Tour Day 28: John Day, OR to Prineville, OR

September 14th, 2007

83.58 mi / 6:44:50 time / 12.3 mph avg. / 35.0 mph max. / 4568 ft. climbing
Staying at Ochoco Divide National Forest Campground

To show the world (by which I mean, nobody) that even a day like yesterday can’t wear me out at this point, I took advantage of the slight downhill and slight tailwind and blasted through the first 32 miles to Dayville in well under two hours, in another No-Stop morning. I fueled up there with a hearty 2nd-breakfast, since I would be needing the energy for the next 50 miles. Dayville’s gas station is a Little Debbie shop (Texas Cinnamon Roll, Cherry Pie, and Fudge Round), and my milk carton actually said “Thank you for buying local East Oregon milk”, so yay!

Picture GorgeThe descent ended at Picture Gorge, part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (this John Day fellow is rather popular around here). While most of eastern Oregon has been quite scenic compared to a place like Illinois, with hills and mountains all over the place, this was the first “wow” area; it’s quite a badass canyon, and that’s coming from a guy who has been through more than a few. Halfway through the canyon, after following the John Day River downstream all morning, I made a left turn at a three-way river intersection and began following a tributary upstream.

The Oregon Mountain Climbing Efficiency Board held an emergency meeting last night, and decided that days like yesterday’s four 1000-foot climb day didn’t make any sense, so for today they compressed it into just two climbs. The tradeoff is that now they were both 2000-foot climbs. The first one was long, at 25 miles, but then of course not very steep for much of the way. It’s interesting to watch the vegetation change with the altitude on these climbs, and the last couple days my friend the fragrant juniper has even returned. Mitchell, ORThey were repaving a long section of the road, but the one-way area didn’t begin until right at the pass, so I was able to ride through it taking advantage of the downhill.

Lunch was at a (I mean, “the”) cafe in Mitchell, another in a long string of incredibly small towns, and then there as a bit more downhill to go until I started climb #2. Ochoco Divide National Forest Campsite This time, the one-way section started at the uphill, so they had to put me in the truck for a bit. But it was less then four miles, and only about 300 feet up, I so don’t feel like I was cheating too much. This time when the pilot truck driver announced my ride over the CB, a response came back, “I think I’d have to be retarded to do something like that!”

From there, it was just 2000 more feet of climbing, this time at 5-6%, until I got to Ochoco Divide Campground at the very top of the pass. There’s a bicycle section here, and the web says it’s $4, but the sign says it’s $12 just like everywhere else, so I just took a normal site so I could have some flat ground to pitch my tent. The campground is filled with some pretty enormous 200+ year old pine trees, which makes it a pretty cool spot.

Day 28

One Response to “Tour Day 28: John Day, OR to Prineville, OR”

  1. Steve M Says:

    Listen to the voice on the truck radio, not the crazy one in your head.