My destination for the day was Baker City. The ride itself was the kind to just get done. Lots of steep hills, temperatures over 100 degrees for the fifth day in a row and a hairdryer headwind would have made today tough in the best of circumstances. Circumstances, as it turns out, were anything but the best as 8,000 Harley riders have descended upon our target city for a rally. Most of these guys and gals are courteous and great drivers, but it only takes a few loud close passes to stretch the nerves.
I charged through the 54 miles of the day with a singleminded determination to get the ride done. The sooner out of the heat the better, as far as I’m concerned. For the first time on my journey I had the sense that I’d seen all this landscape before . One notable exception to the monotony was Glasgow Butte cutting into the clear blue sky. There was also a stately bird soaring about, but the critter wasn’t in the mood to have its picture taken.
The only green patch between Richland, OR and Baker City, OR
Just shy of Baker city, I had been planning to stop at the National Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Having followed the trail for 2,500 miles from Missouri, I was excited to see artifacts of those who’s footsteps and wagon wheels I’ve followed. Unfortunately, the center is about 750 feet above the road on a plateau, which elicited a hearty “Frick It!” from all involved.
The last six days have been grueling in the heat, so Paul, Terry and I discussed if it was best to take a rest day. This forced a conversation we’ve all been avoiding about end dates since our target dates for ending are four days apart. We’ve now been riding together for 2,200 of our 3,600 total miles, and it would be a shame to part ways in the final stretch. We settled on a rest day in Harleyland tomorrow and getting to the coast on a compromise date.