Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 7 - Baker City to Ontario, OR

Today: 84 miles, 2251 feet of climb
Cumulative: 584 miles, 29503 feet of climb

Where were we this morning? Oh yeah, Baker City. The days are starting to blur together.

Remember when you were a kid? That day during summer vacation when you had nothing to do, got on your bike, and cycled somewhere far and new? It is like that every day for me.

A morning panoramic view

It was another very nice ride today. A cool start with wind vest and arm warmers again, but it warmed into the 80’s by the time we finished. This was my type of day at the end, nice and hot. Real BRAG weather.

Just getting started. Still a long way to Ontario.

Today’s route started through downtown Baker City and went south on old Route 30. The Oregon Trail ran through this area, from the Snake River through the Burnt River Canyon and was the emigrant route to the west coast from 1843 to the mid 1860’s. The trail at that time was extremely bad by written accounts of it, because the mountains close right down on the river. It must have been very hard to get through this area on the way west. The Burnt River takes its name from the blackened and burnt appearance of the hills and mountains on either side. Twice, we had to get on I-84, which is permitted out here, because there are no other roads to get east, the old road through the canyons being replaced by the interstate highway. The day concluded with a turn onto Route 201, which took us along the Snake River to Ontario. The land is arid here, except for the crops that grown where it the land is irrigated. Our first SAG was at a rest stop along the Interstate with shade and picnic tables. Jean from Boise, who did this ride two years ago, brought us homemade brownies and strawberries. Our second SAG stop was on the banks of the Snake River, where I got to talk to a few of the local residents who were sitting by the shore. Most folks come here to fish.

One step closer

The same gang of five, also referred to (probably disparagingly) as “The Thoroughbreds”, rode together today, picking up Bill and Dan towards the end. It was a much easier day because there was a lot of downhill and not much climbing. Just one hill of note.

First view of the Snake River

The region’s primary industry is potatoes (duh), sugar beets, and onions. I don’t know much about farming, but we smelled the onions growing in the fields on the ride into town this afternoon. And the dead skunk too. Ontario is on the border with Idaho, and retail is big on this side of the Snake, since Oregon has no sales tax. It will be one state down and nine states and a Canadian Provence to go, tomorrow morning when we cross the river.

Late in the ride today

Thanks to my cousin John, who sent me mail today with some useful information about the Ontario area. Also thanks to Gary M. for the encouraging words.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Joe! We are enjoying the blog. Looks like you are having a great time. Perfect weather so far. Have fun and be safe!
    Deb and Sandy