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Hells Canyon Rally Day 4

Monday, June 14, 2010
Monday, June 14th, I woke up on my own at 6 AM for day 4 - the ride home - of the Hells Canyon Rally.

Our day started out on a disappointing note. Our trailer had been driven east for us; it was supposed to be driven back west for us, too. However, it appeared that our driver changed his plans at the last second, leaving us in the lurch. The trailer's owner stepped up to drive it home himself, forgoing the ride back with us.


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We all loaded up the trailer and were on the road by 7:30 AM. From Baker City we took OR-7 back towards John Day. With the weather report calling for highs in the low 70s, I had opted to wear a mesh jacket. As we went through a 5125 ft pass, then another 5200 ft pass on US-26 before John Day, I was regretting the decision.

We tried stopping in Prairie City for breakfast, but every place that said "breakfast" was closed. We continued on to John Day and had our morning meal at the Outpost Pizza Pub & Grill.

We charged west on US-26, back through the Picture Gorge, and soon found ourselves in Prineville. With half of us (myself included) running on reserve fuel, we filled up there before inching out of town in heavy construction traffic. The road opened ahead of us and we darted up to Madras, where we sat in traffic again. From Madras on, our normal high-speed sport-touring tamed, as the density of other vehicles on the road grew from "rare" to frequent".

Through Warm Springs we went, still cold. Then we started climbing Mt. Hood, where it mysteriously didn't warm up at all. We all stopped at the rest area near Government camp to put on warmer clothes and to bid each other farewall; we'd be parting ways on the road and unable to say goodbye then.

When OR-212 forked off of US-26, I kept going straight. Everyone else took OR-212 back towards their home with a big friendly wave. I was sad to leave the group, but happy to be heading home.

Bug hits on my motorcycle

Looking back, it was an incredible trip with good friends. Our group was lucky; we had no accidents and no tickets in our 1,200+ miles of riding. Being the slowest rider, I was never more than a few minutes behind the lead rider; our skills were all within a reasonable distance. We rode competent motorcycles that performed admirably, if not flawlessly.

What's left of my front tire after the trip.

Would I do it again? With the same crew, yes!

The rally itself was definitely designed for the cruiser (read as: Harley-Davidson) rider, so we didn't quite fit in with the leather-clad culture. We found ourselves on the periphery of the rally itself; there, yes, but almost actively avoiding the crowds. Still, it was a fun atmosphere to be in, and I'm thankful to have been invited and to have had the opportunity to go.

... and I slept really well the night after I got home.

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