From Paisley back Home (last chapter of the 2013 Steens trip)

I like to complete my stories, and this report of my September 2013 trip to the Steens Mountain got side tracked and I never wrote its last chapter.  Among other stories already published after my last 2013 Steens post, I had started writing about that United Airlines press release of November and got over my head trying to make sense of what I was trying to convey. It reminded me of the penurious times I spent as a graduate student.  Distractions also came from trips to Brazil, then Hawaii, then there was the general laziness from the end of year break and celebrations. Time to get back on track! Therefore I decided to put the United story aside and take care of the riding stories that have been waiting to be completed.

Chewacan River at the Marsters campground, near Paisley

Chewacan River at the Marsters campground, near Paisley

On my last post about this trip, I reported we had camped in the Marsters Campground near Paisley on our way back from the Steens. Here is where the story continues.

I woke up in the morning and as I was setting the bike up I noticed the bark busters were getting lose on the bar ends. This bike is great, but it really shakes everything and anything lose on long road rides.  But then, this is all the maintenance this bike needs besides oil changes, air filter cleaning, and tire changes every now and then.

Time to tighten some fasteners

Time to tighten some fasteners

We had breakfast at the same restaurant in Paisley.  Looking at these sunny pictures of September last year, and I’m already dreaming of good riding days again.

Sunny days... Paisley in September, 2013

Sunny days… Paisley in September, 2013

We split our ways here. Doug and Annie went their way. Chris and I found our way back north.  We would be riding together for a while, then I was going home and back to work, Chris would continue riding for a couple more days before returning to Eugene, timing to arrive in Eugene just before his brother arrived from Switzerland to reclaim the bike  (the F800GS belongs to Oliver, Chris’ brother).  We decided to ride the dirt roads on the range of mountains, called Winter Ridge, that parallels Hwy 31st, south to north, alongside the length of Summer Lake.  The ridge starts just north of Paisley, climbs steeply from there. Very quickly we already had a panoramic view of this small town.

Paisley viewed from the south end of the Winter Ridge. September 2013

Paisley viewed from the south end of the Winter Ridge. September 2013

We continued north, encountering some hamburgers and steaks along the way.  The roads were very smooth gravel. Besides the cattle, I also saw a big cat crossing the road just in front of me at high speed.  I had my GoPro camera rolling, and I reviewed the footage many times, including in slow motion, and have not been able to see the animal yet. Need a frame by frame editor to see it. It was likely a mountain lion, a big one.

Cattle on the road

Cattle on the road

Road signs need some help.

Road signs

Road signs

We eventually ran into Doug and Annie, as they were also exploring the area. After a few more miles made it to the Fremont view point.

Fremont viewpoint, Summer Lake on the background looking like a dust bowl

Fremont viewpoint, Summer Lake on the background looking like a dust bowl

Summer Lake was a dust bowl.

Looking to the south, from Fremont Viewpoint, September 2013

Looking to the south, from Fremont Viewpoint, September 2013

Looking to the north.

Looking north from the Fremont Viewpoint

Looking north from the Fremont Viewpoint

The bikes: very good, trouble-free machines.

Great machines.

Great machines.

We continued, going down the Winter Ridge at its north end to join Hwy 31.

Going north, and down from the Winter Ridge

Going north, and down from the Winter Ridge

Once on Hwy 31 we made a bee-line to Silver Springs. We found some shade under the roof of a former gas station.

Silver Springs, September 2013

Silver Springs, September 2013

We had some refreshments, and met the last of the people still on their way out from the Burning Man event. It was here that Chris and I said our goodbyes. He would continue west.  I went north from there, following Hwy 31 to 97 to 58 on my way home.

Silver Springs

Silver Springs

The machine made it home once again.

Back Home, September 2013

Back Home, September 2013

This machine has been flawless.  The total distance for this trip was 1,112 miles (the Nuvi shows less miles, and it probably was because it always took longer then the Oregon to acquire satellites on cold starts). And the bike has 7,118 miles on the clock.

1,112 miles.

1,112 miles.

And the tires, my third set for the rears, well, they probably can last another 1,000 miles or so.

Tires, good for another 1,000 miles, not more than that.

Tires, good for another 1,000 miles, not more than that.

Overall, I continued to be impressed with this little machine.  This bikes allows me to ride at speeds on dirt roads, speeds I can’t match when I’m riding larger bikes such as my Tiger 800XC. But at the same time I would like if it did a bit better on pavement or on those gravel highway roads. When winds blow perpendicular to or direct against my direction of travel the little machine struggles.  I don’t like trucking or trailering bikes much, I’ve done it in the past a couple of times.  It is really nice to ride all the way to the riding spots and back and be more self-sufficient, even with the challenges imposed by the little bike.

The bike, light loads on this trip

The bike, light loads on this trip

For this trip I was not completely self-sufficient as Doug carried on his truck my tent and other camping supplies.  I only carried the essentials: tools, spare tubes, extra gasoline, and basic survival supplies (food, water, and cold/rain gear for an overnight stay on the side of the road, should I run into mechanical problems). This made my trip to and from the campsite more fun in terms of the motorcycle’s performance, carrying less of a load.

The WR250R and the F800GS. Hogback Road, September 2013

The WR250R and the F800GS. Hogback Road, September 2013

Overall, I was also very impressed by the F800GS. It went everywhere my WR250R went. Although a bit slower, but it was steady and trouble free. Credit goes to Chris’ excellent riding skills, of course. But still, we took some unmaintained side tracks off the Steens Loop and the F800GS did not miss a beat through rocks, sand and ruts. Overall, I left wandering how much better it is than my Tiger 800XC.

Meanwhile, I’m already planning my return to the Steens this coming Summer. Stay tuned.

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8 Responses to From Paisley back Home (last chapter of the 2013 Steens trip)

  1. V Star Lady says:

    Excellent recap glad you had such a great time on the Yamaha.

  2. Trobairitz says:

    Sure is nice to see those sunny pictures about now. Beautiful scenery, as always.

    We have a little XT 250 and are looking for another little one as well so we can both ride to the trails or trailer them if needed. If I am on the XT then Troubadour is stuck on the Tiger on the trails and that isn’t always fun with that heavy bike.

    • cesardagord says:

      Yes, here in Oregon it is almost second nature to have a smaller bike designed for dirt duty. It is good too that they are not expensive bikes.I hope you get a second one!

  3. bob skoot says:

    Cesar:

    I have been through Paisley, Mosquito Capital of the world. We stopped at the tavern, that’s all I remember. Took OR31 from Lakeview back to La Pine

    If I were much younger perhaps I would have something like a WR250 but I don’t think that is in my plans for now. Always nice to read about your backroad adventures

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

    • cesardagord says:

      Hey Bob, great to hear from you. There are other smaller bikes that will do a great job taking you off the beaten path on a more relaxed pace than the WR250R.
      And yes, Hwy 31 will take you to 97 and La Pine.

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