9/15 – Home to Finley Creek Cow Camp
In the summer of 2011 three of us, Andy, Norm and myself rode a good portion of the Oregon Backcountry Discovery Route OBCDR). We missed a few sections due to snow in the mountains (Tiger Creek Rd. to Kamela, Norm getting injured, and me being chicken about crossing Crane Creek.
This year Norm and I decided to wait until September to do the Tiger Creed Rd-Finley Creek Cow Camp-Mt. Emily-Kamela portion of the OBCDR. Our CBO, George, volunteered to support us in his truck and Tom rode with him, “…just to see us bounce off the rocks.”
Travel on Kendall-Skyline was hindered by sections with deep ruts, deep talc, and rocks. Some of the road is expectedly uphill and downhill. There are some smooth sections further down FS-64 but at one point Skyline departs from FS-64 and becomes moderately difficult again.
We had gassed up in Walla Walla and the distance to Tollgate was only 35 miles so we took a left on WA-204 to FS-31, about 7.5 miles south. FS-31 was all paved to Ruckle Road Junction with FS-31. Ruckle Road, however was about 5 miles of embedded-rock strewn, tooth-rattling road to Cow Camp.
9/16 – Cow Camp to La Grande
After breaking camp the next morning we returned to Kendall-Skyline via Ruckle Road finding it even rougher than the afternoon before. As we jumped back onto it we stopped to watch a cowboy (shepherd?), his horse and dog herd a hundred sheep or more sheep down Skyline. Fortunately they were going the opposite way we were.
We returned to the Mt. Emily/FS-31 junction taking a left toward Kamela and the I-84 on-ramp which was about 22 miles west. The rest of the road was easy gravel with Norm leaving me in the dust not know he was doing 60.
George’s wife had arranged a motel for us in La Grande. We had a good evening visiting the Sportsman’s Bar and Grill, eating nachos and drinking a few brews. Afterwards we had ice cream and snacks back in Tom and George’s room then all hit the rack.
The next morning, after breakfast at the Smokehouse Restaurant, we headed home.