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Old 09-16-2013, 07:44 AM   #1
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My journey through Hell (s Canyon) and beyond... (lots of pics!)

From my blog:

Last week I found myself itching to get away on another quick weekend tour on the Multistrada. I think that as summer fades away and the days start getting shorter, we start to realize that it won't be long until the bike is put away (mostly) for the winter, and opportunities like we have this time of year will be gone until spring.

Late in the week, as I saw that it would indeed be possible for me to get away for an overnight trip, I started planning a route. I wanted to try some new roads I hadn't yet experienced. I came up with a route that would take me through a portion of Hells Canyon along the Snake River, and through some eastern Oregon twisties that looked particularly fun.

Here's the route I came up with:



It wound up being about 670 miles total. During the ride on Saturday, I opted to reverse the route, to make day one's ride longer (380 miles), to get me home a little earlier on Sunday. The roads were remarkably empty throughout the whole trip, which was great.

It was awesome! I can't believe I've lived here in Idaho for 20 years and had never been to Hells Canyon before.

Brownlee Reservoir and the Snake River in Hells Canyon were really picturesque:









Once you cross the Snake River, you are in Oregon. I turned south on Hwy 86 and headed toward Baker City. This section of road was really fun. Fast and flowing, mostly through prairie and desert terrain. Some really fun curves here! This one is between the little towns of Halfway and Richland.





Canyon Creek meanders alongside the road as you get closer to Baker City:

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Old 09-16-2013, 07:45 AM   #2
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I stopped in Baker City for fuel and lunch. From there I traveled south on Hwy 7 toward John Day. Another really fun, generally empty, fast and flowing route through mostly forest area. Doesn't this look like a fun stretch of tarmac? Twist that throttle!



I'd been through John Day, OR a bunch of times, so instead of riding all the way there, I cut across to the west on County Road 20, which Tommy and I discovered on a ride over that way earlier this season. It's also called the Old West Scenic Bikeway, which runs along the Middle Fork of the John Day River. It's a beautiful stretch of road, pretty tight and twisty - and watch out for the cows! Sometimes they are right in the middle of the road as you come around a corner (but not often).





This road took me to Hwy 395, which I rode north to the little village of Ukiah. I stopped at a little store there for a cold drink, then began the final leg of Saturday's journey to the northeast on Hwy 244 toward my evening's destination of LaGrande. There are some unbelievably fun corners along this stretch of highway, that really let you lean the bike to your maximum level of tire trust. I'm finding that the new Pirelli Angel GT's are quite up to the challenge!





I had a relaxing evening in LaGrande where I had a decent dinner, cleaned up the bike a bit (of course), and fell asleep pretty early after a pretty intense day of riding. Got up early on Sunday, watched the MotoGP race from Mugello, and got back on the road for the journey back toward home.

Sunday morning was cool, with a few threatening-looking clouds off to the east, but the forecast was for it to get pretty warm and sunny (around 90 degrees), so I wasn't too worried. I'd ridden Hwy 82 between LaGrande and Enterprise, OR once before, but I forgot how fun and beautiful it is. A great way to start the day.



After riding through Enterprise, I continued on to the east, to the little historic town of Joseph, OR. What a cool town! A little touristy, kind of artsy, with all sorts of shops and restaurants. Beautiful, with tall mountains making for a spectacular backdrop. Just south of the town is beautiful Lake Wallowa. I rode over to check it out.

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Old 09-16-2013, 07:46 AM   #3
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Next it was on to Wallowa Mountain Road. Very remote. Very narrow. Bumpy. Tight. Amazingly scenic! One of my new regional favorites. Looking forward to getting back here soon.



I put the Multi into "Urban" mode to deal with the bumps and potholes along the way, and it soaked them up nicely. Although I could have ridden faster, I didn't really feel the need, as I was so enjoying the scenery - and of course the need to stay aware of deer, cows, bears, etc.

I only wish my camera could do justice to the majesty of the vistas along this route!









The road went on and on and on like this. Just breathtaking. And pretty steep in a lot of areas too! I really want to come back in a month or so to check out the fall colors, as I'm sure they're quite spectacular.



Time to head back into the canyon to the Snake River, and the couple of remaining hours to home. I had to stop for one more pic as I descended the hill toward the beautiful and serene river below.



After I passed Brownlee Reservoir and headed toward Cambridge, Idaho through some forest area, I saw something along the side of the road which I'd never seen before. Black and furry, from a distance I thought it was another cow, but as I got closer I realized it was a small bear! I slowed down a bit to check it out, but as I approached on the bike it scampered down the slope into the trees and I couldn't see it anymore. That was pretty cool.

You can see why this has become my new regional favorite. So much variety of riding conditions, from fast and flowing to tight and technical, all with hardly any cars. I'm really grateful to live so close to such great riding opportunities, and to have a bike like the Multistrada, which continues to impress me by doing it all so very well.
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Old 09-16-2013, 07:56 AM   #4
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Wow... looks like some awesome roads... and gorgeous scenery to boot...
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Old 09-16-2013, 11:44 AM   #5
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VERY nice!
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:14 AM   #6
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Next it was on to Wallowa Mountain Road. Very remote. Very narrow. Bumpy. Tight. Amazingly scenic! One of my new regional favorites. Looking forward to getting back here soon.

You can see why this has become my new regional favorite. So much variety of riding conditions, from fast and flowing to tight and technical, all with hardly any cars. I'm really grateful to live so close to such great riding opportunities, and to have a bike like the Multistrada, which continues to impress me by doing it all so very well.
Yes Yes in Deedy, We live in the Sweet spot...Easy enough access to it, And at a time when these bikes are here. And..The Western USA is our play ground
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:56 PM   #7
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Thanks for the hot Idaho-area road tips and the great photography.
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:02 PM   #8
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What amazing photographs .. really.

Great choice in bike and love the license plate too..!

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Old 09-28-2013, 03:57 PM   #9
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Great photography and a great looking ride! I've been on 244 going the opposite direction you did and I agree, that road really lets you get it over. Wow! Not enough people are seeing this great stuff.
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:15 AM   #10
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Thanks very much, all! I'm really looking forward to a "Fall Colors Tour" in a couple of weeks...
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:57 PM   #11
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Looks like a great ride. Those are some of the best photos I've seen. You can do some work for the magazines or manufactures.
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:32 PM   #12
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Looks like a great ride. Those are some of the best photos I've seen. You can do some work for the magazines or manufactures.
What a nice compliment. Thanks very much!
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:34 PM   #13
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Late in September I planned to take a few days in October to ride through some beautiful terrain in Idaho and Oregon, to enjoy a nice final extended touring ride before the weather gets cold, the days get short, and riding opportunities grow scarce.

Unfortunately, work got in the way. Bummer, since we've had some really nice riding weather.

Still, I have managed to squeeze in a couple of shorter rides over the past couple of weekends - 150 miles on one, and 250 on the other. Of course, I managed to snap a few pics along the way:













Very happy and grateful that I got to get these rides in, but bummed to see the leaves almost gone, and know that our riding season is drawing to a close.
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:20 PM   #14
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Very nice! Gotta get up to Hells Canyon for a ride.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:38 AM   #15
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Beautiful pics on top of beautiful pics..
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