The day started with a ten mile downhill out of Baker City so even though we were riding into headwinds and there was no signage directing us to the old highway, it was a good morning. The downhill took us to the Snake River, our traveling companion for the next week or so. It’s amazing to see how this one river irrigates hundreds of miles of onions, potatoes, peppermint, beans, hay, etc and transforms the dry river banks into viable communities. It’s also hard not to appreciate the importance of water after riding these dusty roads all day.
After 55 miles of riding we arrived at Farewell Bend State Park. It is another historic site on the Oregon Trail and named Farewell because this is where the early pioneers would bid farewell to the Snake River and start their arduous inland journey across the dry lands of Eastern Oregon. For us it was our last night in Oregon and we were excited to be finally crossing into Idaho.
At dusk the wind began to blow a little stronger, then within an hour it was blowing so hard that we had to reposition the tent to prevent it from collapsing. The wind was buffeting the tent to the point that I couldn’t write as the tent wall kept hitting my elbow. Finally I just gave up and laid down to sleep. Normally I fall asleep within seconds but the wind and noise from the trees were so great that I had to put in ear plugs before I could fall asleep. The next morning we awoke to a steady and welcome tailwind.
The ride from Farewell Bend to Payette Idaho was our most pleasant stretch of riding yet. Oregon Highway 201 hugs the Snake River and the fields it irrigates and is silky smooth. The early morning light over the river and fields combined with a powerful tail wind and almost no cars made for an awesome ride. We finally stopped pedaling after 28 miles to eat breakfast. Wow! That was fun.