Day 70 Saturday July 30, 2005, 72 miles (116 km) – Total so far: 4,168 miles (6,708 km)
71.9 miles and 7:39 pedaling time
I woke up at 8am to Ryan letting the dog out, he seemed rather thrilled to wake up and have some dude camping in his front yard. I slept great last night. I was out like a light and there was nice wind blowing through town all night. Ryan’s old man cooked up some biscuits and gravy for breakfast. I’ve never had biscuits and gravy before. It was delicious. I told Ryan and his dad all about my trip during breakfast.
They gave me some fresh fruit and I quickly packed all my gear into the trailer. Ryan grabbed his bike and he rode out of town with me. We caught a tailwind out of town and were riding pretty easy. Ryan kept me company for 10 miles out of town with me then he turned around. I thanked him for everything he had done for me. I’m glad I got to meet him. I had a lot of fun visiting Baker City.
The plan for today was it was pretty flat the first 17 miles. Then I had 3 passes. Each pass had 1000′ of elevation gain and an insane downhill on the other side. After the 3rd pass I was meeting Shawn in Prairie City and we’ll share a campsite.
Climbing the first pass I thought a lot about the good time I had in Baker City. I should have taken another day off and went to all the cool places Ryan and Jay told me they could have taken me. I flew up the first pass and rocketed to the bottom.
At the bottom of the first pass was a ghost town called Whitney, I remembered Janie telling me about it. Whitney used to be a railroad hub for the logging industry. When the gold towns started shutting down so did Whitney. Now there’s nothing left but a few structures that are about to fall down.
Climbing the second pass I was starting to get tired, hungry and running out of water. I stopped in the middle of the steep hill and sat on the side of the road. I considered eating my emergency tuna fish pouch. But instead just decided to get over the hill because there was supposed to be a café on the other side of the mountain.
When I got closer to the top of the second pass I kept yelling at myself to ‘LETS GO!’ and rolled over the top of the hill pretty fast. I flew down that mountain and didn’t touch my brakes at all. I was comfortably riding at 30 mph.
Outside the restaurant it stunk like a Forrest fire. I couldn’t decide if I should get an Elk burger or a Buffalo burger. In the end I went with the Elk. While I was waiting for my food the other people in the restaurant started a historical movie about all the small towns in Northeastern Oregon. I paid close attention to all the towns I had been through or was headed for.
I felt a lot better after eating and made it up the 3rd pass pretty quick. Coming over the top of the hill the strawberry mountains came into view. The views were so great I yelled and cheered as I came flying down the hill. I had to stop in the middle of the downhill cause he was worried about my bicycle wheels exploding. Cycling is getting a little intense.
When I got into town I found Shawn at the campsite. I setup my tent and we decided to go find some beer. The bar we went to had hundreds of deer heads hanging on the wall. I realized that I enjoy my beer better when I’m surrounded by wildlife trophies. Shortly after we arrived this herd of loud, overweight and unattractive young ladies came plowing through the door. They were having a 30th birthday dance party. Shawn the Bartender and I made fun of them all night long.
2 sisters from Maryland who were traveling the country in a car came in. the 4 of us told stories about all the places we had been and where we are going. We paid our bar tab and went back to the campsite.
In Oregon all the best beer is pretty cheap. A pint of good beer is about $3, in New York its $6.