Photos are of Robin applying chamois butter (ouch!), Ari dancing to Michael Jackson when we finished Map 2, and some random creek we don't remember the name of. And now for the post:
Last time we blogged, we were in John Day, OR on Friday morning after our first day of rest.
The sky was overcast and the temperature was relatively low as we rolled out of John Day. It was the first day without intense heat that we've had on the trip so far - thank gosh, because we had to overtake three different 4,000-ft+ passes that day. We passed through Prarie City, OR before starting on the three passes. We completed two of them before stopping for lunch on the side of the road. As the sun came out in the afternoon, we were struggling up the last one, which we finally finished around 4:00 PM. On the final descent of the day, we were able to enjoy the view of the mountains outside of Sumpter, OR - an experience that was enhanced by the satisfaction of having accomplished so much on our bikes.
We rolled into the Union Creek Reservoir campground, where we would stay that night, at around 5:00 PM. We set up our tent at the hiker/biker sites, which had an exquisite view of the reservoir, the banks of which were lined with deep green pines.
The next morning, we woke up early and started riding downhill (yes!) along the Powder River and into Baker City, OR. We stopped there for a while in order to run some errands. We went by a bike shop to get some odds and ends for our bikes and to pick up a package of food/supplies that Naomi had sent for us. We then ate lunch at a little cafe, ran to the grocery store, and were on our way out of town by 3:00 PM, headed for Richland, OR.
Luckily, most of those 30 miles we had to cover were downhill, so we arrived before dark. We set up camp in the Richland county park, ate dinner, and hit the hay. We were tired boys after such a long day.
Just East of Richland lies an extraordinarily steep and long hill. We hit it early the next morning when we took off, and we were shedding layers almost immediately, despite the cool temperatures. That morning, we rolled through Halfway, OR and then followed the Pine Creek into Oxbow, OR. Oxbow is a small town that sits on the West bank of the Snake River, which divides Oregon from Idaho. We stopped there for lunch, and were poised to make the first crossing of state lines of the trip so far.
That afternoon, we rode uphill along the Snake River until we hit Brownlee Dam, where we crossed the river, leaving Oregon and entering Idaho. Finally. We set up camp at the Brownlee Reservoir, and enjoyed a leisurely afternoon of reading, journaling, showering and admiring the view of the reservoir and the peaks that surround it.
The next morning, we woke up early because we had a lot of miles to cover. We ate breakfast, packed up camp, and by 8:00 AM, we were headed up another pass en route to Cambridge, ID. We stopped there for a morning snack and then pushed on to Council, ID for lunch. We took our time eating and shopping at the grocery store, and by the time we left for the 30-mile-long afternoon leg of our day's ride, the air was scorching hot and the sun beat down. The climb up to New Meadows, ID took some perseverance, but we made it.
We rolled into New Meadows at around 5:30 PM yesterday and discovered that the town's Labor Day celebration, called Lumberjack Days, was going on in the city park where we planned to camp last night. We were exhausted from the day's 70+ miles and 7+ hours of saddle time, so we weren't about to push on to the next town. Plus, we wanted to enjoy Lumberjack Days. We had to improvise a campsite. Luckily, city hall happened to be open. We knocked on the door, and a wonderfully welcoming lady named Dina answered the door. We told her about our predicament, and she offered to let us camp on the grassy patch next to city hall. We graciously accepted and started setting up camp.
As we started to cook dinner, a woman in biking shorts who spoke with a British accent approached us, asking us which direction we were headed. Her name was Megan, and she was traveling Westward along the Transamerica Trail, ultimately headed for Astoria, OR, where the two of us started our journey. We invited Megan to join us in camp, and she accepted. We spent most of the evening cooking dinner and sharing stories from the road. It was a really pleasant evening.
Later this morning, Ari and I will be part of New Meadow's Lumberjack Days Parade. Dina, the woman whom we spoke with yesterday, happens to be in charge of the parade, and last night, she invited us to participate. We'll have stories about it later, I'm sure.