Coast to Coast for the FFB: THE ONLINE JOURNAL

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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Day 78: Cambridge, ID to Richland, OR (72 miles, 3802 total)

Oregon, ahoy! Well, we are in our tenth and final state. Unfortunatley, our entrance to Oregon was a bit uneventful as there we no signs marking the border at all. Apparently a wind storm last summer blew down the state line signs and both Idaho and Oregon are yet to replace them. So, instead of our usual photos in front of the official "Welcome to" sign, we just made our own sign and took a few photos.

This morning we woke up at about 6AM and found ash on our tent. We are not sure where, but not too far away a fire was burning. We knew we had a big day of climbing in the heat ahead of us, so we packed up quickly and headed over to a cafe for some breakfast.

Out of Cambridge, we almost immediately began climbing to our first pass. It was 17 miles to the 4,131 foot unnamed pass. We were surprised to discover how quickly we arrived at the top. The slope was very gradual and we were very fine with that.

After the first pass we earned a fun, speedy downhill for about seven miles. Traffic was extremely light (actually it was all day) so we took the liberty of taking over the entire lane. After several miles at speeds around 30 mph, we arrived at a small market/cafe and stopped in for a cold drink; the heat had become prominant rather early.

After a cold Gatorade, we headed down the hill to Brownlee Reservoir. The wind was dead, and the reservoir had a glassy surface. If it were not for the green algae colored water, I'd say it offered perfect waterskiing conditions. For a Saturday, the place was amazingly deserted, although it was pretty hot out. The reservoir is surrounded by tall, brown, treeless mountains with several steep drops directly into the water. We rode along a fun road along side the reservoir before arriving at the Brownlee Dam and quickly droped down to the Snake River.

Another big recreational area, the Snake River also seemed pretty crowd-free for a Saturday. We crossed the bridge over the river and we were offically in Oregon, although you wouldn't know that since the signs were missing.

As we rode along the Snake River, the heat really started to come on strong. The wind was dead, which meant no headwind, but it also meant that it felt really hot. Sweat poured off my body as we pedalled the 11 miles to the Oxbow Dam in the sun. I was amazed to see the amount of roadside blackberries ripe for the snacking. It must have been every mile that I smelled sweet berries coming from a huge patch. As usual, most of the sweetest looking berries were out of reach and protected by thorny branches.

Just past the dam, we officially crossed into the Pacific Time Zone and changed our watches back an hour. Needing a break from the harsh sun, we slipped into the Hell's Canyon Cafe a few miles from the dam.

When we left the cafe, the sun and heat seemed ten times more extreme than when we went in. Knowing these bikes were not going to pedal themselves, we got on and endured it. A few miles later, we passed the entrance for Hell's Caynon. No doubt, the place got it's name from the brutal heat.

Ten miles and a bucket a sweat later, we arrived in the town of Halfway which is actually now called Apparently, some dot-comers got the idea to raise public awarness about their company by getting Halfway to change it's name. The good news is that the town got a lot of money for it, but now they are lumped in with other gimicky towns like Truth or Consequences.

After Halfway, we had another 12 miles to Richland, but our second pass of the day stood in our way. We lubed up with sunscreen and charged on in the sun. The climb to 3,653 feet was again gradual and again came quickly, but it was not without a lot of sweat. I had drops of sweat falling off of my handlebars, and the sunscreen seemed to run from my pores. I was a mess when I reached the top.

AK arrived at the top shortly after I did and we bombed down the backside at speeds around 40mph. It was fun, fast, and the curves were a blast. At one point, I almost plowed over a quail in the road that was checking out one of his fallen comerades (no doubt the result of a battle with a speedy driver).

We arrived into town from the hill at 30mph, and I declared there is no better way to arrive in a town for the night than to coast in after a zip down a mountain.

We have setup camp at the local RV park and we were both happy to get a shower. Tomorrow should be a short mileage day into Baker City to meet up with our first guest of the trip, Rebus Bonning! He spent almost all day today riding the Greyhound, so I am sure he is ready to ride. We just hope his legs, lungs and bum are ready as well!



At August 01, 2005 12:14 PM, Anonymous said...

Wow, only one week to go!

Take care,


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