Sunday, September 9, 2012
The last time I camped and slept on the ground was long, long ago when my sons were young and loved the idea of sleeping outdoors. Now, I’ve actually chose to do this! I don’t do this enough to know what I’m doing or what I should do, so I’m learning and making mental notes to myself-just in case there is a next time.
Breakfast is served daily from 5:30-8:30 AM. Around 5 AM, you can hear alarms beeping, people rustling in their tents, the unzipping of tent flaps, lights flashing about outside and the slamming of porta-pottie doors. I guess it’s time to wake up!
While inside, I can feel the dampness from the moisture and condensation on the exterior of the tent-it was a pretty cold night. Once I step outside, there is a natural tendency for me to look up in the sky and what a sight it is! It’s so dark and crystal clear that you can see many constellations and other cluster of stars-it’s so amazingly beautiful-WOW! We live to see things like this.
We make our way to the dining tent for a breakfast of your choice: scrambled eggs with broccoli & cheddar, bacon, potatoes, hot oatmeal, bagel, fruit, cold cereals, yogurt, granola and hard boiled eggs. There’s also coffee, tea, hot chocolate and water.
The sun is rising as we get back to our tent area to pack up our bags and gear up for the ride out to Silver Lake. We have to vacate the tent by 8 AM everyday so the volunteers can start loading all the bags into the trucks for transportation to the next campground.
We’re ready to ride out at 7:15 AM-it’s a nippy 44F, but the sun is still rising and it should warm up fast-we just need to keep moving.
The first few miles on Hwy 140 take us out of town to Ivory Pine Rd. The sun cast a warm soft golden hue across the vast meadows and fields. I love mornings like this-it’s a wonderful way to start the day, especially on a bike ride!
The first flat 10 miles takes us through the bucolic landscape of this area; open meadows with forests and mountains neatly tucked in the background, barns and ranches along with grazing cattle and horses running about in their paddocks. It’s gorgeous out here-there is so much land!
After passing the open ranges, there comes a series of short gentle climbs into the Freemont-Winema National Forest. There is nothing but the sight of deep green conifers lining the sides of the road-beautiful!
We arrive at the first rest stop, mile 16.3 at 8:20 AM. Bikes and riders are everywhere! At the food tents, you are required to remove your gloves before being served any snack/food items by the volunteers using tongs-that’s great!
We continue north on FR #30 and descend through the forest to the wide open meadows. The road ascends gently with grades of 5-6% all the way to the water stop.
The road levels out a bit as we pass sections of the forest that shows signs of clear cutting. At mile 31.3, we ride through a 2.5 mile slight uphill gravel section of the Forest Service road. You have to plunk down and pick a good line or let the bike go where it wants without overcorrecting. The pavement on the roadways has been very good up to this point, so you just have to deal with it!
The music from the live band is a fine addition to reaching the top of the climb. The turn onto FR #28 takes us to the lunch stop located in a very dusty open area off the main road. At mile 34.7-it’s now 10:19 AM.
After lunch, we continue on the Forest Service road on the ridgeline through flat rolling forested terrain and sagebrush meadows with views of the mountains in the far distance.
The turn onto FR # 28/East Bay Rd brings us to a single narrow lane road to our next rest stop at mile 53.9-it’s 11:50 AM and 84F.
The next 6 miles has a series of short climbs followed by descents through the forest.
The last 9+ miles of this road descends gently from the forest into the high desert of Central Oregon to the small community of Silver Lake. The road opens up to a sea of desert sagebrush for as far as the eye can see-what remarkable scenery! I love the flooding colors of the flowering blue green silvery shrubs taking over the vast landscape of this area-it’s gorgeous!
We arrive at Silver Lake at 1:00 PM to the sounds of the locals cheering us in, you gotta love them! We’re handed a carton of chocolate milk as we enter the camp area-hey, it’s a great recovery drink!
We locate our designated tent but find that our bags are not there. There are 4 huge trucks parked in the back of the camping area still filled with thousands of bags. We’re left sitting around in the heat with dust flying everywhere-it is quite windy here! Others riders are waiting too and once the volunteers arrive-many of them opt to help unload the trucks-great teamwork!
Here are some views and sights from around town and near our campground.
Dinner is served: Chicken fajitas with rice, vegetables, salad and lemon cake.
Thanks to all the CO volunteers for being out there to support us! The presence of all the SAG vans, Milwaukie PD, Metrowest ambulances and HAM radio operators out on the course gives you great peace of mind that you are being well taken care of.
3536′ of elevation gain
Avg grade: 3%
Max grade: 11%
Weather: WONDERFUL! Sunny and warm with clear blue skies and afternoon winds. Temps ranged from a morning low of 44F to the high 80’s at Silver Lake.
Communities should be planned with an eye to the effect on the human spirit of being continually surrounded by a maximum of beauty. ~Thomas Jefferson
Follow this route for today’s ride: