Bike Tour 2012: Taking life one peak at a time
Bike Tour 2012: Taking life one peak at a time
12 days, 753 miles in. In some ways it is hard to believe that it has already been 12 days and that we only have 60 days left before we fly back to Portland, and in other ways it feels like it was months ago that we biked out of Astoria. Every day provides its own challenges, surprises, and joys...but most importantly it provides a pass (or 3) that we must prepare for, tackle, and then celebrate. Every mountain is the same...it is hard and hot and exhausting, but it is so very rewarding. It is overwhelming to think about future passes (the Tetons, Rockies, and Ozarks are all in our future) so we just focus on whichever one is right in front of us. It is a wonderful practice in being present.
We woke up on Sunday morning and were greeted by a steep climb up to the top of Keyes Creek Pass. It was hot, but not nearly as hot as it has been for the last couple months. We are constantly being asked why we started our trip so late in the season and our answer is always two-fold; this is when we could get off work and this is when we thought we might avoid melting from summer heat. We are definitely taking a chance and hoping that we don't hit snow in the Rockies, but so far the 70-80 degree days have felt more than worth it. Anyway, we headed up one steep pass and then dropped in elevation into the small town of Dayville, OR. Our route passed through the John Day Fossil Beds and Picture Canyon...some much deserved scenic downhill. Right before lunch we celebrated 500 miles with bells, whistles, smiles, and photos. Dayville was a perfect lunch stop. All of these small towns (1,000 or less people) tend to have a mercantile, cafe, well-kept grassy park, and public bathrooms. Not to mention friendly faces and typically some source of wifi. They tempt you to stop more than is actually necessary :) We finished our short 62 mile day in Mt. Vernon, just west of John Day.
We had the privilege of staying in an established Bike Inn run by a nice lady named Christy. It is a guest house which she opens to touring cyclists and it is a traveling biker's oasis...complete with bed, shower, full kitchen, and an awesome dog named Barbie. Since we got in early, we took showers, went to the corner store and stocked up on dinner and snacks, and then planted ourselves in front of the TV to eat pizza and watch Willow and Titanic. It was a most relaxing evening. Our next day was our longest yet. We decided to start increasing our average daily mileage by biking all the way to a Warm Showers home in Baker City...88 miles away. We climbed over 3 peaks between miles 25 and 60, and then still had 30 miles to go. I'm not going to say it was easy, or that we appreciated the cold head winds for the last 10 miles into Baker City, but I will say that it was more than worth it to stay with our wonderful hosts, Julie and Will. They invited us in their home, fed us, let us do laundry, and even drove us into town for supplies. It was a pleasure meeting them and we are so grateful for their hospitality! They have some good karma coming their way.
Yesterday was a 74 mile ride from Baker City to a great little RV park in Oxbow, near Hell's Canyon. It was probably our favorite day of our trip so far...mostly because of all the amazing people we met along the way. We hadn't run into many other bikers before yesterday, but then we met 7 (4 different parties) all in one day! It was fun to exchange information and get excited by one anothers' progress. We finally met our first real-life Trans-America bikers and it felt good to know that we weren't alone in our journey. They went East to West and are almost finished! They guaranteed that we will love all that is to come. We had lunch after a big climb into Halfway, OR and then enjoyed a gorgeous descent along Pine Creek into the RV park. It was a good day and it made us feel good about our budget, time frame, and physical ability.
Today was another story. We biked only 62 miles today, but that was more than enough. We entered Idaho around mile 10 and then struggled with lots of hills, hot weather, strong head winds, an ugly desert, and smoke from fires before rolling into this little town of Council where we are staying tonight. Fortunately, we found a cute little pizza shop that has wifi, yummy food, and good company where we can unwind and plan for a ride to White Bird tomorrow. Hopefully we don't get too close to the Wesley Fire as we head toward Lolo Pass and a layover day in Missoula, Montana. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back in soon!