Richland to Brown Lee Dam 6-7 17

We had a nice motel in Richland. The town had  pretty small town kind of feel. C store, feed  and grain, fire barn, bar/restaurant and motel. We checked into motel at 5 or so and by 8 the park lot was full of Big pickups and fishing boats. I tried to talk to a few of them but no much interaction. By 9 they were all inside w/ lights off. At 4 AM the parking lot came alive w/diesel pickups firing up and off they all went with a roar  of dust and diesel. Fishing in the local reservoir must be a big deal???

Deb and I get off to our usual slow start and head out of town, knowing we have a big climb pretty quick out of the box. I think it’s called Richland Pass, but our bike map just says pass. 3653 feet. So we’re sweating up the pass and this old rancher in a jeep buzzes past my handle bars about 18 inches away. There was no reason to be that close as I could see in both directions for half a mile at least. I was instantly pissed and flipped him off. Bad idea. He pulled over and got out and went immediately to the ditch and picked up a rock. He came storming at me and was going to bash my head in. Not exactly sir of all the details from there but he never did hit me. Deb started taking pictures of him and his vehicle etc. I think that got him thinking about things . He read me the riot act about being on that road and how we shouldn’t be there etc etc. For 20 minutes he went off.  Finally after he cooled off I made my point that if you were so concerned about my health, why did you buzz me so close. I wouldn’t have flipped you off if you had straddled the center line like the other 500 cars that have passed me today. Just another day on the bike.

After the summit we coasted down thru Halfway and further on into part of the Hells Canyon Rec area. Stopped at a C store for a cold drink and started talking to the owner. He said you’re having pretty good weather today. Usually it around 110 degrees by this time of year here. I guess 90 wasn’t as bad as I thought. 

We rode on to Owbow and crossed over the dam into another canyon where the Snake river was rammed up to form the Brown Lee Reservoir. The water was dead calm and I got a few pictures of the reflections. It was a hot ride in the canyon and we were really glad to find a campground and cool off by the river. 

Advertisements

Writers block-sort of 6-5,6-17. mike

We’ve been pretty slack about writing lately. The beauty and grandeur of what we have been seeing is way more than my puny vocabulary can describe. It’s amazing how big things are. 

 We stayed in Baker City 2 nights. It is a medium/small town with friendly people. The museum in town was really interesting. A lot of stuff about gold mining and ranching. Also had a section about the guy who invented the Airstream trailer. He was from Baker City (who knew). 

I was hoping to be able to cook/heat water with an alcohol beer can stove on the trip. They are light and any alcohol will work for fuel, but it just wasn’t working out very well. Just on a whim I went into the local hardware to see what ideas they might have. I walked out with a little Primus ETA Lite stove. The last one they had and just happened to be on sale. Much better, we can have coffee in about 4 minutes:)

After our usual slow start we got out of town and headed for the Oregon Trail Interpretive center. Of coarse it is on top of a butte, with a 1 mile 400ft climb from the entry gate to the actual facility. We ended up pushing the last half mile where it got really steep. Pretty cool stuff to learn about inside though. After looking around for about 3 hours  and having lunch we headed for our stop for the night. According to the topography map it was mostly down hill. Only the topo maps can’t tell you the wind is going to blow against you hard enough that you have to pedal going down hill:(  We finally made it to Richland, but it was a long slog, made worth it by some of the most gorgeous views. 

There was another rider in town standing in front of the only store. He said can I split a 6 pack with you of some good micro brew? I said I didn’t think half a 6 pack was going to do it for me:)

2 Pass Sunday-Mike 6-4-17

The Bates campground at Junction City was terrific (Oregon has great campgrounds). Turns out it was a free camping day too. I guess the state does that every now and then. 

We had learned a lesson the day before about climbing in the heat of the day, so we packed up pretty quickly and only had 1 cup of coffee and some oatmeal. By 7:15 We were struggling up the first of two passes we needed to do today. The cooler morning weather was much better for this kind of effort. Nothing like working your guts out knowing you have another hill to go after this one. We finally made it over Tipton Pass and then over Sumpter Pass and were getting pretty hungry. There is nothing but prairie and buttes out here, no 7-11’s with cold slushies:( We soldiered on for 10 more miles into Baker City, where we found the first thing that offered food and chowed. The server pointed us toward a cheap motel and we crashed for a long nap. 

I went out later for a barley pop, but Deb couldn’t muster the strength.  It was a Sunday and everything was pretty quiet so I wasn’t out very long before I got tired and crashed again. 

And the hits just keep on coming-Mike 6-2&3-17

Drinking coffee sitting in a lawn chair, looking out over the buttes in Dayville was the best. Could have stayed forever. However this is a cross country bike ride, so we mounted up and headed out toward John Day. Riding was very pleasant, mostly flat through a valley of hayfields and beef cattle. Got into town pretty early and booked a cheap room. After cleaning up we rode into downtown district for some food and drink. We were locking the bikes up on the sidewalk and a guy comes out and offers to take us and our bikes up to the top of the butte on the edge of town where we could camp and look out for 40 miles in any direction. Wow what an offer, but we had already used and abused our room and didn’t want to pack up again. I really had to think about that one tho. People are so good.

As is our custom we got a late start out of John Day, coffee, breakfast, looking at maps and topography profiles take a lot of time you know. After 10 miles or so we came into Prarie City and saw a fellow bike traveler sitting at a coffee shop, so of coarse we sat and had coffee and exchanged story’s and email addresses.  Also Deb found a lady who spins yarn and weaves really beautiful wraps and stuff. (2 hours into this stop so far). Since we were going to have to camp that night we decuded to shop for a little food for the night and also get a quick sandwhixh at the local cafe. When they want to show an example of laid back slow moving life style I thunk they use this cafe as the most extreme example. (another 1.5 hours). Finally left town and started the climb up Dixie Pass. Of coarse now it was 2 in afternoon and the heat was on. Ride a mile and rest, repeat. Finally made it to the top after 3 extra miles that somehow were not on the map. Whew. But the looonnng down hill was awsome and took us almost to the campground without pedaling. 

Terrebonne to Mitchell May 31

After visiting the Smith Rocks State park in Terrebonne Monday morning we left town at about 11am. 

Smith Rocks

Late even for us! We rode along the buttes on a flat road all day. 

Between Smith Rocks and Prineville. All day like this.

It was a very pleasant day riding. We stayed the night in Prineville at a cheap Econoline hotel and had dinner at the Crooked Creek Brewery. It was obviously a service station in its past life the 1920s or 30s. I asked the young server about the building history and she said long ago it was an antique store. Way back when. Always an antique store. Maybe too young to think of a time before her.

Leaving Prineville we had a slow steady climb all day getting up to Ochoco Pass…about a 2000′ climb. 

Made it! 

It was a discouraging day for me as I just want to be stronger now and because I’m so out of shape.  I usually hide under the covers in the morning afraid of what the day will bring. Will today be the day I die of a heart attack or will I just be smashed by a truck? The evenings though bring such satisfaction from a mission accomplished and a really hard workout. This is a great way to build self confidence for sure. 

 Our usual way is Mike rides about a 1/4 mike ahead of me and every few miles he waits while i catch up. My muscles just shake sometimes. At least the sun wasn’t beating down so hard. It was an overcast 80 degree morning but by noon we started to hear rumbles of thunder. We tried to outrun the storm but by about 2pm we were running for cover. It’s hard to know where to hide when you are alone in the forest surrounded by trees. We finally surrendered and pitched our tent in the state park at the top of the pass.

Ochoco State Park

This morning we packed up and rode down the mountain. 12 miles of downhill! We landed ourselves in the town of Mitchell, an old stagecoach stop. We are staying at an old place called the Oregon Hotel. 

Tiger Town Brewery. Named after the old gunslinging days
Oregon Hotel. Highly recommended

Just so charming! 

Best day ever or Sisters to Terrebonne

Let’s get 50 miles in today. We’ve been slacking off.

27 miles of this in 90 degree heat1

Ok she said. We made it to Terribonne OR without any break. We were ready to rest and eat and then go to Smith Rock State park. Have a look around and continue on another 20 miles. While we’re sitting at the restaurant Deb strikes up a conversation with a local at the next table (imagine that)

Mike and Carolyns best girl, Lucy

He’s got a Newfoundland dog. Next thing you know he invites us over to his house. We pitch our tent in his yard which just happens to be on a cliff overlooking Smith Rock Park.

Johnson’s house way up on a cliff

What a fabulous setting. Hard to remember we were hike a biking up Santiam Pass a few days ago wondering what we were doing this for. This is why we do this. So much for 50 miles, but I’ll trade for this anyday.

View from the yard
Sunset Smith Rocks Oregon
Smith Rocks

  Coburg to Nimrod OR

deb

one week on our journey

thoughts so far

  • every bone in my body aches. and my hip hurts from swinging my leg over the rear of my bike when I get on it. I have to swing really high to get over the panniers. I think i will have to start getting on from the other side to even out the pain. We stopped at a dispenseryand bought some Cbd oil but I’m not convinced of its efficacy yet.
  • mentally I almost feel euphoric.  I fall asleep between 7 and 8 just exhausted. mornings are hard if I look at the topographical map but after a hour or so of riding I’m good.
  • we’ve sent home 4 packages already of things we don’t want to carry. clothes, tablets, Bluetooth keyboard. Such freedom in not having to think about what to wear.  Same thing everyday. At night we throw our riding clothes in the shower and stomp on then while showering. works great. we have to tap out our blog on the phone now so our posts are sloppy but it is what it is.
  • am I losing weight? i am not riding to lose weight. my body serves me well but my fitbit blew up. seriously its hard to keep enough calories coming in and I usually have to force myself to eat. so yes. It’s falling off.
  • how’s the training while actually riding this thing going? great. We worked up to 45 miles a day this week and 50 is about my sweet spot while riding. we take tons of breakscand stop for every little interesting thing.
  • people have been so so good to us. I mean it’s unreal.

Not what we thought

Mike 

   We thought we were going to be immediately  heading into the hills for a tough day of climbing, our goal to try to get to McKenzie Bridge. Proceeded to go the wrong way from the hotel parking lot and rode two mile into the hill to a dead end:(  The scenery was awsome and the back track was down hill, so no big deal. Figured out where we were supposed to be in Colburg and headed out in correct direction. We were in the Willamette Valley all day and never had to make any big climbs:). What a beautiful ride. We kept stopping to take it in, it is soooo pretty. We were not making very many miles because we were always stopping. 

McKenzie River

We left the Willamette river basin and picked up the McKenzie river pretty quickly. The river was moving pretty fast because of the snow melt up higher. Saw several fishermen along the way, they were trying for salmon, but were having ing no luck. A little early in season they said.

Willamette Valley

It became apparent we were not going to make our goal of McKenzie Bridge because of our dallying so we googled for places to stay. Deb found the Eagle Rock Lodge right on the river.

Eagle River Lodge

  Very relaxing and quiet. It was nice sit and watch the river and the kayakers go by. 

The Valley in Between

just the big tree

We have been riding on flat road most of the day between the coastal range and the Cascade Range of mountains.

sheeps!

Had a good time in Corvallis last night. Found the Sky High Brewery and went up to the roof top. Really cool and it comes with cervesas too!

Willamette river through downtown corvallis
south of Corvallis

Todays ride was a very nice quick 40 mile ride through the beautiful valley.  Tidy houses and we’ll kept farms. Beautiful landscaping with azaleas  in full bloom. Wouldn’t mind living here. 

We are in the Willamette Valley. There are mountains all around us. In particular is the one we have to climb tomorrow from Colburg OR to McKenzie Bridge, OR. Hope we have enough chops for this. 57 miles all uphill and the next day is McKenzie Pass. They say McKenzie pass is the prettiest ride on Oregon so we really are/are not looking forward to it. 

We said we were going to find cheap flea bag motels on the way. We found one:(  at the truck stop $45. We are in the Eugene area. It’s not THAT bad but we’ve had better. The A/C works and the shower is good. We’re to tired to care about the rest. 

Happy Trails.

Grand Ronde to Corvallis Or

Deb

It is slow going in the mornings for us, we usually ride in silence for an hour or so until our muscles warm up. Both of us are very sore but it’s a pretty good feeling. This morning was especially hard because we knew it would be uphill all morning, the road was curvy and we were close to traffic all the way, very exhausting. 

The weather was absolutely beautiful, maybe 80 degrees and sunny,  inland Oregon is a relief after the darker sky’s of the coast.

When we made the summit early afternoon the view was unreal. Mt hood in the distance with vineyards and pastures in the forefront. We passed lots of sheep (yarn! wool!)  The map finally got us off the main roads so we decided to push for Corvallis, a college town. We rode in, pooped around 5pm. Found a hotel in the cool area, cleaned up and headed out to explore. Too bad we can hardly walk.

Found out someone stole our credit card info and has been having fun in Las Vegas. Dealing with that this morning. Also keeping in touch with brother Doug who is left alone dealing with dear mom and dad medical issues. Hard to be away in those times.  Heard from daughter Jill who is on the Pacific Crest Trail. She has the noro virus and is extremely sick, hiking out to get a motel. Seems to be more and more common on the trail.

Heading for the Eugene area today. Looks flat!