Week #11 – High Desert and Hot Days

Week #11 – High Desert and Hot Days

Day #71 – July 20, 2019

Miles – 65.3
White Bird, ID -> New Meadows, ID

Day #72 – July 21, 2019

Miles – 48.8
New Meadows, ID -> Cambridge, ID

Day #73 – July 22, 2019

Miles – 70.6
Cambridge, ID -> Richland, OR

Day #74 – July 23, 2019

Miles – 41.4
Richland, OR -> Baker City, OR

We made our best attempt to get an early start to beat the heat, but as we rode out of Richland, we saw a fleet of touring bikes we recognized propped up against the local diner. Inside we found Geoff and Sharon, John and Oonagh, and Bruce and Bob (two westward TransAmmers from Australia). We had a great second breakfast with them. 

Our initial plan was to ride about 20 miles past Baker City to a campground. As I rode along, that plan became less and less enticing. The riding was extremely difficult. The landscape was uncomfortably barren. As the temperature began to hit 90, I wanted to find a shady spot for a break. Unfortunately, as far as I could see, there were no trees. There were a few pathetic bushes scattered about, but they were stingy with their shade offerings. I just kept riding. A headwind picked up on the long last climb toward Baker City.

When I arrived at Baker City, I immediately went to TacoTime to drown my sorrows in fast food and air conditioning. I texted to Jason to let him know I was fine with staying in Baker City for the night, and he agreed. We stayed with a WarmShowers host in town.

Day #75 – July 24, 2019

Miles – 61.3
Baker City, OR -> Malheur National Forest, OR

I started the morning dreading the ride. The idea of another 90 degree day among this desolate landscape had me in low spirits as we pedaled out of Baker City. To make matters worse in my mind, we were headed right toward a series of three passes, all with over a thousand feet of climbing each.

To my relief, the landscape began to change almost immeditaely as we exited Baker City. We were headed straight into a massive national forest. We rode through beautiful pine forests all day. There were countless rivers and creeks and even a lake or two. It was a complete turnaround from yesterday’s high desert desolation. Some of the forest land appeared to be privately owned because I saw some cattle ranches. A herd of cattle sitting around in a lush forest is an odd sight.

Forest cattle.

We rode over two of the three passes. Neither were difficult, but both had great descents. We stopped at Austin Junction for huckleberry ice cream and decided to save the last pass for the morning.

We rode up a gravel road just past Austin Junction and found a great wild camping spot in a former logging site. I fell asleep to the sound of coyotes howling.

Day #76 – July 25, 2019

Miles – 59.6
Malheur National Forest, OR -> Dayville, OR

After a cup of coffee and breakfast at our camp spot, Jason and I began the last pass before Prairie City. As I crested the hill and started the descent, I was disheartened to see the landscape was turning back to the harsh high desert. I left the pines behind me and dropped down to Prairie City, where I found Geoff and Sharon having breakfast. I joined them for my second breakfast and waited for Jason to catch up.

The remainder of the day went smoothly enough with a gentle downhill most of the day, but the temperatures rose into the mid 90s. Coupled with a headwind (there’s always a headwind these days), the last 10 miles were difficult.

We stayed at the Dayville Community Church. Geoff, Sharon, Bruce, and Bob (all Australian) were also staying at the church. I bought a frozen pizza from the grocery store, and as I finished it by myself, someone mentioned bike touring really increases your appetite. I agreed and didn’t bother to mention I’d probably have eaten the whole thing, bike tour or not.

Day #77 – July 26, 2019

Miles – 38.3
Dayville, OR -> Mitchell, OR

After a quick morning ride, I arrived at Mitchell, Oregon. Geoff, Sharon, Jason, Bruce Bob, and I all stayed at the great Spoke ‘N Hostel in Mitchell. This is a renovated church, turned into hostel focused on cyclists. As it was our last day riding the same section, we all went out to dinner at the local brewery.

Week #11 Mileage: 385.3
Total Trip Mileage: 4,033.7

4 Replies to “Week #11 – High Desert and Hot Days”

  1. Looks like Day 71 was White Bird, ID to New Meadows, ID, 65 miles.
    Have been plotting on my map. Thanks for your updates. Dave

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