Friday, April 4, 2008
Dayville to Dixie Summit
Last night we stayed at the Fish House Inn (formerly a bed and breakfast; the owner said he stopped doing breakfast several years ago!).
Gus was sick yesterday with a sore throat and maybe a slight fever. We decided that the kids needed a day off. Alison and I rode the RANS today. It is an amazingly comfortable ride. The day started out overcast and cool; perfect cycling weather. We even had a tailwind!
When we planned the trip we thought we would go from Dayville to Prairie City (44.5 miles). Alison and I decided, however, to go a bit farther and climb Dixie Pass, 5277 feet, a climb of about 2200 feet in seven miles. This way tomorrow would be shorter for the kids and we wouldn’t have to start with a monster pass first thing in the day (although it does help when your legs are fresh!).
The pass was well worth the effort. The views from a pullout near the top were outstanding. These views were behind us while we were riding so it was great to get off the bike and look at what we had just climbed. Unfortunately, the climb wasn’t over. We had about a half an hour after that before we reached the summit.
On the way up we saw Jim and Elaine coming back down the hill toward us. The plan was to camp at the campground near the summit. The campground was still closed for the winter as the snow was still pretty deep off the main road. We decided we would drive down the mountain to the next town, Austin Junction, and if there was nothing there on to Sumpter.
There was a small café at Austin Junction, but it was closed so we travelled to Sumpter. It was a good thing that we did sag this far because the two passes we would have needed to climb were snowy and the riding would have been treacherous.
In Sumpter the motel at the start of the town had a vacancy sign but we couldn’t find the office. It was supposed to be in a double-wide across the street. We couldn’t find it; it may have been under a deep snow bank! We talked about going on to Baker City which was probably about an hour away. Jim suggested we drive down to the end of town to see if there was anything else. Luckily, we found the Depot Inn. A small sign on the door said they would return at 9:00 (it was about 8:45), so we went next door to Borello’s Restaurant for dinner. The restaurant was just about to close but our waitress told us that the bar could make us anything as long as it could be made in the deep fryer! It sounded good to us! I asked the waitress about the motel next door. She said Lil, the owner, was in the bar. Our waitress became our booking agent arranging a room for us at the inn next door. It felt good to have a warm room to sleep in after the ride today. Camping would have been cold! Even in town, about 2000 feet lower than the summit, it is about 20 degrees as I type this.
All in all, we have really lucked out with the weather. When we have had snow it has been kind of fun to ride in. I like riding in cooler weather, especially on long climbs.
Tomorrow it is on to Baker City and then we get ready for our last big day to Oxbow Dam.
Total Miles: 51.5
Time on Bike: ~ 6 hours (we don't have a bike computer on Alison's bike yet)