Oregon Outback :: Day 2 :: The Adventure Begins
Waking up after a night of great sleep, Tobe and I packed up our camp on the Sprague River. The weather was misty and cool. The mass start had happened, about 150 plus people had left Klamath Falls at 7 am, we figured in about 2 hours the first fast cyclists should pass us. I can feel the energy in the air of all the happy people pedaling towards us. My mood and energy was 100% better then the day before, I was ready to get back on the road and start this adventure. Day 2 was the really the first day for me, it was becoming a reality this was really happening. After a quick stop for snacks and water at the local store, we headed out for more OC&E trail riding. The roads in Oregon are infinite, you can see them roll on for miles. You never feel like you getting where until you see some type of marker.
The rain was on and off but we were ahead of the most of the heavy storms. The sun would pop out and it would make for the most dramatic lighting with a storm backdrop. Today also was the day of the cattle gates. We were rolling thru cattle country and the cows would run with us, we seemed to spoke them. We had one little incident with a cow in the track, she didn’t move and I had a fast dismount right into a swamp puddle next to the track. EWWWW. I can still smell the puddle in my shoe to this day. As dismounts and landings go, the Russians would gave my effort a 9.5. We reached the turn off for Beatty, when two riders caught up with us. They rolled out the day before with the same intentions as us.
Just as soon we stopped to talk with Todd and Chris, the first one day rider came thru. Austin Horse was hauling and smiling (see the blurry picture of the orange coat, 200 speed film plus low light and motion). I’d had met him in my alley cat racing days, it was a surprise to see him. I was now amped even more, the energy in the air was getting stronger, more people where coming down the trails. Rolling as group now, the four of us moved on to find the river spot for lunch. Chris had rode the route the year before and had the best tips. We rolled up the river camp, stopped for lunch and the sun came out for us. I was able to wash my shoes and socks from the swamp puddle landing and take a bird bath. We saw more riders pass us, the hype was building, the fast groups were so much fun to watch and cheer on. This is my type of sports.
We were only 20 some miles in on a 80 mile day, so we needed to get rolling after lunch. Carrying on the endless gravel roads of the outback, we pedaled more and more gravel. Up and down, Up and down and more rain. We stopped to put more layers on and kept on pushing the pedals. I also saw the first of the women rolling thru, it was great to at least have some female presence among all these dudes. Then the gravel ended, a road started, we didn’t expect that. We took a break and all the people passing us had this sigh of relief as they landed on pavement. I thought the road was blessing, we could make better time towards our destination. Yet this road for over 5 miles was some of worst road on the whole trip. There was 4 to 8 inch cracks across the road, just enough to jar your body, over and over and over every 10 feet. We decided not to take the gravel way, which as we heard we just as pleasing. Finally we rolled over a cattle gate into a county road and we had 3 smooth downhill miles til the end.
We rolled into Silver Lake with two others we picked up on route, check out Matthew Moore’s photos. We couldn’t be any happier to eat hotdogs and drink a beer at Silver Lake. The gracious store owner was keeping hotdogs warm for people, telling them to stay in the local barn and staying open late to make sure people were taken care of. Living in an urban area, my empathy for humanity has been less present. In this rural area, I felt the the reemergence of humanity, no matter what these people care about the other humans. Upon my first step off the bike, I saw a bay area friend Tex. He came up and asked “hey would you guys like to share this hotel room with me?” My first thought was, that’s not the experience… but then a shower and a dry night sounded amazing. Hot shower and a cold beer was the best treat. .
We sat around, had dinner, more beers and watched riders roll in for the evening. We even treated ourselves to ice cream and a whole contrainer of cookies. The evening goal was to dry our gear and reset our minds for a big day tomorrow. We were planning a good 90 miles for the next day. I could feel my legs, I was sore and had thumping sit bones. I was happy though, the adventure had started and tomorrow would be a another new adventure for my mental and physical abilities.
Also photo'd in this series: Daniel Schafer (we called him the Lone Goose, he joined us Team Turtle Power for a pull on our way to Fort Rock) Check out his photos as well.