The third day of a trip begins the true measure of the adventure. You see, on the first day, you’re excited to be on the open road, and ambition mixed with some adrenaline fuels you. The second day, there remains enough of a connection to back home, that you haven’t truly left it behind yet. But by the third day, the miles being to take their toll, and a trip truly begins to gel. The Broventure is no different.
Despite being one of our shorter days, 210 miles in total, the 50/50 mix of off-road riding made it one of our hardest. We were truly off the beaten path, judging our route not by its direction or duration, but by the conditions on the various “roads” we were riding. They ranged from packed gravel, to loose rock, to rough dirt, and ended with a proper baptism of off-road fire.
Expansive views, sheer drops, and thirsty miles dominated Day Three, but you wouldn’t know it by our demeanor. Tired yes, but Oregon, Washington, and Idaho gave us plenty for our effort. The Bros are gelling too…and where perhaps Colin and Pete were resistant to the eyeroll-worthy “Broventure” mantle, they’ve embraced the spirit…or maybe that’s just the heat and dehydration talking.
Leaving Wallowa Lake, we lost Ronnie in the morning, as he apparently has work on Mondays. This brought our ranks down to just four riders. Underway, we slammed asphalt for about an hour, getting into Imnaha. From there, we took about a 40-mile there-and-back ride to Hat Point, which some clever fellows had renamed “Hat Penis” with its rock sign.
The climb was moderate to easy, as the gravel fire road changed conditions once we got to the ridge line. Riding along the edge of this range, we could peer down into Hells Canyon, where the Snake River delineates the Idaho border, some 5,750 feet below. As breathtaking as the Grand Canyon, Hells Canyon clearly suffers a marketing problem in its ability to attract visitors — we enjoyed having most of the space to ourselves though.
I have to say, the Hypermotard is growing on me as an ADV alternative. Understanding now how the Pirelli Scorpion tires hook up on the gravel, and playing around more with the bike’s electronics, the “little” Italian bike is proving itself to be a very capable 50/50 use machine.
The suspension is too stiff, because of its street-bias, but that’s easy enough to fix, and all the is really required are taller bars. With my hands up several more inches, I would finally be able to stand out of the saddle. Until I can make that change though, I’m content to blast around seated — my ass puckered to the seat after a few highside-worhy “moments” on the trail.
At the end of the road, at Hat Point, there was a fire observation tower. The idea is some poor forestry service ranger sits in this tower, and scans the terrain for a fire. With modern technology, he can call for backup for larger fires, but for smaller fires this ranger is the person responsible for putting out the fire — task made much more difficult with the lack of communication in the past. It was truly impressive.
On our way back down the grade, Quentin suffered a tire puncture. Compounding the issue was the fact that it went unnoticed for some distance on the road, which meant is forged aluminum Marchesini wheel was bent in several places. Not a problem, we’ll just bang it out…with a rock. The whole process took maybe an hour, and added some flavor to what has otherwise been an major-event free trip.
Leaving Imnaha via a mix of packed gravel road and asphalt, we made our way to the next climb, up the Imnaha River, and to Hells Canyon Overlook. Like Sisyphus, our day’s toil was to climb and descend great elevations, and our route back down from the overlook found us on “Hess Road” — a wretched little road with loose boulders, steep inclines, and deep ruts. It’s one of those roads that’s fun to talk about, only after you’ve finished riding down it. You probably know the type.
At this point, we were certain that I would run out of fuel, as we made our way through the gas-less town of Oxbow and into Halfway. To our surprise, the Hypermotard’s fuel tank should resilience for 32 miles, leaving our siphon still unused (a bit of a disappointment for the group, to be honest).
From Halfway, it was a spirited ride to Baker City, where dinner, hot showers, and comfortable beds were a welcomed sight. Day Four marks our return to PDX, and that thought is proving to be bittersweet.
It is worth noting that somewhere along the road my phone broke, going to the big Broventure in the sky, meaning we won’t have any more Instagram photos or updates until I get back to Portland. Let’s hope that’s the only breakdown we encounter, at least, the only one that can’t be fixed with a big rock. With this group, that’s a 50/50 proposition.
Day Two by the Numbers:
- Times going to “the little bros’ room” on the trail: At least a dozen
- Total trip miles so far: 821
- Minutes it would take to drop off the cliffs: 11.7
- Number of bad days so far: 0
Dinner Conversation Topics:
- How disgusting pickles are
- Welfare & Ayn Rand
- Country-fried steak
- Ferguson-like tensions in Portland
- The masturbation clinic at Burning Man
- Pete’s closet conservative tendencies