Friday, June 22nd - Baker City, OR 81 miles
Had a good wide berm again. Up to this point, we sure couldn’t complain about the roads here in Oregon and in all towns of any good size. Oregon has designated BIKE LANES on the busy streets. They are all marked with an icon of a bicyclist. ( I took a photo, will post it and my other pictures as soon as I get home.) The sharp climb started and we all had lots of early morning energy and moved right along. Not many trees, lots of rolling foot hills in the distance. As we headed up the mountain there was a nice photo opportunity with nice view of surrounding area. We were taking pictures by the covered wagon that sat on the overlook site.
As I rode up the mountain to the Dixie Mountain Summit, Rich caught me on film. Sure was happy to be at the top, way up there at 5,277 feet, after the 7 mile climb. Great going down the other side of the mountain for a fun 7.5 miles right into the SAG stop. Then we got the BAD NEWS. Up ahead we were told ODOT was working on the road. 17 miles of new, newer and just being put down chip & seal road. No escaping, it was the only road out. Our map cue sheet said we would have a 6 mile 1,000 foot climb. That was going along OK, bumpy road and all until I realized I had forgotten to fill my water reservoir. I did have a half bottle of Gatorade and that was by this time almost to the boiling point – being out in the sun for hours. When it gets that warm I feel sick in the tummy if I drink that hot sugar drink. I had no water and could only sip the Gatorade a little at a time. It wasn’t long and the van drove by and I motioned for Brian to stop ( by tapping the top of my helmet). ABB sure does look out for all of us by cruising the roads while we are out biking to assist us if we ever need any help.
Trudging along the chip and seal, our tires were taking a beating. Stones were hitting our spokes and getting stuck sometimes between the tire and fork clearance. It happened to me, and my peddling came to a dead stop. The stone was stuck and I had to remove my wheel from the bike to get it out. In this area heading up to the mountain pass there were a lot more trees which was nice because every once in a while there would be a little shade cast on the road where we could stop and cool off a little. We were all sick of the chip and seal surface and darn just when I reached the Tifton Mountain Summit at 5,124 feet, I heard my tire hissing. A flat. First one. I wanted to get it changed just as soon as possible to get out of the sun and start the descent down the mountain side. Phil happened to come cycling by and he helped me finish changing the tire tube. Going down the fast descending road on chip & seal was NOT nice. All of a sudden we had to stop in line with the traffic. The ODOT worker motioned for us cyclists to come up to her. She said we could not go down the last mile – because it was freshly laid tar & stone. It was an hour before traffic was led down the road by a pilot van. I was getting anxious to get to Baker City because I wanted to call my niece who lives a short way from Baker City. Still had 30 miles to ride. The road smoothed out and the scenery was beautiful. I saw two big birds that were Sand Cranes. They were in the grasses near the Powder River. For many miles, the Powder River flowed along near the road. I sure was tempted to jump in it. I was riding near Mike and we were clipping along until the last 10 miles. Then the head winds started. That wind slowed us down to nearly a crawl. We finally got into Baker City.
We had to go all the way through town. I was really exhausted when I got in at 5:45. Dinner was served at 6. I could not find my niece Wendy’s phone number and couldn’t find it in a phone book. I was so tired that right after eating, a quick trip to the whirlpool and Route Rap I went right to bed.
This Best Western had a terrific meal for us. Roast beef, vegetable lasagna, marinated chicken breasts, potatoes and gravy, vegetable, rice, breads and served to us in a lovely banquet facility. Before we left in the morning they served us a wonder breakfast buffet. We all raved about this place! It also had the biggest and best whirlpool so far.
Only one more day in Oregon. Thank you everyone who have cheered me on this wonderful adventure with your donations to Habitat For Humanity.
God is Good.