Saturday, April 12, 2008

We Made It!

Day 8
Sunday, April 6
Baker City to Oxbow Dam

After eight days and over 400 miles we made it to the Snake River at Oxbow Dam! What an amazing adventure it was.

On this last day we rode over 70 miles, leaving Baker City at 9:30 am. We knew that we would have a long day of riding so we limited our break-time off the bikes for lunch and rest/snack breaks.

A few miles after leaving Baker City we had to climb Flagstaff Hill. If you have visited the Oregon Trail Museum, you know the hill I am talking about. It was steep, but our legs were fresh and our spirits high.

Most of the day consisted of rolling hills in very beautiful country. We had a mix of sunny, warm weather and cool, drizzly weather, with a bit of freezing rain mixed in for fun (but, thankfully, short-lived).

After lunch, however, we had to climb a MONSTER hill. Between the towns of Richland (Oregon) and Halfway stands a six mile, seven percent grade hill (un-named on our maps but clearly named in our minds!). At about 3 mph it took over two hours to climb. We made it, however, and rejoiced on the screaming downhill afterwards! This hill was certainly the most physically and mentally challenging part of the entire trip across Oregon. But what a thrill to get to the top. There is a great picture of Alison and Gus (see above) just as they reach the summit. What a great feeling!

We had some fantastic scenery today. For most of the ride, until we dropped down closer to the Snake River, our view was of the mountains across the Snake River in Idaho. It gave us a glimpse of what we will face as we look to cross the Rockies in the early summer.

Crossing the Snake River bridge was a great relief. We were racing both daylight and a storm moving in from the west. We celebrated for a few minutes and then had to pack our gear, breakdown the bikes, and get them on top of the car. Just as we closed the doors to head home, a huge wind and rain storm hit! Had we left Baker City any later in the morning, or taken longer on our breaks, we would have just missed reaching our goal because of the storm and darkness. It seemed as though providence was on our side (as well as a good helping of spaghetti that Elaine prepared for us at lunch!).

We are now setting our sights on June and the start of the cross-country trip. We learned a lot about ourselves and our equipment in Oregon. The real test is about to begin...and we are looking forward to it (I think)!

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