We hit the Oregon scenic byways and they certainly didn’t disappoint!
The first 15miles were a gradual, but tough climb that seemed never ending. Though it shortly followed one of the top five best downhills of the trip!! No brakes rolling turns, phenomenal scenery…perfect!
We stopped for lunch in this beautiful rest area with thick bouncy grass. Andy instantly feel asleep while I went to cool off in the lake.
We ended up pausing for about 3hrs in total, whoops. Eventually we returned to the grind but luckily it was mostly downhill flowing through these beautiful mountains. We stubbled on Bradford at the bottom just before the next pass and shared this beautiful moment. At the top we paused in the only shop for 20miles and found some shelter since this was the temperature in the shade.
Here we met some good old fashion ‘bear hunters’ aka Teron & Joe.
They were sprawled out around the water point and had the shop owner bringing cold/rehydrating treats to them. They had been on a hike ‘bear hunt’ all day in the heat and had ran out of water 3hrs before getting to the shop. This was due to them actually catching a bear and then attempting to scramble down the mountain to safety. We discussed the pros and cons to hunting and different methods used.
I wouldn’t say I am in totally agreement with a lot of hunting, but predator maintenance seems a fair game. Just as we were saying our goodbyes I got to have a hold of their weapon, it was surprisingly heavy.
Back on the road for the last slog and some douche bag is crawling behind us in his car. I turned round to wave them passed only to see SAM’s face grinning in the drivers seat and his bro riding shotgun.
When we arrived we regrouped along with Bradford and after picking up the essentials, food, beer and of course donuts, we all headed to the local RV park for a grand evening of ‘face shaking’ fun before saying our final fair-wells to Hodge’s.
What a hell of a day with huge highs and serious lows. To start the morning we said goodbye to Bradford (who was taking a rest day) and pushed on to Richland. We were leisurely pausing in the shade when Terry and Joe drove past they had just been to collect their trophy ‘bear’. They had stopped to show us so we of course had a goosey gander.
They also mentioned that there was nothing for the next 40miles through Hells canyon apart from a primitive rest stop with only a tree and long drop WC. We decided to stock up on extra water and then set out for possibly one of the worst rides of the trip. Through the canyon we were cooking like chickens and running low on water quickly. There wasn’t one piece of shade for 20 miles and the incline was endless, but in the distance we could see the rest area. We decided we weren’t stopping for lunch due to lack of liquids, but we needed a break from the sun. So we took shelter under the ‘angel tree’.
When we looked under the tree I was cursing that someone had left loads of rubbish on a rock. Only to find the water bottles and Gatorade were full and whats more there was a note.
What a piece of gold at the end of a hellish canyon!! We couldn’t believe our luck and were instantly praising Teron and Joe for this unexpected act of kindness. I think Andy might have even done a little dance. I don’t think I have ever consumed and enjoyed liquid so much. To top off this day of awesome people this kind fellow stopped to give us some sort of vitamin drinks and pop tarts. He had driven all the way back after seeing us in the previous town just to give us these gift.
Needless to say these moments were our highlights of the day. The next 20miles were tough and slow. Also Andy was very dehydrated and tired. We finally made it to the town where we thankfully had a warm showers booked and headed straight there to meet Julie and Wil and What a amazing couple they were. Julie was a crafty kind soul that would share her last Rolo with you. Her generosity and loveliness will stay with me forever. Wil was a retired racer and absolute bike fanatic, his ‘bike cave’ was immaculate and fully stocked with anything you could ever need.
We spent a nice evening digging into the feast Julie had prepared, brown rice YES! After the days events and the fact the town looked interesting we decided to take a rest day. Unfortunately our hosts were going on a vacation themselves, but then surprised us with the offer of allowing us to stay anyway. The trust and hospitality blew us away, we ecstatically agreed and thanked them. Then retired early worn and shattered from a tough ride.
Rest day!! Woke up at 06:15 and couldn’t sleep while Andy snored away below, certainly not fair. Need to remember eye mask even indoors.Spent the morning chatting with Julie and Wil. Julie gave me some handmade earrings, which I love, while Wil gave Andy a windbreaker!!!
Will and Julie’s kind offering of letting is stay even though they were off on holiday was deeply appreciated. The afternoon was spent doing chores and fooling around in town.
Andy burnt his bum on a bull.
This morning we woke very well rested and an early start was out the window. We had two passes to climb today, but our legs were eager to get back on the bike. The climbs were long, but effortless. When we reached the first summit our eyes were mesmerised by the raging forest fires in the distance. This was both alarming and a worry since they were directly in front of us.
As we came down the second climb we saw a little sign welcoming cyclist, obviously we investigated. It was a jolly Native American woman living in a van within a community. She kindly sourced some spring water for us and told us about one further down the road that was even fresher. She also informed us that the forest fires were controlled and thankfully wouldn’t disrupt our ride.
She was certainly right about the spring it was the best H2O we had ever tasted and was ice cold to boot. We were dubious at first but after a lovely couple had stopped to also refilled we were put at ease.
We were planning to stop in Austin Junction for the night though on arrival we found it to be closed. The building had no trespassing signs so we didn’t feel comfortable pitching without permission. So we patiently waited hoping someone would return. Finally the owners daughter turned up and we got on the land.
That evening was spent dodging wasps and mosquitos. The camping was basic, but there was a nice shower which was a brucey bonus. They also had the cutest mouse eradicater.
Just as we were drifting off to sleep we started to hear howling. Andy was sure they were birds until he carefully listened and realised they were not tweeting, but infact howls…we eventually drifted off to dream about wolves.
After surviving the evening and not getting eaten by wolves we packed up and headed in the store for breakfast. The bar was the oldest antique we had seen in America dating back to 1864.
Feeling satisfied we started our day with a climb. It turned out it did not represent the elevation map and was a breeze. The rest of the day was a granule downhill, yippee!! On the first steep decent we notice an interesting view point with a hilarious photo prop ‘giddy-up’.
Here we met a cute couple from Virginia that were also taken advantage of the view. They had been waiting for someone to stop to take their picture which I gladly assisted them with. Margi and Ken were on their own cross country adventure stopping and seeing all of their offspring. We chatted for a while and they were very impressed with our achievement and cause, so much so that they gave us a generous donation. We thanked them immensely and part ways.
A fellow cycle tourer pulled in as we were leaving. The ‘ninja on wheels’ was well covered and was rocking a huge knife on his rear rack. We exchanged exciting stories for what each of us had ahead then parted ways.
We flew through Prarie City which was a lovely quaint town only to find out later Margi and Ken had tried to stop us to buy us lunch. Just another blessing of kindness from one human being to another the offer was enough to lift our mood greatly. Finally met another adventurer named Eric. He was cycling for Habitat and had just started his venture. He also mentioned about the church in Dayville which was the third recommendation this bowed very well for this evenings stop. We also found out Bradford ‘the dude’ would be there BAM!!
Relived and tired we entered Dayville in search of this church oasis. I headed to what looked like a church recreation centre i.e. a building with a cross on it. I was rudely greeted by a gentleman in a wheelchair that informed us ‘I don’t have cyclist on my property’. He must have had a bad experience so I politely thanked him and left swiftly. We enquired with some much friendlier locals and they pointed us in the right direction. Just then Bradford came flying down the road shoeless on his bike and showed us the way. When we entered the building we saw this bespoke piece of stain glass which had been donated on behalf of their hospitality for cyclist and hospitable they were.
Everything you could need was available showers, clothes washing, wifi, somewhere to cook and even food, this place was awesome. Both myself and Bradford (who turned out to be a culinary trained chef) cooked up a monster of a meal, which we all inhaled instantly.
A lazy morning was enjoyed while Bradford cooked up some pancakes and coffee in the kitchen. We were just about ready to leave and he noticed he had picked up a flat so we left separately, darn it!!
Energy levels up we got ready to leave at 11am. Our bodies and bike were truly refreshed after our stay in the church. Andy cleaned the bikes with the coffee filter method and it worked a treat, they were purring smoothly.The scenery instantly changed when we left the town, it was as if a light switch had been flicked as we entered to this remarkable canyon.
It turned out this was another of Oregon scenic bike ways that was consisting of 33 miles of climbing and 7miles of steep awesome decent. As we were swallowed into the canyon the scenery was out of this world!! A little bit like being in a western we were expecting a cowboy to pop over the hill at any moment.
The views got more intense as we past through.
In the distance we notice a tree with some extremely unusual leaves.
Finally made it to the pass feeling quite confused due to the road seeming flat. Though this all change as we went over the summit and plunged down like the ‘oblivion’ at Alton Towers.
Though had to attempt to slow down to snap this view.
Our camping spot was a Lions Park with springy green grass for a mattress.
Here we enjoyed a cold quinoa salad and played some more cards expecting an early night.
Just then we met a very inspirational character CC. She was a musician come writer currently researching for a new documentary ‘Boom’. She instigated some very interesting and heavy conversation for the evenings entertainment on the effect we as humans have on the planet. During which Pear and Fabian came over to join us. They were two Germans heading down to Burning Man festival in the Navada desert. We shared some sour grout and sausages with them as a midnight snack before turning in.
After a very late night we laid in and enjoyed a lazy breakfast (again). Took to the road as a three after teaming up with Bradford for a gradual downhill turning into a small climb. The day was a short day at only 47miles to Ochno Lake county park.
Here I received one of the most ridiculous quotes of the trip ‘camp anywhere expect for the grass’. What…so just to be clear we can’t camp on the soft lush green grass that’s just for looking at? We had to camp on the hard uncomfortable stones/mud, we were not amused!
Though the view of the lake from the site was eye catching.
Red sky at night ‘Shepard’s delight’ gave us hope for a good days riding tomorrow.
Whilst setting up camp and the the skies opened so we took shelter in our tents, resulting in a very early night sleep.
We woke really early due to our forced early night and had to prepare for a big day only to realise we actual only had a 50mile day ahead, whoops my bad on miss counting. We pushed on anyways for Primeville and briefly stopped for a coffee.
This ride we averaged 15mph and felt like we were flying. After making it to Redmond we stopped for another liquid break and thought….
The cafe was lovely and had the biggest fan of Adele I have ever met. Bradford also found her phone I the toilet which resulted in him getting free coffee and cake, what a good guy!!
Both Bradford and us needed to restock at the store so off we went. Only when we were set to depart the skies opened on us, we were not going anywhere with these marbles falling from the sky!
As soon as a break appeared in the clouds we thought that it would be a good opportunity to leave. How wrong we were!! We got about 5miles down to road and these guys were chasing us.
I saw two lightening bolts far too close for comfort and decided to go and knock on the first door I could find. This lovely couple Mickie and Danielle kindly let us in their home to shelter from the storm.
It was right above us and was officially the worst one to date. There was an inch ot two of hail outside when we left, crazy!!
Last stretch to Sisters was bearable, but I was quiet on edge and tired from all the fast riding early. Bradford took us to his new local, the Three Bridges brewery. When we reached sisters we realised we had already gone passed our Warm Showers host house so doubled back on ourselves via a detour. This detour unfortunately took us to a private dead end which delayed us even further. We did eventually arrived and received a warm welcome.
Actually from mother and daughter Karen and Stephanie and later father Steve. The garage had a huge selection of bikes including their vintage tandem and tandem recumbent, very cool.
We headed into get cleaned up to then get stuffed with Stephanie’s sweet popcorn and marshmallow balls.
Wow these were good maybe too good since I had three and felt a little funny after, when will I learn. We had a gorgeous meal with amazing spaghetti squash patties (got the recipe). Then got to play Settlers with the family (we were thinking of Rosemary, Ken and Jo the whole time).
This morning was spent relaxing with Karen and Steve over a lovely breakfast before they pushed on to work.
This cute fluff ball was looking after us at.
We finally left their beautiful home at 11am and headed into Sisters. We only wished we could have spent more time in the traditional western town. They had a cool bike shop with the fattest bike.
The 15 mile climb up to Mckenzie Pass was gradual and swallowed us into its tranquil forest.
On the route we had been given the heads up about another fresh cold spring.
Rehydrated and set we started the steeper section of the pass. We entered Windy Point and it certainly lived up to its name.
We were defiantly not expecting this rocky outer space landscape. This was the lava from the last eruption and there was miles of it.
As we made it to the top of the pass (5325 feet) you could see the observatory, also made out if lava.
View from observatory.
Here we got a great view of the few hardy trees that had made this place their home.
Ahead was what would be our new favourite and coldest downhill of the trip! We descended 3000+ft in 20 miles of nonstop hairpins and flowing turns.
We court up with the cars in front on several occasions and ended up having to stop and let them get ahead start. Found out later that this road is closed during winter and opens to bikes only 2 weeks before cars are allowed on it!!! We stopped half way down for lunch with the crazy tall trees, I can’t even imagine how tall the red woods will be!
We considered having this beauty for lunch then thought better of it.
The tunnel cover of trees and perfect road made for a memorable ride.
We glided into Mckenzie Bridge with ease. I hardly felt like I rode today with no crystallised salt on my body for the first time in ages. When we arrived we were greeted by Dillon who was casually restoring a huge old saw. Later met our hosts Hayley and Tyson they were a lovely down to earth couple that were passionate about rafting. Hayley was a rafter and skier so had the best of both world for work. Tyson worked as a forest fire fighter so it was interesting hearing the process used to pit fires out. We spent the evening eating a delicious healthy home made meal cooked by Hayley and shared stories and adventure’s.
Turns out we are not the only people who think today’s ride is one of the best of the trip! It is actually another of Oregons Scenic Bikeways as the video below explains.
Day 90 ‘Bye-Bye Bradford‘
This morning was emotional due to sadly parting ways with Bradford 🙁 He has so much positive energy and is a great soul. Please email us we havent your contact details :). We only wish we could have hung out longer and hope somehow our paths will cross again in the future.
We also managed to squeeze in a little ball before breakfast. Though a little rusty we still managed to score a couple of baskets.
Set off for a beautiful day of steady downhill though the trade off was it was on a busy road, luckily with a descent shoulder.
We stopped briefly for some lunch at a store in Veda. I got to tick off ‘recieving a brown paper bag from a store’ on the bingo board.
This part of Oregon really reminded us of home, both the roads and landscape was very similar. Riding your horse to the shops is however not quite so standard back in Blighty…
When we got closer our WS host and Al came to meet us and guided us into town. This was great as manoeuvring ourselves in a alien city is not our finest hour. As we entered Eugene I felt a wave of good energy. There was beautiful lush green parks and quirky artwork everywhere.
We met Samantha back at their cute home. This made me want to get our own place again on our return, but we know that’s not a option.
Samantha cooked us a delicious homemade meal and the tastiest bread/cake (gluten free) I have eaten in America!! We then enjoyed a couple of beverages together at one of the local breweries and I have realised my tolerance for alcohol is now none-exsistent…
Rest day!! Yippee
After a lazy morning we headed to the bike shop Al worked at to pick up a city map and plan our day. After getting a bit lost on the way to the shop the map came in very handy.
We got some great Thai street food for lunch and washed it down with some chai tea and obligatory rest day cake, very hip.
After heading home to pick up the bikes we zoomed about, pannier free, to do a few more chores. Ridding without the bags was great, if a bit unstable at first.
Later we meet back up with Al and Sprinkles who took us round the rivers cycle path. Turns out a dog in a cargo bikes gets a lot of looks!
We saw some great wild life as well as a cyclo cross traing session! CX looks way fun and the guys in Eugene defiantly take it seriously (best of luck to Al in his upcoming CX race).
As the sky’s threatened rain we ended at Sweet thing where Sam bakes and had us a feast of lovely cakes and puddings, before filling a growler* up on the way back.
*A Growler is a super cool way to buy micro brew beer. You buy a 4 pint bottle (the growler) and take it back for re filling when you want more. This saves the wastage and cost of a throwaway bottle and keeps you stocked up with beautiful fresh draft beer 🙂
We set off early with Al after saying our goodbyes to Sam and Sprinkles aka The Beast.
Al lead us out on another cycle path for about 7 miles until it merged with the road and we headed on alone.
It was 77miles to the Pacific Coast and nothing was going to dampen our excitement about completing the cross country section of our trip, not even the continuous ‘British esq’ drizzle that started around 10am and never stopped!
We were on back roads with fairly light traffic for most of the day, but due to the weather had to make a couple of coffee breaks to warm up, reminded us both of home.
As the miles ticked by and the pace remain fairly high the weather got worse. Thick fog started to obscure the Appalachian esq view and back on the busier roads the grime was not pleasant. Note to anyone planning a tour, or just riding in bad weather, fit mud guards! I opted for wider tyre over fenders and on this day that was a mistake. Andy covered in mud was priceless unfortunately there is no photographic proof but I assure you it was hilarious.
When we arrived in Florence we excitedly rushed to the coast only to be greeted with this.
Decided to get shelter and splashed out on a sea front motel room to celebrate both crossing the continent and my birthday.
We went for excellent meal out in the Homegrown public house (thanks Miss Julie Goddard) and sampled our first clam chowder.
I also had the best Salmon of my life.