We left on a Thursday in late June for the trip to the Strawberry Wilderness campground
in Eastern Oregon. This is to be a birthday campout for our German friend, Florian. He
will be forty.
We followed Hwy 26 over the shoulder of Mt. Hood, one of our local extinct volcanoes. There
was a lenticular cloud over the mountain shaped like a doughnut. Normally they are
lens shaped, hence the name. They are an indicator that it is going to rain within
We stopped in Prineville for lunch at a brewpub where we had made reservations to
watch a soccer game on TV. Germany is playing in the semifinals of the European
Futbol championships. It is too bad that they lost because they dominated the game
in everything except the points scored.
On the east side of the mountains that divide the states of Washington and Oregon
in half vertically the climate is much drier. The land is mainly volcanic rock split
with river valleys. We followed the John Day river to our turnoff, in Prairie City,
and then on to the campground.
The road that led 11 miles into the campground was mostly gravel and quite steep
for the last couple of miles. The engine on the GoldWing over heated and we had
to stop and let it cool down. But we eventually reached the campground.
We set up our tent and the others set up theirs. The next day it rained, as Mt.
Hood had predicted. As longtime campers we were prepared. We have two lightweight
fly's that we strung up over the communal kitchen/eating area. Thank goodness one
of the others had a couple long ropes because the trees were far apart and the table
was concrete and not movable. We stayed for three nights.
On Saturday it was sunny and dry again and we walked up to Strawberry Lake in the
Wilderness where some of the group fished and others threw rocks or walked around
Kathy and I walked around the lake and then back to the campground. A total of about
On Sunday we left and headed south towards Rome, Oregon. This part of Oregon is
even drier. No trees grow here, not even the Juniper. It is all grassland or rock.
Rome, Oregon is a small place. This is the entire town. We had lunch here and although
the service was extremely slow, it was probably one of the best BLT (Bacon, Lettuce
and Tomato) sandwiches I have ever eaten. Several couples had arrived a little before
us and the cook was the only one on duty. He was working the kitchen and the tables/counter
by himself. On top of this he would not start the next order cooking until the previous
one had been completed and delivered. It took an hour to get one BLT and one Chili
dog. But there was no other food within a hundred miles on our route of travel so
we waited it out.
Now it is on to Denio Junction, NV. Lots more grass and lots of Sagebrush. We are
travelling on a two lane paved road with few curves or hills. The speed limit, in
Oregon is 55 mph. We cross into Nevada and the speed limit is 70 mph. The road
is the same. It is amazing that the two state legislatures have determined such
different safe speeds for this road.
We spend the night here in one of the small cabins. The one toilet for the use of
campers is out of order. The bar/cafe closes at ten and doesn't open until seven
the next morning. Much too long for us hold it at our ages.
The next morning we crossed back into Oregon, the speed limit goes back down and
we return to a countryside with Juniper trees, hills, a curvy road and cattle ranches. We
watch out carefully for the cattle guards across the road. They are seldom smooth
and can damage the suspension of the bike.
We had a late breakfast at the Narrows RV park. We would have liked to camped here
the previous night but the 3 hours from Denio made it too late to travel safely last
We now have 14 of the 15 Oregon checkpoints. We will get the last one when we head
to Sturgis later this month as well as all the far distant checkpoints.
Now we are off to Bend, Oregon for the Fourth of July holiday. Shortly before we
got there we followed a CanAm Spyder, with matching trailer. We talked to them in
a rest area and then went on into Bend. The mountains in the picture are west of
Bend and are volcanoes in the range of mountains that divides the state into two
very different climatic zones. Mt. Hood is out of sight to the right.
We set up camp at Tumalo State Park and put up the two fly's again. This time for
sun, not rain, protection. These are the same fly's we took to Europe. They are
strong, lightweight and have lots of tabs to tie guy lines onto. They are made by
Kelty and called Noah's Tarp.
The main reason for spending the holiday in Bend and not continuing on home was to
complete some more checkpoints. This time they are beer checkpoints, not motorcycle. If
you read The Next Ride page you will know that we are halfway to getting our prizes. We
have been to six of the eleven breweries on The Bend Ale Trail.
While at one of them we saw this tavern on wheels. It is powered by pedals that
the rider/drinkers have to use to make it go. We didn't ride it, I much prefer an
engine rather than pedals for making my ride move.
On Wednesday the Fourth of July we took time to watch the Bicycle/Pet Parade. The
town of Bend has 81,000 people in it. I think that half of them were in the parade,
and the other half were watching the parade!
There were hundreds and hundreds of dogs, some cats, a few chickens, two snakes and
a large lizard before the horses, llamas, ponies and some Hereford cattle led on
We toured the rest of the breweries and sampled beer but saved the Good Life Brewery
for last because they had a beer garden that had a good view of the cinder cone on
the east edge of Bend. The fireworks would be fired off of the top at the viewpoint. (We
had been to this viewpoint on our previous trip to Bend and took a panorama picture
of the mountains from it.) Just left of the fireworks burst is the full moon rising
next to the lamp post. The beer garden was much darker than this picture shows and
the show was good. As well as the city fireworks there were several (illegal in
Oregon) private fireworks viewable from the beer garden including the one in this
Having planned my beer consumption to be able to safely ride back to camp we returned
to our tent when it was all over.
The next day we returned back over the shoulder of Mt. Hood and to the cooler and
more tree covered west side of the mountains. This time there is no lenticular cloud
and there is nothing but sunshine.
With only the most distant checkpoints yet to achieve we will get them when we go
to Sturgis. We plan to go by way of Pikes Peak, Colorado.
The remaining checkpoints are;
Weiser, ID - Right on the border with Oregon.
Lander, WY - In the middle of Wyoming.
Valier, MT - In the middle of Montana.
Fernie, BC - In southeastern British Columbia.
Bonners Ferry, ID - In the very northern Idaho, not far from Fernie.
Roslyn, WA - In the middle of Washington State.
The next page will be written on the road to Sturgisand will be uploaded about the
first of August. Please check back.