I just got back from a 6-day, 1,600 mile trip through, across, and around southeastern Oregon, with a visit to the highest road in the state at 9,700 feet — Steens Mountain.

After camping my way all the way across the center of the state and down to the southern border for a couple of days, I met up with Mark and Janice, two new friends from California. I met Mark in a diner in Weaverville, CA back in June. He and I both ride V-Stroms and had stayed in touch all summer, talking about taking a trip together. His wife Janice also rides a V-Strom, so the two of them headed up to Lakeview and met me there on a Monday afternoon.

The next morning we set off to see the pronghorns on top of Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge (we even saw fighter jets in dog-fighting maneuvers directly overhead), then rode 65 miles at 60+ mph on a washboarded dirt road to Frenchglen where I picked up a nasty hitchhiker in my back tire.

I fixed my own flat, then we headed up to Fish Lake on the western slope of Steens Mountain and stayed the night. The view from the top is incredible and should definitely be on everyone’s short-list of must-see places on the west coast.

On Wednesday we rode south through Fields (home of overpriced burgers and rather pathetic soft-serve shakes) and into Denio, Nevada. From there it was one wide open space after another as we boogied across the prairie back into Oregon for another night in Lakeview before heading our separate ways back home. I headed north in another cross-state jaunt, landing at my sister’s ranch outside of Goldendale, Washington for a one-night stay before heading back to home turf.

It was a trip of firsts and I can easily say it’s one of the most enjoyable journeys I’ve ever made. The route was light on twisties and heavy on long views, but I’m learning to appreciate and actually enjoy them.

Rather than stick individual photos in this blog post, I’m going to link to my Picasa page and let you peruse the entire bunch from there. http://picasaweb.google.com/ruckerworks/SteensTrip