A cold rain and nearing the end — of Oregon

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 20, 2013

Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at www.salisburypost.com, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at blog.salisburypost.com/gottarun

This morning dawned with a steady rain, enough to keep a couple of cyclists who also stayed at the Knight’s Inn in Baker City from riding today. I thought that was a little extreme till about 6 miles into my ride, when the rain started to pour. The wind picked up, and the temperature stayed in the mid 40s for the morning.

I became uncomfortably cold, but kept peddling. The morning route included Flagstaff Hill and then a long stretch following the Powder River downstream. I have come to love any opportunity to follow a river downstream because that means either flat or moderately downhill. I finally made it to the town of Richland and bought a pair of heavy gloves to warm my hands which had ceased to function. My shoes and socks were soaked, so my feet were not much better.

An unnamed pass was a huge challenge to get over, probably having the steepest grade that I have seen before. Throughout the day, the wind picked up. Several times, the wind blew as a dangerous crosswind. High winds can move me and the bike sideways so quickly that I soon stayed away from the edge of the road. All of this was in what is called Hell’s Canyon. Tomorrow, I will see more of it and eventually the Snake River Canyon, an area that is usually very hot. It looks like I will be lucky to avoid that heat.

Tomorrow there is a huge pass to climb, but just before I do it there will be a change of time zones and entry into Idaho. So far, I have seen over 600 miles of Oregon. It is a beautiful state from end to end, with much variation in terrain and climate. Oregon has no sales tax and lots of logging trucks. It was my first time in Oregon and it will be my first time in Idaho.

I only made a few pictures today because of the rain and at least once was above the clouds. At some time during the remainder of the trip, I will wish for more cool weather.

I am staying in Halfway, Ore., tonight. It has two restaurants and two grocery stores with only 337 residents.

David Freeze is a Rowan County resident and freelance writer.

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