The day began with breakfast al fresco. Oatmeal for Corey and Mark, PB&J for me.
Yesterday Mark had the first puncture since mine on May 22 at the very start of the ride. He pumped it up a couple of times and rode all day. This morning it was flat again. We all looked in vain for the cause. Mark patched a second hole and pumped it up. It stayed inflated all day.
Our route took us along a reservoir formed by the Brownlee Dam across the Snake River. We crossed over a bridge into Oregon and rode along a second lake formed by the Oxbow dam. Idaho does love its hydro. It’s not so good with truck traffic or road design. We were all happy to bid it farewell.
Corey spotted a bald eagle over the lake seeking breakfast. After a few passes the eagle landed a fish. I came upon a rafter (that’s what it’s called) of wild turkeys in the road. They dispersed as I passed by.
We started climbing away from the lake and encountered an eastbound rider. He was from France and was riding a custom made titanium bike. An approaching car ended our conversation.
At the top of the hill, I stopped to watch and cheer on a young woman climbing from the other side. She was a strong rider and looked to me like a younger version of a family friend named Claire. Her name was Fanny and she, too, was French. She started in Oakland, made her way up the coast then turned east to check out Crater Lake. She did not know the Frenchman but she did mention camping with a guy named Keith in the town of Halfway.
We stopped at a convenience store for nutritious food. Having none, the store sold me Pop Tarts and Gatorade. To its credit it had the cleanest porta potty I’ve ever used.
Back on the road we met yet another eastbounder. He was 70 years old, I later learned. “Ten years ago this was fun, now it’s work.” Hard earned wisdom.
A few miles further on, Corey and Mark met up with yet another eastbounder. It was Keith Adams (Franny’s camping friend). I met Keith during my first 50 States Ride in DC in 2006. We did another ride or two together before parting ways. Keith was riding a Bike Friday folding touring bike. It appeared to be nearly identical to mine.
We had a good chat along the guardrail. Keith seems to be having a ball. His itinerary is flexible. “I may ride to Boise to see some friends.”
Keith’s tour journal can be found on cycleblaze.com.
Off we rode over a big hill to Richland. After riding past several bars we found a modest cafe. The service and the food were terrific. I must have downed a gallon of ice water with my meal.
Since Richland was only 46 miles into the day and since we had a bonus hour from moving into the Pacific time zone, we called a hostel in Baker City, 42 miles away. They had beds for us so off we went into the canyon then back out. And into the canyon then out. We switched from the Snake River to the Powder River. It didn’t make things any easier. Eventually we climbed another pass, although crawled up would be more descriptive. Even a tailwind didn’t speed us up. The heat, the hills, the miles, and the chip seal pavement made for a long, hard day. All three of us were exhausted when we arrived in Baker City.
The hostel is in an old school building. We are the only lodgers. We were told by several people that Baker City hotels were likely filled because of a motorcycle rally and some sort of festival. When we arrived the town was unexpectedly quiet. The hostel is fine, and at $25 it is infinitely better than last night’s motel.
Miles today: 89 Tour miles: 2,753.5