Friday, June 22, 2018

Day #68-Baker City to John Day, OR 80 miles

The Oregon Trail Motel provides a ticket for breakfast at their restaurant that we took advantage of.  We both got a couple buckwheat pancakes.  Steve thinks that fueled our long day.  Sunny warm weather returned today and that helped too.  We rode over three passes and had over 4000’ of climbing!  Our original plan was to stop at Austin Junction where there was a cafe that allowed camping but the cafe closed.  Our second choice, Prairie City was just 18 downhill miles from John Day.  So here we are!  

We’ve begun to see more "eastbounders" coming towards us.  Sometimes we stop and talk and exchange information.  We were where they are now but it seems a long time ago!

We’re camping at the fairgrounds in John Day next to the horse barn.  They have showers and WIFi for us!  Our needs are few!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Day #67-Richland to Baker City, OR 44 miles

We had another good RV camping experience last night in Richland.  It rained most of the night but in this arid area there was little evidence of it in the morning aside for our tents being wet.  Finley, our traveling companion, for the past twelve days, was up and off early as he was getting his phone replaced in Baker City and was meeting up with some friends as well.  While there’s a chance we’ll meet up again, he’s usually riding faster and further than we do.  He has a blog on the Crazy Guy on a Bike site.  

Most of today’s ride was a moderate climb of about 2000’ over 40 miles from Richland to Baker City, elevation 3451’.We left the Willowa Mountains behind.  This is high desert and as we have seen frequently irrigation is the only way that anything grows.   We rode along the Powder River, the route of the Oregon Trail.

Once in Baker City we stopped at the Trailhead   bike shop.  They have a bar in their shop so I had a beer while Steve got his bike worked on.  They’ve been in business for just a couple of weeks!

We’re staying at the Oregon Trail motel.  Tomorrow we begin map #2 in our countdown across the country.  We’re two weeks from Astoria!  

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Day #66-Cambridge, ID to Richland, OR 68 miles

We said our good byes to the other cyclists at the RV campground and headed towards Oregon.  The weather promised to be sunny and warm.  We followed the Snake River, which is dammed in three places, creating huge reservoirs.  Further down stream is Hell’s Canyon.  We had three climbs today in the hot weather and no shade.  

We’re at another RV park camping tonight. These places are nothing like I’d imagined them.  They’re clean and they’re cheap.  Tonight for example we each spent $6.00 to camp, with showers and a laundry!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Day #65-New Meadows to Cambridge, ID 47 miles

It says something about the nature of our journey that 47 miles seems almost like an off day.  We had a rainy start but a dry downhill ride to Cambridge.  They’re cutting hay in the plains on the way and it reminded me of home.  We’re 15 days from Astoria.  I know I should stay in the moment but I’m drifting off figuring out the details of the last few days.  

We’re staying at an RV park in town along with a couple from England heading east, Jon and Catherine.  It was fun to share stories with them.  Another Brit Steven, also heading east, joined the party later in the day as well.

Jon, Catherine and their incredible tandem!

Day #64-White Bird to New Meadows, ID 65 miles

Great night at the RV park on Salmon River last night!  The campground host Charlotte was wonderful and we had a covered space to pack our stuff.  We were expecting a wet day that never materialized.  An uphill day for 60 miles!  We gained almost 3000’!  Busy road but great scenery.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Day #63-Lowell to White Bird, ID 66 miles

We continued downriver for the first 20 miles today.  The Lochsa River merged with the Selway River at Lowell to form the Clearwater River.  We followed it to Kooskia, in the Nez Perce reservation, where we had breakfast.  There were lots of boats on the river and we found out they were fishing for salmon!  Beyond Kooskia we began our first climb of the day which turned out to be a real killer, almost 2000’ of steep switchbacks. The good news-it was dry and there was no wind! 


We found miles of wheat at the top of the climb.  How very different from what we’d experienced over the past two days. It rained briefly as we were in Grangeville,  but stopped.  We pushed on to White Bird over White Bird Hill, over 4200’ elevation.  The fast descent into White Bird gave back all the elevation we had gained on the day.

We’re staying at an RV park outside White Bird on the Salmon River.  We’re not far from Hell’s Canyon. The forecast is rain tomorrow.  

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Day #62 Powell to Lowell, ID 65 miles 

We followed the Lochsa River 65 miles downstream in the rain today. This ranks as one of my more memorable bike rides ever!  This river is wild and beautiful.  It forms the boundary of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area.  Magnificent Red Cedars; firs; and other conifers grew along the opposite shore.  For much of the route the river and road were all that was between steep hills on both sides.  The rain kept me from taking pictures.

We stopped at a historic ranger station now operated by volunteers. Mike, one of the volunteers, told us we were in the largest tract of wilderness in the lower 48!  The only signs of civilization were rafters and kayakers.  

The route from Lolo Pass to Lowell and beyond has a rich history.  First it’s the route Louis and Clark took.  They befriended the Nez Perce who gave them provisions.  Later the route was part of the historic retreat the Nez Perce made from pursuing soldiers.  The route, US 12, wasn’t completed until 1962.  This is the same roadway that traverses the dunes just a mile from my house!

We’re staying at a cheap motel in Lowell trying to dry everything out.  I took a moment to figure how many miles we have left and came up with 841miles. It’s truly hard to believe how far we’ve come!