Longest day of the tour! Today started out with some modest plans to make it to the Ochoco Lake Campground, around 50 miles away. There was a big climb after that to Ochoco Pass that I wanted to be fresh for. The day started off with a huge breakfast of a donut, ham and cheese roll, and a piping hot cinnamon roll from Sisters Bakery. All three were excellent. The ride from Sisters was very nice, but not too remarkable. After leaving town I soon left the shady pines of Sisters and entered rural Backcountry farm roads. The terrain was hilly and interesting: I passed through wide open fields then descended into a valley where the Deschutes River was flowing, flanked by lush green foliage.
I passed through an alpaca farm (they look like long neck dogs) and an offroading area before arriving in Terrebonne. In Terrebonne I spotted an ad for lemonade (Santa Cruz Lemonade: 2 for $4!) and coincidentally ran into the couple who I’ve been accodentally travelling with since Coburg. They also stopped because of the lemonade sign. The guy (Andy) paid for mine. Thanks! We sat around drinking them then headed out together. We immediately came to a descent and I went on a bit faster and left them for the time being. This part of the route went between butte after butte in something of a valley, and it was stunning.
It did however start to really heat up. I pushed hard to get through it ASAP. Soon enough I pulled into Prineville. I went into the first restaurant I saw serving cold drinks which happened to be a DQ. I got a milkshake and chicken fingers. As I sat eating I saw the couple ride past. I now needed to decide what the heck to do for the night. I could stay in Prineville, push on towards Ochoco Lake Campground, about 10 miles, push to the summit of Ochoco Pass for Ochoco Divide Campground, about 26 miles with about two thousand feet of elevation gain, or push to Mitchell, about 40 miles, with the Ochoco Pass climb, and a descent and a bit of climbing after. Weighing on my mind was the fact that there was a high heat advisory of 90+ which would be kicking in as I did the climb. I decided to do the climb anyway because I was feeling good after my huge breakfast and lunch, and called a hostel in Mitchell to get a room which they luckily had. I strapped the leftover chicken strips to the back of the bike and grabbed a drink from a grocery store. As I was leaving I saw the couple for the last time (so far). We said goodbye then I was off.
After town it was mostly just farms, but slowly the mountains rose up around me and soon I was passing Ochoco Lake, which had a very low water level.
I refilled bottles here (thankfully, I’d need them) then kept moving. It was really starting to get hot about now, which worried me when I rounded a corner and saw this steep climb. I settled in for the upcoming 16 miles of uphill. I didn’t take too many photos of this part because it was hot and I was grumpy, but it was generally small alpine streams surrounded by large pines, with large rocks crammed in between it all.
The road was somewhat busy but the traffic respectful despite the missing shoulder. I did get someone rolling coal on me for the first time in the trip. I passed into Ochoco National Forest and the climbing mellowed out slightly. I passed a rest stop and pulled over to refill my bottles from my camelback bladder, which were both entirely dry. A kind soul informed me I was almost at the top. This was welcome news as I thought I still had miles to go. Sure enough he was right and a mile later I reached the summit.
This began a 7 mile descent into the dessert. The scenery change was dramatic. I was feeling exhausted but still had 10 or so miles of mostly flat/downhill going. This bit took a while, particularly when it rotated upwards into a climb at the end. Regardless, I pulled into the hostel right around 4. It’s amazing. It caters to bikers doing long distance rides and had repair tools, free popsicles, breakfast, a full kitchen, showers, everything. It’s called the Spoke n Hostel and I strongly recommend it to everyone passing this way. The hosts and other guests are all wonderful. Some of the other riders are doing the Trans America Trail. David is doing a portion of it (he’s a university professor). John is doing it. Then there’s a relatively new cyclist who just decided to go for it on a whim. Lots of interesting people and the hosts are great too. I went to the nearby convenience store and grabbed a microwavable chicken pot pie and a bunch of fig newtons for dinner, not my best. I’m off to bed. Happy fourth, and see you tomorrow!
- Ham and cheese rolls
- Cinnamon roll
- Chicken tenders
- Vitamin water
- Packet of fig newtons
- Chicken pot pie