September 17 - 21, 2015
Garmin GPS data - with maps:
I had breakfast my first morning at a nice coffee shop, Java Jungle, across the street from the hotel. It's bow hunting season and 3 hunters were also getting coffee. These guys had been in the woods for the last 10 days. They were all in their 20's and have hunted from the time they were big enough to hold a bow. They told me a story of a great elk that is so famous he is part of hunting lore in this area. The young man told me the elk must be 10-12 years old by now, which is very unusual, and it is huge. Yesterday, he and his friends couldn't believe their luck when they tracked the fabled elk. The guy telling the story said he had a clear shot from only 30 feet away. The elk was his. He drew back his arrow....and his shoulder popped out of the socket. The elk got away again. The guy couldn't decide if he was in more pain from his shoulder or losing that elk. One of the guys got a picture and the elk is huge and magnificent.
The next morning I had breakfast at Chuck's diner. I've been wondering about something I heard and hoped there would be locals I could get verification from. The locals are so used to seeing cyclists, I easily started up a conversation and was able to quickly get my info. While I was camped at Ochoco, the camp host told me a story about a cyclists that had been rudely splashed with cow manure while riding. He was covered head to toe with manure run-off from a passing cattle transport truck. What a nightmare! Ever since I heard this story I wondered if it's legal for cattle trucks to spew manure like that. Yes, in fact, it is legal for cattle trucks to spew manure. Considering manure spray could also dangerously muck up a windshield or easily be sprayed inside a car, I was really surprised. Manure is also a big source for ecoli and that spray could, quite possibly, make someone deathly ill. These locals also said that if a cattle truck hits property, and maybe even a cyclist, they will not be held liable for damages. Cattle trucks truly are bullies on the road. I guess this shows how powerful the cattle industry is.
|Ray from Fish and Wildlife|
|Covered wagon respite from the rain|
|Put everything back on the trike at the pass|
As the afternoon wore on, the winds picked up but by the time I got to Unity the rains had stopped. I stayed at the Unity State Park Campground which is nice but totally exposed. Hiker biker sites ($5) have no trees but a nice view of the lake. The showers are solar heated so, since it rained all day, there was no hot water. The lake was built for agricultural irrigation and the water had a weird smell. The only spot out of the wind was behind the shower building. After asking the camp host, I set up the tent on a grassy patch out of the strong winds. Just as I was getting the fly up a big rain squall went through. Then there was a terrific rainbow - beautiful.
|Fabulously fat rainbow|
There had been one night of planning this stretch into Boise where I couldn't see a place to stay. I noticed an RV Park on the map in Brogan and wondered if they would allow tents. It's such a small town the RV Park might not even be in business anymore. The thing is, if I call and they say no, I can't show up. And, of course, my T-Mobile phone service has been completely useless since leaving Sisters so I couldn't make the call if I wanted to. I asked the camp host in Unity if she could call Brogan to see if I could set up a tent. Camp host to camp host might have better results. The camp host in Unity was great about it too. There is very little phone reception in the campground but she found a spot a few sites over where, if she faces the lake and stands perfectly still, Verizon offers 2 bars and the call might go through. She made the call and the Brogan RV guy was fine with me setting my tent for $7.50. Now I didn't have to worry about where to stay. It's the only thing I ever worry about.
In the morning, I woke up to pea soup thick fog. Everything was wet. Even stuff in the tent felt damp. I was nervous about the 5 miles I had to ride into the town of Unity for breakfast. Luckily, there wasn't any traffic. The temps were in the 30's and my socks got wet from the fog. Wow did I have painful, frozen toes by the time I got to the cafe. Many cups of coffee and a good breakfast of poached eggs and hash browns and I was ready to carry on. The fog wasn't as thick and the temps were warming up by the time I started out again. There was lots of climbing over 2 passes all morning. I also saw clear evidence of recent fires with both sides of the road being burnt and the smell was still strong too. I also had my first experience with deep rollers of the trip where the up was longer than the down. 25 mph down 2.5 mph up - over and over. At the top I was hit by a big headwind riding a long plateau. At the top of another pass I met a cyclist headed for the TransAm. He said the RV Park in Brogan wasn't safe but there was a city park to set up a tent. Hhhhmmmm...sure didn't like the sound of that. There was a wonderful 7 mile decent the rest of the way to Brogan. Even into a headwind I managed a good speed.
|Summit before the wonderful 7 mile descent into Brogan|
First thing when I got to Brogan, I pulled into the small grocery to have a look around and get info. 2 older cowboys were sitting at a table sharing a box of cookies. Both had lived in Brogan all their lives. One guy also owned the store. They didn't have anything good to say about the RV park. The owner's nickname is Jeff the meth. They said the police are called out often and speculated that jail time is required to get a space there. One cowboy had read a cyclist's blog of his stay at the RV park where the showers were described as filthy and guarded by huge spiders. The other cowboy, like the cyclist I met on the pass, suggested I pitch my tent in the city park and even offered to show me the way. He said he would be getting up at midnight to chase elk out of an alfalfa field and would check on me. Both these guys were very nice and I really enjoyed talking with them.
The park was a big surprise with thick, flat green grass, a gazebo covering a picnic table, water, bbqs, electricity and outhouse. The gazebo had a guestbook for visitors to sign and people from all over the world had written notes. The town really takes good care of this park and it was obviously a source of pride. The rest of the town didn't look this nice. And the wind had died away.
A couple of locals living across the street were curious and came over for a chat. I suspect they wanted to know my story to make sure I wasn't up to mischief. Another woman offered for me to pitch my tent in her yard a couple of blocks away if I didn't feel safe. I was already set up and it seemed like a lot of work to move to another location.
I slept well but was awakened at 5:30 am by a deluge of water hitting the tent. Sprinklers!! Wow did that scare me. Luckily everything was in the tent and Myrtle's seat was also covered. I had crossed into mountain time so the time was actually 6:30 and was a perfectly reasonable time to get up.
With an earlier start I headed towards Vale. There was no wind and a slight downhill. This was my 4th day in a row having poached eggs with hash browns. Today's were the best - breakfast with coffee for $4.50 in the blink-and-you'll-miss-it small town of Willow Creek. At Vale, I had to decide which way to take into Boise. Hwy 26 had been really good and I was planning to continue stopping for the night in Nyssa. I met a group of cyclists who said the hotel in Nyssa isn't good and gave me a wonderful cycling route into Ontario. They said from Vale Hwy 26 is very busy and unpleasant. Riding into Boise from Ontario is also easier. Great!! I rode passed fields of onions being harvested. Lots of overloaded trucks passed me leaving a trail of onion skins. The side of the road was littered with fallen onions too. It was an easy ride and I got a room at the cheap Oregon Trail Motel on busy Hwy 30.
Video into Emmett
|Idaho! My first state crossing.|
Video climbing Freeze Out Rd
While I was in Prairie City, I put out a message on BentriderOnline and the Recumbent Trike Group's Facebook page that I was headed to Boise. I knew there are trikers in Boise and I was hoping to meet up. Someone responded that their brother-in-law is a Boise triker and made the introduction for me. Kurt Z and his family opened their home and warmly welcomed me. Kurt gave me really good directions to the house from Emmett taking Old Freezeout Road and I arrived in the early afternoon. One of my urgent concerns was to find a place to store Myrtle while I fly to Los Angeles for my aunt's 90th birthday. This was not a problem. Kurt was happy to keep Myrtle and my gear safe and let me stay as long as I needed. Kurt is also very involved with Warm Showers and does programming for their smart phone apps. We chatted about trikes and gear for hours. Really fun!
Funny thing happened after Kurt and his wife apologized for their calico cat. They said the cat is very moody, doesn't like anyone and will probably swipe at me if I try to pet her. Somehow, Maggie the cat, loved me. She sat purring next to me while I did computer work and even slept with me. We were bestie pals.
|Kurt with the trikes|
Maggie the cat
|Fun meeting trikers Justin and Josh in Boise|
I also met up with Nancy from the Family on Bikes website. I followed the adventurous tour she took with her husband and twin sons on uprights from Prudhoe Bay Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina a few years ago. This is one of world's most epic routes. We yakked away an afternoon going on a nice hike with her dogs and then out for lunch. Nancy is intrigued by trikes and talked about switching for future tours. She took Myrtle for a spin and I think she liked it.
|Nancy and pups trying out Myrtle|
Yesterday, I returned to Boise and am now preparing for the next leg of my trip to Salt Lake City. The big news is I have a triking friend from Washington flying in to Salt Lake City to join me. I've known Maryann for many years mostly from attending the recumbent retreat. She has done trike tours but this will be her first 'big' tour. We'll see what happens but I might have company all the way to Florida and think this will be a blast. Who knows, we might even get others to join us....