Oregon Outback :: Train to Day 1

Taking on a new adventure is hard and exciting. My boyfriend and I worked for months building bikes, collecting pieces of gear and training. Then the leaving night arrived. We rushed around the house, trains tickets, gear, burritos for late dinner, all ready to go. We biked to Martinez to catch the Amtrak, upon arrival we were informed that the train would be an hour late. Bikes packed, we found a seat which we occupied for another 3 hours. The amtrak employee finally announced “10 more minutes to train arrival”, you could feel the anxiousness of the people to load that train and get to sleep. Loaded up and scoring a great seat in the back of the car, Tobe and I tried to get sleep. The adventure that we had been working towards for over a year, was about to happen.

After a restless night and beautiful morning, we finally arrived in Klamath Falls. The masses of people were launching the next day, we had a quiet unload with one another rider, Twan. It wasn’t til after we built up our bikes and found the local bike shop, did we start seeing more riders. Taking off a day early was a great plan, we saved money and met more people. We got the see the one day riders pass us on trail and cheer them on, total bonus. With all items collected, we began the Oregon Outback. We started out by missing the trail and getting in a bonus half mile the wrong direction. Finally on track, we left roadways, no cars, no hassle, just the open gravel roads.

Riding on gravel is different. It’s not solid enough to keep a consistent speed and soft enough to swallow your wheel. I didn’t have enough sleep the night before and felt like I was having a mental crash. Moving slow and feeling in the middle of nowhere alone, added to my mental breaking. Here we were taking on this dream and I’m in the worst mood ever. I kept it together, it wasn’t till we saw other people that my mood perked up some. The tall bike crew was the talk of Outback, two guys on tall bikes plus friends and all unique awesome humans. We rode with them for few miles, but when they stopped and town was only 4 miles away, we rode out. All I wanted was get off my bike, eat some food and get some sleep.

Pulling into our first town, I gave it the one horse town rating. Sprague River had a store with food and water, that’s all we needed. I was toast, our plan was 66 miles for the first day and were only 40 in. I asked a local about camping near by, she told me us to just head down to a park near the river and camp there. The relieving feeling that the day of biking was coming to an end let us grab beers, good bread, cheese and an avocado. We had a great spot, it was near a road without traffic and a nice tree to keep us from getting wet from the rain.

Day one wrapped up with us making dinners in our tent, enjoying beers and the wildlife near the river. I was happy finally, in the tent, eating food and getting ready sleep. The first day just happened be my most mental day, lack of sleep, release of stress and the unknown all added up. I worked harder than any other day to keep positive. In the end we made adjustments to our route and it worked out for the best. I am very lucky to have Tobe who was patient and helped get through the day. Beers finished, zipped into our sleeping bags, we laid down to the sound of light rain drops to reset for Day 2.

All photos taken with an Olympus 35SP rangefnder with Kodak Gold 200