Posts Tagged With: travelog
Friday, July 26th and we’re on the road again, headed east to Idaho!
11 am and the temperature is climbing quickly. Gonna be a hot one today I think!
The Central Oregon Highway has got some nice curves east of Burns-
As well as long stretches that are dead straight-
Modest living out here-
It gets drier and hotter the further east we go-
Drinkwater Pass, elevation 4212″
Now we’re into some rolling hills and the road is more interesting-
An “Oasis” in the middle of nowhere
Gorgeous road and completely deserted!
Following the Malheur River-
Hotter and hotter! 99ᵒ degrees Fahrenheit (about 38ᵒ C)
At least it’s a dry heat, and the views remain spectacular-
31 miles to Idaho!
Big agriculture around here-
Approaching the town of Vale, Oregon-
Welcome to Vale!
Lunch at a fantastic Mexican joint on A Street-
If you’re passing through Vale, Oregon, Chavelitas Mexican Restaurant has got some awesome grub!
I picked up Kristhawee from the kids pavilion in the early afternoon; got there just as they were giving the Monarch butterflies their afternoon feed-
Sounds like my boy had had a fun day- Kristhawee won another animal, this time a moose to go along with the turkey he’d won the day before!
There was a fun “shuttle” that made the rounds of the rally grounds at the Oregon State Fairgrounds- it consisted of hay bales on a trailer and Kristhawee jumped on the shuttle every chance he got
Kristhawee really wanted to ride the chair lift, but looks to me like it hasn’t run in years…
Lots and lots of bikes!!
I took advantage of the DIY oil change station to service the Land Yacht-
Thanks BMW MOA! All I needed was oil and a filter; the BMW MOA volunteers supplied everything else!
That evening Kristhawee and I decided to take a break from the rally and go for a walk in Salem. A quick peek at Google Maps revealed a large park nearby and the one thing missing from the Oregon State Fairgrounds was a proper playground. We walked about a mile south of the fairgrounds to Englewood City Park and Kristhawee burned off some of his incredible energy-
Nice park full of big old oak trees and a nice playground. Lots of kids for Kristhawee to play with too!
Around sunset we decided to find some dinner. We wandered east on Market Street until we came to the very welcoming Willamette Valley Grill-
The lot was full of bikes and we hadn’t enjoyed a proper sit-down meal in a real restaurant in a while so this was a nice treat.
After a big dinner my little guy was falling asleep on his feet and I ended up carrying him for a good chunk of the long walk back to our tent at the Oregon State Fairgrounds
Going to the BMW MOA Rally was an unexpected treat for my son and me. Everyone we met there was friendly and welcoming, and it was an eye opening introduction to the BMW scene and culture.
I’m hoping Kristhawee and I can make it to the 2014 BMW MOA Rally in Minnesota this coming summer, though timing wise it might be a bit tough to get there in time…
Welcome to the 41st Annual BMW MOA International Rally in Salem, Oregon!
Beemers, Bigfoot and Blue Skies!
Kristhawee at the Oregon State Fairground in Salem, Oregon! He is a happy camper- coming here was totally unplanned; I just love how easy going he is
First order of business was to get registered and figure out where to camp.
Tons of space at the Oregon State Fairgrounds- we chose the “Oak Grove” on the south side of the fairgrounds as it was close to the entrance, the folks there seemed quite friendly and there was plenty of shade under the big oak trees. A panorama taken from our spot; Kristhawee is playing with our neighbors dog 🙂
Inside the fairgrounds, Beemers galore! (But if you look closely you’ll see that there are other brands mixed in)
Wow, who knew BMW makes a 250cc dirtbike?! 😉
So much to see at this rally! A huge list of vendors and tons of seminars plus a full entertainment schedule and more! The Vintage BMW Display and Contest was a highlight for both of us-
I don’t know anything about these old bikes, but they sure are a pleasure to look at!
Did BMW actually make bicycles? I couldn’t tell if this was genuine or a nicely done fake… I suspect the latter though…
Drum brakes, shaft drive, hard tail- awesome!
Not only vintage bikes, there were a lot of vintage riders at this rally!
This old timer rode all the way from the east coast on his 1975 BMW rat bike. He was pulling a home made trailer that looked like a torpedo on wheels- that was his camper! Mad respect to him for making the journey and I sure hope he makes it home alive!!
So much to see and do! Can’t go to a State Fair without enjoying a snow cone!
The first night there were some great bands on the stage at the Amphitheater, with old school CANNED HEAT headlining! Yes! Canned Heat!
The very same band that played at Woodstock back in 1969 is still going strong! Amazing!
The windows in the Dee Wright Observatory are cut to specifically highlight the neighboring mountains. My point and shoot couldn’t capture the inside of this structure very well at all-
Here’s a much better picture I found on the net:
Kristhawee with Mount Washington in the background; the snow covered mountain on the right is Mount Jefferson-
Pretty cool isn’t it little dude?
Father and son at McKenzie Pass, Oregon!
A final look at the Sisters before we jump back on the bike and hit the road!
What a gorgeous road- reckon the McKenzie Highway should be in the top 20 motorcycle roads in the US
The 242 ends at a T-junction and we hang a right and ride north on the 126, aka McKenzie Pass and Santiam Pass Oregon Scenic Byway
Who comes up with these road names?! The “Over the Rivers and Through the Woods Oregon Scenic Byway”?!
Turns out this is the South Santiam Highway 20; I missed the turn to the North Santiam Highway 20, but no matter- this was a beautiful road and great ride!
Some people hate signs like these, but bikers love ’em!
We made good time to Salem; I knew that the BMW MOA Rally was taking place at the Fair Grounds but didn’t know how to get there. Wasn’t too hard to find tho!
We rode down to Redmond, then west on Highway 126 towards the little tourist town of Sisters. The snow covered peaks of the Cascades beckon off in the distance-
Is Oregon beautiful or what??!?
Llamas or Alpacas? Goofy looking critters whatever they are!
Cascades dead ahead!
We stopped for lunch in Sisters where we found a pretty good Mexican joint-
After lunch we hit the good stuff! Highway 242, the old McKenzie Highway to the McKenzie and Santiam passes is a narrow twisting road that’s only open in the summer.
The 242 follows the path of an old 1860 wagon route and is so narrow it’s off limits to big trucks and RV’s, a perfect road for bikes! I usually take pics as I ride, but this road really required full attention and both hands on the bars at all times
It was an exciting whack up the twisty 242 and I pulled over at a viewpoint so that we could take it all in! Kristhawee on the Land Yacht with Mount Washington in the background and an ancient lava flow in between-
Mt. Washington, Oregon! The sea of lava you see is only about 1500 years old- hard to imagine this area covered in red hot lava!
The Sea of Lava, explained:
Back on the bike and we motor along until we reach the 5,325 feet (1,623 m) McKenzie Pass and discover this bizarre structure built completely out of lava rocks:
It’s the Dee Wright Observatory!
This Dee Wright Observatory was built by hand during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps, completed in 1935 and named for the construction crew’s foreman who had died the previous year after serving 24 years as a Forest Service packer and crew foreman. Read more about Dee Wright Observatory here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dee_Wright_Observatory
Looking east, the way we came-
Looking south at the Sisters- closest to us is North Sister and the further one is South Sister-
Up on top of the observatory is this cool brass “peak finder”, cast in 1937, that points to all the surrounding peaks-
Kristhawee with the Sisters behind him-
Hand cast in 1937- Very cool!
We rode west on the beautiful Ochoco Highway (26) to Prineville where we stopped to grab some lunch-
The landscape gets greener the further west we go. Ochoco Pass:
Approaching Prineville we can see the snow-covered Cascades off in the distance!
Roll in to Prineville and my little guy is sound asleep on the back, drooling like you wouldn’t believe!
He gets a new nickname: “Droolmonster!”
I found a golden arches with a hamster run; little guy is happy!
We’d settled into a nice routine, echoing the previous summer, where we’d camp at primitive sites for 4-5 days and then, when we ran out of clean clothes, we’d treat ourselves to a full service campground, usually a KOA, so that I could get some laundry done, charge up the phone, camera, iPad, check my email and Kristhawee would have lots of kids to play with, a pool and other amenities. We were well out of clean clothes at this point so I did a quick search and found a KOA just north or Redmond:
Kristhawee has completed his Junior Ranger workbook so we’ve returned to the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center to present it to a Ranger.
First we watch a paleontologist working on a fossil that has been brought into the lab in a plaster cast-
Then Kristhawee is sworn in as a John Day Fossil Beds National Monument Junior Ranger!
Bravo kiddo! I’m so proud of you!
We’d been seeing an unusual amount of BMW’s in recent days. A large group pulled in next to us and we struck up a conversation. They asked us if we’re headed to the BMW MOA (Motorcycle Owners of America) Rally that would kick off in Salem, Oregon in a few days.
What’s this? The 41st Annual BMW MOA International rally is kicking off only ~260 miles to the west just a couple days from now?! Who knew?!
I ask my little guy if he wants to go check out a biker party. Without pause or hesitation he says “Let’s go!”
Ha! I guess we’re headed to Salem!!
We’re headed back to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument via the Journey Through Time Oregon Scenic Byway-
Another hot sunny day!
As part of his Junior Ranger program Kristhawee needs to hike one of the trails in the National Monument. It’s getting really hot but fortunately all the trails here are quite short. We decided to check out the Story In Stone and Flood of Fire trails:
We had the place pretty much to ourselves-
Kristhawee on the Story in Stone Trail, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument-
It’s pushing 100 degrees and there’s not a bit of shade out here-
End of the Trail! You made it little dude!
Heading back; amazing geology here!
An amazing landscape-
My little guy got a second wind and we hustled up the Flood of Fire trail. I’m glad we did!
Otherworldly, isn’t it? You can’t get a sense for the scale of this feature- it’s HUGE!
Flood of Fire Trail panorama-
Only 11 am and already 102 degrees! Gonna be a HOT one today!!
Riding back to the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center we pass more eye catching formations-
Once again, very little traffic, beautiful road!
That dark peak is Sheep Rock; the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center is on the opposite side of the road-
We rolled out of the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center and rode north on the John Day Highway, passing Historic Cant Ranch and the National Monument headquarters-
Highway 19 is a fantastic road that passes through some amazing country-
The colors are amazing, though my on-the-fly pics with the old point and shoot don’t really do them justice-
I believe you can raft down the John Day River in the spring when the water level is higher-
More trees the further north we go-
We hang a right and ride north on the twisty 207, aka Heppner-Spray Highway, that climbs up into the mountains-
We have the roads pretty much to ourselves!
It was very hot back in John Day Fossil Beds National Monument but the temperature dropped as we rode up into the mountains-
A fantastic ride on a roller coaster of a road! Paved all the way to the campground. Welcome to Bull Prairie Lake!