadsmart 2 at $199), so I arranged to come in at 8 am opening. I was going to re and re the wheel, and they'd do the tire. They didn't have a stand for the single sided swingarm, amd I was prepared to just lay the bike down ( as I've done a few times before) but a forklift and some straps worked fine:

IMG_6290 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


Btw, the shop doesn't sell many sportbikes, but they've got a warehouse FULL of 4 wheelers - like, 24 in boxes! Plus a dozen Can- Ams too... Wow. So THAT's where the m/c business went...

Once underway, we cruised south out of town and headed up onto the Dooley Mountain Rd. This was a disappointment. ( a) I'd ridden it previously south to north, which takes the tightest section uphill, and that's way better than riding them downhill. ( b) Pretty much the whole section got burned last year, so it's a wasteland now. ( c) North to south also puts you on the slope side of the road on the biggest cuts, so there's gravel on the surface much more so than the other way. We survived, but I didn't come away thrilled. A shame, since there's something like 150 curves in 30 miles...

IMG_6295 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr

Then when we got down onto the flats and headed for Unity, we got caught up in a cattle-drive, of all things. Narrow road; embankments above and below; nothing to do... well, there was a pickup truck that slowly oozed its way thru, and by keeping my front tire pasted against his rear bumper I managed to escape, but Scott and Bobby were not so lucky.

Look closely and there are a couple forlorn bikers back behind all that beef:

IMG_6308 (3) by Don Serl, on Flickr

We eventually got free of the herd, but the outcome was predictable:

IMG_6316 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr

There was no solution in Unity, so we continued south to Vale, as we intended to ride US 20 thru the Malheur canyon towards Burns OR. US 26 has little to recommend it, other than a couple short sections. We found the car-wash in Vale out of service, but Scott chatted up a lady washing her truck across the road - a county employee, as it turned out - and we got to use the hose for free.

IMG_6319 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr

On local recommendation we had lunch at the Sagebrush Saloon. I know, I know... but actually it was OK. But it did seem like the kind of place that would be way better at about 11 pm, after a belly full of beer!

More in next post:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
day 3 second half: Vale to John Day

US 20 west of Vale take about 20 miles to 'get going', then the run thru the Malheur canyon is pleasant, altho not thrilling. Sweepers in great scenery, but nothing tight or challenging.

Rather than ride all the way out to Burns ( in the flatlands) we cut northweat on Forest Road 306 thru Drewsey and beyond. This was ( again) pleasant, and the countryside was enthralling, in a back-country ranching sort of way.

IMG_6329 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


IMG_6333 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


IMG_6348 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


Then, about 25 miles in, and way too far 'committed' to turn back ( cuz of lack of fuel), the road turned to gravel. This was a surprise, since neither the Butler map not the 'Come Ride With Us' map showed anything other than pavement. So, we carried on. And very shortly thereafter a cattle truck came hurtling around the bend at about 80 kph, leaving us no option but to huddle at the road-side, totally immersed in a blanket of dust. We'd barely shaken that off and gotten moving when a second repeated the dousing. Ah, the trials of 'exploring'.

The came an intersection whose marking didn't correspond to anything on our map, or even in the atlas ( that I usually carry)... Left seemed 'right', so way we went, and shortly thereafter we re-emerged onto pavement, and FR 17 headed us west towards US 395.


not quite the advisable machinery!

IMG_6365 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr

back where we below, on pavement

IMG_6374 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


FR 17 would have been a great place to wind out, 'cept for the continual background knowledge that there could be cattle around any corner... any there were! But 395, well, that's got fences... Really, really nice, all the way to John Day - altho there was a big herd of antelope in one of the fields we rode past, just north of Seneca.

IMG_6385 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


The day ended in the Drifter's Lodge and with dinner across the alley at the Outpost, both great 'local' choices.


map:
https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Baker+City,+OR,+USA/Unity,+OR,+USA/Vale,+OR,+USA/Drewsey,+OR,+USA/Seneca,+OR,+USA/John+Day,+OR,+USA/@44.2583129,-118.6949343,9z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m38!4m37!1m5!1m1!1s0x54a4f31743002599:0xecdae70e16d4743f!2m2!1d-117.8343848!2d44.7748748!1m5!1m1!1s0x54bad5a5b379e57b:0x7ba446bec7a6bbac!2m2!1d-118.1927121!2d44.4373835!1m5!1m1!1s0x54a559b98f76d627:0x840261f7a0bda639!2m2!1d-117.2382311!2d43.9821055!1m5!1m1!1s0x54ba81b9c16c9fdf:0x4b89a1e7363bf31d!2m2!1d-118.3786823!2d43.8071385!1m5!1m1!1s0x54ba50dbf37b7be9:0x56f17794a295edff!2m2!1d-118.9716139!2d44.1345979!1m5!1m1!1s0x54bb05716ba757ab:0x9f2d0f27d0de17a6!2m2!1d-118.95301!2d44.4159883!3e0

410 kms 7 1/2 hrs

final installment tomorrow, I promise!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
day 4: John Day to Eugene

map:

https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/John+Day,+OR+97845,+USA/Long+Creek,+OR,+USA/Mitchell,+OR,+USA/Sisters,+OR,+USA/44.2055066,-121.8753327/Eugene,+OR,+USA/@44.4371203,-122.1410011,8z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m43!4m42!1m5!1m1!1s0x54bb05716ba757ab:0x9f2d0f27d0de17a6!2m2!1d-118.95301!2d44.4159883!1m15!1m1!1s0x54bb617285bb3955:0xf5982b0a2875b5c7!2m2!1d-119.1041375!2d44.714042!3m4!1m2!1d-119.6441176!2d44.7590404!3s0x54bc7ed22e04835f:0x7044ee78ab4b10a8!3m4!1m2!1d-119.821884!2d44.8337183!3s0x54bc6527dc2980c7:0x1efaf11766316bcf!1m5!1m1!1s0x54bc0787dd85965b:0x980ceb3d5a2dd9d!2m2!1d-120.153341!2d44.566525!1m5!1m1!1s0x54bf30b47c2cf1a9:0x85dd298592775554!2m2!1d-121.5492118!2d44.2909491!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x54c119b0ac501919:0x57ec61894a43894d!2m2!1d-123.0867536!2d44.0520691!3e0


470 kms 8 1/2 hrs

There's plenty to do in the northeast corner of Oregon for several days of course, but we decided to sample a bit of stuff further west too, out towards Eugene. The day started with a nice run up US 395 to Long Creek, then we broke west on OR 402 thru Monument and Kimberley to hit the John Day valley again.

395, descending towards the grassy uplands surrounding Long Creek

IMG_6396 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


West of Long Creek

IMG_6400 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


The valley along the John Day River around Spray is superb, with wonderful scenery and a great flowing road. Then from Service Creek, OR 207 breaks south in a wonderful series of ascending tight corners towards Mitchell. We stopped up here, and ran laps for the photo ops.

IMG_6423 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


We had a nice break in Mitchell, then headed west into more populated country, thru Prineville and Redmond to Sisters. Here the fabulous McKenzie Pass route leads thru expansive lava fields and down thru a long, long intricate set of tight corners. Fantastic riding!

IMG_6446 (3) by Don Serl, on Flickr


IMG_6451 (2) by Don Serl, on Flickr


We had theories about riding the Aufderheide too, but we'd also lolled along a bit this day, so it was time to carry on in to Eugene for the nite. We stayed in the Super 8 just northbound ( USD 113 for room for 3), and had a really good meal at the nearby Hop Valley Brewing. There should have been another day, working our way back to the truck in Moro, but I had a medical problem in the nite, and the expected 'ride' turned into more of a 'rout'. Anyway, a great few days before this... and I expect to be back next year, as usual.
 
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