Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day 71 - August 13, 2013 - Oxbow, OR to Richland, OR

Miles - 30
Total mileage - 1,917

After a very warm evening in the tent, alternately removing the rain fly because it was incredibly hot, and being awoken by raindrops on our faces and having to put the rain fly back on - packing went a little slowly this morning as we waited for the tent to dry out.

We stopped at a little gas station/convenience store for breakfast, talked to a group of folks getting ready to take a guided raft trip in Hells Canyon for four days.  Sounds hot and remote, but I'm sure they'll have fun!

We had a good mix of climbing, flats, and downhills this morning - and it was hot already before 10.  More dry, desert-like surroundings, but we are starting to see more pine trees.  At one point, we came around a bend in the road and saw startlingly beautiful granite peaks in the distance.  A welcome sight after more than a few desert days.

About 18 miles in, we went a little off-route to a town called Halfway in search of lunch.  On our way there, we passed an enthusiastic lone female eastbound rider - cheering, and clearly still feeling very good about her trip, at what must be less than 2 weeks in for her!

We ducked into a little bar and grill, and ordered up a small cheese pizza to share.  A few moments later, two guys who passed us back in Kansas came in to eat.  They were shocked at what good time we are making - we had to break it to them that we had to cheat to get back on track.  Hah.

After lunch, there was nothing left to do but begin the gigantic climb up the pass that would lead us to Richland.  We always get to these things in the heat of the day, argh.  We pedaled, slowly and with many breaks, up the first third or so, then walked most of the rest.  It was a 3-4 mile 6% or so grade.  These are deceiving because they don't look that steep when you are going up, but when you turn around and glance back, you see just how steep they really are!

The only saving grace of this thing is that we had sweeping mountain views on three sides.  Pretty amazing really.

We finally arrived at the summit, and were faced with a 7% downhill grade.  These are fun, but also frustrating because we have to stop a few times on the way down to let our rims cool.  More beautiful views on this side though.

We almost flew down into Richland, found the grocery store which also conveniently rented out the rooms in the one motel in town.  We needed some air conditioning in our lives!  We picked up sandwich stuff for dinner, grabbed cold drinks, and bummed around for the rest of the evening.  Not a bad day, all things considered. 

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