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…