View Full Version : Freeze Yer Raisins '08 - Long Report

10-08-2008, 08:58 AM
The date: 10/3/08 - 10/5/08

The mission:
• Visit Crater Lake via a long loop encompassing Eastern and Central Oregon

The players:
• 1 Ducati M695
• 1 Ducati S2R
• 1 Buell XB9R
• 3 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classics

The map:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&saddr=NE+Redmond+Way%2FWA-202&daddr=Preston+Fall+City+Rd+SE+to:E+1st+St%2FWA-970+to:I-82+E+to:US-395+to:US-395+to:W+Main+St%2FUS-26%2FUS-395+to:W+Monroe+St%2FUS-20%2FUS-395+to:OR-20+to:OR-20+to:NE+Greenwood+Ave%2FUS-20+to:OR-97+to:Sherman+Rd+to:Indian+Head+Casino+Rd+to:SE+D+ St+to:Unknown+road+to:US-197+to:State+Rd+14%2FWA-14+to:WA-821+to:N+Main+St+to:WA-10+to:SE+Fall+City+Snoqualmie+Rd%2FWA-202+to:47.670676,-122.110677&hl=en&geocode=Ffxl1wId9ry4-A%3BFcVE1QIdCqS7-A%3BFa4f0AIdirzK-A%3BFTa1vAId1EXj-A%3BFTg4rAIdgYbn-A%3BFah3rgIdEgDp-A%3BFdW9pQIdLOTo-A%3BFe4RmQIdEV7n-A%3BFXGKnAIdlLrP-A%3BFXQ5oAIdVajF-A%3BFRBNoAId-BLF-A%3BFRkIoQId-ivF-A%3BFXS-oAIdXQ_F-A%3BFSSBrAIdg-nG-A%3BFZMNqQId47fH-A%3BFSI0qQIdWLTH-A%3BFXjItwIdZo7H-A%3BFdzHuAIdZNTJ-A%3BFQ7UyAIdIO3R-A%3BFXEQzQIdN5PQ-A%3BFRi9zwIdHTTM-A%3BFXzY1QId4jG8-A%3B&mra=dme&mrcr=11&mrsp=22&sz=15&via=1,2,3,10,11,16,17,18,20,21&sll=47.674028,-122.104583&sspn=0.022511,0.055618&ie=UTF8&ll=45.782848,-118.509521&spn=5.968157,14.238281&t=h&z=7

Observations and notable map locations:

Day 1 – 10/03/08

Starbuck’s – Bear Creek Shopping Center. (A) 11:30am, slight rain lower 50’s. Basically just a typical October day.

Our first stop was for lunch at El Caporal in Cle Elum. I am thrilled to see Pollo El Diablo on the menu; I have not found this since moving here five years ago. I’m even more thrilled to find that it is just as good as that from my favorite Mexican place in Grants Pass. We stopped at the Shell before hitting the freeway for Hermiston.

The trip from Cle Elum to Hermiston was rainy and a bit blustery but fairly uneventful. Though I must say, the Monster is way happier in the twisties than on the freeway, especially in the rather severe cross winds just south of Kennewick we encountered. The gusts were strong enough to push me into the next lane at times. Thankfully the traffic was quite light.

Hermiston, OR marked our next fill-up stop. I was made aware that my tail light was flickering. Apparently the vibration from the concrete managed to somehow loosen my tail light retaining nuts (complete with lock washers) to the point of them falling off somewhere along the way. I secured the light in a temporary fashion with the expectation that I’d be able to do a permanent fix once the procession stopped for the night.

It was just turning dark and the rain began picking-up as we headed out from Hermiston en route to John Day via Hwy-395. From all appearances, this part of Hwy-395 is a great road, though in the dark it is difficult to really appreciate it.

As darkness closed in, a couple of the fully-faired Harleys pulled out ahead. The remaining four of us were having issues and slowed quite a bit. The S2R rider had his dark shield on still (he forgot to change it at the last stop), the remaining Harley rider was not exactly comfortable in the dark and rain, the Buell rider wears glasses (as do I) and was having fogging problems, and me, well my glasses kept fogging, as did the face shield. The rain that got on the inside of the face shield didn’t help matters in the least. The dazzle that I received with each oncoming car was nothing more than horrible.

The four of us made a quick shield-change/wipe down stop in a driveway that had a yard light shining. Also lurking in the dark was the home owner, complete with a shotgun. For some reason the theme from “Deliverance” started running through my head. We left quickly.

We finally caught up with the two in lead at Dale, OR. (C) A town with what appears to be a population of four. Basically a little repair/machine shop where they were doing some work on a Blazer K10 and general store/post office/gas station. The owner/operator of the establishment is quite a funny man. He says they normally close at 6pm, but since hunting season started on Saturday, they were staying open a bit later. It’s about 7:30. Once the shields and glasses are cleaned again, we are on the road once again. I think the rain has increased a bit, the temperature has dropped a few degrees, and it is very dark.

The group again splits in two. The two Harleys previously in the lead were joined by the S2R. The Buell, the remaining Harley, and I took rear position about a mile back. I was still having fogging issues and going at a quite prudent pace. Apparently the Buell rider was having similar issues.

At about 8ish and still raining, the trailing group rounds a bend and see the lead group stopped at a turn-out. (B) Apparently one of the Harley riders had decided to try-out for the X-Games and launched his bike with the help of a “bump” in the road. The good news, he was able to keep the bike upright, though I think he sucked the seat up a bit. The bad news, a broken exhaust mount causing the pipe to rub on the rear tire.

Back to Dale in hopes that there is someone still at the store and hopefully they have a welder available at the shop. What luck, the sign was just being turned from “Open” to “Closed” as we arrived. The guys open up the shop, without hesitation. One of the guys did the welding, quite a good job too. While repairs were being made, the rest of us got some fuel and chatted with the store owner and some of his friends that happen to be motorcycle enthusiasts. You really couldn’t ask for a nicer more accommodating group of people.

We are back on the road at about 9. Again we break into the two groups, those that can and those that can’t see. We meet up with the lead group in Mt. Vernon. All six of us manage to rumble into John Day and the destination, the Best Western, (D) at about 10pm. It’s here that I discover the rear bolt for the kick stand had disappeared. I shove a screwdriver in the hole to get it to stay upright for the night.

I must say that of the three sport-bike riders, all wearing wet weather gear, I was the only one that was actually dry. Well, with the exception of my hands. The rain was in quantities large enough to get into the top of the gauntlet and wick into the lining of my gloves. Not really a pleasant experience. Kudos goes to the Firstgear TPG jacket and pants.

And so Day one ends. With no option for dinner other than a vending machine meal (Grandma’s Cookies and Gatorade, yum.) The hot shower with the pulsating massage feature was most welcome.

Day 2 – 10/04/08

The weather started nice enough, overcast and a bit of a bite to the air.

I skip breakfast (the selected place did not give me a good feeling) and jog about a mile down to the NAPA we passed on the way in, with hopes of getting some nuts for the tail light and a bolt for the kickstand. The guys working there were great. I went behind the counter and picked through an assortment of nuts and bolts.

A torrential rain started as I was attempting repairs. I’m glad we were able to park under the vestibule roof. Luckily it only lasted for about 30min, about the time needed for everyone to pack-up and get ready. The storm appeared to be going north, we were going south. Yippee.

Unfortunately, I was unable to completely repair the Monster with the parts I had purchased. So, it took a second trip to NAPA. This time I had the bike, so there was no problem in getting the rest of what was needed. After everyone applied a liberal dose of Rain-X, we were good to go and back on the street, all for $2.36 and about 10 minutes delay.

Finally, with all the repairs made, we head south on Hwy-395 toward Burns. What a great road. Quite smooth, some good twisties, and some long stretches where you can really hammer it. Though we always kept speeds just below maximum.

This time the lead group was comprised of the two Ducs and the Buell. What a fun morning that was. Add the fall colors and vistas and it was nearly perfect. It would have been perfect if only I would have put that extra shirt on I thought about in the morning. I was a little chilled by the time we reached the Shell in Burns. (E)

We head west to Bend on Hwy-20. Until we hit the intersection for Hwy-395 S. and Lakeview. Not my favorite sort of road for the Monster, really straight and fairly flat. Add in the horrible crosswind and I was none too comfy. The weather was a mix of clouds, wind, rain, wind, ice rain, wind, hale, wind, oh and wind. This was the only road where the 695 was really, really out of its element. I was unable to keep up with the pack; the Harley guys had their cruise controls set at 90-95. The S2R and Buell guys were tucked down and blasting right along. Without protection (fly-screen/fairing) anything over 80 is uncomfortable. My tank bag prevented tucking as well. So I brought up the rear…the distant rear.

I caught up with the group at what is basically the only business between Burns and Bend in a little town called Brothers (pop 41 as of 1990) (F). We discover that our plan to head south to Lakeview then Klamath Falls and north to Crater Lake had gone awry because we had missed the Hwy 395 turn-off. I suspect it was due to the ice rain that was falling at the time, and it certainly could not be due to blowing past the turn-off at Mach 2. At least that’s my story.

However, had we taken the turn for Hwy-395 we would have missed lunch at the Brothers Stage Stop. Quite possibly the best bacon cheeseburger & crinkle fries I’ve had in recent memory. Apparently the apple pie is outstanding too, those that had it raved. It looked like the “slice” served was a quarter of a pie with about a quart of ice cream. A really nice couple of ladies run the place. They normally sell gas, but due to the current gas prices and the cost to get it to their location in the middle of nowhere, they stopped that service for the time being.

If you go this route, be sure to plan accordingly as gas is not available anywhere on Hwy-20 between Burns and Bend.

Gas at last. (G) Bend could not come soon enough. The S2R and I were running well behind the others. Our fuel lights had come on when there was still almost 30 miles to civilization. Not a comfortable feeling.

Since we missed the Hwy-395 turn, we had some extra time to kill and the Harley riders needed to visit the Harley shop in Bend. (H) Every time I visit a H-D shop, I realize they are really not my thing. I appreciate some of the styling and such, but they just aren’t my speed.

The decision is made to make tracks to the Kah-Nee-Ta Resort (I) in Warm Springs, North of Madras. If they have rooms we would be set, if not we’d hang out and gamble (those that do) a bit then head back to Madras and get a hotel.

I-97 is nice and smooth through this part of Oregon. There is a ton of traffic on this section of I-97. The reduced speeds did allow for a bit of sightseeing however. Besides, the weather was great. A few clouds and the sun peeking through on occasion.

We passed through Madras at about 4:30pm; all was going well until I attempted a downshift and was unable to locate the shift lever. I looked down and could see the lever hanging down loosely, only being kept from the pavement by the kick stand. WTF? There was not much I could do at that point, so I forged on for the 20 miles to Kah-Nee-Ta using only 3rd gear. Not the most pleasant experiences. One of the few times in my life when I was glad for the traffic we did encounter. But Hwy-26 is just as good as I remember. A few HSS near Warm Springs and some rather nice views make for a good ride, despite the shifting issues.

When one is within the Reservation Boundaries, it is important to remember a couple of things; 1) tribal law does vary a bit from non-tribal law and 2) open range includes horses. I must say, riding on a road with wild horses running alongside is quite an experience.

Once at the Resort, I was able to get a view of what happened with the shift lever. Somehow the threaded rear hime joint bolt of the shift linkage sheared off and allowed the front bolt to come loose causing the entire linkage forward of the rear hime joint to completely disappear . If not for the clever talents of my co-adventurers, I’d be screwed. One of the Harley guys cleverly devised a reverse-action shift lever made from the parts of my existing lever. While the position of the lever was not the most ergonomic of locations, the Monster was again able to fly down the road in any gear.

Since my little issues took a couple of hours to resolve and there were no rooms at the Inn, we decided to just get back to Madras and find a hotel and food.

The ride back to Madras was great. The sky was mostly clear with a crescent moon shining above, traffic free, dry roads, who could ask for more?

The first hotel we came up to in Madras (well that anyone would actually want to stay in) was the Inn at Cross Keys Station (K). Apparently the hotel is less than a year old. Nice lobby and dining area (for the free Continental Breakfast). A 24hr pool, spa, and exercise room. Nice rooms filled with granite, wood floors, LCD TV, and most important soft beds.

The hotel staff recommended Geno’s New York Pizza (J) for dinner and personally I’m glad they did. I had a fantastic Calzone. The food ordered by the others looked outstanding as well. Apparently the place will be moving down the street to a larger facility after the New Year and they will be offering additional menu items.

Day two ends with the group back at the Inn for the night.

Day 3 – 10/05/08

I was out the door and ready for the final day at 7:30am. Too bad the rest of the group was still in bed. My free time was well spent cleaning and lubing my chain and just enjoying the morning. The weather was amazing. Mostly clear with an occasional fluffy white cloud floating by. The temperature was a bit brisk at 42, but standing in the sun felt really good.

Everyone was packed-up and ready to go by 9:30. Since the I-97 Bridge over the Columbia is closed until January, we elected to travel Hwy-97 to Hwy-197 and cross the river at the Dalles. The section on Hwy-197 from Hwy-97 to Maupin is a great as ever, nearly perfect; smooth, wide, a few tight corners, and some nice H.S.S. We were quite lucky to be nearly the only ones on the road. There were a lot of trucks parked on the shoulder filled with quads and other hunting paraphernalia. In the back of my mind I was thinking “basically I’m riding a bright red target.” But the miles flew by with nary a problem.

Maupin looks exactly the same as when I spent a summer there with my aunt some 20 years ago. Gads 20 years ago?!?

Maupin to the Dalles is another smooth section of Hwy-197 with many passing zones (thankfully) on the numerous hills, including the famous Tygh Grade that has been the fall of many a vehicle because of its length.

About 10 miles from the Dalles, I noticed a red Chevy Blazer approaching up the hill suddenly stop. I begin to slow (I may or may not have been going well above the posted limit) when suddenly Bambi decides that the best time and place to cross the road would be a couple of feet in front of me. I’m glad the brakes work. I nearly did a stoppie to avoid hitting the Bastard. The Buell rider was right behind me and said all he saw was the deer start to run and at the same time my rear tire come off the ground a bit. At our stop in the Dalles, I had to check to make sure my shorts didn’t need replacing and that my seat was still intact. Is it possible to crap your pants at the same time as puckering? Glad to report the seat was still there and the shorts were squeeky clean.

Hwy-97 between the Oregon border and Yakima provides more nice corners and straight-aways. The only negative would be the amount of traffic at the south end. The weather maintained with its warm temp and partial cloud cover up to about Goldendale, then when turning a corner the temp fell about 10 degrees and there was the occasional sprinkle.

By the time we reached Yakima, the sun was out and the roads were dry so we removed ourselves from slab hell at East Selah and took Canyon Road into Ellensburg. What a great road this is. You are treated to wonderful scenery and some nice corners. One must be wary of LEOs and motor homes though.

Our lunch stop was at the Rodeo City Bar-B-Q in Ellensburg (L). A vast menu compared to other BBQ places I’ve been to. I had a tri-tip dip, which was the best I’ve had. I noticed the rolls in the kitchen, freakin’ HUGE.

The last of the roads with the good stuff was Hwy 10 from Ellensburg to Cle Elum. From there we really had no choice but to join the heavy traffic back home.

Day Three ends where it began (M) at 5:00pm

The stats:
Miles covered – 1054

Tickets accrued – 0

Accidents – ½ - 1 broken exhaust bracket after a heinous bump in the road

Injuries - 0

Mechanical Problems (all mine) :rolleyes: – 2 lost tail light nuts, 1 lost kick stand bolt, and 1 broken/missing shift linkage.

The following figures are from my M695:

Gallons of gas used – 18.2

Average MPG – 59.1 (Suck it Prius drivers)

Average Speed – I’ll not comment on that one.

Top Speed – Let’s just say it is north of what may be the posted speed limit, and a bit south of what the S2R or Buell will do.

10-08-2008, 11:35 AM
Excellent road trip report!!!!

The pic you show reminds me of 3 carriers surrounded by 3 fighter jets :)

Please post more pics...