Base Camping

I’ve linear cycle-camped maybe 10,000 miles around North American deserts … travel easily, start early, camp before turning into a dog or Englishman – set up a nice camp for the evening, for cooking, for sleeping, for morning enjoyment.  Break camp to travel into another day before the days heat.

A days average 1s 45 miles, 2500 ft climbing hills. Its constant cadence (90 rpm), constant power (125 –150 watts), change gears a lot down to very low lows (8 Gear Inches (GI))… speed goes where it may <1.8 mph is as low as my computer registers, I’ve gone slower> As going downhill with a load and trailer is a little hairy so I use well tuned BB7 disks to stay under 30 mph. I’m coasting which eventually comes to an end and its necessary to catch up on cadence to reapply tension in the chain. I find the slack looseness in that period distracting during an important transition SO I also use a rather high gear (120 GI) just to stay in touch with the chain…no more insecure transition.

So even this low-key kind of travelling uses resources other than taking-in the paradise I’m going through.  Like making and breaking camp everyday ….looking into the road for hours going uphill not seeing the vista behind …. slaloming through road debris … KEEPING AN EYE ON THE RANGE BULL WHO IS KEEPING AN EYE ON ME … dogs …those horridly driven, square fronted RVs…. Doing those, I’m not spending more time in … delightful conversation with locals … but especially I’m not taking side trips up those 2 track dirt roads that those same locals have told me about the hot spring…the old mine…a cut through to one of the few lakes … an old cairn to an immigrant who didn’t make Oregon ….First natives sites galore … perhaps an opal? … and I regret it.

I’m really a mountain man at heart. I would pack in a summer camp to a high col in the Canadian Rockies and base myself there for a month or two or three, coming down to my supply “1941 Army” Jeep on occasion. Each day I would go hang out in a different locale. Everybody should do that. Actually I’m still there in visual memory.

BUT its now.  I can hardly walk a mile so I don’t do that anymore. But I can pedal my trike forever.

So why not try BASE CAMPING with my QUAD (4 wheel recumbent cycle that gets to more places like the Jeep when I walked) I could see hanging out at a base, camp stays up for a few days, and each day go on an unloaded excursion to a place of greater interest. Then move on to another Base, do some day trips ……

Experience tells me that a trip of 3000 miles over 100 day is about as much as my stamina wants before resting a fortnight.  Any more,  its is  time passage AND takes a longer time to recover. You see, I like to get home from a trip, get rested, renew my cycle, then go for another trip.  So far, every trip of 1000-1500 miles was Goldilocks just right.

I’m thinking 1250 miles of linear travel over 60 days. Typically, base camps would be what 50-75 miles apart … a pretty good days effort to move with load . With typically 3 days of interesting trips of about up to 25 mi in then 25 miles back with camp all ready for me when I return. 50 miles loop starting first light, returning near dusk *** WOW, could that get good***

My son lives in Eugene Oregon (OR), my sister lives in Bend, OR. One trip, I came home via the NE corner of California seeing Mt Lassen then Shasta off to the west. I actually regret not slowing down for the Warren Mtns near Cedarville  which i promised myself to come back. So I been to Gerlach having noted a decent gravel road going to Vya Nevada (NV) to Adel OR with a spur to the Hart Mountains,and historic HWY 140 {the best cycling road on earth} through the multi miner campsite OPAL mine area to Denio NV/OR and the East slope of the Steen Mountains and the Lake Alvor desert and playa (infamous for land sailing). Back west to access to the top of Steen Mtn. Off to the pine and juniper hills north of Burns OR following Silvie’s River to the ridge and out of the Basin and Range. The Crooked River through OR’s Izee, Suplee, Paulina, Post on Hwy 380 {which is the world’s best cycling road}.

Did the Izee-Sylvies road in late July one trip 100 degrees, out of water. Sylvie’s River saved my life. I was both dehydrated and overheated and in a weird state of mind, not liking anything. Rough way to learn about water on the desert. Now water is first on my list. Electrolyte is second.

Onward – Maury Mountains, Prinville, Bend.

Following is a rough map that is the NW corner of the High Basin Desert. High in altitude and latitude in respect to the much larger Basin and Range Geographic Province that contains the Deserts: High Basin, Mojave, Sonoran, Chihuahua, Colorado Plateau.

Its South Oregon, North East California, North West Nevada, a touch of Idaho and back into Oregon.

The Base Roads are all tertiary paved and/or good gravel,  The day-spurs can be on anything from luxury tourist roads to 2 track jeep trails into the heights of the ranges  to climbing an eroded arroyos or flat playa or across the desert crust.  Extravagance will come at most Base camps in the form of water taps,  electricity, and perhaps Internet.  Some Bases will be wild and remote.  Another reason for low gears – 4 days water and food are at least 60 pounds extra,

Orange triangles could be base camps. Circles shaded light yellow could be a 25 mile radius around each base delimiting day excursions to places of greater interest. Red are Base Roads and indicate the containment area of this trip.

Eugene, Mt. Lassen, Steen Mountains, Sylvie, Bend.

Mid-May into July. Really good travelling weather.

ps: March 25 / 2010;  Just asked Google Maps new Bicycle  feature to plot this plan.  My goodness … it did perfect. Google Bicycle puts me on almost exclusively dirt tracks – hardly no pavement to be seen – had to use Delorme and Benchmark paper maps to see if the tracks exist – some don’t – many are skinny dotted red lines …. hum, wonder if its possible?

Prineville, OR to Asotin, ID

Prinville, OR -> Blue Mountains and Wallowa Mountains -> Asotin, ID