Posted in 2018 Oregon Bikecation (Bike Rides Northwest)

Next Adventure…

Saturday, July 28, 2018                                   Mt. Vernon to Seneca

42.8 miles
12.2 average
3 hrs  30 min riding rime

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.

Healthy trees. 🙂
Burned trees. 😦

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.

This is the guy who suggested Coke and chocolate milk. In his favor, he does like tater tots.

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.  

Those wonderful tater tots.

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.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

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.

Posted in 2018 Oregon Bikecation (Bike Rides Northwest)

Heat, Smoke and Tired

Friday, July 27, 2018                                        Bates State Park to Mt. Vernon

57.81 miles
11.6 average
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.

First rest stop of the day. I find the rocks here interesting.
One of the summits

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.

The view just after turning onto hwy 395.

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.)

Posted in 2018 Oregon Bikecation (Bike Rides Northwest)


Wednesday, July 25, 2018                            Baker City layover day

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
  • Yoga

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).

Enjoying the concert in the park.
Jay Fleming and the Unlikely Saints
Posted in 2018 Oregon Bikecation (Bike Rides Northwest)

Vowel Sounds

Thursday, July 26, 2018  Baker City to Bates State Park (Austin Junction)

69.43 miles
11.7 average
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.

Today’s scenery

First climb was 7.7 miles with 1,762’ of elevation gain.  Gentle climb with same grade going down the other side.  Wheee!

Entrance to second rest stop.

Second rest stop was at Unity Reservoir State Recreation Area.  Beautiful, shady spot. Went wading in the reservoir to cool my feet.  Aaaah…

Playing in the reservoir. Foot cool down time!

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.)
Posted in 2018 Oregon Bikecation (Bike Rides Northwest)

Pins and Needles

Tuesday, July 24, 2018                 Sumpter to Baker City via Granite and Anthony Lake

80 miles
12.9 average
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.

Pins in lower back. Good or not?

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.


Posted in 2018 Oregon Bikecation (Bike Rides Northwest)

Its “The Wagon”

Monday, July 23, 2018                             John Day to Sumpter

57.81 miles
11.6 average
4 hrs. 56 min. riding time

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.

The giant wagon
Top of Dixie Pass
Tipton Summit









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)

The Sumpter Dredge




Gold from the dredge! Not.








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.

Sumpter 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.

Posted in 2018 Oregon Bikecation (Bike Rides Northwest)

Another Chance

Sunday, July 22, 2018           Seneca to John Day

56.76 miles
14.6 average
3 hrs. 53 min. riding time

I did miss on the night temperatures last night. It was 35 degrees F. when I got up at 5:15 this morning. I think the cold woke me during the night. I had to get up and put more layers on and then hike to the toilets in the dark. Eventually, I fell back to sleep and was able to get up and moving early. However, I was not well organized. I lost track of how many trips I made between my tent and the car.  Once I was finally ready, my friends had already left. That was ok as I had a comfortable start to my ride and still caught up with each of them.

Start of ride today.

About mile seven, we turned onto a forest road that was unpaved. That’s where I saw John and Mary Lou. I went ahead and finally got back on pavement. Nice road at that point. Rode through healthy forest. I passed Wendy on the downhill. I was following another rider who stopped where several others were stopped and blocking the road. Safest move for me was to stop too.

Their group said we’d missed a turn. So, I pulled out the phone to check. If we did miss a turn, we were back on track. During that time, Wendy passed me. Just before the first rest stop, I passed her. (we did miss a turn and so missed Murderer’s Creek)

John and Mary Lou made it to the rest stop while we were there so I sat and munched with them. Then I took off.

There was some climbing and then a long, long downhill.  I passed a lot of riders on that portion. Our next turn was onto Hwy 26. A section of this road was one part of last year’s ride that I’d missed so I’m glad I got another chance to do it.

As we entered town, we passed by Moose’s house.
A few more moose in Moose’s yard.

Met up with Don at the second rest stop. We finished the day about 1pm.

Don and I at the fairgrounds which was the campsite for the night.
Showers are in a trailer.  There is an open area where everyone changes clothes with individual shower stalls. As I was taking off my sports bra, my hand flung out and I hit a woman in the head. Poor lady, she survived the day on the road only to get a concussion in the shower.

After my shower, I just sat in the shade trying to stay cool. I put my head on the table and went into twilight.

Later Don and I went to a presentation about some local history and got to see the Kam Wah Chung building and its contents.

The Kam Wah Chung building.
The building was filled with items from the past. This is just a sampling.
Bedroom of the proprietor. Although he was wealthy, this is what he had for sleep space.

Hope I drank enough today.
from BRNW Oregon 2018:

John Day history

Surrounded by the Strawberry Mountains and the Blue Mountains, the John Day area has a remarkable and complex topography. Perhaps it was this landscape, and the mighty John Day River cutting through it, that drew the first homesteaders in Grant County to stake their claim on the land that is now John Day.

In its early days, John Day was much smaller in comparison to Canyon City, which was at the time a mining boomtown. Several fires in Canyon City led to the relocation of many of its residents to John Day, including 1,000 Chinese immigrants drawn to Eastern Oregon in the gold rush. Originally built in the 1860s as a trading post, the Kam Wah Chung & Co. business was converted into a general store, clinic and social center in the late 1800s and continued to operate into the 1940s.

Originally called John Day City, the Western outpost for mining, cattle and timber harvesting that sprung up in the 1860s has retained much of its heritage—lumber and ranching are still mainstays in John Day, while its geologic features draw both paleontologists and outdoor lovers to marvel at the mark of geologic history written in the Painted Hills and fossil beds.

Things to do/see in John Day

Grant County Museum in Canyon City. The town also boasts Oxbow Wagons, where you can see horse‐drawn stagecoaches and wagons, lovingly restored.

It’s a bit off our route, but worth a trip back to explore the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, about 35 miles west of the city.

At 284 miles, the un‐dammed John Day River is the longest free‐flowing river in Oregon, and third longest in the United States, making it a rich ecosystem for fish, including Chinook salmon and endangered steelhead.

Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum: This unique state park museum captures a time in Oregon’s history with exceptional clarity and detail.

Posted in 2018 Oregon Bikecation (Bike Rides Northwest)

New Friends, Old Friends

Saturday, July 21, 2018

After repacking last night, I was almost organized for the ride but not quite.  A relaxed morning and then I headed north on 95 out of Winnemucca. Kept my eye out for 78 and made that transition. Next was 205 or 395. Based on what I’d seen on Google maps, I would hit that just before Burns. At sign for 205, I turned left. Wrong! Took me 20 miles to figure out that mistake. Reality was – go through Burns onto 395. No 205 involved at all.

Still arrived in Seneca in plenty of time for the community lunch provided at the only store in town. Overcooked burger with no toppings other than ketchup. Bleh. Still, met Kim from Vancouver and Pam from Tuscon when I sat down to eat. Kim invited me to camp near her since we’re both “single” for the ride.

After camp was set up, I walked back to car to drop off stuff. Heard, “Nikki! I recognize that braid.” It was Mary Lou with John. My friends from Fremont Freewheelers Bicycle Club. Funny thing is, none of us live in Fremont area any more. Got the news: Vanessa and her hubby cancelled but Don and Wendy are still coming.

Wandered around. Made several trips back to the car. Last one was to leave jewelry in trunk and get my cycling shoes. Yes, I missed them on all the other trips back and forth.

Saw Don and Wendy around five. They’d just arrived so they sat with John, Mary Lou and I at dinner. Also met Dan and Kathy from Bend. He’d worked for Shell at various locations around the country during his career. (Spent 14 years in Huntington Beach). Decided to head back to “state of origin” when they retired. Kathy was wearing earrings with same design as mine.

I think I may have miscalculated for night temperatures.  Will know more in the morning…

Seneca history (from BRNW Oregon 2018):

Nestled in the Blue Mountains, at the lowest part of the Bear Valley, the small logging town of Seneca borders the Malheur Forest and has been recognized as one of the coldest places in the United States. At 4,666 feet above sea level, it can be 15‐20 degrees cooler than the neighboring town of John Day—the lowest recorded temperature here was ‐54°F in 1933.

First settled by the Paiute, homesteaders and trappers came to the Bear Valley in the late 1800s, and in 1895 the city of Seneca was named after prominent Portland judge Seneca Smith. Seneca experienced its biggest boom in the 1920s and ’30s, when it became a logging outpost for the former Oregon and Northwestern Railroad, owned by the Edward Hines Lumber Company. The town became essentially a company town, housing lumber mill and railroad shop workers. Since the decline of logging in the area, the population of Seneca has also diminished, hovering around 200.

Situated at the confluence of Bear Creek and the Silvies River, Seneca offers sweeping views of Bear Valley and the Strawberry Mountain Range.

Posted in 2018 Oregon Bikecation (Bike Rides Northwest)


Friday, July 20, 2018
Leaving Groveland, I was looking forward to getting out of the smoke from the Ferguson Fire. I thought it was getting better as I crossed Sonora Pass.

When I arrived at Hwy 395, I couldn’t make my left turn! Construction had 395 backed up. It was only a 15 minute delay. While sitting there, I heard thunder and saw dark clouds but there was nice breeze. Sure enough, as I headed north on 395, I drove through rain! There were sections where water was running deep across the road.

Although the rain cleared the air through that section, once I reached Carson Valley, the smoke was back and just as bad as at home.

Driving over the Sonora Pass kept me on my toes. It is steep and curvy. No sleeping there!

When I got onto Hwy 50, I realized it would not be hard to fall asleep at the wheel. Straight, wide road with no change in scenery.

As I entered Fallon, I was looking around at the buildings and businesses. Glad to see a sign, Hwy 94 straight ahead. As I left town, I had a suspicion I missed my turn. There’d been a sign saying Fallon 8mi./Hwy 95 9mi. I stopped to check on my phone map. Yup, I missed it. Going back, there was NO sign saying turn right to get onto Hwy 95. The road wasn’t even marked as Hwy 95. It was Maine Street. I guessed right about where to turn and was back on route.

Next turn was onto I-80 heading east. Still seeing smoke but not as thick. Speed limit was 80 or 70mph on that road. I wasn’t comfortable going those speeds with the winds and my bike on the rack on the back of the car. So, folks passed me by. Even so, the traffic was light. The last hour, from Lovelock to Winnemucca, seemed to stretch into forever but I finally arrived at 5:15.

Checked in with Mom and Dan so obligations done. Checked to see if there are any wild fires around here. Don’t want to be breathing smoke all week.

Should have brought ‘fingertips.’  I don’t have a good device for typing my thoughts so am hand writing them. My fingers are getting sore from holding the pen.  (I found a store that sold ‘fingertips’ – good to go now).

In case you were wondering…