Off to Pendleton for Nancy’s 10 year high school reunion on our first loaded tour.
July 15, Tigard to Timothy Lake (81 miles)
We headed off from Tigard to Estacada on a road Dave found – Redland Road, which turned out to be a lot hillier than Dave thought!! At Estacada we stopped and had a few snacks and lemonade – lots of weird looks too. It was very hot. From Estacada we went up the canyon heading toward Mt Hood. We had a nice tailwind but it was still very hot. It was 30 miles to Ripplebrook Ranger Station, where we had to make a decision whether to head onto Timothy Lake, or to stay at one of the other closer camp grounds. We decided to go for Timothy Lake – 15 miles uphill – boy it was hard. We used all of the gears we had- 28/32!! We had to stop twice for breaks, near bonkage!! It was so hot. But we finally made it and we had a nice spot right by the water. We both took a bath in the lake. It was cold – but felt great to get all of the sweat off.
The tent went up great the first time. For dinner we had a kind of noodle casserole that a friend recommended – macaroni noodles, soup mix and tuna. It was great – three Sierra cups each! Now we are watching the sun set on Mt. Hood. We are both pretty pooped – it’s 8:00, time for bed.
July 16, Timothy Lake to Maupin (46 miles)
Today was kind of an easy day. We went and dipped in the lake before packing up. Left the lake around 9:00. The sun was up and it was warm already. Mostly a downhill day – a couple of bumps to go over, but not too bad. The scenery changed a lot – it is much dryer, desert-like, not a lot of trees. We had a good tailwind for most of the way, which was a good rest for our legs. It got real hot by the time we reached Maupin, about 1:30. We had lunch in town – greasy food but it tasted good. We both had chocolate milkshakes too! We stopped at the store before coming to the campground. The campground is right on the Deschutes River – so we both kind of washed off in it. They had showers for $2.50, but we didn’t splurge. We played gin rummy, had teriyaki chicken for dinner. We also walked up the road and got a bag of ice – just to drink lots of water, it tasted great! Tomorrow we’re going to try to leave really early. We have to climb first thing so we want to do it while it is cool.
July 17, Maupin to Fossil (70 miles)
Not a very good night’s sleep as it was very hot. We left early – 7:00 AM to make it up the hill while it was still cool. The first climb was 4 miles – on oiled gravel! Actually it wasn’t too bad. We saw rattlesnakes on the road. It was flat then until the 7 mile climb to Bake Oven Summit. That ended a distance of 25 miles during which we saw 4 cars – 3 were utility trucks. We made it to Shaniko, stopped and had Squirt and cookies as a pick-me-up. The lady at the store said it was all downhill to Fossil – hahaha, pretty obvious she had never been on a bike! We had 2 more huge climbs 7 miles out of Antelope and then again up a canyon to Fossil.
We had PB&J sandwiches at Antelope, saw a couple deer hop across the road – then saw a coyote from a distance. It got really hot again today. We took a break at the John Day Fossil Park – sat in the shade for a while, which helped. Then we started up the canyon – boy that was tough. It was so hot we were both squirting water on ourselves. We finally made the summit and coasted into Fossil. We got a $3.00 campsite at the only hotel in town and they threw in a shower for free – what a deal! We went to the “Snack Shop” for dinner – shared a chocolate shake, headed back to the site for an early night. Off to Heppner tomorrow – we’re going to make it an early start.
July 18, Fossil to Heppner (64 miles)
We got a pretty early start after a good night’s sleep. We went 15 MPH in the first hour, a record for us. Saw lots of deer along the way, uphill to Condon – but not too bad. We stopped at a little store there and bought a Fig Newton variety pack and a Squirt, nice people there. World record set, 2 cars in 34 miles. About 5 miles from Condon we had a 4 mile climb – pretty sweaty by then! Then it was rollers – pretty wearing. We had lunch by 4 silos in the middle of nowhere – the only place we could find shade to eat our PB&J sandwiches. There was really no shade anywhere on today’s ride. More rollers and Nancy’s first whimper of the trip – but it was really hot and all Dave’s fault.
All of the creeks run north and south to the Columbia. We were going west to east – so we had to go down into a lot of holes and back up again. We made it to Heppner about 1:30 – best time so far. Stopped at City Hall, Dave got a great deal, free camping at the fairgrounds, free cold showers! We walked back to town and had pizza – not too great but we ate it. Back to camp for cheetos, onion rings and a roll Dave bought from a very perplexed woman at the sub shop. Our tent is in the sun right now so we’re waiting for it to go down so we can go to bed! On to Pendleton tomorrow.
July 19, Heppner to Pendleton (56 miles)
We got an early start out of Heppner – 6:30 AM after an interesting night. We had to get up in the middle of the night to move the tent after some birds above us decided we were in their toilet area! We woke up to pitter patter on the tent, which got progressively stronger. We decided we had better move or the tent would be completely covered by the time we got up.
Ten miles into the day there was a hill we thought was Franklin Grade, made it up and thought that wasn’t too bad. But when we got to the bottom of the other side and turned the corner, we saw the real Franklin Grade! It was a 5 mile climb, lots of switchbacks, but a real pretty views at the top, 3564 ft at the summit. Then we headed down, down, down! Actually downhill all the way to Pilot Rock except for one small hill that we knew was the last one. We stopped at a store there and had cookies and a Squirt. On to Pendleton, the last 15 miles went really fast! It was great feeling to see Dad’s house from the top of the reservoir hill. It only took us a little more than 5 hours – great day and a great way to finish.