Day 10 June 27, 2001

Baker City, OR - Pendlelton, OR

111.03 miles
14.80 average speed
9:00am we started riding
9:00pm we stopped riding
7:30:08 total ride time
703.33 total trek miles

We spent a pleasant motel night, breakfasted on Safeway bagels and orange juice, and headed north. It was late morning when we finally set out because we had spent much of the morning preparing for rain. There is no rain prevention more effective than spending considerable time and energy preparing for it, but that doesn't just mean having your rain gear ready.That doesn't fool anyone. In order to absolutely ensure that it does not rain when all signs indicates that it will, you must in fact put on your rain gear. You must show the clouds your plastic-bagged feet and your yellow rain-caped body. Then it will understand and not rain. But the minute - no, the second - you diminish your waterproofness, the sky will see (for what does the sky not see) and the clouds will rage and spit upon your uncovered skin.
            As you might have guessed, today we were both rained on when unprepared and not rained on when prepared. It was a beautiful day, though, including even the capricious weather. We climbed over Blue Mountain Summit on Ol' Highway Thirty, whose two lanes climb and wind through the evergreen forest slopes of eastern Oregon. Not a single automobile ascended past us in the twenty-five miles, leaving us alone with the age of the trees and the forest sounds. And the smell of newly wetted pine needles - the smell of everything fresh - made each breath rich.
            It was a long and hard climb, but the beauty of it overshadowed its difficulty. The summit was undefined, so whenever we thought we had arrived there appeared a still higher spot.The climbing did end though, and from there it was all downhill.
            Because of our late start, we hit the summit late evening and so our descent was in the light of a darkening sky. The Old Highway snaked down the mountain like an old gray river and we, on it, could see the sun setting through the rain falling in the west. Above us the sky was clear nearing the point where blue turns to black. On the horizon, the curtain of rain with the sun behind glowed all Halloween orange and chimney red, making our conversation silent as we flew down hill.
            For about fifteen miles, all we could go was down. The triumph that always accompanies the descent after the climb felt like payment, like the hill was approving our efforts. At the bottom, we broke, for the first time this trip, one hundred miles and by the time we reached the motel, we had gone one hundred ten miles in one day.

 
  day 11