Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Oregon’s Big Country-Day 1

No Burgers for Us Today!

Bikes looking pretty heavy!

Originally, we thought we would get up at the butt-crack of dawn, and be on the road early to beat the heat. However, there were a few logistics to take care of regarding the leaving of Jana’s car at the Resort. We actually just ended up parking the car, leaving the keys in it, and leaving a voice mail for the owners (the office didn’t open until 9:00).

We rolled out at 8:10. 

Heading into the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Everything is pretty green. 

We saw so many different birds…ibis, egrets, various ducks, red wing blackbirds, and even yellow headed blackbirds. 

The route was very flat, but fairly washboarded gravel. Sometimes made for slow going. The temp was a balmy 84 degrees. 

After 12 miles of straight gravel road, we turned and headed out to the highway we had come in on last night. 

Crossing the Blitzen River first. 

Jana is the white speck up ahead. 

The pavement was warmer than the gravel, but still in the 80s. There were even pockets of coolness! 

We followed the Diamond Valley to Diamond. About the only thing in the town is the Diamond Hotel and Restaurant. Here we planned to eat lunch in the restaurant. We made it in plenty of time before the advertised 2:00pm closing, only to find out they no longer serve lunch. They did have snacks of chips, drinks, and even ice cream. I added a packet of chicken that I had added, and that was my lunch. 

Ready for burgers…or not!

As I write this, we are sitting at the Diamond Hotel. There’s just a few more miles to go, so there’s no hurry. Plus, there are comfy chairs here. 

So far, on this trip, the temps have been moderate, but the mosquitos have been extreme! We’ve had to think a bit more about our lunch situations, but we’re confident we have it covered.

Oregon Big Country-Day 0

The Day We Travel to Frenchglen, and Find Out a Few Things Along the Way

Jana and I left Olympia close to 10:00. 

The bikes are loaded and we’re heading out of town!

It’s a long long drive. Fortunately, the weather had cooled significantly in Olympia. However, the further south and east into Oregon we drove, the higher the temps climbed. The car was reading the temp outside as 115 degrees. Of course, that was partially the heat radiating off the pavement. But it was rather toasty. 

Before Madras, we had called Denio Junction Cafe to make sure they would be open when we go through there on July 4th. Lo and behold, they are not open on July 4th. Turns out, the owner is a big fan of 4th of July, but in the tiny metropolis of Denio and Denio Junction, there is a ban on fireworks this year (no surprises there). He’s closing everything so his employees can go to bigger towns and enjoy fireworks. So, what does that mean for us? Denio Junction is the one and only resupply option for this loop (resupply of food we can carry). Now, we knew going into the route that is was billed as a “meager” resupply, and I planned to carry most of my food, just picking up an additional lunch. However, we were also planning to eat at the cafe there. Instead, we stopped in Madras and picked up the additional food we would need to cover the lunches (one there, and one to carry) in Denio Junction. So, that was a fortuitous phone call. We also looked more closely at the town of Denio. There is a bar there called the Diamond Bar. They do serve food, and it’s probable that they will be open on July 4th. But, ever prepared as we are, we’ll be fine even if they’re not…we think…

When we arrived in Hines, we were able to meet up with Heike (my third time seeing her on her journey), Butch, and Heike’s friend, Ron. They even prepared dinner for us! We had a great visit, and Butch is getting so big. He’s also much calmer than the last time we saw each other. The sad thing is that neither Heike nor I remembered to take any photos! Maybe we’ll see each other yet again!

From Hines/Burns, we had another hour’s drive south to Frenchglen and our campsite for the night at Steen’s Mountain Resort. We had just enough light to set up our tents and do the majority of organizing our gear for our start the next morning.