The weekend's plan was to ride a 100 mile loop around the
The weather could not have been better, warm and sunny – just hot enough to know it was summer.
I was riding the Yeti, Ben on his Lemond; each of us pulling a Bob trailer. Brad and Dana were cruising on their fully loaded Long Haul Truckers, built specifically for touring and their upcoming 7 week
How many bikes can one person have?
X = (Current # of Bikes) + 1
Early Saturday morning we loaded up and headed out, driving east toward
The first 10 or 15 miles were along Highway 26 toward
Our first small-town-stop was in
The chit chatting stopped when we started to climb… and climb… and climb.
Another beautiful thing about bike touring and only having a road map is that the topo lines are almost non-existent so determining the grade and terrain is near impossible.
Note: I describe this as a beautiful thing, others might disagree.
The grade flattened out a bit as we approached Trout Farm, a campground maintained by the Malheur Country Forest Service. Hoping to find water, we were pleasantly surprised by a piped spring providing fresh, cold libation. Filling our water bottles and checking the place out, we discovered why they call it Trout Farm. The lake at the far side of grounds was filled with huge trout; jumping, swimming, and thankful Ben had left his fishing pole at home.
The climb continued and got much steeper as we got closer to Prairie Summit. Well worth the climb, Prairie Summit was true to its name, open fields, wild flowers and fresh air. By the time we descended the 1000 feet into
After reaching the Big Creek Campground and finding it full of RVs and ATVs, we ventured a short way down a gravel side road, finding an ideal camping spot; sheltered from the sun and covered in pine needle duff. We unloaded the trailers and got back on our bikes – we had spotted a swimming hole down the way and weren't about to miss the chance to take a plunge into the icy water.
Dinner: Pasta all around.
Dessert: Tea and Chocolate.
Sunday morning I went to church. My church. The church I share with all outdoor lovers who get high off fresh air, open space, and riding bikes. And I rejoiced!
Continuing through the
The plan was to stop in Seneca for a second breakfast and a coffee…. Sure they must have a café. Seneca was in bold on the map after all.
Lesson Learned: Maps can be deceiving.
Seneca turned out to be a one-shop town, a rickety little convenience store that sold ice cream sandwiches, a lot of meat, and Powerade. After picking up a few essentials, we found a picnic table in what looked to be the city park and enjoyed the dregs of our cheese, crackers, and peanut butter. A true feast!
Tip for the road: When carrying cheese on a bike tour or backpacking trip, wrap it in a brown paper bag before putting it plastic. You will be glad you did.
We left Seneca and the road turned up as we climbed out of one valley, headed toward another. We crested the next summit, Brad and I pushing each other as we reached the top, before starting the best downhill I have ever ridden. I can't wait to go back. In fact, it would be worth climbing all the way back up to experience it again. The views were breath-taking; the
The ride through
It was Sunday afternoon, there was no other way I would have rather spent it.