Today got off to a wonderful start, with an early wake up for pancakes with Eric and Tomie. They also made me some eggs, tea, and fruit. On top of everything I got the welcome news that Eric would be joining me for the first bit of the ride! We set out at a solid pace (for me, Eric was having to go very slow on his carbon fiber rocketship) and in literally no time we’d passed through John Day. We chatted some more about the tour, specifically staying safe and Eric gave me some good tips. Too soon we’d ridden the 15 miles that he wanted to do and we said goodbye and he turned around. I rode on solo through fields until I reached Prairie City.
Not much was open but I found a great little cafe and got some excellent iced tea, banana bread, and coffee cake. I also refilled bottles before heading out as I had a major climb approaching and more hear. It was the first of three peaks before we finish off this map segment in Baker City. As I rolled out of town I saw another tourer and he pulled over to me and we chatted. Turns out it was Clause Oveson, who runs crazyguyonabike.com. I used this website several times when picking gear for my own tour. Unfortunately I didn’t make the connection until after he rolled away. Anyways I got started. This was basically a desert climb. There was little shade over the 8 miles and 1500 or so feet of elevation. Surprisingly it went fairly quickly and I felt pretty good.
I eventually rounded the summit and saw two other cyclists up there resting. They were a father and son pair from Portland, Martin and Klaus. We mutually agreed that saddle sores suck. They told me that they were planning to camp at the Bates State Campground at the bottom of the hill. That was my plan as well, so I told them I’d meet them at the bottom. The descent was long and glorious.
When it ended I pulled into the 1 building town of Austin Junction. That one building was a restaurant and grocery, which is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays unfortunately. I kept going and turned onto highway 7, my last turn before Baker City. Right before I reached the campground there was a pipe with water running out of it. There was a couple there following up 30+ jugs of water. They told me they were literally gold miners with a gold claim just up the road. They come to this water source which is a natural spring straight out of the ground. The said that their gold claim doesn’t produce much, they just do it for fun. They were also nice enough to change out my $20 for some $5s for the campground. I refilled my bottles and my god that water is good. Very very pure. Then Martin and Klaus caught up with me there. They refilled their bottles as I moved into the campground. It’s another great Oregon State campground, the only issue is there’s no shower. Minor inconvenience really. I arrived right around noon so had lots of downtime. For the most part I just hung out in a pavilion with Martin and Klaus and chatted. They were super nice, on their first big tour and going at a leisurely pace. They live in Portland and overall are just living the touring life, trying to make it to Yellowstone. I wish them all the best.
While we were sitting around a woman and her husband pulled up. They walked around the pavilion them came in and introduced themselves. The woman was an original resident of the company town that used to be where the campground is now. It was called Bates and was a thriving lumber town during a wood boom that took place in Oregon. The woman pointed out the spots around the clearing where we were standing where there used to be Mills and dry kilns. She said a nearby bank used to be piled high with lumber. She also said her husband grew up in a similar town for coal in Ohio, I believe. I asked her if it was sad that everything was gone and she said no, she had good memories of the time. She left and it was just us again.
We cooked some dinner together and played music over a Bluetooth speaker I found. Very chill day. Tomorrow is going to be 50+ miles with two big climbs, so tough. I may get an early start to beat the heat. After that who knows. I may take a rest day in Baker City, or not, though I have heard the following section gets really hot with few services. We’ll see. I’m gonna head to bed. Goodnight, and see you tomorrow.
Note: my bee sting swelled up pretty good this morning. I’m putting this picture last so it’s not the cover of the post 😂
- Blueberry pancakes
- Eggs tea
- Cliff bar
- Iced tea
- Coffee cake
- Banana bread
- Shot blocks
- Beef jerky