Baker City, OR - Powell, ID
This week went by very quickly mainly because of the scenery and the graded climbs through all kinds of terrain in East Oregon and Idaho. Started with a planned zero-mile day waiting in Baker City, OR for the post office to open after Memorial Day kept it closed. On "zero days" I would like to share a few productive ideas to fill your day. I will normally get anything minor at the store (Advil,batteries, etc) things easily forgotten. I will also do laundry and give the bike a good washing along with new lube. I will take the time to make any minor adjustments I have noticed. It is also a good idea to let your sleeping bag and tent air out in direct sunlight and make any repairs needed. These small tasks makes the equipment in the field perform over and over.
Day two was spent winding through Hells Canyon in the desert-like terrain. Imet a couple of cyclist finally and stayed in Halfway, OR with them. Day three was spent riding to a State park on Brownlee Reservoir but, was extremely full and uncomfortably hot. I had a 13-mile pass and was also the dividing linebetween Oregon and Idaho. I pressed up and back down into Cambridge, ID. The fourth day I left Cambridge an hour later (due to the time change). I had a30-mile gradual climb then a flat 40 miles into New Meadows, ID. I ate some delicious fast food and was told to head to Zim's Hot Spring Campsite for a cool camping spot, so I did. Only person there and totally worth the $10 to sleep under the pavilion with power.
Woke up on day five in a cloud. I am in a cut between two mountains so the moisture was trapped until about 8:00am. Dried off as best as I could and had an easier day to the town of White Bird, ID. Super dry and hot but, made it to the last little town in Hells Canyon before the epic 13-mile climb out on Old Highway 95. I woke up the next morning and ate a breakfast sandwich before the climb. I got moving and slowly pushed up until I looked down the switch backed hills to see a group of racing cyclist coming up the road. I was in the middle of the "For the Hill Of It" race and had no idea. I came over the crest of the summit to the finish line with spectators cheering all the racers (and me) on. I went through the finish chute and kept on going. Everybody was left confused. Headed through Grangeville, ID for Subway and kept on rolling into Kooski, ID for a campsite next to the Salmon River. Today was the final day this week and it was a beautiful ride down highway 12. This highway cuts through the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness with no services. Sleeping next to the river and plan to hit the massive town of Missoula, MT in a couple days.
It was great to meet cyclists after about 20 days touring. I met a man by the name of Tom and his wife who was his support. They are retired and it has always been a dream to ride this route so, at 71 years old, he is doing it. I met another experienced touring cyclist named Greg. Greg had over 40,000 miles of touring around the nation and some internationally. I enjoyed a beer in Halfway, OR with these people then said my goodbyes the next day.
Al, the owner of Zims Hot Springs was an interesting character as well. The atmosphere of his establishment is dark with old light bulbs, a fresh scent of chlorine like a pool, and Al behind the service desk legs kicked up looking through his round shades. Really nice guy and gave me a good price to camp.
The final two people that stuck out were Bob and Chris from White Bird, ID. The retired couple met me the night before I went up the large pass out of Hells Canyon. They were full of history knowledge around the area and informed me of so much. The following morning before the climb, they came back and gave me two Gatorades and a homemade ham, cheese, and egg English muffin. Trail angels like this are part of the joy of traveling by bike.
Starting out of Baker City was an immediate drop into Hells Canyon. Hells Canyon is said to be 10-15 degrees warmer than above the canyon. The week was similar in geography. It was very dry and very hot. The shade was the only comfortable resting spot. The entire week I followed major rivers winding from east Oregon and into Idaho. There were a few climbs but, nothing was too extreme. The cooler valleys and mountains are definitely better than the canyon.
So I know part of my job is to check out this gear and see how it does pushing it day in and day out. It is difficult to talk about gear when everything is working so great (knock on wood). I did get a small rip in my personal Osprey Hydration Pack but other than that, everything is kicking butt!
- TRANSAMERICA Milestones -
- FROM: Watkinsville, Georgia
- DOB: 2016-01-01
- OCCUPATION: General Contractor
What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure?
The feeling of adventure and seeing new places. On a bike, time seems to move much slower and I would love to feel that again.
Have you traveled by bike in the past?
I have completed the Great Divide Mountain Bike route from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.
What is your goal for the route?
My goal is to diverge from the route off the beaten trail and go find adventure! I would like to be able to gather stories about my adventure in order to motivate others to get out there!
What do you hope to get out of this journey?
By the end of this journey, I hope to have collected stories, meet as many people as possible, and all around have fun. Along with doing this, I would love to have a very detailed journal and blog for others to follow and get inspired.
- TRANSAMERICA Milestones -