Day Two of the 2014 Broventure sees us riding from The Dalles, and ending up in Northeast Oregon, near the town of Joseph. It’s our first proper day of riding as a group of five, and our route is a solid 380 miles in length, approximately 60 miles of which is off-road fire trails. This all means there has been plenty of miles through which to get to know my fellow companions.
I’m not sure what contribution my presence brings to the ride, other than some sort of written/photographic record, but the rest of the group is very dynamic. Ronnie likes to pop wheelies on his Triumph Street Triple, usually down elevated freeway on-ramps — he’s also putting us to shame with his Dunlop DOT race tires on the gravel roads.
Quentin is easily distracted by cats, even when negotiating with locals over a five-gallon can of gasoline — I worry about him. Pete is our rock, and if I can be a bit self-centered, I’m grateful for every mile that his eight-gallon BMW R1200GSA is near me…as I’ll be the first one stranded on the side of the road, looking for a gas tank to siphon.
Colin is the glue the binds us, as he’s probably the only one of us who actually knows where we’re going. He’s planned an amazing route for our trip, which has us connecting an epic series of remote roads. He’s also even reluctantly accepted the “Broventure” title that these pages carry, or so he says.
The weather is hot out here — 95º hot. But it doesn’t feel like it, likely because of the fast clip we’ve been carrying all throughout the day. If I looked at the average pace recorded by the Hypermotard’s computer, I’m sure it would show in excess of Oregon’s ubiquitous 55 mph road signs. It amazes me how little traffic we’ve encountered, despite our pace.
I presume the remoteness of Eastern Oregon is to thank for that, but that same attribute is forcing me to keep a weather-eye on my tripometer. With just over three gallons of useable tank, I’m constantly on the verge of being stranded, as not all the towns out here have a gas station — today’s ride compounded further by it being Sunday.
Though a couple gas stops were made while on vapors, thankfully the siphon we bought in the morning at Wal-Mart has not been used…yet. Tomorrow should be another day of playing in this part of the country, so we’ll see what “adventure” we can find.
So far, Colin’s route hasn’t disappointed in the adventure department though, as we’ve see great roads, even better terrain, and a good mix of riding. Leaving The Dalles, we ate breakfast in Arlington, at a completely forgettable diner that had just opened. How no one got food poisoning is beyond my ability to comprehend.
Following along the Oregon Trail, we got to discover some treasures of the West’s history — it was particularly interesting to read the republished excerpts from the settlers’ stories, almost all of whom talked about the toils of crossing the terrain we were riding. It puts things in perspective, to be certain.
Through Ione, Lexington, and into Echo, we rode through the Umatilla Reservation. I rode through Native American land during last year’s Broventure, and this year’s experience was similar.
With all the racial strife our country has faced in recent months, no single group has found a shorter end of the stick than the people we once called Indians. It’s truly shameful, and its roots start near the same time period as the historic trail we follow.
Clear of Pendleton, we set our next waypoint to be Elgin, where we hoped to have lunch. This is where things didn’t quite go according to plan. Breaking the cardinal rule of back road riding, myself, Quentin, and Ronnie didn’t wait at a crossing for Colin and Pete (shame us in the comments).
Assuming we had made the right decision in direction, Colin and Pete made the even more prudent choice of making sure that us three knuckleheads didn’t make the wrong decision, as it surely would have meant the three of us being stranded without gas in the middle of nowhere. As such, it added a couple hours to their journey.
Finally meeting for lunch in Elgin, we put fuel back in our empty bikes, and food in our empty stomachs. It was a good thing too, as our first real off-road excursion was up next. Riding through the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest into Wallow was 60+ miles of gravel fire road.
For me, it meant playing around with the Hypermotard’s riding mode and traction control settings, search for a way to turn “Wet” into “Enduro” mode. You can detune the Hypermotard SP from 110hp to 80hp, which makes traction control more of a preference thing.
It’s interesting to note the differences between single-digit traction control settings while on the gravel. A “7” means a constant flashing of the DTC Xmas light on the dash, whereas “6” is more subdue, and “5” is barely non-existent, until you start pushing the front and really spooling up the rear.
ABS is race mode is the way to go though, if you want to use the front brakes. With dual 320mm discs, turning off ABS would just be silly, especially with the powerful Brembo radial master cylinder which is part of the “SP” package on the Hypermotard.
Stopping at just outside of Enterprise, Colin and I met Pete at our hotel at the southern tip of Lake Wallowa, while Quentin and Ronnie made a jaunt up Rattlesnake Gorge. A full-day of riding, the bed beckons, before we do another full-day tomorrow. That’s not complaining you read, we are truly being spoiled by Oregon’s bounty.
Day Two by the Numbers:
- Quantity of forgotten deorderant sticks: 1
- Miles on the F-trip indicator: 28
- Best traction control setting thus far: 5
- Mountain Dews consumed today: 6-ish
Dinner Conversation Topics:
- The American welfare state
- The Broventure name
- Mike Hailwood
- Fake VIN numbers
- Broken collarbones