Monday, October 3, 2011

Doing a quick load of laundry in Lakeview

laundry mode in Lakeview, OR
Doing a quick load of laundry in Lakeview OR. Cold last night, just above freezing but the wind set down which was nice. Heading out a lonely HWY 140 now and looking forward to it.

The wind completely set down after I went to bed last night.  37* this morning in camp.  Overcast and threatening to rain, but it didn't.  I wasn't back out on the highway until a little after 9:AM, but I wasn't too worried about making the miles.

Back out on the highway I was surprised how quickly I crossed into Oregon.  I couldn't tell I was that close on my maps.  There where some cool old buildings in various states of disrepair out here.  Nice shoulder again as I approached Lakeview, OR.

crossed the border of CA/OR early then headed east off of 395 to 140
Pedaled through town slowly.  Spotted a grocery store where I got some yogurt and gallon of water.  Then pedaled over to the laundry mat so that I could clean my bike gear.  I have 2 pairs of bike shorts that I wear 2 days each, but beyond that they need to be cleaned.  I could do backcountry laundry in the bucket, but if I am going through a town why not make use of the laundromat?  I ate my yogurt while my clothes where in the wash, then spied a diner across the street that offered some waffles with peanut butter.  That was a good way to stoke the fire in mi estamago.

Better shot of the laundry situation and the diner across the street with gigantic waffles
After that I left the town of Lakeview, OR fat and happy and still rocking a tailwind.  I only pedaled a few miles out of town before I picked up HWY 140.  This would be where I left the 395 and now started back east towards Nevada.

Initially I had a big climb up a pass, but it was pretty and forested.  Down the other side of this pass I picked up the headwaters of Camas Creek.  Looked like good water to fish, but I was interested in making miles.  I really enjoyed following the creek which eventually turned into a river.

I had by now learned to be alert of vehicles approaching from behind as the road had no shoulder here.  Traffic was light though and I wasn't to worried.  A trucker approached in a giant moving truck (think longer than a 18 wheeler).  He was nice and passed me on a blind corner but way over in the oncoming lane.  Well dumb thing doing that on a blind corner as this was a corner with a rancher in a dually pick up going the other way.  Yikes, basically almost a head on accident right in front of me.  Nice that the trucker was giving me plenty of room, dumb to be doing it on the blind corner.  Of course the rancher was driven off the road into the ditch, but he somehow recovered and got it back up on the road.  I later found out semis aren't even allowed on this section of highway due to the sharp curves coming down into Adel, OR.

Coming down Sweeney Canyon into Adel was fun
As I followed the creek downstream I finally got to a gorge where there was a waterfall plummeting over some volcanic rock.  This is where an awesome downhill began with cool curves and turns into Adel, OR.  I started running into cows wondering the highway so it was definitely open range here.  I stopped in Adel briefly to see if I could purchase some wine, but that was a no go so I just hopped on my bike and continued on into some real lonely terrain.

As I was leaving the town of Adel I rode directly into a cattle drive.  The cattle drive was coming right up the highway westbound at me.  It was pretty funny weaving my way through the cattle and cow pies.  I enjoyed seeing the cowboys who looked like they might be basque.  Even though I am not as enthralled with the cowboy lifestyle anymore due to the impacts of cattle on the land.

After the cattle drive I crossed a long dry lake valley then began some serious climbs.  I would climb from 4,000 ft to 6,000+ ft to cruise along at 6,000 for several miles, drop down the other side and repeat.  I had a good tailwind in the basins between the high terrain, but it would be still on the climbs.  Even though it was quite overcast today it was kind of muggy and humid too.  I had my jersey completely zipped open and I was moving so slow in granny gear up these grades I finally took the helmet off.  I found a way to strap it to my handlebars so that it rested perfectly on the handlebar bag out of my way.

Right in front of Antelope Butte is one of the bigger climbs of the day that wore me out
I left Oregon finally at the end of the day and entered the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge.  I was well above 6,000ft here and could get some views off to the north east of the Steens Mountains which would be my next objective tomorrow.  At this point I was starting to bonk from the long day, climbs and running out of water.  This terrain didn't offer much in the way of water and I was hoping I wasn't going to be stuck out with no water tonight.  I kind of got frantic towards dark as it didn't appear that I was going to find water even though my GPS and AAA map showed several creeks/ springs in the vicinity.  I finally made it down to a rest area with an outhouse.  I noticed just before the rest area seeing some cat tails, sure fire sign of water even though I didn't see any from the road.  I ended up riding back up there and found a way down into a spring which was a hot spring at that.  Nothing I could soak in unfortunately, but definitely coming out of the ground hot.  I hoped it wasn't alkaline or anything, but I got a nice big bucket full.  I pedaled back to the outhouse and commandeered one as my own.  Only problem was that these outhouses had a solar panel on them and a light that stayed on all night.  I was sure I could find a fix for this, but would deal with that later.

No mans land, lots of volcanic ash... found water right behind the rest area... this is NV now
I was surprised that it was now trying to rain outside and super gusty.  Pretty nice hanging in the shelter of the restroom at 55* vs being out in the wind and rain.  This was a big outhouse too so I was able to sleep on one side of the outhouse and have my bike on the other.  I took a sponge bath inside and got to getting my dinner going.  One nice thing was that there was a couple visitors during dinner and I just made out like I was using the one of the two restrooms, which I am sure freaked people out as there was no other car there.  I ended up near bed time rigging the tarp I cover my bike with over the light and used one of my cam straps for my rack to cinch it tight around the light.  No other vehicles came by all night and I slept sound and warm on my 2.5 inch thick air mattress.

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