Trip Report: 10th Annual Giant Loop Ride at Crystal Crane Hot Springs
The riding season kicked off nicely this year then fell flat on its ass. While ripping it up on OHV trails during the Crooked River Campout outside of Prineville in late March, the trusty Twin got stuck in first gear and wouldn't pop out. After getting hauled to Bend it was determined, after a long wait that the ABS Modulator is FUBAR, not good on a bike with an auto transmission. The long and short is that the part is on "indeterminate backorder" due to trying to get anything with a chip in it due to COVID chaos. The obvious bummer being stuck without a bike for 2.5 months so far with no realistic end in sight. The positive is that the trusty old Subie has been lavished with attention and is being built into a lil' Overlander.
Not having the bike for exploring, the Soob has become the default road warrior wagon and this past week it was put to good use out in the deepish SE Oregon desert.
Figured I'd still go to the 10th Annual Giant Loop Ride at Crystal Crane Hotsprings anyway, bike or no. Camped out at Hart Mt. Wednesday and got a flat on the way out Thursday A.M. A fellow with a moto strapped on the back stopped to ask if I was good and I noticed a Smokejumper in his sleeve tattoo. Turns out we worked in the same area at the same time and knew a lot of the same folks, love that stuff! He was headed to the GL event as well and we made plans to meet up and BS.
Not having had a burger from Fields Station in over a year, it was the next stop on the list. Saw another guy with a bike on a trailer there and went to chat and see if he was Giant Looping as well. He planned to, but a friend of his had just wrecked his 1150 GS 12 miles south of Fields and was ready to go recover it after the medics showed up to take his buddy to the hospital. I patched the rider up a bit as I always carry a big EMS kit with me and have the skills of being a former Intermediate EMT. Offered to help recover the bike and was taken up on the offer so off we went...
The guy went wide on a turn, rode the gravel shoulder for a while then ate it, and went a while down through the bar pit. He's very lucky not to have been beaten up more than he was.
Thankfully, the guy I was helping recover the bike had a badass Dodge truck with a brand new winch on it which made fairly light work of getting it out of the ditch.
Broke the front end darn near off the bike, but we were able to recover it in one piece. Well, except for the epic yardsale of gear scattered all along his Path of Terror.
After all that, I headed to the Alvord and did the requisite bomb across the playa. Was going to camp out there but the rain was making it slimly so camp was made up closer to Mickey Hotspring.
The sunsets in the desert just can't be beat.
Given that most moto events have been canceled or pushed back, the GL ride was the only game in town and holy hell was it ever a success. The last one had about 120 participants and that number was far exceeded already when I got there mid-morning on Friday.
Ended up being around 350 folks showing up to get their ride/party on. It was soooooo nice to see that many folks, and their FACES, after the past year-plus of Masklife. Ended up feeling like a reunion, with many familiar faces in the crowd, and met many more excellent humans throughout the weekend.
Best of all, my friends from Next Adventure, the largest independent outdoor store in the state, showed up with a dozen folks and a booth full of goodies after it being one fellow and a small table at the 2019 GL ride. Seeing the owners, Deek and Brian, playing was the best part. Those 2 have busted their asses for decades to build an amazing business and team to run it with little time to just play and chill. Getting to hang out with Ryan and Joe, meeting the Sandy store crew and all the other cool folks that came along whose names I was unable to recall (Sorry folks) made what already was going to be a sweet time a thousand times better!
This was also the only event in Oregon where Harley Davidson had the new Pan American for demo. They brought 14 of them and everyone I talked with who rode one really dug them. Looks like they did their homework and really did a great job.
I almost didn't go not having a bike, thought I'd get bummed seeing all the bikes but not being able to ride myself. I was gloriously wrong. Didn't swing a leg over a bike the whole weekend and still had an amazing time.
Met a number of people from the Klamath area, lots of folks here ride, but there's no rider group so I'm taking matters into my own hands. I plan to get a bunch of contacts then will be working with Seth from Brevada Brewhouse in town to host an Adventure/Dual-Sport Ride In sometime soon.
Life is good, especially when you're open to recognizing it.