When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

Camping and Checkpoints

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 24 hours.

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 the lake.












Kathy and I walked around the lake and then back to the campground.  A total of about 4 miles.


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 night.

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 a leash.






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 picture.


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 Sturgis and will be uploaded about the first of August.  Please check back.