Friday, October 16, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twenty-one, 091007 - Hilgard, OR

Day Two Hundred Twenty-one, Date Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Time in Saddle: 7:06
Distance for the Day: 66.10 miles From Baker City To Hilgard, OR
Accumulated Trip Distance: 11,080 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 4045’/3234’, Highest: 4307’ Accumulated: 1562’
Speeds: Avg: 9.3 mph, Max: 34.7 mph
Weather: 27° totally clear, no wind
Expenditures: $28

I awoke at about 5:30am this morning to the roar of bigrigs. The dirt road circumnavigating the round lot I was camped in must have led to some kind of quarry, and the road construction crews must use every ounce of daylight they can to work. My earplugs handled most of the traffic during the night, but three times trains rolled by, and they penetrated enough to wake me up a little. I got up at 6:15am to break camp; it was as cold as I thought it would be, with a perfectly clear sky and bright gibbous moon. The morning light was already fairly bright, and sunrise was at about 7am. There was ice over everything, but by 7:13am I was ready to roll. I had a quicky breakfast of meat/cheese stick, breakfast bar, and Dole Pineapple Peach Mango juice. The bigrig traffic had become so heavy, I had to time my exit between sets. Though it was very cold, my new mitts helped keep my hands from freezing, but my toes were still a problem. I arrived in Baker City at 8:50am and spent an hour at the mini mart eating a Second Breakfast of muffin, Danish, and hot cocoa, plus got a soda for the road ($5). There was a wi-fi signal at this location, so I checked email, charged the notebook, and sent my friend Joe a message letting him know I should be in Seattle about the same time that he gets back from Vienna (this Saturday). I tried to send his wife, Joanna, an email too, but the connection went funky, and I couldn’t. I left the mini mart at 10:10am to continue on.
I stopped for lunch (a sandwich and some candy bars for the road - $10) at 12:30pm to 1:17pm in Powder where Hwy 30 rejoins I-84. It had been pretty cool all morning, and became almost temperate in the afternoon. I continued on towards the next big town, Pendelton, and made La Grande at 4:30pm. I stopped at a mini mart for more food and drink supplies ($13), and to take short break. There was a 10-15mph headwind, now, out of the north, which was a bit of a bother. I rode until sunset, still sort of in the mountains looking for stealth camping, but wasn’t seeing much. I found a pay-for state park campground, and went in to check things out. There was only one other couple there, and I checked to see if they’d be willing to share their site, but the woman said ‘no,’ it’s only $5, it’s our state park, and it’s worth it – to which I agreed. (I *was* being just a bit too cheap.) Just to verify, however, I checked with the campground host, to see if cyclists had to pay. He didn’t know, and the signage didn’t mention cyclists, either. I paid, anyway. In situations like this, which have come up before, I could have easily stealth camped the place and snuck out in the early morning, but I won’t do that. Even *I* have standards about such things. (N45 20.489’ W118 13.838’) I set up my tent by 7:30pm and munched, drank and read until 8:50pm, when I went to sleep. This site wasn’t a very good one as it was right next to the roadway, though below it by a good 50’. The traffic noise was still fairly loud, though, plus there were train tracks not very far away, and their horns woke me up a bit during the night. I’ve had better stealth camps, but as I found out the next day, there weren’t any other options for a good long while, so in hindsight, it was still the best choice – I lucked-out on that one.

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