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3,051 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
An invitation from Rubherdown to join him and several others for a tour thru NE Oregon came at a time when I could pull away from work for an extended weekend, and I happily joined in - the John Day area is one of the finest places on the planet in which to tour. We rode as far as Munroe WA on Thursday evening, so as to allow enough time for serious wandering on Friday before joining the group in The Dalles OR on Friday evening. On the way down, we had a fine Thai meal at 'Little Thailand' in downtown Sedro Woolley ( two thumbs up ); and we stayed in the Fairgrounds Motel in Munroe, which - while clean enough and not overly expensive - is difficult to recommend. It backs onto the railroad, so train whistles interrupt your sleep the whole night; and it's kinda 'working class', so a series of diesel engines fire up from about 5:30 a.m. onwards. Choose the Best Western or the Evergreen Inn across the road, or pick a different destination.

Friday's ride featured both Mount Rainier and Mt St Helens.

map: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Monr...fffe43aaa!2m2!1d-121.1786823!2d45.5945645!3e0

It was overcast and threatening to drizzle when we left Munroe, but unexpectedly and remarkably, it cleared as we rode south on 410 and gained altitude, and the circuit thru Mt Rainier was under bluebird skies, with superb views and very light traffic.

FSR 25 south of Randle WA remains pretty bumpy, despite assurances that improvements have taken place in the past year. You still need to ride your pegs, not your bum, and to do your best to choose lines which avoid the worst of the pavement sags. I hit bumps hard quite a few times, and put the front suspension right to the stop once. Not the place to be dozing along...

The side trip to Windy Ridge is superb, as always. The numerous road-bed slumps in the upper half have been 'patched', by being rebuilt back up to grade, but the surface of those sections has been left as gravel, so some short 'avoidance' sections are encountered on the return trip back east.

South of Northwoods, on the Meadow Creek Rd, there is an absolutely fabulous 5 mile section of unrelenting curves on perfect pavement, between the Oldman Pass sno-park and Paradise Creek campground.

It's always a pleasure to ride WA 14 ( the Lewis and Clark highway) thru the Columbia gorge, despite wind, traffic, and heat.

Weirdly, nearly all the restaurants in Hood River were closed, at 5 p.m. on a Friday. Eventually, we ate at the Big Horse Brew Pub, perched high on the hill overlooking downtown. My meal was excellent; I can't speak for Stuart.

Everyone gathered at The Dalles Inn, right downtown - recommended - and much of the evening was spent hanging out by the pool, downing beverages, and chatting away. Good times...

A road; a rider; Rainier. ( Yes, we did stop to take in the view! )

IMG_2126 by Don Serl, on Flickr

Rainier descent, near Longmire

IMG_2146 by Don Serl, on Flickr

The Windy Ridge road

IMG_2153Cjpg by Don Serl, on Flickr

The Windy Ridge road. Mt Adams in the distance.

IMG_2158C by Don Serl, on Flickr

3,051 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Northeastern Oregon day 2

This was a 'group ride', but various sub-groups rode differing routes each day and converged at the end of each day, which allowed for differing interests and paces. The day for us consisted of a jaunt west to Mount Hood; a leg east thru Maupin to run the remarkable Shaniko to Fossil road; a side-trip down Rowe Creek road; and 207 > 19 > 26 thru Spray over to John Day.

map: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/The+...f27d0de17a6!2m2!1d-118.95301!2d44.4159883!3e0

The Dufur Valley Rd is pretty in its lower sections, but pretty closed-in by forest and neither very interesting nor scenic in the upper portion. OR 35 approaching Mt Hood carries only light traffic and sports some fine sweepers in its final few miles, but US 26 south of Hood is the major route between Portland and Bend and is pretty packed with vehicles and just curvey enough to make passing nearly impossible without offering a compensating riding challenge. 216 out to Maupin is mostly a long slow descent out of the forest into the grasslands.

Shaniko to Antelope to Fossil is remarkable, as any of you who have ridden it can attest. Long, long sequences of linked, tight, highly cambered corners on generally good pavement with zero traffic offer a riding paradise. This is worth coming a long way for.

Rowe Creek Rd, south of Fossil, offers a nice alternative to the boring run down 19 to Service Creek, especially as there is a wonderfully challenging section of 207 involved as well.

19 thru Spray and Kimberley is always a pleasure to ride, altho it was a very hot afternoon. Even 26 in the main valley over to John Day is aesthetic and the countryside is lovely. We regrouped at the Best Western; spent some time adjusting chains, etc; had a reasonable meal at the 1188 Brew Pub ( decent food and libations, but marred a bit by a big-city-yuppie ambience coupled with small-town, slightly amateurish service - personally, I prefer the out-and-out 'country' atmosphere of the Outpost); and finished a long evening sitting outside the rooms drinking, chatting, and sharing a few yuks.

Dufur Valley Rd. Mt Hood in the distance.

IMG_2176CX by Don Serl, on Flickr

Dufur Valley Rd. Mt Hood above.

IMG_2189 by Don Serl, on Flickr

Antelope to Fossil

IMG_2210 by Don Serl, on Flickr

Rowe Creek Rd

IMG_2222C by Don Serl, on Flickr

OR 19 near Spray

IMG_2234 by Don Serl, on Flickr

3,051 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Northeastern Oregon day 3

The groups congealed to some extent on the Sunday, altho Patrick and Kim went their own way while the rest of us chose a somewhat longer route.

map: https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/John...6ba96993f2!2m2!1d-120.2008761!2d45.716796!3e0

US 395 is not an interesting ride, but the terrain is pretty up around Long Creek. I love the Middle Fork road across to OR 7 at Austin, but I can see that it's not for everyone. There are cattle ( and cattleguards) to contend with; the pavement is spooky chip-seal in the lower sections; and the corners are not well posted and are highly variable and unpredictable. Call it a challenge!

There are some really good sweepers on 7 on the run down towards the Sumpter turnoff, and there's a section of absolutely perfect pavement with challenging curves for several miles leading to Granite. Btw, fuel up in Sumpter - there's nothing in Granite, and it's a long run to Ukiah...

The forest road across to Ukiah is remarkable, with mile after mile of consistent sweepers. Unfortunately, (a) there are lots little potholes and bigger pavement breaks, and (b) the forest is close to the road and the sight-line thru many of the corners is poor, which coupled with (c) the presence of cattle, deer, and elk suggests a bit of caution.

The road from Ukiah to Heppner is in better condition than the previous section, but by the time we descended out of the forest into the valley, the fire-smoke was really dense and the atmosphere rather stifling. 206 across to Condon is 'intermittent': straights interspersed with tight sections, and I found the smoke heavy enough to kinda throw off my judgement of corner entries. The same was true of the section of 19 north from Condon to Arlington, which - while mostly pretty straight - throws up some pretty challenging short sections now and again, which you'd better be on your game to deal with.

There's pretty much nothing in Arlington, and it's pretty much in the middle of nowhere.
We stayed at the Rodeway Inn, which was clean and cheap. Most of us ate at the Rivers Edge diner, where the solitary young woman minding the shop was slowed by the multiple orders of our group. Patience was rewarded with very acceptable sandwich-fare. A long evening followed, sipping and chatting in the park by the river. More good times...

I bailed for home the following morning, and made the mistake of taking WA 2 from Leavenworth across to Everett. Heavy traffic and congestion on I-5 was the price I paid. The others wandered north to Winthrop for a final overnight... Perhaps someone will chime in to add details...

Bottom line: northeastern Oregon isn't quite at the level of Nor Cal for ride offerings, but it's a whole lot closer to home, and it's a remarkably varied and satisfying location for a 4 or 5 day outing.

US 395 above Long Creek

above Long Creek OR by Don Serl, on Flickr

above Ukiah

IMG_2265C by Don Serl, on Flickr

Member #899
2,611 Posts
Thanks for the synopsis of the ride Don. You have a much better memory for roads and places than I so can't specifically comment on roads. I know that we did get to a plateau area on Day 2 (?) where there were fires still burning and much smoke. I found out later that this was caused from a sudden electrical storm that had come through a couple of days earlier. The West is on fire!

I'll take a closer look at my maps and roads for further comment. One thing I do know is that every time I get on Hwy 20 from Winthrop to Sedro Woolley it puts a smile on my face. We are so lucky to have that road so close to home.

Eh Muh Gawd Becky!!
6,648 Posts
Good times indeed. The Scrambler was fun and was a very fun crew to hang with. Thanks for posting the pics and the play by play.

California dreamin'
2,440 Posts
Love the area around John Day. Sounds like a great ride. Totally envious.

Accelerus Maximus
701 Posts
Windy Ridge is open :0)


There are quite a few 40-50 m long sections
of gravel, with about a 6-10 cm drop into the
gravel trap (like they removed the pavement
and filled the depression with gravel)

Fine if not much traffic, but you may have to
expect to dive into the gravel if oncoming traffic

Also quite a bit of loose stuff kicked up in the

Not that it bothered me at all ! :laughing

Was awesome !! :thumbup:thumbup
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