Day 7 - Baker City to Ontario OR
Weather: Sunny all day. Low 50s to start. Low 90s to end. The heat has caught up with us. Winds were of the in our face variety but not enough, so I’m told, to be really annoying. There might be other opinions on that statement.
Highlights of the day:
After several days with significant climbing, it was a well enjoyed break for the riders to have a route that was primarily downhill. Downhill on good pavement. Downhill with not much wind to speak of. Downhill!!
The seventh day on the road took us out of the mountains and to the eastern edge of Oregon. It included our first foray onto an interstate highway. In some of the western states it’s legal to ride on the highway when there are no reasonable alternatives, and we met that criteria twice today. We were on the highway for a total of 7 miles on a Sunday, so the traffic was light. Almost all of the shoulder was freshly paved and beautifully smooth.
The pine-covered mountains gave way to golden rolling hills along the Snake River. This is a river the riders will get to know very well. It comes in and out of our route all the way into Jackson Wyoming. What we saw today was wide and ambling but soon will be dotted with rapids and falls as we head east.
We are also coming into farmland. This is farmland that apparently would not exist without a great deal of irrigation. Brown borders of scrub and dried grass surround the bright green fields. No irrigation. No green. We passed large fields of clover and (what I think was) lavender. Breathe deep and relax! (while riding into a headwind…) We also passed large fields of onions later in the day. Onions appear to play a big role in this area. There was even an Eastern Oregon & Idaho Onion Committee conference at our hotel. What ever the case, they smell good and make me hungry!
It was a little hot to end but is late June. We are in the high dessert. We’ve been a little spoiled with the cooler temperatures. It’s time for lots of water and ice. With the mostly downhill terrain (see above) and light winds, it made for a very enjoyable & relatively quick day. Most of the riders would have been into our motel by early afternoon, but we also changed time zones today from Pacific to Mountain. Tomorrow we ride 60 miles into Boise and our first rest day.