The Trans-America Bicycle trail adventure from Eugene, Oregon to Grangeville, Idaho, on 30AUG-08SEPT2012
The statistics for the trip were…
Calories Burnt: 36361 KCal
Kilometers (miles) ridden: 820.8 km (510 miles)
Ascent – meters (feet): 9065 m (29741 ft)
Day 0—On 30 August, a friend and I caught the Amtrak train in Tacoma at 3:00pm, and arrived in Eugene at 9 in the evening. We then rode about 2 miles to the Red Lion Inn.
Day 1—31Aug This was the first day of riding. We went from Eugene to Alder Springs campground, a little over half the climb up McKenzie Pass 5959 cal, 1161 m ascent, 108.8 km, 6:19 riding time. The campground was quite sparse, and even no water, so we borrowed some from a car camper coming through.
Day 2—01Sept Alder Springs Camp to Prineville. Today, we had another 2300 ft of climbing until we reached the summit of McKenzie Pass. The scene was surrealistic with a lava landscape. We then descended to Sisters and Redmond before beginning our climb up to Prineville. The weather was cloudless, and about 80 F but not humid, so that it was quite tolerable. 4054 Cal, 894 meters climbing, 5:33 time, 104.3 km distance.
McKenzie Pass with the North and Middle Sister in the background
A close up of two of the Three Sisters
Mt. Washington from McKenzie Pass, the lava flows in the foreground
The Sisters are now in the distance as we head toward Prineville.
Day 3—02SEPT Prineville to Dayville—137.8 km, 7:32 time, 4810 cal, 1332 m ascent. After a long climb over Ochoco Pass, we quickly descended and then did a short ascent into Mitchell. The ride was beautiful, going by Lake Ochoco and up a Ponderosa pine forested pass. Mitchell was a little sparse, where we had lunch, changed a tube on my friend’s bike, and decided to head on. Another climb over Keye’s Pass was a bit more challenging, with a steady 6-8% grade. It was nearly a constant steady descent into Dayville, a beautiful green town on the John Day River, where we set up a tent in an RV park, had showers, and dinner at the local grocery store.
Yet another pass
The terrain in the John Day Fossil Beds Natl. Monument
Close to Dayville, the mighty John Day River
Day 4—Dayville to Prairie City, mostly a gradual uphill climb, 3:49 min, hot!!!, 71.93 km, 2373 cal, 485 m Ascent. This was beautiful country, mostly farming country in river valleys surrounded by mountains. We stayed in a campground in Prairie City. Almost nothing was open in the town, where almost everything is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Day 5—04 SEPT Prairie City to Baker City. 109.1 km, 6:45 time, 3923 cal, 1302 m ascent total. This was a strenuous day, involving going over three major passes, before dropping down into Baker City. The weather was quite warm but not tortuous. The passes were most beautiful.
Summit of one of the passes
Day 6—Baker City to Oxbow. Super hot day, in the 90’s, one very steep difficult pass out of Richland, OR which had a persistent 7-8% grade. Travel time 6:11, 113.5 km, 954 m ascent, 3575 cal. Richland and Halfway were beautiful green valleys surrounded by mountains. Hell’s canyon is in the low 90’s, and moderately humid, so a bit uncomfortable.
Day 7—Oxbow to Council, 100 km, 6:20 time, 3872 cal, 1252 meters ascent. Today was a rough day, with lots of climbing, and sore muscles. I now know why they have rest days. But, my friend was in a hurry to get the ride over with, so, I persisted. The climb out of Hell’s Canyon was long and hard, going from sagebrush desert to heavily wooded hills. Cambridge to Council was farm country, somewhat hot and humid.
The start of the climb out of Hell’s Canyon
Day 8— Council to Riggins. 95km, 4:53 time, 592 meters elevation, 3295 cal.
Had a rear tire flat about 6 km from Riggins. Finished the ride about 2 pm, it was quite hot at the end, between 95 – 100 F. We ended up at a nice Best Western and went swimming in the hotel pool. One of the restaurants in town offered a superb steak dinner. It was a nice way to spend the last evening of the trip.
Day 9—Riggins to Grangeville, 80.4 km, time 5:39, elevation gain 1093 m, 3348 cal. Beautiful ride in the morning along the Salmon River, then a long persistent climb up Whitebird Hill in the heat of the day. Along the Salmon River, we saw firefighters preparing to stop blazes visible along the highway. There was the smell of burnt wood all along the route. My friend and I were separated when he decided to deviate off of our planned track on “old 95”. Eventually, we met each other in Grangeville. Based on a unilateral decision (not mine) the ride was aborted in Grangeville, and we went home.
Forest fires seen in the hills out of Riggins
The “real” summit of Whitebird Hill. over 2500 ft climb out of the valley of the Salmon River
It was a bit of a sad way to end an otherwise wonderful ride. There was no reason why we couldn’t have made it to Missoula. I did learn some lessons from the ride…
- Never go with somebody with expectations different from your own.
- Bring your own tent, as well as some survival basics, such as water purification.
- Stick with the plan. Don’t go with riding partners who make bizarre decisions on the spur of the moment.