Riding the Devils Tail
After a decent night sleep I was sure glad we
didn't camp it this trip. I have Doug Cushing from northwest
motorcycle Adventures to thank for the room. he provided the room
for the weekend. He reserves two each year. We got up early to beat
the rush of riders to the Canyon. Our timing couldn't have been
better as there were some storms on the way as well. We departed at
7:45 AM and made our way to main street to meet up with three other
riders. one of which was Peter Folkestad, son of Eric Folkestad.
Peter was riding a Ducati GT 1000 rental bike. What a cool machine!
We quickly departed and made a stop in for fuel in Baker City. The fuel
station gave all riders 10 cents off each gallon. This was a nice
surprise. We rode east bound up I-86 for 41 miles to the small town
of Richland where we parked the bikes and headed into to Annie's
cafe for breakfast. The cafe was small and interestingly enough had
a "hot Sale" on various cassette tapes for $1.00. There were takers.
The service was quick and the food was really good. In fact I would
have to say that I had one of the best chicken fried steaks I have
eaten. The eggs were cooked just right and the hash browns were
crispy on the edges as they should be. Annie's gets a big "Thumbs
Up" from Road-Quest.com!
some great conversation and food we got our gear on and a few of us
purchased some cookies from a near by bake sale. Something to nibble
along the way is always welcome. Leaving Richland we rode another 27
miles east on I-86 through more rolling hills, twists and turns with
a river to our right. The sun was shining a bit which made for nice
riding. At the end of the 26 miles we came to to Scotty's an outpost
and fuel supply shop. This is the last stop for fuel on the way to
hells Canyon so if you have a small tank this is your last chance
for fuel. The terrain along the way was just beautiful. We rode
through turn after turn and some straits across rolling hills that
were still green due to adequate rain. The presence of sage brush
told me this will not be the case in a few weeks. Scotty's was a
decent short stop and we all fueled our bikes. There were allot of
bikes in the lot as others had the same thing in mind. Once fueled
we rode 2.4 mile east on I-86 to the Oxbow reservoir crossing near
the Oxbow Dam which was the state line where we crossed into Idaho
on NF-454. It was starting to become more overcast which wasn't a
surprise. The weather forecast called for intermittent thunder
storms. This wasn't going to stop us from having a great ride. I had
all my textile gear on and was in no way going to get wet. Once on
NF-454 things got really cool. The next 22.4 miles of road, known as
"The Devils Tail" was
loaded with twists and turns as we carved our way into Hells Canyon.
What I am talking about here is pure bliss! Some of the turns are quite tight and in some rock debris was
present on the road way. These are two lane roads with no shoulder
and most of the way no guard rails. This is not a novice ride so you
may want to consider this when riding it. Definitely ride it just
use caution. Doug said it best. Ride
your own ride.
try and hang with those who have greater riding abilities. Ride a a
pace that is safe for you. If you make a mistake and blow one of
these turns you may be heading off a extremely steep canyon wall.
This has happened in the past. I only mention this because I don't
want to see anyone have an accidents. I should also point out you
have to be looking out for cars or bikes that round a turn and may
be a bit over the center lane. I witnessed some of this as well. As
we made our way deeper into the canyon the cliffs became smaller.
Soon we were riding just above the water level. There was allot of
greenery in the canyon from recent rains. This will not be the case
in July. In fact I'm told the deeper you go the hotter it gets in
Hells Canyon. It can reach triple digits in the canyon. Bring allot
of liquids when riding out here. Fortunately for us the cloud cover
kept us cool but also got us wet. The closer we got to the Hell's
Canyon Dam the wetter it seemed to get. It wasn't pouring but it was
wet. We stopped for a while and took in the scenery at the bottom
just past the Hells canyon Dam. this is where the Snake river runs.
The bikes really started to pull in as we prepped for our return
trip. After we grabbed all our photo we saddled up and rode the 22.4
miles back out of the canyon. The ride out was just as scenic as the
ride in as it gave us a different perspective of the canyon as we
rode in the opposite direction. The ride back I-86 was mostly dry
with the occasional burst of showers. We did make one stop at the
Oregon Trail Interpretive center. The center has a couple
looking the Oregon Trail. They have a set time interval where they
fire a big copper canon with real black powder. It makes quite a
boom and allot of smoke. In the center they have exhibits and a 30
minute show where an actor plays the part of the French guide that
did great things to help Lewis and Clark complete the expedition but
as luck would have it in the final days there was a hunting accident
and he shot Lewis in the ass forcing him to have to lay down in the
boat for a couple weeks to heal on the return trip. I can't remember
his exact name but I know he shot Lewis in the ass. From the
Interpretive center it was a short 9.2 miles back to Baker City.
Once back in town it was time to get to main street and get our
rally on! Our first stop was Geyser Grand a brew pub that I really
enjoyed. I was drinking the Mirror pond Pale Ale and it went down so
smoothly after a days ride. This was a great time to meet folks in
the pub. I'm going to throw a couple names out. There were three
folks I met and really liked. Peter who at one time hit a deer
or the deer hit Peter. Anyhoo! He totaled his bike. Hid replacement
bike I'm told has the vanity plate "DoeTag" I love it! Then there
was Billie Jean an officer of the Rose City Motorcycle Club. Billie
has two BMW's and rides 20,000 miles a year. Way to rock it Billie!
Then there is John who rides a Yamaha FJR.
it was the award ceremony time. Miss Oregon was on stage to present
the lifetime achievement awards along with Eric Folkestad. I was
present to receive one of the three awards. Cheryll Malisch of the Dam Tour and
Fred Brehoney from the Patriot Guard Riders who did allot of work and support for fallen veterans. After the award ceremony
they gave trophies to winners of different categories of the bike
show. I also must give an honorable mention of the Baker City Band
that was playing prior to the award ceremony. They did a great job.
After the ceremony and bike show awards we made our way south a
block or two to the Baker City Cafe. The owner are Jake
and Brandi Ulrey. We actually met Brandi and she was great. As we
were figuring our what Pizza we wanted, John and Billie Jean came in
and pulled up a table and chairs to join us. Brandi took our order
as our server Kim delivered our ice cold beverages.
We were starving and she went back into the kitchen and came back a
short while later with this mammoth combination pizza that was one
of the best pizza's I have eaten. I like it so much it will go in my
features stops page and I have displayed their address and contact
information below. this place is a must stop. After a filling late
dinner we returned to our rooms as we had a 400+ mile ride the
following day. We couldn't have asked for a better rally, riding,
crowd of people and food!
Don't forget to stop in and tell them Rob from
Road-Quest.com sent you.
Baker City Cafe
Jake and Brandi
1840 Main Street
Baker City, OR 97814