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Portland to Steens mountain bicycle ride

Note: this is a trip report I wrote up 5 years ago on a homepage of an account that was deleted. I copied it off the wayback machine but it didn’t format out that well; but here it is, narrow columns and odd spacing.

Bicycle trip from Portland, OR to Steens Mountain and back.
I have been wanting to do this trip for a couple of years. Steens Mt. is in the southwest corner of Oregon; part of the desert outback where there is much more land than people.
It seemed like a nice landmark to have as a destination, or at least as a turnaround point, which would have me pedal through some of the most scenic mountain and desert parts of the state.
So I got some time off from work. The earliest I could get was starting Oct. 11, for 2 weeks. A bit late of a start I thought. It gets cold and snow is possible. So I just geared up for the cold weather. A list of the things I took and the bike I used is on the bottom of the page. Did not take a camera. I will try to make up for the lack of photos with descriptive narrative.
The Mountain itself is a “fault-block” creation. It’s eastern edge reared up along a north-south fault line, and rose a mile above the desert on the east side. The west side rises gradually in elevation. At the10,000 ft. top, you can look over the edge to the east, and it all drops off dramatically down to the desert that its rain shadow created. Glaciers in the ice age carved huge U shaped valleys into it. It’s about 30 miles long. I ended up riding around it.
Day 1 (Oct 12, ’06) 75 miles. Portland to Bear Springs campground.
On the day before, I had been nursing a sore throat and cough.. Bad timing to have a cold, but today I felt good enough to leave. Sunny skies were predicted for two days before any rain moved in. It’s hard to leave on a tour on a day when it is raining.
So I’m rolling down the Springwater trail (famous bike trail in Portland that follows a rail bed for miles)  and within a mile get my first and only flat of the trip. I think it was a broken beer bottle. I patch it without removing the rear wheel, and roll on down the trail humming and ringing my bike bell.
I got onto hwy 26 and up to Mt Hood with the rest of the crowd. Busy highway, but there is a good shoulder all the way and the views are nice. As I climbed higher, a new more intimate view of Mt Hood emerged each time. A family of 4 along the road at a trail head gave me a standing ovation as I labored up near Government Camp. I gave them a taste of the friendly bikebell.
Then it was mostly downhill to the camp ground. I went east on 216, and found it in a few miles. There was only one other family there; the kids shouting and running under the big ponderosa pines. The payment box had been removed, so it was free. The water spigot still worked though. I cooked some noodles and went to bed early, since it got dark around 6:30pm. The short hours of light ensured a full nights sleep on this night, and almost every night of the trip.
Day 2.  83 miles. Bear Springs camp to near Clarno.
After a long nights sleep, I felt great and ready to roll downhill to Maupin. Coming out of the pines to the junipers, and finally to the grassland and sage landscapes that would dominate much of my trip. I was ready for a high calorie eggs/bacon/pancake type breakfast, and found it at at Henrys cafe, just above the Deschutes river. The coffee was watery and had no apparent caffeine effect, even after several refills. Having been accustomed to Peets coffee (very strong), I suppose it’s time to get used to the watery stuff that most of America drinks.
Crossing such a major river as this guarantees a hill on the other side. I started climbing Bakeoven road up to the plateau that carried so many humming power lines. Grass, sage and powerlines, on an undulating landscape with the occasional ranch here and there. I passed through Shaniko, which had a few stores and a motel, and stopped for a quart of chocolate milk. After enjoying a sweeping canyon descent, I arrived at Antelope. This small town of a few dozen people was the closest town to the now vanished Rashneeshpuram cult/commune that was active in the 80s. The small store was attended by a woman who arrived from Eugene, OR, and couldn’t wait for her year of small town life to end. I got some fruit juice and marionberry cobbler. Continued on over a substantial hill, and soon beheld a huge chasm. Way down in its depths was the John Day River. Beyond that was a landscape that had more of a wild-west appearance than what I had seen so far. So I backed up on the saddle, and started rolling down an 8 mile descent at 6% grade. The road was smooth with almost no traffic. Finally arrived at Clarno (no store or services, just a few buildings) and the long bridge over the mighty river that I would later follow for many miles. It was getting late, but there were no camping facilities. The landscape started acquiring interesting eroded features and colors. I continued up hill on Indian land. As darkness was falling I just walked off into the junipers and found a flat area behind a huge boulder. With no signs telling me to keep off and no maintained fence (there was some collapsed barbed wire that used to be a fence) I felt okay camping there. Leaned the bike against a tree, put up the tent, cooked some noodles, and went to sleep.
Day 3, 65 miles, Clarno to near Kimberly
I awoke to some drizzle and packed up, tossed on my rain cape, and headed up the hill. First thing I saw of interest was a golden delicious apple tree with apples all over the ground. They  were crisp and tasty; I collected a bunch of them. Up and up I climbed and down into the granny gear, then my absolute lowest gear (15″). Finally descended into the small town of Fossil where I had a long leisurly breakfast. The major tourist thing here is to dig for fossils in the shale behind the high school. When you break apart the shale, you may find some leaf prints from the broadleaf forest that existed here many millions of years ago, when humid conditions supported a forest not unlike that which exists in the Appalachian mountains in the eastern US today. They ask for $3 to “register”, but I couldn’t find anyone to give the money to. There were a few folks making “tink-tink-tink” sounds with their rock hammers over by the rocky hillside. I looked at the findings; mostly incomplete leaf imprints. The dawn sequoia was common here too, and I saw some needle imprints.
Onward – south on 19. A few miles from Fossil, I found an unoccupied BLM campground. At one picnic table were fossil remnant rejects left by some campers. Finally over the top of the hill, and I passed another campground on the right, and a park on the left. At the bottom of the descent was the John Day River, which I followed for the rest of the day. Past thru Spray, a couple of stores and hotel. It was raining off and on, so I asked about a room but it was $65, so I passed. The day was fading away and I looked for a camp spot. Much of the land along the river was BLM land (public), so I found a riverside spot under some trees and set up camp. Later that night, it rained off and on; I stayed dry enough in my Tarptent.
Day 4, 60 miles, Kimberly to somewhere along the S. fork of the John Day river
I left camp packed as best I could, feeling kind of damp from all the precipitation that night. Soon arrived in Kimberly, but the single store was closed. I ate some cereal on the bench out front and continued on. There was an old house/museum along the road that had great examples of the life and trappings of early settlers and sheep ranchers (free). Nearby was a large fossil museum (free admission again). Stunning bone collections and dioramas with sound effects. There is also a working lab for recovering, preserving and studying all the specimens that was interesting to see. All sorts of strange animals you could not imagine, or associate with this area, wandered about and lived here millions of years ago. As I pedaled along, the rock formations took on more grandiosity. Large hillsides had light blue colored formations. Then, after the junction of 26, I passed thru an impressive gorge. All the basalt had a myriad of forms: twisted as if there was an esplosion, and long columnar. Arrived in Dayville. I wanted breakfast, but was distracted by a large EXPRESSO sign in front of a RV park/campground place, called Country Inn Last Resort. So I went in to the small mobile coffeeshop, expecting bad but drinkable coffee. Instead, I asked for, and got, one of the best 3 shot cappuccinos I ever had. I spoke with the owner at length. He suggested I take the dirt road south out of town (South Fork road). It would take me to Burns in about 90 miles, 30 of which was unpaved. More wild and scenic than 395, but more remote, with no services at all. So I mulled it over: go to John Day and get a motel, clean up, drink beer and watch TV. Or take the south fork road, ride in mud and on bumpy corrugations, forget getting cleaned up, have no beer, and risk getting eaten by a mountain cat (cougar).
The man at the mercantile shop where I got groceries gave me a strange look when I told him of my intention of riding south fork. Before I left he wanted to impress upon me just how wild and difficult it could be, and maybe I shouldn’t attempt it. But that settled it- I had to find out for myself. The previous owner of the mercantile shop was a bicycle rider named Steve, who actually stocked the store with some bicycle parts for the tourists passing thru. He had sold the shop a few months before.
I headed down South Fork road and quickly passed the Presbyterian Church that had been used as a hostel for the many bicycle tourists that pass thru Dayville (and perhaps still is). After a couple of miles the pavement ended and smooth dirt followed. I should note that I was riding my folding bike; the tire size was 20 x 35mm, or about 1.5″. A better choice for dirt/gravel riding would have been a 50 or 60mm wide tire (2.0 or 2.4″). It got rougher as the canyon closed in and corrugations appeared, but never so bad that I had to walk. And there I was, surrounded by rimrock 60 to 100 feet up, making my way up this really cool canyon. A bush exploded with escaping quail, and I gave a shout that echoed against the walls. I rang my bell now and then to ward off the mountain lions. Passed a trailhead for Black Canyon Wilderness. Rattlesnake skins on the road. The canyon opened up and large ponderosa pines appeared. Small ranch here and there. All very scenic. I saw a camp spot off the road with nice trees. But some hunters had left the legs and internal organs of a deer behind. Near dark, I settled on a bluff above the river. I went to get river water for boiling, but found it to be sudsy in the eddys, so I just conserved what I had. Went to bed and heard loud crashing about outside. I turned on the radio to some newstalk station figuring that would scare the wild beasts away. But it only scared me, almost out of the tent; current news and political shennanagins. Finally to sleep with an occasional rain shower.
Day 5, 75 miles, south fork of John Day river to Burns
There was 5 more miles of dirt to go. The canyon opened up and I went by a small ranch. Then, turned left on the pavement, with grassland ranch all around and juniper covered hills. When I got to Izze (no store, just a ranch) I realized that the water in the river downstream was sudsy because of all the cow grazing going on upstream.
From there it was a right turn onto Izze-Hines road. Followed the wide valley cow grazing ranchland for 6 miles until it narrowed into a canyon and became National Forest. At that point there was a great place for a campground on the right side, next to the stream. Huge trees, flat and open area, with a clean stream next to it. I made some coffee and headed uphill.
The usual progression of plant communities followed; big yellow pines, douglas fir, and larch that was flaming yellow and soon to drop its needles (it’s a deciduous conifer). Also saw a major fruiting of the edible Coprinus comatus (lawyers wig) mushrooms on the side of the road. Quaking aspens were scattered about in groups, large and small, showing colors from bright green to yellow to red/orange. Finally reached the headwaters of the south fork.
Traffic was next to non-existant. I began to descend into some of the most beautiful forested canyons of the trip. The clouds were breaking up and light was causing a patchwork of colors in different areas. I coasted downhill for miles, very happy to be alive.
I left forest land to lower elevation mixed grazing land. Had lunch in some trees while I set my tent up to dry in the sun. After another descent, Steens Mt was visible for the first time. It looked like it had some snow on it. I arrived in Hines, and stopped  in the BLM office on the way to Burns. They gave me a map of Steens Mt, and printed out a weather forecast for me. There was about 6″ of snow on the mountain but the dirt access road was still open.
Arrived in Burns where there are lots of different amenities and a major grocery store, and found a decent $40 motel on the north side of town. Finally a chance to clean up.
Day 6, 60 miles Burns to Frenchglen
I took my time getting up since this day would be a short mileage day. The motel had a free breakfast that I probably took excessive advantage of, even though I was the only one there. Even so, I can’t get a days mileage out of raisin bran and toasted bagels. So I got on the road full, but still a little hungry.
Passed sage brush and grassland grazed by cattle. A ridge here and a hill there. The mountain got closer when I got a chance to see it. Then I reached the isthmus between 2 giant lakes, the Harney and Malheur. There were a number of ducks and birds about, and a few souls carefully studying them. I spent lots of time following a creek after that, along BLM public hunting grounds. Then reached Frenchglen, and the Frenchglen Hotel, where I planned to stay for a couple of days.
The hotel is a large converted house. There is a big grassy yard to the side of the house, along the road, with picnic tables and an outhouse, which was okay for the public to use. I walked in thru a big screened porch, that had lots of chairs and National Geographic magazines. The common room inside had 3 big wooden dining tables. There was a couple of couches and lots of interesting books about the natural history of the area. John was a gracious host and the cook as well. I sat down to look over some books and have a beer. Upstairs were several rooms, and two separate bathrooms, one for gents one for ladies. I rented a room and signed up for dinner. I left my bike in the backyard.
Later I came down for dinner. It was a lively group. I sat down to a table with 7 other travelers, and enjoyed the chat and cameraderie. The food came out on huge platters, buffet style. Meatloaf, potatoes au gratin, broccoli with vinaigrette sauce, dinner rolls, etc. Sorry mom, but when John is cooking, you don’t need to help. All the food was fabulous. We served ourselves heaping platefuls. I got involved in discussions that slowed down my eating, and found the food had been taken away before I could get more helpings. A big plate of marionberry cobbler and ice cream arrived to make me forget about that.
Day 7, 87 miles, Frenchglen to Alvord Hot Springs (almost)
The next morning, Steens Mt. was socked in with rain clouds. It was snowing on top. Even if I could ride up there to the top, I would not get much of a view. The forecast was the same for all day, and unsettled for tommorow. I considered staying to wait it out. The cost of staying there was worth every penny, but it added up…. $67 for the room, $23 dinner, 8 lunch, 7 breakfast; then a $20 well deserved tip. During an exceptional eggs/pancake/bacon breakfast, I figured I would ride around it instead, so I loaded up the bike again.
There was a good sized hill that met me immediately. Later I was rolling along the sage/grassland. The slopes to my left produced a lot of springs. Soon I came to the dirt road going to Hart Mountain wildlife refuge. I thought I would try riding it for awhile. Two miles down the corrugated dirt road, I figured my speed would be about 8mph. It crossed my mind to continue. I would really like to see some antelopes. But I turned around and rode the 2 miles back.
Rolling on towards Fields, I climbed a rather steep hill, and started a major descent. The scenery was dramatic. Huge mountains and clouds, shafts of light, and even a rainbow. Almost ran over a quail that wanted to cross the road as I came barreling down at 40mph. It reminded me that my helmet wasn’t on.
Arrived in Fields and went straight to the cafe/store. I heard that this was the place for a milkshake, so I got one- cherry, and a hamburger. The proprietor was concerned about my arrangements for overnight. I told her I was set up to camp with a tent etc. She knew more about the crazy weather this place can get than I did, that’s for sure. My plan was to ride to the hot springs, which was 23 miles up the road.
Left with a full belly and began riding up the second major gravel road of the trip. The first few miles were actually paved, as I went down an easy grade with sagebrush and mountains all around me. Gravel appeared, and I had to pay attention to my line to avoid sliding and crashing. There was usually a couple of strips of hardpack, but not always. So it slowed me down and diverted some attention away from the desert scenery. Presently, I came upon some newly placed gravel that almost stopped me in my tracks. I was happy to see that lasted only a quarter mile, but I continued to run into some soft stuff as I constantly changed position, looking for something I could ride on. Then I crashed hard in some soft dirt. Dirt got jammed in my brake lever, forcing it to stay open. I picked myself up and tried to blow it out, and ended up getting a mouth full of grit. Darkness approached as I crested a hill and saw the Alvord desert for the first time. Giant expanse of flat land to my right, yellow and purple; surrounded by mountains. I had my light on, but it was getting to harder to ride a good line, so I pulled off the road to camp. I could see a few lights on the desert surface from campers wandering about on the playa.
After setting up the tent and getting to bed, the wind gusts started up, with occasional light rain. They were strong- the tent flapped, snapped and popped. Finally a stake pulled out of the soft sand in one of the huge gusts that were beating the tent to a pulp. The whole thing folded around me.
I wanted my wife, dog and truck in that order, but if I could only have one thing; I wanted the truck. I wrapped the defeated tent around myself and went to sleep, while the coyotes sang songs into the wind all night. I was still 2 miles from the hot springs.
Day 8,  81 miles, Alvord hot springs to Craine,
When I woke, the wind had died down to a light breeze. Underway, I soon arrived at Alvord hot springs. Just a few steps from the road, it consists of a hot water seep that is collected in 2 pools. The first pool is REALLY HOT. The second one gets its water from the first. It’s quite warm and surrounded by corrugated metal for privacy and wind protection, but with no roof. There is a wood deck around it. It is privately owned, but avaliable for the public to use. There was a couple camped out on the deck. They had spent 8 hours getting their car out of the mud on the desert playa yesterday. I jumped in the second pool and soaked for awhile, clothes and all. Later I felt much better, and the road seemed to improve as well. I could usually find some hardpack to roll on. The wall of the Steens mountain soared 5000ft up on my left, with snow on the top 1000 feet of it. I rolled down the road humming and ringing my bell. Passed Mann lake. Saw some wild horses. Or maybe they were just AWOL. But they had no saddles or hardware on them. Then there were these large, brilliant cobalt blue birds. Stunning. Passed a few more lakes. One was just a swampy spot. There was about one car every hour or 2.
Finally spied a change in the road. Pavement! This was 10 miles from its junction with 78. So the total dirt part was about 50 miles.
I went left on 78 and climbed for awhile. The summit was an open juniper forest with dramatic topography, in both the land and the partly cloudy sky.
I descended for awhile and began a long, flat cruise thru sage and grassland. Abandoned houses, a ranch here and there. New Princeton was just a few ranch buildings. I held off asking a rancher for water, until the next town where I didn’t need to. In Craine, there was a gas/cafe/store. I needed calories, and got fish and chips. Later I asked the owner/waitress if I could set my tent up on her grassy picnic ground outside. She kindly gave permission, and said don’t leave it there too many days because that would hurt the grass. She didn’t charge me.  
Day 9, miles, 86 miles, Craine to camp north of Seneca
Cold that morning. There was ice in the water bottle. Had a big breakfast at the cafe, and headed towards Burns. It was an easy flat ride and I was there before I knew it. Someone told me that there was a cafe with classic old bicycles suspended on the ceiling and walls, but I couldn’t remember the name and was unable to find it. Went to the Safeway to restock, and headed up 395. There was some regular traffic going up the road, but it petered out as the miles went by. Juniper, rimrock, ponderosas, and firs appeared as I progressed up the canyon. There was dogwood and snowberry near the stream,  larch and aspen appeared further up. Finally it broke out into a high juniper and pine sagebrush/grassland. Silvies was just some ranch buildings. Seneca was a town with one tiny market and a nice city park. I bought a big box of matches from the lady, took a few books of them, and asked her to give the rest away with cigarettes, etc. She said she would give them to bicyclists.
I climbed into the woods again, and stopped at an old growth forest preserve with a natural history trail, just off the road. It had a campspot with a picnic bench, so I stayed there. It had a number of large ponderosa pines. Coyotes sang and yelped much of the night.
Day 10, 82 miles, near Seneca to Ritter hot springs
Woke up to find my water bottles frozen solid. I had some climbing to warm me up though, and descended into the town of John Day. Passed Joaquin Millers 1865 cabin (was closed). Saw a museum of a Chinese mercantile that was operational from the 1800s to mid 1900s, in a town park; Kam Wah Chung &Co. Unfortunately it was closed for the season. I stopped in a Mc Donalds for some breakfast, and stood at the counter while the employees seemed to avoid me. The manager said something, and finally I got some attention. Later, I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, and found that my nose and lips had taken a beating from the sun. Cracked, peeling, a few scabs. I was a bit of a fright. So I cleaned up and got some chapstick. The scraggly beard didn’t help either.
It was an 11 mile forested climb up from Vernon to a grassy, juniper and pine dotted highland along 395. Fox had a big church and a really old gas station, but no services. Long Creek had a market/diner and a motel. Soon I descended a long way to the Middle Fork of the John Day river. Ready for a soak in a mineral bath, I took a left on the road to Ritter. It was very pretty, with no traffic, and few fences anywhere. When I got to Ritter hot springs, I found it was closed! There had been no signs of it being closed when I turned onto the 10 mile dead end road leading to it. Why close a hot springs when the hot water never stops flowing? Disappointed, I backtracked a mile to a treed flat along the river that looked like a good campsite. There were no signs or fences to dissuade me from camping there. The sound of the river flowing put me to sleep.
Day 11, 89 miles, Ritter to Heppner
I began the day at 5am because of the high mileage I planned to do. Rode in the starlight back to the junction of 395, ringing my bell now and then to alert any wild animals. I was certain that some cougar was watching me.
Now I had a major climb on 395 towards Ukiah. It got colder the higher I got. There was a RV camp cafe/store just after the top of the climb. I put on 2 pairs of wool socks and 2 pairs gloves for the downhills. It was barely enough. Later I learned that the temp was about 23 degrees. (if I had been there one week in the future, it would be about 3 degrees F!).
Dale was a small town with no services. I continued on the scenic byway following river valleys, and eventually reached Ukiah. There was a large forest service station, and a few cafes. My waitress was a sweet old lady in her 90s. One customer at the counter was very surprised that Ritter hot springs was closed. He had relatives in Ritter.
The ranger told me that the road to Heppner had a little uphill, but was mostly a descent. I usually ignore that kind of information from those who don’t ride bikes, but after 12 miles of uphill on (all paved) on forest road 53, I started to wonder. There was actually 20 miles of uphill before it began a real descent. Judging from the big size of the Larch trees near the top, I think I gained a lot of elevation. It was a mix of heavily managed forest and some old growth areas. All in all a pleasant and scenic ride. I felt like camping up there in some areas and maybe hunting for mushrooms. It was one day away from the opening of elk hunting season. My timing was good in that respect.
I passed a campground teeming with eager hunters, on my the way down the mountain. Slogged into a headwind along a creek, and finally into Heppner. It wasn’t that small of a town, but I found only one supermarket, and one motel. There were some fascinating antique pieces of farming equipment along the main drag. Steam powered tractors and threshers, old windmills, log haulers. They had placards explaining construction, history and use.
So I checked into the motel. It was a seedy old place and expensive ($50) to boot. The interior of the room was totally done up in red/white/blue and old glory. There was not a single item that did not have some patriotic theme in it. The plumbing was exposed and the toilet valve ran on. An old and yellowed sign warned against butchering your game on the carpeted floor. I got 2 Hungryman microwave dinners and ate them both. And I still was a little hungry. But went to bed anyways, and was awoken by the motel phone at 9:30pm. By the time I got up to answer it, the ringing had stopped. I wondered if it had been a practical joke. Then I heard something that sounded like an air compressor go on. It stayed on for 10 min. Later I heard it again, a bit more distant, and then louder. Finally figured out it was vibrating beds getting powered on in other rooms. At midnight I was still awake and had decided that my hotel experience was not so good. So I packed up my bike, and took off into the night.
Day 12, 198 miles. Heppner to Portland
I should first say that I did not ride that whole distance. I hitch-hiked the last hundred miles due to very strong headwinds.
I left Heppner towards Condon on 206 at 1am, and immediately met a long hill. After a downhill, I found myself toiling up another hill. This went on several times, for almost 40 miles. It was, by far, the hardest 40 miles of the trip. It was dark, quiet, moonless, and the road had absolutely no traffic. Around one corner, I met a group of deers having a meeting, and and had to slam on the brakes. Later, I heard some hooting and felt a whoosh of air on my face, and then heard a crash onto the side of the road next to me. My helmet lamp illuminated a huge owl in the grass, staring back at me with an unblinking intensity. I think it had something in it claws. I took it as a warning and pedaled away. Now I don’t think owls attack humans, but I didn’t want to find out first hand that I was wrong about that.
I was missing a lot of scenery, but the night experience was probably worth it. It made me use more of my other senses,  hearing especially. The hills were hard to anticipate because I couldn’t see them very well, and I simply geared for whatever effort I was expending. And of course I thought about the dangerous cougar; which never showed itself to me. Worries about this animal are overrated since attacks are so infrequent, especially compared to collisions with cars. In a way, I appreciated that there are still parts of the country where there is no guarantee that a wild animal capeable of ripping you to pieces will not appear.
My average speed upon reaching Condon from Heppner was 8.2mph. Very slow compared to my usual 10 1/2 to 12. Light was just beginning to appear on the horizon. There was a diner on the south edge of town, and a cafe in the middle. I went into the cafe. At that point, my mood was black and I was not having fun. I hoped that a caffeine boost would change that.
Condon was a nice little town; I liked it immediately. The food in the cafe was excellent and the coffee was great, and my mood improved. Soon I felt I was able to get out there and meet the day, despite a night of no sleep. I got back on the road and started towards Wasco.
It was uphill for a little while, but I knew that a descent into the John Day river drainage was coming. A spectacular view on a clear day was clouded over by a system moving in from the Pacific. Soon I was surrounded by giant wind power generators. The blades would spin with a slow whomp–whomp–whomp. Wires connected them to each other, and into bigger boxes. So this is where our power at home was coming from (we purchase renewable energy at home in Portland).
As the wind picked up, I began the long descent to the river. It warmed up quite a bit by the time I crossed the bridge, and started the ascent on the other side.
At the crest, I met the winds the Columbia River Gorge is famous for.
Forward speed on the flats was reduced to 6mph. I was angled sideways on the road because of the powerful wind. When a truck went by, it was a struggle to stay upright. Soon, I was thinking of getting a ride home since I was so close anyways. My original plan was to go to Tygh valley and Wamic, and on to 26. That would be in the teeth of the presently blowing gale however. So I went to the small town of Wamic, and later struggled downhill to Biggs Junction, which had a motel and places to eat. Crossing a bridge with trucks passing in both directions, I had to stop and hold on to a guard rail to avoid getting blown under truck wheels, or into the canyon.
After a few hours of holding my thumb out with my bike next to me, Randy from Montana stopped, and took me right into my neighborhood in Portland. Thanks Randy! And then I had the first homecooked meal since I left Frenchglen, at my home in Portland (thanks Mary!).
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