Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CycleOregon - Day 2 - John Day to Burns

We came from there? And we still have four miles to go?
I thought today would be harder after the tough day yesterday, but it turned out to be not so difficult. While the climb was steeper all the way, I was able to keep up a fair pace and reach the top in good shape. Along the way we were treated to a fantastic sight of the hill we had climbed.

Stopping for a picture as we climb
Our lunch stop today was ten miles past the small town of Seneca at Silvies Ranch. Corned beef sandwiches in Dave’s Killer Bread with lettuce and tomatoes. Silvies Ranch is a great story. Earlier owners tried and failed at a variety of ventures. One tried to turn the land into a dude ranch. Another hoped to create a hunting ranch and brought in buffalo and zebras among other animals. Mostly what happened is that the land became degraded until the current owners took over and began to restore it to its pre-European condition. Their cattle feed consists of native grasses and wildflowers – plants that replenish themselves rather than having to be planted each year. The owners are also developing a goat herd for meat. Goats eat plants that cattle won’t, so they can feed both animals on the same plot of land while providing an alternative meat source for consumers. They are also in the process of building a resort  and golf courses to increase tourism to the area and provide more income sources for the local community.

Lunch on the school house lawn at Silvies Ranch

Learning about the cattle

Goats bred for meat


Anyone for a ride?

Wild grasses and wildflowers make better cattle feed
After lunch, we rode ten flat miles before another ten mile climb and a final 18 miles downhill into Burns and the Great Basin. In Burns, our campsite was at the fairgrounds (no green grass) right next to town. The main stage was set up on a main commercial street. Several booths with local wares along the street and a couple of restaurants and bars offered alternative entertainment. I had a beer and talked to some other riders while ESPN played in the background. I now know that Stanford beat San Jose State since they are still ranked #5. I will finally get to see a game when they play WSU at Quest Field in Seattle.

I did not see it, but the Harney County Community Center is a good example of how CycleOregon impacts the communities we visit. CycleOregon contributed $35,000 to a recent major update of the center. The center was visited by those taking advantage of the yoga classes offered each afternoon on the ride. I will have to finish earlier than 4:00 to take advantage. I leave early enough at 7:00, but I am not rushing to finish. There is just too much interesting to see along the way. I’m not a real fast rider either.

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