Great recap, Murph! I miss that ride terribly! It’s been too many years since we’ve been on it!
I headed out from the house in a light Portland drizzle, east-bound for The Dalles, some sunshine and my buddy Travis. The plan was to link up and head out to Fossil for lunch, make the loop back to the The Dalles and then home.
The ride out was fairly mellow, albeit a tad damp, but I saw the sun starting to peek through the clouds once I passed Cascade Locks. I met up with my buddy Travis ( @hankthoreau ) in The Dalles, sync’ed up our intercoms and headed down Hwy 197 to Maupin. We enjoyed the scenery and perfect riding temps as we breezed through the rolling grassy hills, passed Tygh Valley and into Maupin, where we turned onto Bakeoven road to cut though the blistering heat over to Shaniko and Antelope. The road from Shaniko down to Antelope is always wonderful with good twists and turns:
We pushed out of Antelope and down toward the Clarno bridge, thinking that we might throw ourselves in the river to cool down for a bit before covering the last 20 miles into Fossil.
Unfortunately for us - the entire population of Oregon decided to go to the John Day river for Memorial Day weekend and the place was complete overrun with people pulling their rafts out of the river and hauling them away. No opportunity to take a cool dip, so with sweat dripping down our backs and tears in our eyes - we trudged on toward Fossil in search of gas, iced-tea and a burger.
We came into Fossil and fueled up at the lone pump in town, and upon discovering the Shamrock Inn being closed - we diverted to a burger at the Komfort Cafe…which didn’t disappoint! Plenty of water and iced-tea helped to relieve the dehydration and we climbed back on the bikes bound for Condon. As we made our way through the twisty little canyons, we noted the odd rock formations along the way. This area is really beautiful, showing many different types and layers of rock and sediments deposited over millions of years.
We headed through Condon and hooked a left on 206 to make our way over to Grass Valley in an effort to avoid I-84. As we rolled along toward Grass Valley, we noticed thunderclouds building on the horizon. It looked like we might come pretty close to riding the throat of the storm. As we rounded the bend at Grass Valley and pushed on toward Tygh Valley, the sky darkened and we started to see lightning flashes every few seconds. We hit Tygh Valley to gas up, grab a drink and watch the storm a bit as it flashed lightning and kicked up the wind.
With the storm approaching from the south, we rode north back toward The Dalles, trying to stay out of the wind and rain. For the most part, the storm stayed in our rear-view mirrors and we made it back to The Dalles unscathed. I dropped Travis by his place, stayed for a few mins to enjoy some smoked salmon and say “HI” to everyone, then I pressed for home in a direct shot on I-84. Some heavy traffic coming into Troutdale made the ride much longer than it needed to be, but before I knew it - I was through and cutting across the metro bubble to home and a wife and daughter who were happy to see me with dinner waiting. Just lovely.
Total Distance: 438 miles.