Coast to Coast for the FFB: THE ONLINE JOURNAL

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Day 80: Baker City, OR to Dixie Summit Campground, OR (64 miles, 3910 total)

Well, we have completed day 1 with our newbie featured guest rider, Rebus Bonning. The terrain served up a bit of a slap in the face for a first day, but he survived to smile about it. We've come up with a traditional Native American name for Rebus, it cannot be phyically written, but it means "one with few miles and a very sore bum."

We woke up just after 5AM to pack up. The storm the night before passed without much rain, but there was a lot of wind and plenty of lightening. When we woke up, dark clouds still surrounded the town, and they opened up to lightly rain on us as we packed up.

We left the campsite by 7, and in a light rain, we headed over to the supermarket. After stocking up on snacks and dinner items for the day we rolled to a cafe for a big breakfast before our day of climbing.

We finally got on the road by 8:30. We first found ourselves biking through some Baker City farmland. The immediate area around Baker City offers quite a transition of terrain in about 15 miles. On our way into town yesterday, we biked through harsh desert hills but we arrived to plush farmland. And today, just out of town, we were in thickly wooded forests.

After the first 20 miles we stopped at a campground to replenish our water supply and eat peanut butter smeared snacks. After that, the next 11 miles to the top of our first pass seemed to pass quickly. We pedalled along the scenic Powder River for miles and then stopped to watch some young Osprey high in their nest.

As we climbed the first pass, Rebus quickly learned that the bike he was lucky enough to borrow from Nate for the week does not quite have the proper gearing for touring. The bike is very nice, but it has only a double chainring, so he is missing those hill climbing gears that AK and I have come to love. As a result, Rebus has to climb most of the hills out of the saddle (a brutal feat) or take a breather and walk a bit. It makes for a tough day on top of an already tough day, but if anybody has the right attitude about it, Rebus does. He is just really stoked to be here.

The ride down the backside of Sumpter Pass (5,082 feet) was fun and fast. We zipped down for miles and pedalled through a few flats before starting to climb our 2nd pass of the day. In the distance behind us, we heard the rumble of thunder and looked back to see a looming storm. Not wanting to get stuck in another storm, we made quick work to the top of Tipton Pass (5,124 feet) which was much easier than the first pass. By the time we had made it to the top, the storm had disappeared from view. The ride down this second pass was not as exciting as the first, but we all appreciated the chance to coast for a few miles (especially Rebus).

Between the 2nd and 3rd pass, we arrived at the tiny "town" of Austin Junction which is made up of one building that houses a cafe, and a small store. We ate lunch in the most amazing old bar that was built in the 1860's. It was awesome, and the oweners have done a great job keeping it up. I stupidly managed to forget to take photo of it. Anyway, we scarfed our lunches and some fabulous vanilla milksakes and discussed our plan for the rest of the day.

Seven miles away awaited the crest of the third and final pass of the day (Dixie Pass, 5,277 feet). A campground sits a 1/2 mile from the top and that was our original goal for the day. AK was feeling ready to call it a day in Austin Junction and camp behind the cafe, but Rebus and I prefered to camp in the US Forest Service campground at the top of the hill. The owner of the cafe told us that there is not water available at the campground as it had recently failed some contamination test. Knowing that made the decision to push on even tougher. In the end, we decided to fill all our water bottles, buy 2 gallons of water and push for the top.

AK and I each carried a gallon, and upon arrival, we all concluded that the last climb was relativey easy compared to the others. We found a nice site and paid our 6 bucks for the night. The water spigots are locked in the off position so we could not even take "contaminated" psuedo showers.

Anyway, we setup camp and began cooking our meal of green beans, red beans and rice, and prepackaged tuna steaks. It was not a bad spread, plus dessert was Oreo cookies with peanut butter smeared on them.

Darkness has fallen and stars are all above us. We should have a mostly downhill day tomorrow which should be nice. AK is pushing for a century into Eugene (2 days from now) which is just awesome. Whether we do it or not, it is cool to know that she wants too, look out Lance.


Note from AK - The trip is really winding down now. By doing all three passes yesterday, we now only have three passes left for the rest of the trip. Yeehaw!


At August 02, 2005 12:27 PM, Anonymous said...

Reeb- You probably should have let me put a bigger cassette on that thing.


At August 02, 2005 3:15 PM, Anonymous said...

That's great that you are almost done! Close to 4K miles! Also that Rebus has joined the crew. Bike On. ~jen yen


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