We’ve officially made it into Eastern Oregon. Since Eugene we’ve been traveling East to Prineville, Sisters, Ochoco National Forest, Dayville, Bates, and finally Baker City. The scenery has changed so much and we’re amazed that all these different landscapes are in just one state. The coast had huge cliffs into the ocean with long stretches of beach, then lots of rolling hills and greenery, which actually reminded me a bit of Vermont, and the Eastern part is more desert-like with huge mountains, buttes, and sage. It’s called a high desert and my parents and I agreed that we’ve never seen anything like it. The painted hills were incredible and we felt as if we should be riding horses instead of bikes and wearing cowboy hats, not helmets.
We passed our first 1000 miles today! Woot! We had our first big climbs, which put any hill I’ve biked up before look like a piece of cake. The Cascades are no joke. We’ve climbed up the Ochoco Divide, Keys Crest, Dixie Pass at the tallest 5277 ft, Tipton Pass, and Sumpter Pass. We’re biking mountains! As long as we take it slow and take breaks when we need to we can make it to the top. The Road to the Sun might be a different story, but we’re going to give it our best shot!
There have been a variety of other bikers that we’ve met along the way. Yesterday we passed by Mike from Junea, Alaska who was traveling in the opposite direction. It’s interesting to exchange stories with people and give/get tips for what’s to come on our adventures.
There also hasn’t been much cell phone service on this leg of our journey. It’s been a little unnerving seeing “no service” on my screen all day, but I’m glad we’re traveling together. My mom has been sticking more closely to us because we just can’t contact each other by phone otherwise. It’s been a huge help having her as our support person for this trip. Yes, people bike tour without a support vehicle, but we wouldn’t be able to go as far because we’d be carrying so much more stuff and we wouldn’t have a dry car to hop into when it starts pouring rain. Most importantly, is that she watches out for our safety. We used other touring maps to help plan our route, but some of our route isn’t on those maps and there’s no way of knowing what the roads will be like. Sometimes there are huge shoulders with smooth pavement, but once in a while it’ll be winding roads with no shoulder and huge logging trucks going by. When things get too hairy we can load our bikes onto the car and be driven until it is safer. Other cyclists don’t have that luxury, and for that we are extremely thankful. Thanks, mom! Plus, it’s been fun having a running buddy with me at the end of the day.
We made the decision to skip ahead by car for a few days of our trip in Idaho. That way we can really explore Vancouver Island and maybe see a little bit more of Seattle. We’re more interested in those parts of our trip versus what we would see in Idaho (no offense, Idaho, I’m sure you’re great, but we only have 6 weeks). This way we’ll feel less stressed about getting to the end and will really have the time to explore what we want.
Also, a very important announcement is that my dad and I finally came up with names for our bikes. His is Silver and mine is Brawn. That way he can say “High Ho Silver!” and I can say, “Come on, Brawn!” Your mind goes to some weird places when you’re on your bike for hours on end each day.
A Funny Story: In case you wanted to get your laugh in for the day, I’ll let you in on a stupid story that happened to us the other morning. In the Eastern part of Oregon apparently it’s popular to water your lawns, which is foreign to us in Vermont because our grass is almost always green. I don’t really understand it as green lawns look so out of place in a desert, but whatever floats your boat I guess. The other morning my mom and I were awoken to something hitting the side of our tent. Suddenly, she yelled, “the sprinklers!!!” My mom turned to panic mode and I of course just started laughing. Our tent wasn’t even on the grass, but on the dirt part of our tent site. We hadn’t been warned about the sprinklers and they got our fire pit, picnic table, and tent a sopping wet mess. It was a great morning.
That’s all for now. Happy Trails!