June 20 - 29: Oregon

6/21 - Baker City (55 miles 3557.5 total)
a beautiful day dawned at halfway this morning. it wasn't very cold, so we knew very early that this would be a warm day.
here's a photo of the mad rush at the table where riders make sandwiches, bagfuls of gorp &/or cookies, & their breakfast. notice at the far end of the photo that deanna is already leaving on her bike; she, lin, & darleene tend to leave town for the day's ride just about the time the rest of us are starting breakfast. around the table from left are lee, behind her barely visible is phyllis, at the far end is darleene, & at right spreading her daily peanut butter & jelly with fervor is patty fainer.
less than 2 miles out of town we started up.....7 miles of up on a 7% grade. some sagged up. i stopped at the top to visit with claudine, who drove the subaru today. it wasn't long before patty fainer came riding up the hill....guiding her bike with one hand & playing her harmonica with the other!
as we headed downhill, spread out before us was a beautiful valley & the little town of richland. when sari & i rode into town we found a bike-surrounded cafe & went in. a waitress was taking the breakfast orders of a bikers' table. the waitress then went back into the kitchen & started cooking those orders. sari & i opted for cherry pie (sari) & a hot fudge sundae (me). i've been ravenous for dark chocolate lately; the only thing that sounded good at 8 a.m. this morning was a hot fudge sundae made with chocolate ice cream, so that's what i had. unfortunately, it was the world's smallest hot fudge sundae; i should've ordered a double.
at the restaurant we sat near virginia & bill from portland, oregon. they were having breakfast before heading out for a day of fishing. virginia was interested in what we were doing; we filled her in on our adventures & gave her a womantours brochure. won't be long before she'll be trading in her fishing pole for a cannondale.
we needed to get going. the day promised to get hot & we had miles to go. the day's route was quite hilly. we saw a sign that mentioned an upcoming "hole in the wall." we stopped to read the info. down below us was a partly covered highway.
back in '84 there was an earthslide here....which created a large hole in the side of the hill (to the right out of this picture). it covered highway 86 (since relocated; you can see where the old road disappears). the fascinating part is that the earth here is still moving...at the rate of 1/2 inch per day, & it'll keep moving 'til the year 2014. so far the earthslide has moved 10 million cubic yards of soil & rocks. it's kind of eerie realizing that the earth can slip away like that.
the day was really heating up. claudine was great about coming by to replenish our water supply. between richland (at mile 12) & baker city (our destination today at mile 55) there were no towns. but there was a little country store at mile 32; we stopped there around 11. atop a ramshackle place was a "cold pop" sign. it turned out that the owner sat on his front porch & made change so you could use the pop machine. he also had ice cream sandwiches...in his house. he said we could use the "privy" out back beside an old semi truck. i looked thru the large cracks in the door of this ancient privy & decided that the weeds outside it offered sufficient privacy.
while 5 of us riders were there, a self-contained biker stopped by also. here's a picture of him & his bike; he's sitting on the porch chatting with the "cold pop" proprietor. he was riding from eugene, oregon, & plans to stop at jackson hole & fly home (richmond, VA) from there. he told us that earlier this week he had to push his bike for 2 miles in the snow when going over mckenzie pass (on our route for next week---yikes).
onward & onward. now it's really getting warm. the thermometer in the shade on the "cold pop" porch registered 78 degrees. the landscape looked especially dry in the heat. but it was still beautiful, & in at least 2 directions were gorgeous mountain vistas.
you can see some snow-capped peaks in this photo of some riders who stopped to greet patty the chef, who was riding in our direction from baker city. she drives the van & trailer from one overnight town to the next, then often has time to go out biking before tackling her many responsibilities. from left in the photo are judy, lee, patty fainer, sari (barely visible), & patty the chef on the right.
we had heard about the national historic oregon trail interpretive center & looked forward to visiting it. but by the time we got there around 2 & noticed that it was perched waaay up high on a distant hill, our enthusiasm flagged. but wait....to the rescue came claudine. when sari & i pulled up to the long driveway to the center, she was there to tell us that she had arranged with the ticket taker to let us leave our bikes down below, then she'd shuttle us to the center atop the hill in the subaru.
my oh my the oregon trail visitor's center is fantastic. the exhibits are topnotch. we greatly enjoyed our visit & are so appreciative of claudine making the time & effort to arrange for us to see it.
i took this picture out of one of the huge windows of the center. down below you can see faint lines in the earth. those are ruts left by the conestoga wagons in which emigrants traveled from missouri to oregon in the mid 1800's....2000 miles in 6 months. it's an amazing era. by all means make it a point to visit this interpretive center when you're in this neck of the woods.
it was an easy 8 miles on to baker city. we felt like we'd returned to civilization being in a town of that size....about 9,000 people. & a very nice town it is, too. claudine had told us there was a dairy queen there. it seemed like eons since we've seen a DQ, so we made a beeline for it upon entering the city limits. (a time/temp said 86 degrees.) sari & i each had a georgia mud fudge blizzard made with chocolate DQ....with hot fudge on top. wow did it taste good! that oughta hold me for heavy-duty chocolate for a day or 2.
the phones here at the motel don't work well with our pocketmailers & my modem, so we all traipse down to the motel office to do our communicating; sometimes that phone works, sometimes it doesn't. it's early to bed for all of us tonight. we have a very long day tomorrow (83 miles), which includes 3 passes over 4000 feet. & most likely the heat will be a major factor again tomorrow, so we need to get an early start.
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....

This page, and all linked pages, were created on an Apple iMac DV SE running Mac OS 9, BBEdit Lite 4.6, Fetch 3.03, and Netscape 4.7.