Well, warm and fucking freezing, but you get the idea.
So, got the first overnight moto camp of the year in this past weekend with a run out east into the desert. As I’m an old man and generally consider the first camp of the year a potential shitshow, I decided Crane Hot Springs would be a good destination to minimize any collateral damage should I have prepared poorly.
Figured I’d take the scenic route and go over Hart Mountain, never been disappointed with the views on that ride. The road over the top of Hart had been graded within the previous few days so was super sweet cruiser gravel. Nice warm sunny ride through the vastness.
The hot springs was another story. I’ve been going out there a few times a year for the past decade or so and have always found it to be a good heading out/heading back way station for moto trips or other adventures out east. The vibe is generally chill with a good mix of locals out for the day and various travelers heading one way or another through the area or there to whack sage rats. This visit, the place was packed with what I can only describe as fat cunty suburbanite asshats. Not entirely, but they were the vast majority. Managed to find a couple folks to chat with, but the vibe was decidedly ” We’re here for our Hot Springs weekend from the city, now kindly fuck off so we can have our Instagram moment, weird person riding that death trap.”
I’ve lived long enough and in enough different places to understand that shit changes, places get discovered, bla, bla bla. The combination of Bend’s continued absurd growth and the general scattering to the wilds that has occurred since the Great COVIDing kicked off has seen the desert get a lot more popular with the civilians.
All in all it’s no big deal. As has always been the case, the front country is the realm of the easy access crowd and the front country boundary shifts over time. I can appreciate the reality that, over my decades of puttering around and checking things out, I’ve been able to enjoy a vast number of “undiscovered” sweet spots and will continue to do so.
To be fair, I’m cool with popular places as well, it’s all about the crowd and the vibe. It’s a bummer when a place’s vibe gets Disneyfied and sanitized so as not to offend the sensibilities of the ever fussy, profoundly dull, and perturbable suburbatrash. Fuck Karens, and their even cuntier male equivalents, in the ass with a big rubber dick.
Despite all that, it’s still a sweet place to throw up a tent.
The weather did a Jekyll and Hyde over night going from 60’s and sunny to 20’s, cloudy and windy as fuck. Being pushed by a front rolling in from the west, the wind was strong, continuous, and frigid. I’d thought about rolling down the east side of Steens through the Alvord and down to Denio Junction and run 140 home, but it was so goddamn cold I just ran 20 to 395, hung out in a restaurant in Lakeview for an hour to warm up then hit 140 home. I’ve ridden in some cold conditions, but this one ranks in the top 3 Holy Fuck It’s Cold rides. Once again, thanks to the gods I don’t believe in for heated grips.
Any trip is a good trip and, despite the funky vibes at the ‘springs, it was sweet to get out on Taz and rip around looking at stuff. I’m fantastically grateful to be able to get out and ride after last summer’s Pro Caliber shitshow. Plans are coming hard and fast for adventures with the Crooked River Campout over Spring Break kicking things off for non-solo riding. I’ll be heading to the big city should SFRC do the Alley Sweeper in PDX again this April after 2 years off. Then it’s the Giant Loop Ride back out at Crystal Crane in early June followed by a big run with B-Rad, my perfect riding companion from Canuckistan, that will include OR, CA, NV, ID, MT and WA in a 10 day blast in early July.
Added a few new goodies to the Adventure quiver recently I’ll be trying out soon, bump up from draconian to spartan on the creature comfort scale.