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Hells Canyon Rally Day 2

Monday, June 14, 2010
Saturday, June 12th, we all woke up early (and, yes, slightly hung over) for day 2 of the Hells Canyon Rally. Part of the problem was that, at the high school where a hundred or so people camped, bikes were starting at 5:30 AM. And by "bikes", I mean "cruisers", and by "cruisers" I mean "Harleys with the loud pipes on them". I stayed in bed sleeping until 7:30 or so.

Oh, and I'm going to go on record here and say that I'm not a fan of public showers and toilets. Call me modest, but I generally prefer at least a curtain, if not a door.

We were on the road before 9 AM, ready to enjoy an amazingly beautiful and warm (but not hot) day. We were going to ride the Gold Rush Course, which would take us through Granite and Sumpter and the Lehman Hot Springs. Heading north through Haines, we stopped for breakfast at the Frontier Restaurant. While we waited for our food, I realized I'd left my hat and my tire pressure guage back at the trailer. While we waited for our food, we discussed the day's ride: we all wanted to hit the hot springs. While we waited for our food, we did a lot of things, because it took over an hour to get served (and two of us got our meals 10 minutes after the other three.)

Part of the reason that we wanted to do the Gold Rush Course on Saturday was that the Canyon Course - the ride that included the Devil's Tail - was popular and was generally cruised on a Saturday. That meant that those of us on sportier rides would be wanting to travel at a different pace. We opted to save that ride for later.

Saturday's ride. The La Grande details are a little iffy, but we just stopped there for gas:

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Continuing north, we fueled up in La Grande, then hopped on I-84 west for a couple miles. We then took OR-244 to the hot springs - but they were closed. We continued on through the beautiful Umatilla National Forest to Ukiah, then turned toward Granite on National Forest Development Road 52, where we continued to enjoy the scenery at it passed by at absurdly high speeds. Hoping to cut back over towards Baker City and find another hot springs, we turned onto Nation Forest Development Road 73, but the road was impassable due to snow. At least this one was clearly signed... which we ignored.

Stopped by snow on road 73

While we were stopped at the end of this obscure road, an older gentleman rode up to us, stopped, an promptly dropped his motorcycle. Fortunately, it was on the left side, "where [he] always drops it".

A brief pause to enjoy the scenery of the Umatilla National Forest

So we turned around and decided to take National Forest Development Road 51 back toward La Grande. Aside from one section of it that had a huge number if potholes, it was a fun road. On I-84, our lead rider apparently didn't know where he was going and, at the last second, cut over to take the wrong exit. Whatever. He caught back up to us as we were fueling up and caught the appropriate amount of heckling for the move. We tried to find another hot springs, but it was closed, too. Defeated, we finally made time getting back to Baker City.

We cleaned up and went to downtown Baker City, which was full of bikers and generally lively. We ate some fairly mediocre Chinese food at a place called Jimmy Chan's, then stopped by to see the festivities at the event area. They were holding a raffle in which two of the top prizes were very nice revolvers!

Eventually we went back to the trailer, lit a fire, had a couple drinks, and just relaxed. A lot of people were firing up their Harleys to ride (helmetless) across the campground to use the high school restroom, a move that made me (with my motorcycle safety hat on) roll my eyes.

Exhausted from the day's spirited ride, we called it a night around midnight, all of us quickly falling into a deep slumber.

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