September 14, 2016 – Juntura Hot Springs, Juntura, OR to Buck Creek Road and US 20, OR

It got quite cold last night and I needed to go full mummy in my sleeping bag in order to stay warm. I woke up a few times during the night because of the cold and then when it was light enough out to see I wanted nothing to do with getting up. When I did finally make it out of the tent is was nearly 8:30 and still very cold out. My sandals were still wet from crossing the river, so that wasn’t the most enjoyable thing to put on. Better than cold wet socks though. I wasted little time packing up my stuff and got offered a cup of coffee from Ralph and Kathy. I don’t drink coffee but thought about it for a second just because it would’ve helped me warm up, but I passed. I noticed a staple stuck in my back tire on the outer edge. The tire isn’t flat yet and I’m able to pull it out while keeping the tube intact. Changing a flat would be less than ideal at this point in the morning. I get packed up, wish my fellow campers well, and am on the road by about 9:15.

The sun hasn’t quite made it over the hillsides yet on all of the road, so I put my maintenance gloves on for some added warmth (first time I’ve needed to do that). I decide to forgo stopping at the Oasis Cafe in Juntura for breakfast and start climbing almost immediately. It is a long steady climb, lasting nearly 10 miles as I wind out of the valley, into the Pacific Time Zone, and over Drinkwater Pass at 4212 feet. A couple of miles of steep downhill are followed by rollers before it’s a steep uphill climb for a little more than 5 miles. The summit here is 4848 feet, which I imagine will be my high point for the day. Another downhill follows and I take a quick break at the convenience store at the bottom of the hill. Burns is 23 miles from here and the lady inside tells me it’s basically flat all the way there, which I’m looking forward to. Unfortunately now the wind has picked up and is blowing in my face, but I get the miles done and stop to eat in Burns shortly before 2 and a little over 60 miles in.

I take a pretty long break eating and refilling my water bottles. When I’m ready to get back on at about 3 my Garmin again takes a while to turn on and when it does finally start it has cleared my data. I looked before I turned it off and remembered I had 61.6 miles and about 5:15 of riding time, but my elevation numbers are gone. I call up the customer service for them again and this time get someone who actually seems to know what he’s talking about. He sends me an email with instructions on what to do, but unfortunately I have to wait until I can plug into a computer.

There are some rollers and consistent headwind as I make my way west. There is a convenience store and gas station where US 395 is no longer on the same path as US 20 and starts heading south instead. I stop here to get a break from the wind for a bit, pick up a snack, and pull up the satellite view on my phone to check on potential camp spots. I remember the last time I was heading east on this road I camped at the restaurant in Hampton and got out of there early to avoid being seen. I pulled off about 10 miles down the road from there to eat some food and get warmth from the sun, so I try to find this area because I know it has a large pullout and could give me some earlier warmth than I got this morning. This spot is about 30 miles down the road and I have about an hour until sunset, so I get to it.

The wind seems to have calmed a bit, but is definitely still there and I seem to be climbing more than I am descending. Traffic has died down a lot and the views are rolling hills with a lot of sage and the occasional tree. I end up riding until about 8:45 well after the sunset of about 7:10. It remains light on the horizon until about 8 and then the nearly full moon gives off plenty of light after that. I pulled into the spot I had in mind and crossed over the cattle grates to find a nice little area with mounds of old asphalt that is a couple hundred yards away from the road and also a little downhill from it. I set up camp, cook another MRE, and eat it maybe 100 yards from my tent in hopes of keeping any wildlife away from my tent. It is starting to get pretty cold out with the lack of clouds in the sky so I eat quickly, brush the teeth, and climb back into my tent shortly after 10. This is the first night I’ve felt the need to use my sleeping bag liner as an extra layer of warmth. Hopefully I stay warmer than I did last night.

117.4 miles
9:50:30 in the saddle
11.9 Avg. MPH
1614 feet of elevation gained
1217 feet of elevation lost

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About darrenmodonnell

I've been bike touring each summer for the last 5 years. Summer of 2016 I'll be flying up to Alaska on June 1st and riding my bike back down towards the lower 48.
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