Sunday, June 12, 2016

Halfway done in Missoula Montana

Pat's wife, Deb, joined us in Missoula and we are taking a full 3 nights here. We both really need the rest and having electricity, laundry and a dishwasher is a luxury we really appreciate. The past week has been remote, beautiful, challenging and hot. Record highs in many of our locations were recorded and we had to get up really early in order to beat the heat and be done riding by early afternoon.

My friend, Tom Hardenburger, met us in Baker City, Oregon and rode with us for eight days to Missoula. It was fun to have a third person to hang around the campfire with.

Coming out of McKenzie Bridge, Oregon, we have to cross McKenzie Pass. It is a beautiful pass, closed to traffic until late June. We were a little freaked out because it was our first big pass to climb, but it was shady and well graded so the 3000' climb went pretty well.

There are several lava flows along the pass, and here is Pat in one of them.

At the top of the pass, there is a pretty funky observatory where you can see the surrounding peaks. You can see two of the three "Sisters" mountains from the pass.

The beast, loaded up and ready to roll heading out of our campsite in Sisters. We have been using Sherry as our sag support until now, and we decided that we should ride for at least one day fully loaded before we lose her, just to make sure everything would work OK. I ended up getting rid of the black frame bag because I just didn't have enough stuff to need having it. I don't really know how much all of this weighs, but we seem to be traveling lighter than most people we see on the road.

The two of us, ready to ride on our first fully loaded day.

Heading out of Sisters, Oregon. You can see the mountains in the background.

Another scenic vista east of Sisters.

Standard breakfast of eggs and grits with a little cheese thrown in.

Painted Hills park in Oregon

Our very own private campground in Bates, Oregon the day after Memorial Day. Not a soul but us.

Finally made it to Baker City and took a rest day waiting for Tom to arrive.

A remote stretch of road heading east from Baker City.

 A very nice couple took us in, fed us dinner and breakfast, and sent us on our way. Thanks Whitey and Katie! This is their road in Halfway, Oregon. Those are the Wallowa mountains in the background.

Whitey and Katie's barn with a dormer attached on the right.

Entering Idaho in the Hell's Canyon region.

A local rodeo in Cambridge, Idaho

The run down campground of Zims hot springs. Still, the warm pool was a treat.

Nice sunset from Zims.

The river that we will spend the next 99 miles riding along.

Little piece of paradise, the Swiftwater RV park. A small park with nice facilities and shade. It was terribly hot this week and a cool river, a shower and shade were very welcome.

The gazebo at Swiftwater.

Karen, our next door neighbor, is sagging her husband Tom along the same trail we are riding. Thanks for the cold beers.

Tom and Pat on one of the pack mule bridges that cross the river.

Mike and Pat

This was our view for two full days. Heading east along Highway 12 from Lowell to Powell Idaho.

A nice forest service campground somewhere along the river.

Dishes never seemed so fun.

We had cigars and whiskey around the fire that night.

There is a race along the Trans Am route every year. We kept getting passed by people who look like this. The race is unsupported, so each rider needs to bring all of their own gear along. This is all that they had - a few small bags. These riders are going 160-200 miles per day, every day, and getting their own food along the way. This rider had broken the cleat on his bike shoe and had wired the sole to the pedal temporarily until he could get to a bike shop.

Up and over Lolo pass, into Montana.

Here are some photos from Tom's camera: