We were getting pretty comfy and settled in Baker City! A really nice small town with great food, wonderful, kind helpful people! Yesterday after the crown fiasco, we had to change hotels. The new location was so accommodating and helpful, a room was made ready for us early in the morning so we wouldn't have to hang out in the streets! Oh and just a little fact we learned yesterday Baker City is where Wally Byam came up with the idea and designed the Airstream!!! It was all in the museum! We couldn't figure out why there was a little model of an Airstream on the shelf ahead, it was so out of place with all the other historical artifacts! But now we know!
One of the reasons we hung out in Baker City was to mainly avoid Memorial Day traffic. Our first warning about the road condition came from the person in the next campground we were headed to, she wanted us to be especially careful because the traffic would be ATROCIOUS!!!! Made sense to us, we anticipated as much, in such a beautiful recreation area, who wouldn't get their boat and camper out and hit the road! As I mentioned yesterday it all worked out yesterday that we stayed an extra day in Baker City with my crown falling off and then the horrible rain that happened last night!
With gray skies looming and some trepidation holding me back, we set off, I was sure the traffic would be worse today because EVERYONE was going to have Saturday off and would surely be setting out to enjoy it! And we were headed towards Hell's Canyon where we were advised the road was narrow, cut between rocks and no shoulder! I also knew I was ready to ride, so we did!
The ride could not have been more beautiful! Maybe there wasn't the most generous shoulder but the traffic was not an issue in the least! Those that did go by were once again very considerate, slowed right down and moved over! It was a stunning ride! That's what I mean about the expectations vs. what the reality was! We let ourselves get so caught up in all the warnings and our own assumptions, it held us back. Maybe all the delay was for the best, the worst of the weather past and it was an absolutely beautiful day!
We did start off with a small climb up Flagstaff Pass. Not much really considering what we have done so far! We had to stop at the lookout point and take in the view of the valley spreading out before us. A small monument on the side of the road told us of a tall single pine that rose in the middle of this lovely valley. When the settler's wagons came over the pass and took in the expanse of the valley ahead, the tall single pine was a trail marker. I love to put myself in their place and stare in wonder at the iincredible view ahead! How must they have felt? It just goes on forever! That single pine stood for years to help settlers, Indians and trappers as a trail marker until someone cut it down.
I had to stop several times to try and capture the beauty of the landscape as it rolled off endlessly into the horizon. The road was easy, we had it mostly to ourselves and then we started going down. And down. We were headed towards an area known as Hell's Canyon. I couldn't help but wonder why would an area this beautiful get a name like that! As we raced downward mile after mile I was expecting at some point to be swallowed up by tall rocky walls and narrow canyons, but instead this vast open rolling scene continued unfolded in front of us. I couldn't help but think it was like open jaws and we were flying down right into the throat of it all! I can only describe it as surreal! We really didn't lose that much altitude, but we were flying along! We came thru one cut in the rocks and there we were greeted by the Powder River once again flowing happily and enjoying the downhill plunge as much as we were! So very, very beautiful and still very little traffic! To make it even more exciting, we had a tailwind to help us along!
We had planned for a short day today, thinking we would be battling the "atrocious" traffic and horrible road our best guess was to get to the closest campground for the night. That would be Richland, where we had made arrangements with Sue at the Eagle Valley RV Park to stay and wait out the weekend.
What a lovely campground! It is very much fisherman focused and there is quite a healthy little tent community here before us! Families with several tents pitched together and a few fishermen who returned home from a day on the lake and are very friendly.
It was a wonderful afternoon. Set up camp and just hung out in the sunshine on the soft, thick Oregreen grass in our tent site! Eventually we wandered the short distance into the local Richland cafe and had a great meal! Met Christy, Sparkling Christy who hasn't had the best day but decided she would sparkle anyhow! She certainly added a bit of sparkle to our evening with her entertaining and charismatic self, helping us with our meal. Thank you Christy! I won't forget to mail your postcard from Key West! Keep Sparkiling!!
The wind has been blowing fairly strong and steady all afternoon! We could be lucky enough that it's is blowing all the rain away! The fishermen next to us have been filling us in on the horror stories of the wind, rain and lightening last night! Glad we missed it! No fish for dinner, they are taking it all back to their wives!!!!
And that . . . Is today's adventure!! 43 miles