Sunday, September 29, 2013

CycleOregon - Day 7 - Seneca to John Day

Today was the most fun I had all week on the bike. The day did not begin auspiciously however as the night was cold, hard, and wet. Not only was it the coldest night of the week, but my air mattress gave up the ghost and I got to sleep directly on the hard ground. Then at some point, I did not get the lid back on my water bottle securely enough and most of it leaked out. Fortunately, the bottle was on the opposite side of my clothes, so I still was able to get off to a mostly dry start. More moisture did come from the heavy dew we had during the night, too. Finally, I did not get as much sleep as expected because a couple of people were celebrating the final night in camp until about 1:00 am.

Entering the forest

Sleeping in was not an option this morning so I was up before 5:00. Still, with all the darkness and cold, I did not actually leave camp until after 7:00. The ride quickly made up for all the evening’s problems. After a short seven miles on Hiway 395, we turned off into a woodland meadow for another five miles. Then we turned up into the mountains for a short climb and a long downhill to Murderer’s Creek Work Center. The center includes one of the Forest Service’s rentable cabins. This one includes a full kitchen a nice double bed in a beautiful meadow in the forest. Close by lives a herd of ‘timber horses’. These wild horses have evolved heavy coats to survive the cold winters. We will have to try looking for them another time when there is not a large crowd chasing them away.
Murderer's Creek Work Camp and rental cabin

From Murderer’s Creek, we began the last climb of the ride, a steep four and a half miles. Then we began the longest and steepest downhill ride of the week. Ten miles later we were at the bottom of the hill and headed back to John Day on Hiway 26. When I saw people stopped on the way down, I wondered why until my hands became a bit numb from the pressure of leaning on the handlebars and I began to worry about being able to control the brakes.

Our final climb

Back in John Day Linda was waiting along with lunch and a shower before we headed off to Klamath Falls for the next few days.

Forest meadow at the end of our descent

Our final rest stop

Hiway 26 on the way to John Day
I probably won’t be able to go on the ride next year as we are headed back to South Africa for a couple of months. Perhaps I will be able to do the equivalent Ride Around Washington. This year they rode from Curlew to Maryhill in early August. That would have been a fun ride, too.

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