Monday, October 19, 2009

Eighty Mile Pictorial Harley Tour Of NorthEast Oregon

This is one of my favorite shorter loops out of Baker City, Oregon with its apex at Union, Oregon and returning to Baker City about 2 1/2 hours later. The route is Oregon 203 to Union and Old US 30 back to town.

This is all two lane blacktop with no real shoulders and lots of curves. Oregon is pretty conservative with its speeds for curves; experienced riders won't find close to 150% of speed excessive - if you can see far enough around one for that.

****Click the pics for full size - miss out if you don't*****

Rising up out of Baker Valley gives you a vista of the Eagle Caps of the Wallowa Mountains across sage brush and cheat grass. This is dry country.

The apparent desolation gives way to farm and ranch land where there is water. The hilly land is cut by numerous creeks, the one at the base of this is Big Creek.

Pondosa was a thriving logging/mill town of over 500 at one time, the current Pondosa Store is what's left, a former residence. Pictured is my scooter and my buddy Aubrey on his '07 Kawasaki Concours.

Inside you'll find a warm old timey general store atomosphere and friendly proprietors and something to take a break with.

After winding down through Medical Springs, a one time therapeutic hot springs, you'll begin to climb into the timber and reach Catherine Creek State Park. This is a pretty site with multiple facilities and a large pretty creek.

Not far from Catherine Creek you begin to find the bare bones of the earth as you cut through canyons.

Without the afternoon sun in your eyes (and camera) this is what you're rolling through.

Union is a nice little town with multiple opportunities for food and drink including the turn of the century Union Hotel. There is more to downtown than this but it isn't a big place.

Old US 30 winds though canyons and past a wind farm and tops out looking into Baker Valley and the Elkhorn Mountains, the valley floor is at 3500 feet and the mountains rise to 10,000 feet.

There isn't a lot to North Powder but you can find a couple cafes and convenience stores and nice people.

Haines is about 14 miles outside Baker City and home to the much acclaimed Haines Steak House. This really is about all there is to downtown Haines.

If you don't stop to fool around this ride will take about 2 hours, but where's the fun in that? The road surfaces are quite good and traffic is very light. You never want to forget that you are in country where there may be critters on the road and where the road hugs up against slopes rocks can fall onto it. Temperatures rise and fall quickly in this country and elevation can mean real changes as well.

You will ride through near desert, farm land, towns, and timber all in a few hours and still end up right where you started without repeating anything. There aren't many places like North Eastern Oregon and if you haven't explored some of it you've missed some real riding, fine folks, and pretty scenery - don't do that, come see us.


Throwin Stones said...


That looks like a great relaxing ride. We have some family friends that just moved to OR. Hopefully we can visit soon. I've never made it that far up the left coast.


Keeneye said...

Great post. I enjoyed my 2-minute tour before heading to work this morning. Thanks!