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Lies, Lies, Lies

by Gary Umland
Originally Published in the IAMC Newsletter, May 2014

In August Thane Eddington and I both got new bikes, his a Tiger 800 and mine a V-Strom 650. It was time to hit the road. After doing some route planning and research on Google I decided to get the Challenge Points near Riggins. We started out the morning with a slab ride to McCall and on toward Burgdorf. I have some friends that are rock hounds, and they suggested if I was near Burgdorf, I must see Crystal Mountain. Just past the hot springs we veered off the road and wound our way up a hill, and when we reached the top, we were parked on a giant quartz peak. I’ve never seen anything like it. We explored the area for a bit to stretch our legs, took our pictures, and then I loaded up my panniers with some souvenir rocks because I needed more weight on the bike (not really).

At the top of Crystal Mountain

Then our next stop would be the Wind River Bridge, and this is where the lies begin. I had found a great short cut on Google that would take us straight north where we would drop next to the bridge. After several detours and turn a rounds, we found ourselves descending into the Salmon River drainage but we weren’t getting closer to the river. We finally stopped in a small valley to discuss our options. Now this valley is full of old buildings, cars and junk everywhere, the kind of place where you hear dueling banjos in the trees. Google lied about the road being a shortcut. It was time to reverse direction quickly.

Wind River Bridge

We did make it to the bridge and then headed to Riggins for gas and food. It was getting dark as we left Riggins, and it was time to find a camping spot. To aid us in our The

search Mother Nature decided to light the way by providing a spectacular lightning display. But when the rain began to puddle up in my seat region, and I saw deer swimming across the highway, drastic measures became a requirement. The weatherman lied. We found an RV park with friendly hosts who pointed us to a covered machine shed where we could park the bikes and find shelter. That’s when the rain stopped.

The next morning was perfect as we travelled to Whitebird. Of course we took the old highway. Thane decided to let the Tiger loose on those switchbacks, and when I caught up to him at the top, his grin was as big as the prairie around us.

On a different trip we decided to do the eastern Oregon Challenge Points. We were making such good time that we decided to camp near the Peter French Round Barn, the GPS informed me that there was a nice State Park nearby. The GPS lied. As it’s getting darker and colder, Thane and I started looking for an alternate campsite. Again I referenced the GPS and this time I saw a large lake with multiple campsites. The GPS lied. By the time we rolled into Burns we had to ride the bikes leaning over to get all the gas out of the tanks we could. We both were having a bad case of

hypothermia since we were too afraid to stop the bikes and not get them started again. Thankfully we made it to town and decided to camp in a hotel. Imagine my surprise when I get out of the shower and there’s Thane cooking Jiffy Pop popcorn on his camp stove in the room.

Inside the Peter French Round Barn

Even though the weathermen, Garmin and Google lie to me on a frequent basis, I don’t let that stop me from participating in the Challenge each year. I’ve seen the majesty of China wall, the postcard beauty of Black Lake, enjoyed pinning the throttle across the Zumwalt prairie and camped with a host of new friends. Besides, how can I have a story to tell if everything went as planned?

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