The gal at the front desk told me during check-in the day prior that the motel offered a free continental breakfast to their guests. To save some money, I gave it a try. She made it sound like they offered a full spread, but other than some cold hard boiled eggs, nothing offered was above vending-machine quality. In just one hour I was hungry again and went back to get a danish.
My buddy Mike mentioned another guy attending the weekend’s campout was riding his bike via a similar route and was staying in a campground in nearby Mt. Vernon (Clyde Holliday State Park). We hooked up via cell phone and decided he’d meet me at my motel at 9:30 and we’d ride the rest of the way to the cabin together.
Jared pulled up right at 9:30 on his Honda XLR650 dual sport. We greeted each other, headed over to the Shell station to gas up, then rode east on 26. Our first intended stop was Sumpter, a small mining town along highway 7. Sumpter was the location of a gold rush during the early 1900’s that utilized a somewhat unique mining method. They built what looks like a ferry boat with a massive arm that digs on one end with a huge conveyor belt spitting out the rock and gravel out the other end. What’s unique is that the entire mechanism floats. As it digs, ground water wells up and creates a pond around the barge. As it moves forward, it digs out more pond in front of it, and buries the remainder of the pond with its detritus behind it. The entire valley is filled with large piles of gravel and rock.
We got into Baker City and topped off our gas tanks, then headed north on old highway 30 through Haines, then west into the mountains on the Anthony Lakes Highway. They were rebuilding the road so we had several minutes wait. We struck up a conversation with Annie, the flag lady. Everyone in camp had a chance to meet Annie and learn more about her over the course of the weekend. It turns out she’s a famous artist from Bend and one heckuva nice person.
We found camp and made our way in via the somewhat muddy and slick dirt road without falling over (Jared’s dual-sport Honda had no problem. My V-Strom with street tires squirreled around a lot but remained upright). In the spirit of “What happens in camp stays in camp” I’ll not divulge too many details about my stay. We arrived on Friday around 1:30 in the afternoon on didn’t leave until Monday morning. My stay was relaxing and very enjoyable. ‘Nuff said about that.