Hells Canyon – Camp Creek and Zumwalt (June 17th)

Before I could stumble blindly out of my tent mid-morning, a good number of folks had already packed up and headed home. What were they thinking?! They missed a FANTASTIC breakfast! Brian and Margaret spent the entire morning cooking little breakfast sandwiches for everyone. Margaret was kind enough to make me one without any ham. There was also orange juice, cinnamon rolls with homemade icing, and apples. Somehow I didn’t take a photo of this glorious feast. Too busy eating I guess.

As the morning wore on, almost everybody filtered away. Work on Monday, or other engagements to attend to. An endless stream of goodbyes as people rolled out, on two wheels or towing. It was a bit bittersweet, I felt like I’d made a bunch of friends and now I wasn’t going to see them again for a long time, if ever, but I am used to letting people go, and hey, I can always come back again next year!

My first ADV rally was an unqualified success. Everybody was awesome. I literally felt like the past few days were some kind of Rocky training montage, my riding skills easily doubled. If anybody’s interested in seeing more photos, there are plenty on the main thread as well as this other one.

The wind really began to pick up, and I helped a few of the others take down a canvas awning over the breakfast area that was acting like a sail. Later, I’d read that several people were having a difficult time making it home due to the high winds, and that Fluffy had gone into a tank slapper and ended up in a ditch! Luckily he was okay…

I had no plans, and as it turns out, neither did Jim and Al. Fantastic! We hung around, got to know each other, and chatted about life, the universe, and everything. We ended up going over to look at my bike, which was parked by the port-a-john, and well. Sherri took this photo of us:

At Brian’s insistence, we grabbed a bunch of apples and stored them away in our packs for later.

Jim was a real character. Friendly and generous, he talked a mile a minute, and it was, at times, a bit overwhelming. I fought the urge to get irritated when I was interrupted and instead focused on relaxing and listening instead. Probably good for me! Jim was riding around with this dog which belonged to a friend of his:

Apparently the dog had learned how to hang on to the seat behind his friend’s ATV, and when Jim went to go, the dog just hopped up behind him. With his friend’s permission, he decided to see how the dog would do riding, and apparently he did just fine! That dog was awesome. He just sat there patiently outside on the bike while we ate at a Mexican restaurant for lunch/dinner.

Alex spent some time lounging in his hammock, hanging out with the dog:

He mentioned he wanted to try to find some of his tools which fell out on Camp Creek Road, and I decided to join him.

For the most part, this road was pretty placid! When it wasn’t, at least it didn’t have thousand-foot drops, so I was less concerned with failure. It was just a nice little road snaking along a river, a couple of dry washes to cross with large rocks, but very easy compared to what I’d done recently, as long as I kept on the throttle. I had fun. At one point, the road was nothing but foot-deep dips. The bike was incredibly unstable with me seated, so I almost reflexively stood up. I was amazed by the difference this made, and kept standing for large stretches, even when I felt that I should probably sit down. At one point, I saw a cattle guard that was a good six inches higher than the rest of the road, so I gunned it, not wanting the front wheel to twist and cause a tumble. Al, who’d been watching from the side, later mentioned that he was surprised when I caught some air. I just grinned.

The road moved out of the hills and onto a rolling plain. I admit a bit of trepedation as the signage on the road indicated that this was a route used for a “hare scramble”, which I had no idea what it was. Devoid of large rocks, my largest enemy was loose dirt and some mud, and I found myself alternating sitting and standing, depending on what I felt would be best for the terrain. At one point we consulted my offline maps and picked a route most likely to get us back to camp. We ended up on Zumwalt road, which is basically a gravel highway.

This thing was awesome.

I think I made it up to 70 on this road. I don’t know why, maybe it was because it was straight and well-travelled, but I could hardly tell that I was on gravel.

I did stop to take a photo of this dilapidated old barn though:

Eventually we made it out to the roadway and I guided us back to camp.

I think this was the evening we stopped at a grocery store and bought some drinks, I had some Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Al had some wine. We stayed up bullshitting, watching the stars, and at one point I grabbed my glow poi and started spinning them around. Jim came out of his tent and we all agreed that spinning glowing things look fucking cool, even though I’m not as skilled with them as I’d like to be. I tried to show them some basic moves, and there was some swearing as the poi smacked into various body parts, but we had a lot of fun.

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