Somewhere in Middle America: A Coast-to-Coast Bicycle Trek

Coburg - Baker City

Caroline here. Wills and I are in Baker City right now, happy to have avoided yet another thunderstorm that appears to be drenching the northern part of the county. We've had quite a ride since we left Eugene last week. Here are some highlights. (Also, for those of you in Memphis, look for us in the Flyer out on June 18!!!)

Day 7: Coburg to McKenzie Bridge:
We left Coburg (near Eugene) and started headed for McK Bridge. Arrived and got to camp along the WORLD FAMOUS McKenzie river. I must say that my campfire cooking is not really improving as quickly as I had hoped it would. Wills is being a good sport about the fact that we eat beans, Ramen, and corn most nights.

Day 8: McK Bridge to Sisters
We had really been looking forward to crossing the McK Pass. Rumors were circulating that it was open to cyclists, however, when we checked with the Park Ranger, she tld us that there was still snow up there. ( LIAR!) So, we took the Santiam Alternate Route which was not only less pretty, but also 20 miles longer. We were about 20 miles in to the ride when Wills got the first flat of the trip. We pulled over and spent about 40 minutes changing it. (I thought it would take us at least an hour, so was happy that we were able to fix it that quickly.)

We pulled into a Trail head about 500 feet later hoping to get some water as we were almost out (v. hot day.) There was no water at the stop so Roberto, a sign man/construction worker, filled our water bottles up and gave us a Powerade. This was lucky for us because as soon as we got back on the highway, Wills got another flat. We pulled back into the parking lot and set down to eat our lunch. While we were eating we met Andrea, a very nice girl from Switzerland, who shared her yummy desserts with us. She helped us try to change the second tire, but to no avail.

After about 15 minutes, I saw a car pull into the parking lot with two bikes and went to ask the driver if she had some tire levers. Not only did she have tire levers, she worked in a bike shop! Joan happily helped us change the tube and the tire on Wills' bike. She noticed Wills' St. Christopher pendant and showed us her Joan of Arc pendant. St Christopher to the rescue again!!

Sadly though, not a half a mile later, Wills' tube busted again. We were able to fix this one much quickly and get back on the road! We still had over 40 miles to cover and it was already 3pm. The ascent over the pass was brutal, but we made it despite rain, thunder, and lightening near the summit. We descended into Sisters, Oregon. The first campsite, we checked didn't have water, so we ended up calling a number on our maps for a couple who owned a ranch on the other side of town. Best decision ever.

Day 9: Sisters to Ochoco Resevoir
The Evereds turned out to be the coolest family in Oregon, maybe even America. They gave us a cabin to sleep in, did our laundry,  let us use their showers, and gave us beer. We didn't want to leave. The next morning we had coffee with honey with them, heard funny stories about Sisters in the old days, and learned about the Rodeo.

We left there around 11am and headed into the Oregon dessert. In short, it was pretty miserable and boring. Then, once in camp, it started raining so we had to eat PB & honey for dinner. Pretty miserable dinner.

Day 10: Ochoco to Dayville
We did two 5,000+ summits today and felt pretty freaking proud of ourselves. They were long climbs and the second one was particularly painful because we stopped and had hot ravioli for lunch. Didn't sit well on the climb after lunch. Rolled in to Dayville after over 78 miles and picked up some microwave dinners and beer at the gas station.

Day 11: Dayville to John Day
For some reason our legs weren't working today. After about 30 miles, we found a Sub Way and went to town. We learned from the manager that the next town only had a B&B and so we decided to stay in John Day for the night at a local motel. I was able to negotiate a lower rate for us, primarily because we looked so pathetic and tired that the owner pitied us. While we were doing our laundry at the local Trailer Park Laundromat, we met another biker who was also headed to Portland, ME. Daniel joined us for dinner at the Mexican restaurant in the parking lot of the motel. We chowed down!! We ate about 5 baskets of chips and drank about 10 carafes of water - the waiters finally started ignoring us and brought us our check before we asked for it. -- We had wanted to order dessert!!

Day 12: John Day to Austin Junction

A night of rest in a real bed did wonders for us! We headed out of John Day with Daniel to head to Austin Junction. All that stood in our way was 30 miles and a grueling 5,100 foot pass over Dixie Summit. We made it to camp, or rather to the service station and camped in the back yard. There was another biker there as well who told us that she normally gets up around 4:30 to start riding every day. CRAZY. We are lucky if we are on the road by 8! It started raining as soon as we got there and so we quickly pitched our tent and enjoyed the Subway sandwich we picked up on the way out of town. After is quit raining, We talked with the bikers and then had our first of three PB&Honey sandwich meals.

Day 13: Austin Junction to Baker City
A nice 50 mile stretch into Baker City today with two 5,000+ summits under our belts. We are pretty happy because there is another Subway in Baker City. And a grocery store. We had PB&H sandwiches for both breakfast and lunch today and are in serious need of some protein and a shower!

Thanks to all who are following us on our blog. We are headed out of Oregon tomorrow and in to Idaho. We should be able to post next week when we get to Missoula, Montana. We plan to get there Sunday night to celebrate someone's 26th birthday!!