The Oregon Outback: a 360-mile dirt odyssey across the Beaver State

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***This is closed… Missed out?   Read this!***

360 miles, 75% dirt

Klamath Falls to the Deschutes

– Friday – May 23, 2014 –

For years we’ve stayed up late poring over maps trying to find a perfect dirt route across Oregon.  This past summer we had the opportunity to give the most likely route a look-see and it turned out even better than we imagined.  We are extremely excited to announce a new self-supported, Tour Divide-style ride across Oregon along the all-new Oregon Outback route.  Keep reading for more details.

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The Route

The route links up a handful of must-see, but rarely visited parts of the state while simplifying the logistics of cross state travel as much as possible.  The route starts in Klamath Falls, Oregon, the southern-most full-service stop in Oregon on the Amtrak.  Highlights of the route include the OC&E State Trail, Fort Rock, the Crooked River, the Ochoco Mountains, the Ashwood-Antelope area and finishing up on the Oregon Stampede route along Gordon Ridge high above the Deschutes and Columbia Rivers.

The route primarily links up decent dirt and gravel roads.  However, there are several sections of loose, shitty gravel that will make you regret trying to ride this route on skinny tires.  While everyone will have a different opinion, we think the optimal bike/tire combo would be a rigid mountain bike with ~2” tires.   Yes, there is a fair amount of pavement (~25%), but we believe you’ll be slowed down more by skinny tires on the loose gravel than fat tires on the pavement.

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Self-Supported

We are providing absolutely no services or support on the route.  You are completely, 100% on your own.   If you get hurt, your bike breaks down, etc., you are on your own to sort that out.   Please be advised that the route travels through several extremely remote areas without cell service.  If something goes wrong out there, you’re fucked.  Know your limits and be prepared to self-rescue.

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Services

Services are extremely limited and subject to change at any time.  The only full-service towns on the route are the start – Klamath Falls – and Prineville, at mile 243.  The few other towns on the route are limited to convenience store food and a few restaurant/bar options.  We will do our best to provide up-to-date information on services, but understand we have no control over such things.

Water access is a major issue on the route.  There is one 75 mile section with no water access whatsoever.  There are several other shorter, but significant sections without water access.   We will do our best to let you know where these areas are and where good water access is, but be prepared.  And expect to filter/treat water en route.

We purposely selected the start date and time to give faster (and much slower) riders the chance to experience the Cowboy Dinner Tree.   At mile 115, the CDT serves up 30 oz. steaks, whole chickens and more in a unique, rustic setting.  We highly recommend adding this into your Oregon Outback experience and hopefully the quicker riders can make it in time for dinner the first night and slower folks can perhaps fit it in on night two.

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Logistics

If you are coming from Portland, you can take the daily Amtrak train to Klamath Falls.  Bikes can be checked on the train for an additional cost, but note that they must be boxed and that Amtrak sells boxes at the station.

The route ends at the Deschutes River State Recreational Area, which has camping, showers and water available at the park.  The nearest town with limited services is Biggs, 6 miles east.  Full services are available in The Dalles, 20 miles west.  You’re on your own to get back home.  Note:  The Dalles has Greyhound service to Portland and points beyond.

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Registration

Please note that this is not an official bike event – it’s free, unsupported, and we are simply providing a route and a bit of route information.  You are completely on your own.  Please note that we already have too many folks who want to ride and ask that you do it some other time – and read this!

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Further Information

For additional information, check out Gabe’s amazing photos from our trip, more photos here and here, and more specific details about the route here.

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