|Oct 18th 2016, 02:20 PM||#1|
Made an Early Fall Rattlesnake Grade Run (2016)
Well,... After having discovered the Rattlesnake Grade last summer, I was hoping to head out that way again sometime this year. In particular, I was planning to make the run when Galen came home for a visit in August (a la Galenpalooza). Unfortunately, despite the best laid plans and intentions, we ended up having to scrap the Rattlesnake portion of that ride due to mechanical issues with one of the bikes. At the time, I figured that I would just go sometime in September before it got too cold or wet, but just never got around to it.
Fast forward to Monday (September 26th), and Bob (Oldmanriver) texts me asking if I was still thinking of going... OK, I'm pretty sure everyone sees where this anecdote is going. So, let's just say, that after careful consideration of impending changes in the weather, we decided that our best option was to go the very next day. Subsequently, bright and early the next morning, we were off.
Day 1 - Washougal, Wa to Enterprise, OR
Ordinarily, when we head out to Eastern OR, we typically either go out via Fossil, or through Condon and Heppner. This time, we decided to try a slightly different route, so we headed out to Bickelton via Klickitat and Goldendale.
Klick-Appleton HWY - SE of Klickitat, WA
Fall colors in the twisties.
MT. Adams - Taken off of HWY 142 West of Goldendale, WA
Pull out on the Bickelton HWY. SW side of Rock Creek Canyon, East of Goldendale.
Rock Creek Canyon - Taken from same pullout mentioned above.
Looking across Rock Creek Canyon to the twisties on the NE side.
We stopped for lunch in Bickelton, then afterwards made our way South and East taking various roads to the Alderdale area. Most of the roads were in great shape, with the exception of Hale Rd (SE of Bickelton), where we encountered about 5-10 miles of fresh, unswept chip seal. Fortunately, we were still able to maintain a moderate pace, even though there was enough loose aggregate to make the corners feel real "interesting" at times. For our perseverance, we were rewarded with some wonderful twisties at the East end of Hale Rd where it becomes Sand Ridge and 6 Prong Rds.
Once we reached Alderdale Rd, we opted to stay off of SR-14 a little longer, so we took Sonova Rd to SR-14 instead of going immediately South to the highway. We then slabbed down SR-14 to I-82, and crossed the River into OR. Heading East on HWY 730, we jumped onto HWY 37, and continued on to Holdman Rd. HWY 37 and Holdman Rd were additional pleasant surprises. Though neither of us had ridden either of those roads before, we were hoping that they would be better than just bopping down HWY 11. Both roads are particularly nice where each travels down through a drainage system. However, once we came out of the drainage system midway down Holdman Rd, the route straightened out quite a bit. Though not an onerous slabbing experience, most of the twisty riding was over, as we made our way on into Helix, and from there to Athena.
After a short fuel and snack stop, we proceeded on our final leg of the day to Enterprise. We continued East on HWY 11 for a short stretch until we reached HWY 204. Turning South onto 204, there are a nice set of sweeper curves that climb up into the high country of the Blue Mountains. As we climbed higher, the grass lands of the Umatilla/Pendleton area soon gave way to forest land as we approached the Tollgate area. With lots of fall colors on full display in the higher elevations, we had a pleasant ride all the way to Elgin. From there, we hooked a left on to HWY 82 and proceeded East to Enterprise for the first night. Though we typically prefer camping when possible, we had already decided to Motel it this trip, and stayed at the Ponderosa Motel. After settling in and dressing down, we headed to Terminal Gravity Brewing for dinner and a beer (or two).
Ponderosa Parking Lot
Terminal Gravity Brewing - A bit dark for my cell phone (we were sitting outside for dinner), but I assure you it was a tasty beer.
As was the Gyro and soup too.
Goldendale, WA and Athena, OR
Food Stops:Note - There are no fuel stations between Goldendale and Umatilla along the posted route.
Lunch - Bickelton: Market Street Cafe
-Great Marionberry Milkshake
Dinner - Enterprise: Terminal Gravity Brewing
Old HWY 8/Canyon Rd/Klick-Appleton HWY
Bickleton HWY (Vic. of Rock Creek Canyon)
Sand Ridge/6 Prong Rd (Vic. of Alderdale)
HWY 37/Western end of Holdman Rd
|Oct 18th 2016, 03:50 PM||#2|
Day 2 - Enterprise to Baker, OR
We woke up bright and early, and checked out of the motel. After a hearty breakfast at the Red Rooster Cafe, we headed North up HWY 3 to the Rattlesnake Grade. We only went as far North as Fields Spring State Park, where we stopped for a short break before returning the way we came.
Fields Spring State Park - WA HWY 129 between Clarkston, WA and Enterprise, OR
New Pavement on HWY 129 just South of Fields Spring S.P.
They had a hard time staying within the lines
Scenic pullout overlooking the lower part of the Northern section of the Rattlesnake Grade - HWY 129
Bottom of the Northern Grade - HWY 129
Some Fall colors looking back towards the NW
A small section hidden from the previous view behind a hill - just above the hairpin curve located at the bottom of the Northern Grade.
Looking out to the East - Grand Rhond River below.
After turning back South, we proceeded back down HWY 3 to Enterprise.
Looking out over Joseph Creek from a Scenic Viewpoint along OR HWY 3. A few miles South of the Southern section of the Rattlesnake Grade.
Wallowa Mountains from HWY 3 just North of Enterprise
Buffalo as viewed from HWY 3.
After a quick top off of fuel in Enterprise, we continued South on HWY 82 to Joseph, and then East on HWY 350 until reaching FS-39 (Hells Canyon Scenic Byway). We turned South and headed to HWY 86. We made a few stops along the way, including the Scenic Overlook.
Fall Colors along the Northern Section of FS-39 (Hells Canyon Scenic Byway)
Found some shade up at the Hells Canyon Scenic Overlook - Above FS-39
Hells Canyon Scenic Overlook - Looking East into Idaho.
Hells Canyon Scenic Overlook - Looking NE into Idaho.
After a short stop at the overlook, we continued South on FS-39, and started encountering lone cows along the roadside. We also started noticing a lot of fresh cow pies on the road surface, and soon came upon the source: a small group of ranchers (on horseback) moving a small heard down the road. Fortunately, one of the riders waved us to follow him, and he lead us through the heard. We were soon back on our way, and reached HWY 86 within a short time. Turning West, we continued on to Halfway, and after a short fuel stop proceeded into Baker City. Our destination for the night was the glamorous Oregon Trail Motel. After settling in, we then headed to Barley Browns Brew Pub for a sumptuous repast.... and Beer.
Oregon Trail Motel Parking Lot.
A Nice Porter at Barley Browns Brew Pub.
Enterprise and Halfway, ORFood Stops:
Breakfast - Enterprise: Red Rooster Cafe
-Good Biscuits and Gravy
Dinner - Baker City: Barley Brown's Brew Pub
-Chicken Fried Steak was "Delish"
Accommodations:-Excellent Porter and "Bullseye" Brown
The Rattlesnake Grade (HWY 3/129)
Southern Section of FS-39 (Hells Canyon Scenic Byway)
HWY 86 (where it follows the Powder River)
|Oct 18th 2016, 03:51 PM||#3|
2016 Versys 1000 2014 Versys 650 2006 KLR 650
I'm headed out that way on Friday, off over towards Lolo ID and back down the Bitterroots into Eastern Central OR...in a cage.
|Oct 18th 2016, 05:08 PM||#4|
|Oct 18th 2016, 05:36 PM||#5|
Day 3 - Baker City, OR to Vancouver, WA
Woke up to another bright and beautiful morning, and were soon heading across the parking lot for an early breakfast at the in-house cafe. Afterwards, we finished our packing, and checked out. Although we could have gone home via Ukiah, Heppner, and Condon, we opted instead to head back via Fossil, as we had never taken that route back from Eastern Oregon before. Also, we had already been out to the Condon, Heppner, and Ukiah area several times this past summer.
We were back on the road by mid morning, and headed out of Baker on HWY 7 to the Bates area. As we reached County Rd 20 (CR 20), we opted to make a quick stop to empty out some coffee and adjust our riding gear for the temps. Also, it gave us an opportunity to check out a possible campground for future trips,
Bates State Park, OR. Vicinity of HWY 7 and CR-20 Rd JCT.
Biker Hiker Camp Sites. Bates State Park, OR
Once we turned on to CR-20 we immediately noticed it had recently been freshly paved, and it extends all the way to HWY 395. Definitely another of the many nice surprises of the trip. The paving job was so fresh, that there was no gravel to speak of, in any of the corners. The only issue we ran into was more cattle (and pies) along the road. We only had one instance of cattle in the road, but were able to get around them without any trouble. We did spend a bit of time dodging cow pies, but just a minor annoyance to be sure.
Looking to the West along CR 20. Just West of Bates, OR
Bob tapping his Boot along CR 20. Oops! My Bad. He's just tip toeing his CBR.
Looking back to the East along CR 20. A few miles to the East of the CR 20/HWY 395 JCT.
Looking West along CR 20. Same location as above.
We eventually reached HWY 395 and headed South to Long Creek for fuel. After topping off, we continued Westward on HWY 402 to Kimberly, and then North on HWY 19 to Fossil. We decided to take another quick break, so we pulled into Shelton Wayside; and found another potential campground.
Shelton Wayside County Park and Campground. 11 miles from Fossil, OR along HWY 19
We were soon back on the road, and had decided that we didn't need to stop in Fossil, so on to HWY 218 we went.
HWY 218 between Shaniko and Antelope, OR
HWY 218 is always a joy, and this was no exception. After a fun run thorough the twisties (and a quick stop for picts), we headed to Bakeoven Rd and on down into Maupin. We then headed to Tygh Valley for fuel and snacks. Afterwards, we continued West on Wamic Rd to HWY 35, and then South to Cooper Spur Rd.
Cooper Spur Rd South of Parkdale, OR
More Fall colors and twisties.
We took Cooper Spur Rd into Parkdale, then the Dee HWY into Hood River. We proceeded across the Hood River Bridge to SR-14, and then homeward from there.
Long Creek, and Tygh Valley, ORFood Stop:
Breakfast - Baker City: Oregon Trail Motel
Highpoints of the Day:-Good Country Breakfast
County Road (CR) 20
Cooper Spur Rd
Washougal River Rd
Total mileage for the 3 days (for me): 1010 miles
So that was our short notice adventure. I hope you all enjoyed the trip report. As always, I encourage everyone who has the opportunity to go out and ride as many of these roads as possible.
Edited by FeralRdr on Oct 24th 2016 at 01:31 PM
|Oct 18th 2016, 08:05 PM||#6|
Travelling around the NW
Triumph Bonnezillah, Ninjette
Aw... I think this is the first year since I started riding that I haven't done a Rattlesnake run. Thanks for the pics and write-up. When I was living in the LC valley, I always thought it'd be fun to do a ride-in rally type thingy with a cabin reserved at Field Springs. Maybe get my folks or one of the other locals to truck in a 50gal drum of E-free and enjoy a weekend of great curves, BBQ and Boggan's milkshakes. Maybe I'll just have to make that happen next year and ride in myself.
|Oct 18th 2016, 11:32 PM||#8|
2007 Aprilia Tuono Factory, 2010 Honda VFR 1200f DCT
Awesome job reporting, editing, the whole 9 yards. It takes a dedicated individual (and said riding buddy) to stop and do the pic thing..I would love to do that run..including the overnight via motel/hotel or the tent thing. Feel free to invite next time y'all is heading out thataway.. Not to invite myself, but then again, I just did. Myself and a couple of buddies did a Crater Lake/Medford (In n Out burger)/Grants Pass/Redwood/Arcada trip about a month ago, 950 miles in 36 hours with temps ranging from 50 to 95 back to 50..a challenge to say the least. Had to be back to work monday night, but the miles were awesome on my new ride..always lookin for fellow mile munchers..props and cheers!
|Oct 18th 2016, 11:37 PM||#9|
848evo, DRZ400SM, XR100
Perfect write up with pictures and maps. Thanks!
The last time my friend and I road CR20, we said we would never ride it again. The pavement was so chewed up with loose rock, it was miserable. I kept saying, "this road needs to be repaved." Good to hear it is, I might just try it again.
BTW, have you ever done hwy 207 up to Ruggs? Great road!
|Oct 19th 2016, 06:41 AM||#10|
Awesome ride report, Greg. As always, you share with us fantastic photos, great commentary and plenty info for anyone that would like to try the ride themselves.
I think we should organize all of your ride reports and publish a PNW Rides guidebook
Oh, I see what I missed by skipping the Rattlesnake Grade. Looks amazing, next time I'm stateside we'll do it! Ro has a motorcycle for me
|Oct 19th 2016, 07:10 AM||#11|
Portland / Salishan Spit
08 KTM 950 Super Enduro, 09 Aprilia RXV 450
Ditto, fantastic work Greg! We need to take you along on our BDR rides for documentaries.
Edited by Hammer on Oct 19th 2016 at 07:17 AM
|Oct 20th 2016, 07:19 AM||#12|
1991 Honda CBR1000F
|Oct 20th 2016, 10:03 AM||#13|
Thanks for the compliments everyone.
In regards to some of the comments:
We might have to make a "Do Over Run".
In regards to HWY 207, we actually got to ride that back in August. Regretfully, I didn't stop to take any picts as we were having a bit of a "Grand Old Time".
HWY, that beautiful new pavement sitting just NW of Sumpter, and Dooley Mtn Rd. OK Dooley Mtn was a little due to the gravel.
Ooh the places I could go.
|Oct 20th 2016, 12:24 PM||#14|
Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure
A great trip report and great photos. I rode a few of those roads this summer and now have ideas for new rides for the next year. I hope I can find your post and review the routes when the decent weather rolls around again.
|2016, early, fall, grade, made, rattlesnake, run|
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