Last day cycling. Everyone was quite excited. The last week was not easy and that’s a good thing or it would have felt like a let down. Instead we had to work hard until the end. 83.56 miles our last day. The hardest part was the hike over the sand dunes carrying our bikes to get to the water. My legs still feel it. It was the hardest I worked on the whole trip! It was incredible mounting the top of the sand dune and seeing the Pacific ocean. Quite an emotional moment. The beach was mixed with happiness and sadness. We all gathered around and Jake shared Ollie’s ashes and we scattered them in the ocean. I’m really glad Jake came and rode the last few days with us. He was on Ollie’s bike which couldn’t have been too easy for him. But I’m really glad he came as Ollie was a part of our ride. Simon finally had a chance to set off o few of his fireworks which he’d been carrying with him since the beginning of the trip, I think. And so our trip across USA was complete as we dipped our wheels into the Pacific Ocean. A job well done. We all went out for dinner in the evening. Some of us were going to ride about 40 miles the next day but thankfully we did not do that as we had to load the bikes and get them to a bike shop in Portland where Jake had to dismantle them and box them before his flight left in the early evening. Some folk dispersed. Gina and Dena continued up/down the coast for a few more days, as did Simon and Ben. Some boxed their own bikes but I was more than happy that Jake did mine. It is on its way back home via UPS so I didn’t have to worry about it after that. It was a long day. We were going to try to go downtown to meet some of the folk for dinner but we didn’t get past the first train stop….we just went and found a local diner to eat at…..and then went back to our motels. It is sad saying goodbye to everyone, but I think I’m ready to be back home.
Fabulous Day cycling up Mc Kenzie Pass. The group waited for us at the top. Beautiful vistas. The sea of lava rock was incredible and quite a contrast to Mt St Helens which I went to the day after our trip ended. Nature is quite powerful. Belknap Hot Springs was also gorgeous. We pitched our tents for the last time in amongst the pines and the camp site was great….laundry, rest rooms too! We went for a walk around the grounds and then swam in the hot pool.
3 days to go until we reach the Oregon coast. I can hardly believe it….one step at a time or shall I say one mile……it is quite an amazing feeling to this that we have almost completed our journey. It is going to be hard to say goodbye to everyone. I am really glad Jake came out to ride with us and he is fitting in so easily. I think it is healing for him as well as for us. Another blistering hot day today and the last past on route 126 had very little shoulder and that terrifies me so I was pretty pleased to reach camp this afternoon. We are camping in Redmond outside the public pool where we showered but we have a lovely grass area with picnic tables where we pitched our tent. Ubald and Huey made ravioli and salad for dinner followed by cheesecake and lemon meringue pie….so shortage of calorie consumption on this trip….for me at any rate…..ice cream here and there thrown into the mix……The rain is gently pattering on my tent and somehow I got online…..so I’m happy….We stopped in Prinville at a Mexican Restaurant for lunch and the air conditioning and the food were excellent. Then we braved a climb and a busy road for the remainder of our day.
Prairie City to Mitchell…..our longest day riding so far….86.5 miles. We rode through John Day, Mount Vernon and Dayville and that was that for stops along the way. We stopped at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, a stop which added an extra 4 miles to our day, but they have a fabulous visitor center which was worth the visit. Nicole and the van met us at the top of Keyes Creek pass and it was blistering hot and we were so thankful for the refreshment and shade. In Mitchell we stayed at a delightful little hotel and we all went to the bar next door for dinner. And that was town. They took us out to the Painted Hills for sunset and it was gorgeous!
Jake, Ollie’s son is riding with us until the end of the trip. We all leave Baker City together. It’s a 68 mile day with 3 passes and it’s great to have his company. He is really easy going and a pleasure to ride with.