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Trip Report: SE Oregon
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Slimvest
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:41 am    Post subject: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Just back from 10 days in various areas of SE Oregon. Trip was great and the van ran without issues aside from the odometer starting and stopping on its own terms. Mileage was about 1200 miles and we got to experience some of the emptiest regions of Oregon. Long stretches without seeing other cars or signs of development. We had to plan our grocery shopping strategically.

Started the trip in Spray, OR for the annual rodeo. My wife also ran the 10k race on the morning of the rodeo. We camped at a local ranch that had a "campground" that was cut into one of the hills on the ranch. Most campers there bring their horses to ride the 2000 acres available. We had a nice view of the valley.

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Bull riding and Coors Light
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Leaving the ranch
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Moving further southeast, we spent a night at a hot springs resort outside of Burns. It was busy, but provided a nice stop on the way to our next priority, the canyonlands north of Jordan Valley.

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The road in was about 30 miles of mixed washboard and smooth gravel. We also had some dry crossings from prior heavy thunderstorms that cut into the road at various spots. I considered airing down some, but the road wasn't too bad so we pushed on to the free BLM campground at the base of the gulch. No water, but the site had great scenery, pit toilets, shelters and was a 5 min walk to the mostly deserted reservoir at the end of the road. Hadn't seen a vanagon for days only to have one driving out just as we approached the campground.

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After two nights, we drove out seeing antelope, a burrowing owl, pheasants, and chukar in various spots. Also had to drive through a couple herds of cows as the area has a lot of open ranch land. We pulled off for a lunch stop along the way with Steens mountain down the valley.

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We stopped for the night in Diamond, OR at small hotel to clean up and have a meal cooked for us. Hotel Diamond was full of birders that provided good conversation at the communal dinner. We're not birders, but the water in the area was really high, so we saw a ton of different species floating and flying around. This is the same area where the Bundy boys and their friends occupied the BLM wildlife refuge a couple years back.

Our next stretch sent us south to the Hart Mountain antelope refuge. We had to do about 50 miles of dirt, gravel, mud, and horrible washboard to get there. The first 3/4 of which were mostly smooth and well maintained allowing us to cruise at 40mph. As soon as we hit the refuge, the road went downhill in quality. Lots of gravel, but the washboard was deep. The last 5 miles or so, after passing a "road work ahead" sign, all bets seemed to be off. Huge rocks, lumps of dirt, and washboard left us disagreeing with the refuge's claims of "well maintained, smooth roads". We explored the refuge a bit and decided to camp at the free CCC campground down in the valley. The views were vast and beautiful with the thunderstorms providing a great sunset.

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Our last stop before visiting friends in Bend, was another hot spring resort to soak at. Our old chocolate labrador we adopted in February was ready to go home.

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The van ran great and I got 21.5mpg on the last tank or non-ethanol supreme that is more common in the rural areas. We enjoyed a night with friends, food, and beers in Bend and motored back the next morning past Mt Hood and home without issue. Time to check for loose bolts and clean the mud off the van.
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Last edited by Slimvest on Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dobryan Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:06 am    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Two thumbs up!
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WestyBob
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Nice one Slimvest. A road trip to an area I've done decades ago and keep planning to do more again. Maybe in a month.
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Igeo
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Love it! Great photos! We are planning out first extended trip though Oregon in August. All up the coast then a diagonal to Bend, then to the SE area. Can't wait! Hope to find some fish and hot springs somewhere.
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Slimvest
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Igeo wrote:
Love it! Great photos! We are planning out first extended trip though Oregon in August. All up the coast then a diagonal to Bend, then to the SE area. Can't wait! Hope to find some fish and hot springs somewhere.


Definitely no shortage of hot springs. Developed or not. We're not "hot springs people" but they just kept showing up on the map as we motored around.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Is that a duplex next to the hotsprings? I might be interested seeing as Southern AZ is starting to warm up.
Looks like nice country to-boot. Thanks for the entertainment and inspiration Slim.
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Slimvest
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

AZ Landshaper wrote:
Is that a duplex next to the hotsprings? I might be interested seeing as Southern AZ is starting to warm up.
Looks like nice country to-boot. Thanks for the entertainment and inspiration Slim.


Actually, the main pool is inside that barn. It's pretty neat. There are also three outdoor pools on the backside of the barn. Look up Summer Lake Hot springs.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Nice Write up.
Love reading these. It is fun to read about regions I am completely unfamiliar with. Nice Photos as well - Awesome!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Inspirational trip report and beautiful pictures.
Thanks for sharing with us.
All that's missing is a picture of your Lab.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Great photos. Some beautiful country. Enjoyed it, thanks for the write up!
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:24 am    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing. I have spent quite a bit of time in that area of Burns/Steens/Alvord/Owyhee and love it every time I go back. Glad the van ran great.
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Slimvest
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:30 am    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

sanchius wrote:
Inspirational trip report and beautiful pictures.
Thanks for sharing with us.
All that's missing is a picture of your Lab.


Bud is in the foreground of the last picture. Brown dogs are hard to spot in the desert.
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Eric_Taylor
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Fun trip. I love going out there when we can.

Did you go up Steen's Mountain Road? How is it in the van?
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cbcnm
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

One of my favorite spots in Oregon. Looks like a lovely trip. This is the perfect time- not too hot yet!
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Slimvest
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Eric_Taylor wrote:
Fun trip. I love going out there when we can.

Did you go up Steens Mountain Road? How is it in the van?


I don't think it's open yet. Too much snow, but did it a few years ago and it was fine. Just slow going considering you're getting close to 9k feet elevation. Ran into a Syncro doka at the top:
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 12:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Great post! And I'm almost positive I was driving the Vanagon you saw on your way into Leslie Gulch. I was down there at the same time and remember seeing a Vanagon on my way out of that campsite (the only van I saw for many days down there!)

Very cool area. No kidding about checking for loose bolts -- after driving in on the washboarded roads, the next morning I did a check and found one of the upper ball joint bolts had backed out a bit.

We stayed in Leslie Gulch, Succor Creek and what I think was called Antelope Reservoir. Tried to make it down to Three Forks but the road was so muddy we turned around.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 5:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Slimvest wrote:
sanchius wrote:
Inspirational trip report and beautiful pictures.
Thanks for sharing with us.
All that's missing is a picture of your Lab.


Bud is in the foreground of the last picture. Brown dogs are hard to spot in the desert.


Sanchius can’t find dogs unless there is a breadcrumb trail of Husky Glitter
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Great report & beautiful pics... "A plus"! Wink

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Thanks for posting! Excellent report and pics. Logged for future reference!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:59 am    Post subject: Re: Trip Report: SE Oregon Reply with quote

Heading to Portland for a wedding in June. Looks like we'll tend a bit East on the way.

Nice report & pics.

Thanks!

Dan
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