Tandem Bicycling Across Oregon… We’re tired!
We watched the sunset tonight on our ride down the Columbia coming into The Dalles. We counted down as the sunset from ten, saying 10-9-8-7… well you get the idea. As soon as it hit zero, the sun was gone! The last time we tried this was over Lake Winnapasauke overlooking Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. Tonight we gazed at snow-capped volcanoes and the dammed Columbia River.
As I type on this wonderful Macbook Pro, I sit on the back porch of a house on a hill with a beautiful view of the sparkling lights of the city, the winding Columbia River, and Mt. Adams in the distance. The sun is set, but I know that that mountain awaits our eyes scoping it in the morning.
This is our route through Oregon thus far.
We are having a total blast in Oregon. Tomorrow we finally head towards Portland, where the dream of the 90’s is alive. It’s going to be great. 🙂
“You’re just like the pioneers… do you go through the river, or do you go over the mountains?” -Dave, of The Dalles, OR. Figuring out how we get from one side of Oregon to the other has been interesting. We decided to make the cut north to the Columbia River to follow the beautiful gorge, and mostly to avoid crossing over the Cascade Mountain Range around Mt. Hood, our original plan.
Oregon has had the nicest people of any state! We haven’t camped since we arrived!
It’s interesting on the bicycle because we often talk about blogging much more than we actually blog. So, here, in short summary, are the awesome places we have stayed the last few days.
We arrived in Nyssa, OR and after noticing the lack of Welcome Signs, Welcome Centers, drinking fountains that worked, and Chamber of Commerces that were actually open, were greeted by a man in white scrubs. Yes, he did look like an angel. We were tired and looking for a laundromat since we did not do any laundry in Boise. It turns out that the man in the white scrubs was named Mike, was super excited to see us, had motorcycled across America once, and he was a dentist to the town. He told us he loves his job, makes great money, and asked us quickly “Do you guys want to graduate from school and move to Nyssa? No. You don’t.” But, what the town lacked, Mike made up for with gracious hospitality. We ended up about 5 miles Southwest of Nyssa at his farmhouse, and went on a drive to the Owyhee Dam. The drive in his car was absolutely incredible, complete with a stop at the local hot springs, which we thought were totally awesome, even though Mike insisted that it was the absolute worst hot spring ever. This he told us the next morning when we told him of our trek– he actually didn’t join us on the drive over; he just lent us his car for the night!
We headed from Nyssa to our next stop in Ironside, OR. We have been pretty tired and exhausted throughout this beautiful state, anxious to get to the coast. Thankfully, there has been little wind and lovely weather. Just beautiful, and exhausting. In Vale, OR, on the way to Nyssa, a man approached us that the only business in town, a small gas station, and insisted that when we came through Ironside that we should stop at his house and sign his guestbook. It was set to be a full moon that night, so we were planning on cycling to Unity to catch up with this other adorable cycling couple. However, when we arrived in Ironside, there was no water to be found. Or people. Or post offices. Or anything except a cool owl feather I found behind the Post Office that I taped to my helmet. I think this might be considered contraband in this state, but if anyone asks, I’ll just tell them I hail from near “The Great High-Five State!”
Anyways, Dan the Man of Ironside invited us to stay in his extra double-wide trailer on his property, which was just adorable and blue and wonderful. We cooked our noodles that we purchased in the early South Dakota stages and ate some delicious venison steak that he gave us. Totally awesome. On his fridge someone had left a wonderful quote referencing Job 22:7 of “You gave water to the weary traveler, and withheld no food!” Just endearing. I took a bath and Valerie scrubbed down the appliances, both big things we do to relieve stress, and we headed off the next morning towards Mt. Vernon!
Ironside to Mt. Vernon was all a blur. Actually, most of Oregon has been kind of a blur because we have just been cycling long days, meeting lots of cool people, and having an all-around great time. Most of the great time is off the bicycle, but we’ve seem some truly beautiful sights. Sorry for the tease, but we really will have some cool pictures up when we get home next week. On this particular day we climbed 4 mountain passes, which was INSANE, and finally got some downhill headed into Prairie City. I thought that we had gotten over and past the Blue Mountains, but boy was I wrong. Since we didn’t know that John Day, OR had a Subway we bought some groceries and made dinner in Prairie City that consisted of Beans, Salsa, Chips, a Can’t-elope, and some sugary cereal. Yums. Cutting the Cantaloupe was interesting since I accidentally left my knife next to a road sign that we were huddled under for shade somewhere around exit 90 in Idaho. Whoops!
We cruised from Prairie City to Mt. Vernon, a whopping 22 miles in about 1.5 hours and arrived at the Bike Inn in Mt. Vernon, which is featured in this video of people who are much better at documenting their trip.
We had a wonderful day here and woke up ready to head out when we were lovingly interrupted by the Oregonian, the state newspaper! Happy to oblige, we hung out! We also met James, another cyclist heading East on the Adventure Cycling TransAm Route #2.
Our next day we went from Mt. Vernon, OR to Spray, OR, where we stayed with the incredible family who pastors the local Assembly of God church. They had a huge and awesome apartment that they were excited to share with us! They hun out with us all night, fed us rabbit for the first time along with a bunch of other food, and sent us off with lots of food and brownies and fun memories of their children! Such a blast!
From Spray we headed to Condon, where after cycling around the freezing town during the sunset we eventually met Sue of the catholic church, and she invited us into her home for the evening, which was absolutely awesome again! I am telling you, people in Oregon are the most incredible people (in general) of our entire trip. This is not meant to bash anyone from the other 49 states or other provinces reading this, it just means that EVERY SINGLE NIGHT in Oregon, we have been invited into a home to stay for the night! So incredible! God is good! We spent the night eating all of the food Sue and her husband Gary could find that their six grandchildren hadn’t devoured when they had visited that week. We had a great time staying up and talking about everything with them and then, in the morning, not only did Gary call his brother to hook us up with a place to stay tonight, he also took us to the local newspaper and got us an interview! Some time in the next week we will be appearing in The Times-Journal! We even asked them to mail copies to our parents.
And finally, today, we went from Condon to The Dalles, OR. We are officially in the Columbia River gorge, and from here every mile that we head west it rains another inch a year. So excited to finally get out of the desert and into some dry rainforest. I guess Portland has had like 22 days without rain right now. Is that perfect or what? That, and the Columbia River Gorge is not windy at all. Totally phenomenal.
What’s happening in the future? We are headed to Portland tomorrow via the Columbia River Gorge, we are headed to Cannon Beach after that, and our flight leaves from Portland, OR for Colorado, for Chicago. Sadly, the trip is coming to an end, but don’t worry: We still have PLENTY to write about. Lots of recollecting.
We hear Portland is really bike friendly or something. One man even told us “Yeah, it’s like the bikes get the right of way in Portland…”
We are erupting with excitement. 😉