Highway to Hell('s Canyon)

Baker City OR to Oxbow OR- 70 miles

The guys decided to sleep on picnic tables last night so it was easy to pack this morning. We woke up just as the sun was rising over the mountains. By 6:15 we were rolling down the road for breakfast at a local McDonalds. 

One of the benefits of traveling across the country is the opportunity to occasionally see far away relatives. A cousin of Ed's lives 45 minutes outside of Baker City. He (cousin Ted) saw Ed's sister's fb page and reached out. Somehow Ed and Ted caught up on 40 years of family history in 30 minutes over Egg McMuffins. It was a nice visit.

 

 Sam and Ed catch up with Ted and Maggie in Baker City.

Sam and Ed catch up with Ted and Maggie in Baker City.

 

Once on the road, we had a small climb out of Baker City. I though we were already on the floor of the valley but I was wrong. We dropped several hundred feet into another world. Baker City had strip malls and high rises (1 six story building). The adjacent valley was 100 square miles of sagebrush with a monument to the Oregon Trail which once passed through. We rounded a bend and dropped a few hundred more feet to see another valley that was 200 square miles of green pasture and sagebrush covered hills. As the valley tightened, we were again pedaling with the flow of the Powder River. 

We stopped for a meal in Richland around 10am. The temp at that time was around 80 in the shade. When we rolled out of town an hour and a half later the temp had come up probably 10 more degrees. 

Immediately we climbed 5 miles at a steep grade. Sweat poured off of all of us. How Andrew and Will hammered the climb, I have no idea. The descent off the summit was at a 7% grade. We were 5 miles closer to Oxbow in less than 15 minutes. The descent flattened as we approached the intersection for the town of Halfway. We cruised through with the expectation that we would eat our meals at a cafe two miles from our target campground in Oxbow. 

 

 Rolling in to Hell's Canyon. Aptly named with temps of 100 degrees on the shade.  

Rolling in to Hell's Canyon. Aptly named with temps of 100 degrees on the shade.  

 

When we got there the cafe was closed so we stuffed ourselves with junk food and ice cream from the mini mart next door. The temp in the shade at the mini mart was 100 degrees! We pedaled back up to the mini mart for dinner a few hours later after things had cooled off.

We have a tent campsite at a power company owned campground just downriver from the Oxbow Dam. We are a hundred feet from the Snake River and currently in Mountain Time. We are looking across the river to Idaho. 

When we arrived Ed introduced himself to our neighbors and told them about our cause. They must have seen the look of hunger on our faces because they gave us two racks of BBQ ribs! Since the quantity didn't split evenly, the guys suggested that we share with another cyclist who had just rolled in.

With all the kindnesses we have received, it's wonderful to see that the Scouts continue to pay it forward! I'm honored to be a riding with them.

 

 Steve relaxes at the riverside campground in Hell's Canyon.

Steve relaxes at the riverside campground in Hell's Canyon.