June 20 - 29: Oregon

6/20 - Halfway, OR (57 miles 3502.5 total)
spectacularly gorgeous.....there's no other way to describe this day, unless you add a few more superlatives. the sky was clear as we left cambridge & the temps a bit chilly; sari & i brot up the rear at about 6:20.
the first 16 miles were mostly up, but not real steep. it warmed us right up. we got to the top of the hill & started coasting down. i was glad to see that the downhill wasn't very steep either.
at about mile 23 we came upon the nice little restaurant debby had told us about. yesterday she'd run into a couple of bikers who'd eaten wonderful rhubarb pie at that restaurant. when we got there we found out that debby & anne had just eaten the last 2 pieces of rhubarb pie....of any pie. what a blow! we had no inkling that she'd turn on us like that.
sari had a couple of pancakes & i ordered a combination omelet, which came with "brownlee spuds." brownlee is a big name in these parts. both the omelet & the spuds had onions & peppers in them; it was all pretty tasty.
we rode on down the hill & soon found ourselves riding on narrow roads way up above the brownlee reservoir. (i was so glad we were on the side of the road toward the hill.)
here's a picture of (from left) gerrie, jackie (notice that duck on her bike bag), & sarah. the reservoir & the walls of the snake river canyon are behind them.
we kept coasting down a gradual downhill along the canyon walls to the brownlee dam. we passed alongside it, then kept coasting downhill.
here's a photo sarah took looking back toward the dam. yikes it was huge. in the photo (from left) are jackie, me, gerrie, & sari.
at the bottom of the valley we crossed a bridge over the snake, then commenced the most beautiful ride you can imagine alongside the base of the giant hills on our left, the lovely snake river on our right.
you can see our road at the left of this photo. we saw a few fishermen out on the river in small boats.
by the way, the weather today was just as perfect as it looks in these photos: bright sunshine, a few clouds once in a while, warm but not baking temps (in midsummer it's over 100 degrees in this canyon), & breezes that were light to nonexistent. & traffic was pretty well nonexistent, too. if we'd written up a recipe for a perfect biking day the ingredient list would've matched this day.
after about 10 miles we began climbing up off the canyon floor. this was our last view of hell's canyon. by this time we had climbed up quite a ways on that ribbon of a road that you can see across the river; it curved around to the right & up to the vantage point where i took this picture. the last few days we've seen lots of rushing waters, but the snake was so calm today that it clearly reflected everything above it.
we biked back into the hills. soon we came upon a little roadside sign advising us that we're (back) in pacific time. a sign that we never saw, however, was one welcoming us to oregon...our 10th & last state!! sarah thot we'd be in oregon once we crossed the snake river, but there was no official mention of it. a little later i came upon a couple of fellows installing a "do not pass" sign along the road. i stopped & kidded them that i thot maybe they'd be putting up a "welcome to oregon" sign. they laughed & said there was no such sign on the idaho side. but one said that if we rode the other way back toward idaho that we'd see a sign thanking us for spending our money in oregon.
the landscape really opened out during the last 15 miles or so into halfway. at one point we rounded a corner & were awestruck by the appearance of snow-capped peaks before us. i took this photo near halfway. i think those are the cascade mountains.
halfway is a pretty cute little town. a sign at one end of town (but not the one from which we entered) proclaims it half.com...the nation's first dot-com community. perhaps you've heard the story; if not, here's a link to provide you the scoop....& some interesting info about halfway, oregon, in the bargain.
when sari & i arrived early afternoon the little cafe across the street from our motel had bikers filling up all the tables out front in the sunshine. i walked over there & got a room key from one of my roommates for tonight (patty fainer & sarah). a little later patty & i did some hand washing & hung it on the barbed wire fence behind our motel; let's hope the cow grazing in that pasture doesn't get tired of grass.
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, or if you would like text-only versions of these daily reports e-mailed to you, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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