mikeanddiByCycleTransAmerica travel blog

Bates State Park, we woke up enclosed by fog but by time...

Just another climb up pass number 5 since we started!Tipton Pass 5,124...

The valley floor between Tipton Pass and Sumpter Pass

Oregreen pastures! Look like Moose territory to me but saw nothing!

A pretty basic climb up to our final pass today and then...

We reached the top of Sumpter Pass 5,024 ft and no sign...

We got all the way down and still no rain but it...

And the rain came down in torrential style!

A church literally appeared out of nowhere just as the drops got...

There was a huge overhang for the bikes, we were cuddled up...

A church appears of of nowhere just when you need it!! We...


Woke up to heavy fog this morning! So great we were able to sleep under the shelter of the day use area! It helped keep the outside of the tent dry and so much easier to pack a dry tent then the mess of a wet tent! The underside of the rain fly does get as wet as if it rained from the inside of the tent! The top of our tent is all netting so the condensation collects on the rain fly just from breathing at night! But as we packed up, the sun did start to poke thru and burn the fog off, just enough to dry the fly out for packing.

We enjoyed cheese sticks, an apple, banana and our giant cinnamon rolls that we bought at the Austin Junction store yesterday for breakfast. They were yummy but in search of the perfect cinnamon roll they barely make the list! Christy did not make these so I don't feel bad judging them so harshly. They looked better than they tasted. They were good but our first ones in Pacific City still hold #1.

But here is the good news! Remember how I almost cried and refused to go downhill to the campground because we were going to have to climb an extra mile??? Well, this was the right way! We were supposed to turn left at the Austin Junction Store! Imagine if we had not stopped at the store! If Christy had not been outside, would we have continued on in the wrong direction?? OMG . . . I makes me shudder to think of it, after all . . . It has happened before! Brings back a nightmare in Vermont (but it did really have a happy ending!)

So up we go again, reminding ourselves only 2 more passes and we have a downhill and a rest day awaiting us! Tipton Pass was pretty uneventful, beautiful forests with clean floors, wildlife would be easy to spot! But no wildlife roaming that we could see! Traffic very light and unobtrusive, we had the road and the peace and quiet to ourselves. When cars did pass it was more of a slow gentle passing instead of the Schwoooooosh of cars speeding by at 80mph! So we were left to our thoughts and our pedalling! Again plenty of stops when needed and we quickly reached the top of Tipton Pass 5,124 ft and down we went! Not too far or too fast. Just as we reached the last of the downhill portion, we could see the road rise ahead of us so we let go of the brakes and I clocked 34 mph on my speedometer!!! I think that is about as fast as we got up to on the first trip as well. It was only a short moment and it helped propel us up the next rise. We must have gained at least 2 easy feet before we had all our gears shifted into our highest gearsand up we went!

It was beautiful and sunny and then we spotted the cloud bigger, blacker and uglier than the one yesterday that made us take cover in anticipation of precipitation! And it was close, very close almost feeling like it was touching the tops of the trees! Crazy we would round a bend and brilliant sunshine was waiting for us, but this cloud was hanging over our shoulders and moving so slowly we could barely tell which direction it was moving! We had our back up plan ready, covers were set for an easy and quick access! Problem was there was no real side to the road to stop on, quite steep drop away, no easy access to the forest for shelter, no fences for leaning bikes on so as long as we could keep riding we did, never taking our eyes off the cloud! It was rumbling pretty seriously now and we even had one flash of lightning followed immediately by the clap of thunder, it was right over our heads! No rain, keep ridding! Incredibly enough, we reached the peak with no rain! And no summit sign, REALLY? So I made my own! Didn't hang around long, we knew we were racing against the odds. About 5 forestry trucks towing equipment pulled over on the other side havingmade the long haul up from the other side. The first driver out of the truck said "Oh boy, there is a mean rain storm ahead about 3 miles!" We thanked him and assured him we could see that, zipped up our amazing Shower Passes jackets and headed down! I hope we don't run out of the blessing we have been granted these past few days! We made it all the way down splashing thru the obvious signs of very heavy rain! Still the threat loomed on either side of us but as long as we were dry, we pushed on but it was slowly creeping up on us! Still there was no place to go and pull off or protect ourselves!

Please look at the beautiful photo i caught just before the rain. I looked to the mountains on our left and it was too beautiful to resist! So despite the race, I stopped for a photo but that is when we could see just on our right, the rain was in the valley! We were trying to make a plan, we can communicate while riding, there seemed to be nowhere, the trees were quickly thinning out, the drops started to fall and THERE IT WAS!!!! I saw the CocaCola sign first (not sure why it was there) and thought a restaurant and were quite relieved but then it turned out to be a church!! A CHURCH!! It literally showed up out of nowhere! A huge awning to protect the bicycles, a huge carpeted porch that reached back into a door way and kept us completely dry and cozy! No less than a miracle!

So there we sat and stayed warm and dry! Another fun photo opportunity to try and capture the tremendous rate of rainfall! The river formed right in front of our eyes in the drive. There may have even been hail, or just really large heavy rain drops in the beginning. whatever it was we were very relieved to not be in it! I doubt if our Boy Scout back up plan would have been very effective under that torrent of rain! This is what adventure is made of right????

We still had about 27 miles to go, so when we felt it was all passed we donned our rain pants to help protect against the cold back splash of our own tires and passing cars. They didn't last very long as it quickly started to warm up. Eventually all the rain was gone, we came up along the Powder River to lead us into Baker City as it weaved and flowed down its crooked path thru beautiful landscapes and everntually wonderful little homesteads.

By time we reached Baker City it was hot and dry and hardly any rain here!

Hotel, rest day tomorrow and a good meal!

The end of an exciting and lucky day!

We are planning ahead, it is Memorial Day Weekend, lots of traffic, trying to stay off the road! Resting today and have to move tomorrow but only going the shortest distance and camping for two days to let the traffic and holiday pass!

I think I am caught up now! thanks to those of you who were concerned and checked in when you didn't hear from us, it was just a connection issue while being in the mountains! Love you all! Enjoy the long weekend!

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