Day 2 – Eastern Oregon Loop

Day’s distance / Total trip distance: 300 miles / 670 miles

Total travel time: 8 hours with stops

The weather today was quite nice. The morning started in the mid 60s, down to mid-50s in the mountains and up into mostly the 70s. Cloud cover varied from deep blue behind cumulus to mostly sunny.

Again, I shortened this trip from my original plan, cutting off about 2 hours of what was an ambitious day. This allowed me to be more relaxed, stopping when I wanted, etc. throughout the day.

Not to worry, though. There were plenty of ideal (for me, anyway) motorcycle roads. Two-lane scenic highways, county roads with almost no traffic, near-perfect pavement, plenty of photo opportunities.

Highway 7 between Baker City to Austin, OR

The cafe in Austin was closed and the business for sale. Bummer 🙁

County Road 20 (CR 20) was next. I rode this a few years ago and wanted to ride it again.

Galena is a tiny community of homes in the middle of CR 20 (aka The Middle Fork Road). I think these are local “landmarks” in the broad sense. 🙂

County Road 20 follows the Middle Fork of the John Day River and is close to perfection.

I stopped in the small town of Long Creek after turning south on Hwy 395. The OK Garage has ethanol-free premium and a small store, so I filled up the tank and had a cold coffee drink.

I did meet another biker who has also done a fair bit of distance riding named Chris while hanging out. He asked if I’ve ridden Dooley Mountain Highway. At first I didn’t recognize the name, but he pointed it out on the map (Oregon State Route 245) and I remembered it right away (as having gravel around many of the corners that spring).

Well, Chris had a job to do I had roads to ride, so I headed west through Monument, Spray, Fossil and Shaniko.

This notable section just north of Antelope on the way to Shaniko, OR …

where I would stop for a water and to say hello to a few bikers. Did I just crop out the Ducati? I did. (hehehe)

After Shaniko, it was Interstate 97 and, this photo from Highway 197 looking ahead to the town of The Dalles, my layover for the night.

While it would be hyperbole to say today’s ride seemed like a Spring day in Eastern Oregon, there was still a component of Spring in the green grass and seemingly hydrated forests for mid-July.

My room wasn’t ready when I arrived (I told them I’d be arriving later as I hadn’t shortened today’s route yet – no biggie for me as I was hungry.

It was Taco Thursday at the Tacos Tumbras truck less than a mile away and I still had my gear on, of course. Rated 4.7 and many folks were ordering in Spanish. A good sign.

Nicely grilled Al Pastor tacos for me! $1.75 each. Try the green sauce. 🙂

Tomorrow I’ll be riding through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest before going by Mt Rainier on my way back to Seattle. Stay tuned!

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