The Churchill School Bike and Ski Hostel was a great find. We were the only guests so there were no Covid concerns. The beds were incredibly comfy.
After leaving the hostel we wandered around Baker City looking for a breakfast cafe. After a mile or two we found one. I thought the basic eggs and sausage and hash browns were meh. Corey had some strawberry concoction that looked amazing. The coffee was about as weak as you could make it and still have it be brown.
We next headed across town to a Safeway where we stocked up on food for a night in a state park. I, being the group’s nutritional expert, bought Pop Tarts and trail mix. Corey and Mark are oatmeal people. (Corey also bought mashed potatoes that looked like gruel when he cooked it in camp.)
After four miles we finally headed out of Baker City. In our meanderings we did manage to pass through the old part of downtown which had some impressive old office buildings. It’s not a bad place but locals don’t want it to turn into a replica of Bend. (Bend is a derogatory verb in Baker City.)
We had perfect riding weather all day. After ten miles riding south along the Powder River we turned following its westward track. We met Felix, an eastbound TransAm rider. He had just graduated from college in Seattle. He was in good spirits besides having a wonky knee.
The ride continued until we entered the Sumpter Valley. We stopped for an impromptu lunch, sitting on a guardrail and watching cattle graze through some roadside ponderosa pines, the dominant tree in these parts.
At one point Corey spotted a pair of ospreys in a nest. It was clearly a parent and fledgling. What was most interesting is that we could see down into the nest.
The fun began when we climbed to Sumpter Pass at 5,082 feet of elevation. Ponderosa pines were everywhere. With no under brush we could see far into the forest. The air was pristine. No sooner did we crest the mountain than we began a speedy descent. I had filled my tires up at the hostel and it made a big difference in the bike’s stability at high speed. Weeee!
Alas, we ended our descent with a second climb to Tipton Pass at 5,124 feet. Boo. The seven mile descent was worth it though. Yay.
At the bottom we turned into Bates State Park to camp for the night. I had imagined being in tents in the woods but this park was cleared of mature trees.
Overnight the temperature dropped well into the forties causing me to freeze in my skimpy sleeping bag. No sleep for me.
Miles today: 56 Tour miles: 2,809.5