Up at 5am this morning and hit the road at 5:45. Had everything packed and loaded last night so I could hit the road quick this morning. It’s 60 degrees now, and is supposed to be sunny with a high of 99—going to get a little warm and I have a long way to go today—sunscreen and lots of liquids today.
8:30 and 16 miles in topped the first climb of the day at 4,131 feet. Nice morning so far…cool breeze and clear skies. On hwy 71 this morning that has size restrictions so no logging trucks and very little traffic….nice change from yesterday.
8:45 stopped at the Gateway cafe after a big drop down the mountain I just climbed…was fun but I know I’m going to have to climb right back up it 🙂 had eggs, sausage, hash browns, toast and coffee…should get me through till lunch. As I was leaving a couple from the Netherlands came in….they are headed west as well and are on Day 71….they thought I was a crazy American for going to Baker city today—2 days for them. They were having a great time—said it was a big country…amen to that 🙂 And reflecting at the end of the day…they were right—I was crazy for going to Baker City in one day—probably the hardest day of the trip so far.
10am and crossed over the Snake river into Oregon—10th and final state. Put me back in the pacific time zone so gained an hour again. Biking along the Snake river and it’s lined with cherry trees….hundreds and hundreds of them
with ripe red cherries. Strange that the birds don’t seem to be eating them. I had to stop and sample a few—very good.
Have seen lots of deer and wild turkey today. This is open grazing land so coming around curves going down the mountain had to look out for deer as well as cattle in the road….and saw both in the road today.
Topped second climb today 3,653 feet at 1:20pm with 62 miles in…..and 95 degrees….hot, hot, hot and no shade…the sun is just beaming down on me. The first time during the trip I’ve put on sunscreen twice the same day—it’s HOT!
Stopped at the Shorthorn restaurant and lounge in Richland for lunch…roasted turkey sandwich, tater tots, lots of ice tea and ice water and German Chocolate Cake for desert. 42 miles to Baker City and nothing else between here and there but road, mountains, and sun. Feeling great, but it’s going to be a hot ride….I shouldn’t have eaten those tater tots—forgot my rule about deep fried stuff….doesn’t sit well on the stomach in the heat.
Met guy pulling a cart behind his bike with his dog in it about 40 miles from Baker City. Can’t remember the guys name, but the dog name is Mona. I had been seeing motorcycles on the road all day going in both directions—lots of them, so I knew something was up but didn’t think much about it. The guy asked me if I had a place to stay in Baker City and I told him no, I would just figure it out when I got there. He told me there was a motorcycle rally there today and all weekend so finding a place may be tough. So, I got on the phone and called the first of the two motels listed on my map and the first full. I called the second and they had two rooms available so I grabbed one…this was around 3pm….thanks to Mona’s owner, I got a room for tonight. Had I just rolled into town like normal, I would have been out of luck and most likely sleeping on the side of the road tonight. See a pic of Mona below with her ski goggles on to protect her eyes from the glaring—and did I say HOT sun 🙂
The third and last climb I had to do before getting to Baker City was at 3,684 feet. I thought I would never get to the top of that thing. It was HOT, HOT, HOT (98 degrees by 5pm) and I was tired, almost out of water and just seemed to keep climbing forever. I remember looking at my GPS and seeing 2,800 and something feet for what seemed like forever—would just keep going up then dropping down, then going up, then dropping down….I had a few choice words for the GPS that I can’t put here because I made myself a promise to keep this blog clean and positive 🙂
Stopped at a rest are with one tree—the only tree for miles around—and sat under it for a bit to cool off…still had 28 miles to go, was hot, and was still climbing to the top of that last climb.
Finally, around 7pm I made it to the top of the last climb—the longest 36 hundred feet ever—and then had a short drop into Baker City. When I got to town I was more exhausted than I remember being at the end of any day on this trip. I stopped at the first gas station I spotted, bought a large (I think 1 liter) bottle of Diet Coke, a cup of ice, and an 18 oz bottle of ice tea. Sat out front of the gas station on the ground and drank it all.
Made my way to the Motel and checked in…I had enough salt on my skin and cloths that I could have filled a nice sized salt shaker with it. Turned on the AC, took a shower, and crashed on the bed for about 30 min before getting up to write this and then I’m going out to find something else to drink—don’t need food—just need cold fluids.
Today’s ride was one of the, and maybe the, toughest ride of the trip. I’m feeling good now that I have cold, fresh fluids in me and a shower, but I was completely drained when I rolled into town. So, going to get a good nights sleep then get up and do it again tomorrow…three back to back climbs all over 5,000 feet in the first 60 miles going out of Baker City tomorrow 🙂 Not sure where I’ll stop tomorrow, but most likely won’t be another 100 mile day 🙂