Robilee enjoys cooking. She prepared delicious meals for us and gave us a care package which lasted us a couple more days. Her meals were colorful, tasty and plentiful!
As we drove from Vermont, through New Hampshire and into Maine, we enjoyed more fall colors. Our route choice was Hwy 89 to Montpelier and then Hwy 2 which took us along the north edge of the White Mountain National Forest. Stopped at Cold Mountain Café in Bethlehem, NH for lunch.
We took several other roads which, since the plan was to go to Acadia Nat’l Park the next day, took us to Hancock. We stayed at White Birches Motel there. It was time to do laundry but no machines at the motel. The proprietress told us of two places, one near a restaurant. So while the machines were running, we went to Governor’s. Apparently its a local chain. Worked out well.
Sunday-Oct 21, 2018
Made it to Acadia National Park! When I came for the bike ride two years ago, I arrived a couple days early. I used one of those days to ride through the Park. There is a two-lane, one-way loop which made it nice as I had my own lane and the motorized vehicles could easily pass me. The plan was to ride up Cadillac Mountain inside the park the next day but it was cold and wet so I chose not to ride.
Colors inside Acadia National Park
I wanted to share what I had seen with Dan and get to the top of Cadillac Mountain. We were able to do both. However, May and October are very different times of year. We only got out of our car to quickly jump out, take a photo and get back in where it was warm. Even though it was rainy and cold when I had been here in May, it wasn’t nearly as cold and windy as October.
There were more reds in the trees in this area than we’d seen in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Since we were so close, we drove through Bar Harbor. I enjoyed revisiting the town where my aborted cross country bike trip began.
Two years ago, I started a bicycle ride in Bar Harbor, Maine with the intent to ride across the country. On day six, another rider slammed on her brakes without calling out. I hit her and went down. Ended up with a broken collar bone. Kevin, who was on that ride for just the first week and lived nearby, offered me a place to stay while I made arrangements to get me and my stuff back to California. He and his wife, Robilee, were very gracious. So, today we met with them at their home in Shelburne, VT.
We spent time getting to know one another…Dan had never met them and they had never met him. Then they took us on a tour of the area they call home. Our first stop was at Shelburne Farms where Kevin had taken me two years ago. It is much different in the fall than it was in May. A cold, windy day but no rain. https://shelburnefarms.org/visit/virtual-tour
They also took us to Burlington Waterfront on Lake Champlain and the downtown area. We had to stop at Kevin’s favorite bar for a pint.
Friday-Oct 19, 2018
As we left Kevin’s house to get into our rented vehicle, Dan noticed the sidewall of the back tire was damaged. We called Alamo and they offered to exchange vehicles for us. Fortunately, we were still in the area so were able to do that. We were both glad the tire hadn’t blown out with all the driving we’d done.
Dan and I went to the Shelburne Museum (not the same as the Shelburne Farm) and spent most of the day wandering through the several houses and buildings to see the various collections.
This is a most interesting place and I recommend you go see it. The tickets were good for two days and we could have spent two days there but had to move on. We gave our tickets to our hosts. I hope they were able to use them.
Tuesday-Oct 16, 2018
Flight from San Francisco was early morning so we spent Monday night at Dan’s daughters place, took BART to the airport and flew off to Charlotte, NC where we changed planes to finish up the day at Burlington, VT. Started in the dark. Arrived in the dark. Had rental car waiting for us at the Burlington airport so headed off to the Northstar Motel in Shelburne, VT.
Seems like it was party time in the motel but it wasn’t our party so we were not happy. The owner of the motel moved us to another room for our second night. It was a nicer room and it was quieter. Hooray.
Wednesday-Oct 17, 2018
We spent the first full day in Vermont driving around looking at fall colors. I had a route from the Vermont state tourism site which we started to follow. We drove along Lake Champlain and onto some of the islands. However, as we stopped along the way, we received other suggestions and decided to follow them. One suggestion was to take Smuggler’s Cove, which was the name of a road. It came with a warning…the road is narrow, steep and there are rocks one has to go around. To me, it sounded like there would be rocks in the road. Of course, this was a challenge for Dan, the professional driver, so we went that way.
Smuggler’s Cove is narrow, steep and there are rocks. However, the rocks were not in the road but right on the side of the road so I do understand what the locals were trying to tell us. We went slow and carefully around the rocks while crossing our fingers that no one would be coming from the other direction. Crossed fingers worked.
We also ended up driving by Stowe. I had seen articles in skiing magazines about the resort there so it I was glad we could go by and see it in person. There was no snow but I could see where the runs were and the cuteness of the area.
As we wandered, we happened upon Ben & Jerry’s factory! Of course we stopped and took the tour and test tasted the latest ice cream flavor.
We were both impressed with how much space was between homes in the country. The towns were small and the homes close together but not many fences so it appeared more open.
Very much enjoyed the day. Did over 200 miles of driving!
Five motorcycles, six riders, left Groveland and headed for Clio. (John R., Kim R., Wayne A., Jack D., Dan and Nikki) After going through Jamestown, we got onto Hwy 49 and headed north and then north again on Hwy 89. We then worked our way to the Lodge at Nakoma. Turns out this place has a golf course and lots of other stuff to keep one occupied. It was high quality. We went to dinner at their restaurant. Food was good, restaurant was ‘fine dining.’ Nice.
Oct 2 – Green Gables Motel, Burney, CA
We continued through Plumas Nat’l Forest on Hwy 70, then Hwy 89 into Lassen Volcanic Nat’l Park. Stopped at visitor’s center before continuing through the park to see some of the volcanic activity along the way.
We rode up to Burney Falls. Beautiful area. It would’ve been nice to spend more time there but we went on to our final destination for the day. Very different accommodations compared to Clio. Clean.
In Burney, several of us went across the street from the motel to the Veterans Club. Got a few stories from the veterans that were there. Friendly.
Dinner was ok but definitely not the same quality and atmosphere as the previous night.
Oct 3 – home
Looking at the weather forecast, it was decided we would NOT continue to South Lake Tahoe as originally planned. Gave up our deposit for the room and headed for home. The whole group stopped in Chico so Dan could take his bike to the BMW shop there. While he got some work done on the bike, the rest of the us walked over to a fast food place for breakfast.
While Dan and Nikki waited for the BMW, the rest of the group headed for home. Dan went zipping down the road trying to catch them. It turned out, we missed the others when they stopped for fuel and they missed us when we stopped for fuel. Not knowing where they were, Dan decided to stop for lunch at Lagorio’s in Farmington. As we were waiting for our food, in popped Wayne and Jack. A quick hello, use of the john, and they were off. After we finished our meal, we hopped back on the bike and took off again. Dan caught them on Hwy 120 near the Roberts bridge. Since we all made it back to Groveland together, and it wasn’t raining yet, the next stop was the Iron Door for an end of the ride celebratory drink.
Everyone made it home with just a little bit of rain along the way. It was good we didn’t try for South Lake Tahoe as the ride home the next day would have been wet and cold.
Yesterday’s nap and two cups of iced tea (which were SOOO good) messed up my night. Although I paid for a tent site ($10) in the shade, it was still hot when I climbed inside to sleep. So, I took a walk around the camp grounds. Found a path which led to the stream/creek/river nearby. As I sat there with my thoughts, I watched the moon peeking through the leaves on the trees. Peaceful and (mostly) quiet.
Eventually I went to the tent and tried to set myself up so I could (and would) add layers if I got colder. Turns out, it was a fairly warm night/early morning so I was fine in my nightie with a light blanket and light sleeping bag. Got an ok rest.
Got myself fed, packed and on the road by 7:05 this morning. Short mileage today but the shower truck closes at 2 and the staff wants to be done by then also so they can head home. No dawdling today.
Not only was the rider shorter, it was easier up to the one rest stop. I jumped on with three guys who pulled me through the headwind section. Got to the rest stop and Steve, Don, Mary Lou and John were there. Steve and I rode the last 17 miles to the end of the ride together. Once we got to Seneca, we sat around with other riders, Mark and Erica, re-hydrating, then Gordon came by. Steve had suggested a Coke and chocolate milk concoction but neither was available. I still haven’t given that a try.
I invited Mark and Erica to come fly in to PML and stay with us. He pilots a 182. Keeps it in Livermore. They live in Dublin.
It was so nice to sit and relax after an easy ride. Got my shower, loaded stuff into car and bike on back. As I was leaving, I saw Steve, Mark and Erica so asked which way to John Day, left or right? Heading up the road, I found myself back in Mt. Vernon so stopped to get a photo of the Post Office.
Realized the Silver Spur Café (see July 27) was across the street so decided to go there for lunch. Steve stopped in too so we had lunch together.
Since he knew I’d been a bit confused on which way to head for John Day, he said, “Follow me.” Turns out he goes all the way to Kennewick to get home so I followed him there. He went on and I tried to find room at a Best Western. No luck.
I ended up in Umatilla at the Inn. Finished up the day at a laundromat and grocery store. Have clean clothes and something to eat for dinner. All the eating places nearby were closed by the time I was ready to get dinner so I ate a hodgepodge from the grocery store.
I think I have a few new “forever” friends.
Tomorrow starts the next phase of my vacation: Spokane to see my Uncle Paul and family!
BRNW is going to re-do the Montana ride that Don, Wendy, John, Mary Lou and I did with them in 2013:
Missoula to Darby
Darby up Chief Joseph Pass and beyond Big Hole Battleground to Jackson
Jackson to Wise River
Wise River to Philipsburg
Lay over with optional ride
Philipsburg to Ovando
Ovando to Missoula
It is not an easy ride but it is pretty. I am seriously considering this one.
Friday, July 27, 2018 Bates State Park to Mt. Vernon
4 hrs 56min riding time
Cold night, no rest. Started ride at 7:30am.
First 40 miles were on downhill slope. Cold but bearable. Shady. So glad for that. We were on the Old West Scenic Bikeway – all the way to Long Creek.
After first rest stop, we continued a slow descent until a left turn took us onto US-395 S. Then the climbing began. Although the grade was reasonable, it was hot, hot, hot with no shade.
At the second rest stop, in Long Creek, I tried to recover in the shade with food, water and rest. As I left the rest stop, I could see smoke in the air from yet another fire, could see no shade for miles, knew there would be five more miles of climbing and it was hot. I turned around and went back to Long Creek. Caught the next available SAG to camp at Clyde Holliday Recreation Site outside of Mt. Vernon. Arrived just before 3. By the way, I had to wait for a second SAG vehicle as the first one was full. The one I used was full too. So, it wasn’t just me…
This was actually a very pretty camp ground. I paid for a camp site instead of staying with the rest of the group. It was cheap, there was green grass, and it wasn’t as far to lug my gear.
After lunch with Wendy (and then Don), set up tent and took a shower. My bum is so sore, I should have showered first. Managed to get a half hour nap outside my tent (in the shade, on the green grass).
Kevin M called to see how Dan and I were doing with the Ferguson fire so close to home. Had a fun, short conversation. He is a good friend.
Dinner with Mary Lou and John.
From BRNW Oregon 2018:
Mt. Vernon history
Established beside the John Day River and minutes from the John Day Fossil Beds, the small Mount Vernon community offers a lot from a deceptively unassuming small place. Established in 1877, Mount Vernon became a ranching community. Named after a stallion belonging to settler David Jenkins, the horse’s stone stable still stands on the north side of Highway 26, east of town.
Things to do/see in Mount Vernon
The David Hamilton Winery at the corner of US 395 & US 26 specializes in homemade fruit wines, with flavors like Camas Creek Elderberry and Hells Canyon Wild Plum.
Swing by the Silver Spur Cafe for a slice of homemade pie.
The Mount Vernon hot springs aren’t too far away—just three miles up 395 and onto Warm Springs Creek Road.
Culture and entertainment in Mt. Vernon
Local History: Peggy Murphy, the new curator of the Grant County Museum, will come to camp to give a presentation on the local history of the area, which included some unexpected events.
Tramp Central and the Baggage Boys: Our own talented crew‐duo of Wes Yurovchak and Tosch Roy will be back by popular demand, for a set of crowd‐pleasing favorite after dinner.
(I missed out on all the activities since I didn’t ride through Mt. Vernon – took the SAG – and I didn’t camp in the area arranged for by BRNW. I included the info here just as a reminder of what could have been.)
Today is a rest day for me. I didn’t sleep well last night. Too much noise – trucks, cars, trains, parties. We are in town and I could really tell.
It is 1:20pm and I stink. The shower last night wasn’t enough I guess.
I did get some stuff done today:
Laundromat (biked there with John and Mary Lou) Came out with clean clothes and recharged phone and spare battery
Rinsed off bike
Took bike to mechanic to get dust blown off brakes
Found an outlet to continue recharging the spare battery and to charge the toothbrush battery
There was a chance to go tubing on the river but their timing and mine didn’t coincide so I didn’t get to go.
It is too hot to take a nap inside my tent so I sat under the awnings, put my head down on the table and rested. Eventually woke up and started playing solitaire on my phone. Another rider sat down nearby and started up a conversation. Got to know Steve a bit and he introduced me to some others.
After dinner, several of us wandered to the local park, Geiser-Pollman Park, where Jay Fleming and the Unlikely Saints were playing. Enjoyed the music and the company. Did a little ‘dancing’ (that’s what I call free form moving to the music).
Thursday, July 26, 2018 Baker City to Bates State Park (Austin Junction)
5 hrs 53 min riding time
Started at 7:30 this morning. No hard climbs so even though temps are supposed to be high, I decided to stop and smell the roses today.
Enjoyed riding through farmland and sagebrush to start the day.
First climb was 7.7 miles with 1,762’ of elevation gain. Gentle climb with same grade going down the other side. Wheee!
Second rest stop was at Unity Reservoir State Recreation Area. Beautiful, shady spot. Went wading in the reservoir to cool my feet. Aaaah…
Second climb wasn’t tough but it was hot. Rode through forest but the shade wasn’t on our side of the road.
Rode with Don on and off. We ended up at Austin Café at same time. I had no money with me so he paid for my ice cream. Huckleberry-mmmmm. I did pay him back, really.
Washed cycling clothes by hand. I don’t think they’ll be dry by tomorrow because I arrived too late in day. Uf da!
Beginning to know some of the other riders. Dan, Mary, Nels and Charlie (female) seem to be a “group.” Steve and Gordon are buddies. Phil and Michael worked together which is how they know each other.
From BRNW Oregon 2018:
On the route
Dooley Mountain was largely burned by the Cornet Fire of 2016.
Once again we’ll be going right past the store/restaurant at Austin Junction – this time at the end of our ride. If they’re open… ice cream!
Things to do/see in Austin Junction
OK, there’s not really anything specific to do at Bates State Park – except relax and enjoy.
Culture and entertainment at Bates State Park
Wine, Chocolate and Wild Animal Sex: Actually, these are really two different things, but they do come together to make a theme, don’t they?
Wine and Chocolate Social: We’ll have our traditional wine social, but with a twist: we’re adding chocolate to the mix… in a big way. We’ll have handmade chocolates from Alyssa Peterson, certified chocolatier, as well as other chocolate delectables, along with usual array of wine friendly snacks. (I didn’t partake in the wine or the chocolate-too many people in one space-but did enjoy company of my fellow travelers as we sat outside the melee.)
Animal Sex: After dinner, Bend author LeeAnn Kriegh will dig into her wonderfully accessible and interesting book “The Nature of Bend” to show‐and‐tell us some of the more interesting things about love in the wild, for the wild. She’ll have some copies of the book with her, or bring your own and she’ll gladly sign it. (Very entertaining speaker.)
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 Sumpter to Baker City via Granite and Anthony Lake
6:09:47 riding time
The morning was comfortable. Made it easy to get up and moving. Dressed in cycling clothes only (no layers of street clothes) which made getting away quicker. Left camp at 6:50am.
Started the first climb right outside town. Once I got to the downhill, I really pushed to take advantage of gravity. I wanted to get to the next camp before the day reached the hottest part.
Then came the long climb of the day – eight miles. There were some places where we got a little relief. Not sure of the grade but I probably averaged five mph over the whole distance.
The first 60 miles were in mountains and so it was cooler than the previous days.
Descending from the second climb, I, again, gave it all I had. When I reached the valley, the two guys who’d been following me down the hill passed me. So I jumped on. Then another lady that I’d passed on the downhill jumped on after me. It was great having a group to ride with.
We caught up to a couple and rode with them for a while. Eventually my feet started burning so I dropped off. There was a house with lawn, trees and shade. I stopped there, took off my shoes, did a foot massage and then felt better.
A group of four women rode by so I caught up with them and rode for a distance. When we turned a corner and it was slightly downhill, I took advantage of gravity again as the other four ladies seemed content to maintain the same pace.
Arrived at camp around 1:30pm.
Today’s ride was nicer because most of it was cooler than the previous days.
My lower back was really hurting on the climbs so I went to the acupuncturist who is working the ride. She took photos of me covered with pins. Waiting to see if it helped. My right side hurt when I first got up today so that’s another issue I hope she fixed.
From BRNW Oregon 2018: On the route
At our rest stop at Anthony Lakes, it’s well worth the very short trip down to the lakeshore, for the view and even the swimming, if cold water is your thing.
Later in the day we’ll connect with the Grande Tour Scenic Bikeway for our ride into Baker City.
Baker City history
Once known as the “Queen City of the Inland Empire,” Baker City still oozes with old Western style and remains a hub of Eastern Oregon. In 1865, Baker City transformed virtually overnight, from a swath of land hosting three cabins to a premier Western outpost with a saloon (built first!), hotels, livery stable, blacksmith, store and several other buildings on its main strip.
Backed by gold mines, timber and the arrival of the Baker Short Line Railroad in 1884, the city continued to grow—by 1900 it was the largest city between Portland and Salt Lake. Baker City was also struck by fires in its early days; however, it rebuilt many of its original structures in brick and stone, and some of these are still standing today, including the Geiser Grand Hotel. Built in 1889, the three‐story brick‐and-stucco structure was lavish for its time, with plate‐glass windows, electric lights, baths and an elevator.
Today this high‐desert city remains a vital center of activity in Eastern Oregon (including an annual Hell’s Angel’s meetup to ride Hell’s Canyon)—and with 5 Scenic Byways passing through, there are many ways to return and revisit this modern city rich in history.
Things to do/see in Baker City (over our two days there)
There’s a strong culture of artisans in Baker City; a downtown walking/shopping trip will let you meet artists, makers and other interesting folks.
Barley Brown’s brewery and brewpub is not too far from our camp.
For a shady spot to relax, Geiser‐Pollman Park is just two blocks from our camp site (we’ll be having our concert there on Layover Day).
Baker City has a plethora of interesting buildings and historical sites; it’s worth just ambling around town exploring. Can you find the open‐air Salt Lick Art Gallery?
If you like bakeries, there’s a great one in town. Check out Sweet Wife Baking.
The Baker Heritage Museum couldn’t be more convenient—it’s just across Campbell Street fromour site.
Wander around Historic Baker City to get a taste for the turn‐of‐the‐century architectural variety on display—and for a bit of indulgence, check out the Geiser Grand Hotel, still receiving guests 129 years since opening, and peek inside for a look at the mahogany interiors, stained‐glass ceiling and crystal chandeliers.
You may also want to cruise by the Leo Adler House Museum, a 19th century restored Italianate home that belonged to Baker City philanthropist Leo Adler. Tours are given on Fridays, but even the facade is picturesque.
If you’re feeling more ambitious about a great museum experience, maybe pedal out to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, a few miles east of town on Highway 86.
There’s a swimming hole 6 miles south down Hwy 7. Right where the long straight stretch ends, on the left the river gets wide, and this is where the locals gather to take a dip.
Temperature was good for sleeping last night but I still woke up in the middle of the night – I think because my hips were hurting. It was nice to wake up to a comfortable temperature in the morning.
I was more organized today and got on the road around 7:30.
Most of today’s ride was the same as my cross country ride last year. I got to see the giant Conestoga wagon again. I remembered most of the climbing but the heat made it tough.
Ended the ride with Don again today.
Went to see the Sumpter Dredge. Heard the park ranger presentation and got to go onto the dredge. Went into town for ice cream but got there too late. The store had already closed. (sad face)
It is supposed to be 96 degrees tomorrow but the night will be in the 50s.
From BRNW Oregon 2018:
On the route
We’re starting off on the Old West Scenic Bikeway today, all the way to Austin Junction.
It’s not like you’ll miss it, but the giant covered wagon on the left as you’re climbing up after Prairie City is worth a look/photo.
Whether it’s for a tour or just a casual look, the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area is a must‐see. The dredge, and the tailings piles it created for miles around, are an integral and enlightening part of Oregon’s history.
Established shortly after the city of John Day, Sumpter quickly became a mining boomtown in the 1890s and early 1900s. A rock as round as a cannonball provided the inspiration for the city’s name, which references Fort Sumter in the American Civil War (no, we don’t know why they’re spelled differently).
The Sumpter Valley Railway bolstered the town’s economy and population, which grew to more than 2,000 when the gold mines were still rich and full. In a short time the bustling town held churches, saloons, a brewery, opera house and three newspapers. But the boom was met with an early bust when a fire destroyed 12 city blocks in 1917.
The historic dredge and excursion train running along a part of the former SVR offer a view into the heart of Sumpter during its busiest time.