360 Miles On Dirt: ‘Oregon Outback’

(The Oregon Outback, organized by Velo Dirt, begins in Klamath Falls, Ore., and ends 368 miles north at Deschutes State Park. GearJunkie Editor Amy Oberbroeckling rode the 2014 edition, held in late May.)

We rolled out of a hotel parking lot in Klamath Falls, Ore., as a pack. More than 100 cyclists pedaled out loaded up and ready for a journey that would take most riders days to complete.

My mountain bike was loaded up with all the gear I needed for 4 days of bike-packing across the state. The Oregon Outback is an organized (but free and completely unsupported) ride straight up the middle of the state.

I rode with six friends from the starting point in the south of the state all the way up to the Columbia River — a 368 mile journey. Along the way we camped, ate at small town cafes, and jumped into cold rivers for relief.

The author happily cruising along on some pristine gravel; photo by Leah Johns

While the course was tough, the breathtaking views more than made up for the hard effort on the bike each day. We covered a variety of terrain — from deserts to mountains — but stayed mainly on dirt and gravel roads.

This trip was my first extended trip in Oregon, and with each pedal stroke I became evermore convinced that the state is just one giant idyllic panorama. I couldn’t imagine a better way to take in the sights than from the bike saddle. Here are a few photos from our journey across the state. — Amy Oberbroeckling

Blue skies and gravel as far as the eye can see

Differing bike setups for the journey; photo by Lucas Winzenburg/Bunyan Velo

Leah Johns didn’t stop smiling the whole trip; photo by Lucas Winzenburg/Bunyan Velo

Bike and tent: Two trip essentials

Coffee before an early morning roll out; photo by Lucas Winzenburg/Bunyan Velo

A 20-mile stretch of this soft sand was not a highlight of the route

Map of ‘Oregon Outback’ route

The Watering Hole was a welcomed oasis

After a long day of climbing this view was our reward

Long stretches of open plains on the last day of riding; photo by Lucas Winzenburg/Bunyan Velo

386 miles later at the Columbia River, our finish line after an unforgettable four days; photo by Lucas Winzenburg/Bunyan Velo

—Want to ride the 2015 ‘Oregon Outback’ yourself? Stay in touch with Velo Dirt for details on next year’s route.

Amy Oberbroeckling

Amy Oberbroeckling, an Iowa native, joined GearJunkie out of college and brought a passion for endurance sports as well as a flawless record in arm wrestling matches against famous rock climbers. Find her biking, trail running, cross-country skiing, camping, or tipping back a cold IPA.