Tour Day 30: Warm Springs, OR to Portland, OR

September 16th, 2007

106.00 mi / 7:55:15 time / 13.3 mph avg. / 33.0 mph max. / 5058 ft. climbing
Staying at Joel, Chika, Noah, and Ren’s House

It turned out that the party house was much less annoying during the night than the group at the site next to mine who were up yapping and laughing until 2am. Luckily my earplugs do a pretty good job of filtering that stuff out, so I was able to catch enough sleep between wakings that when I woke for real a 6:30am, I felt fairly fresh.

I crawled back out to US 26 on the bad gravel road, and then crossed into the Hot Springs Indian Reservation (I’m probably the only one who finds it funny that the town of “Madras” is the closest city to an Indian Reservation). Surprisingly there was a little strip-mall-ish thing there that said “FREE INTERNET”, so I pulled in to check on things. I had an email from my brother saying that he almost surely was in Arizona, which meant that he wouldn’t be riding out to meet me at Trillium Lake campground as we’d been hoping, to camp one night and then ride in together the next day. That was disappointing, but it left me with a decision: continue as planned and do 50 uphill miles and camp, or just blow through the whole 100+ miles to Portland in one day. My pre-trip planning focused on a 30-day ride, but that was always a very hopeful estimate, with the assumption that days off or other setbacks would actually make it more like 32 or 33 days. Since very early into the trip when I got off course a bit I had been targeting 31 days, but now, could I actually do it in the original 30? I figured I would make that decision once I got to the 50 mile point.

When I blasted through the 1200-foot climb out of the Deschutes River valley like it wasn’t even there, I thought “ok, I’m totally going to do it all in one day”. Especially when I got to the flat section on top and was cruising along at 19-20mph. And then, out of nowhere, the wind came and slammed into me like a brick to the face. It was the strongest wind of the whole trip, and was mostly a crosswind, requiring all the skill and strength I had to keep the bicycle moving in a (relatively) straight line at 9mph. That’s when I thought “ok, I’m doing this in two days, and I’ll be lucky to even make it the 50 miles to Trillium Lake today”.

Crossing The 45th ParallelHowever, after about 15 miles, I exited the open grassland and entered the forest, and the winds almost disappeared. I still had a lot of climbing to do though, all the way back up to 4000 feet. So I still wasn’t sure what I would do. Then, when during a break I semi-consciously ate one of my last two NutriGrain bars that I had been saving for the next morning’s breakfast, I realized that I had gone all in. I would be completing my journey today.

I soon passed right by the turnoff to Trillium Lake, and then stopped at a rest area at Government Camp, where I had a lunch made out of all my remaining foodstuffs. It was from there that I gave Chika a call to let her know that I was coming in. It had taken me nearly seven hours (five of them riding) to cover the first 53 miles of the day; so I told Chika that I would be there at 6pm, which gave me three and a half hours to cover the same distance.

And so I began my final segment of the trip, a 53 mile downhill that would drop me nearly 4000 feet. Though the winds held off, it did begin to rain just after I started, and would never completely stop. But at that I point, I didn’t mind at all. The only sad part was that, due to the clouds, I didn’t actually ever see Mt. Hood. So I guess it’s a good thing that I had the fake-Mt. Hood experience yesterday.

Arrival!For no particular reason at all, I did those final 53 miles without a break (except for stop lights, and even then, I did the first 38 to Gresham without putting a foot on the pavement). I guess I figured I didn’t need to save myself for anything; there would be no riding tomorrow, after all! That meant that I rolled up into the suddenly-familiar driveway at 5:45, comfortably exhausted, to be warmly greeted by Chika, Noah, Ren, and Kai. Just a little 2500 mile bike ride to see my family, right?

But stay tuned, the journal might not be over yet. As a coda, there’s talk of a ride out to the big blue ocean in the coming days. Also I have a wrap-up piece or two that I’m planning on posting. But for now, I think I’ll take a bit of a nap, if you don’t mind.

Day 30

5 Responses to “Tour Day 30: Warm Springs, OR to Portland, OR”

  1. Mom Says:

    Wow, 2500 miles !!! Amazing endurance, determination, great planning etc. You had the right stuff and good fortune. So glad the bears and other potentially menacing creatures were on vacation or had better pickings. Congratulations Neil on an awesome ride! No small feat! Welcome home. 🙂 🙂
    Mom and Dad

  2. Steve M Says:

    Congratulations! You should consider a stationary bicycle in your cubical so you can wind down.

  3. Swati Says:

    Yay for you! And what a whizzing through those last 53 miles! Way to go! And a real bed, and hot, real food. And Chika, Noah and Ren to greet you. Plus Kai! Yay for you!! And you’re not dead! Double yay! 🙂 Looking forward to reading your further postings.

  4. JP Says:

    Congratulations for accomplishing your goal and making it to Oregon safely. Makes me want to try it myself (almost). Stay tuned for the next JP, DP and GP adventure: the Northern Forest canoe trail!

  5. Suchi Says:

    Congrats Neil.I loved your breakdown into numbers. Puts a lot of things in perspective.