Vital statistics: 64 miles, 4300 feet of climbing (and no showers).
This is David writing today’s blog. We got to the cafe after 25 miles and asked if they had a wifi so we could post yesterday’s blog and got the answer “Hell no, you don’t even get cell service here!”. But we did get omlettes and coffee, and a glance at the local newsheet “The Canyon Weekly” which led with the news that “First day of school brings new Superintendent/Principal to Santiam”. The news item included the great sentence “A cheer broke out for Bob Zauner as the children learned he would be their full time PE teacher, re-installing our faith in the never ending energy and tenacity of youth”. Bless them – you don’t get that type of writing in the Guardian!
We had woken at 5.30, as the jet lag still had its effect, but it was fine. I made coffee in the dark and then the light emerged at about 6. We ambled around and I enveloped myself in ninetheeth century France as I read Les Miserables (and sorry Sue Holli – in English although I am sure it is better in the original French). We packed up and had the delight of a 10 mile descent alongside the river Breitentbush to the town of Detroit. It did not have a sign saying saying “Welcome to the solvent Detroit” but was a thriving little hamlet at the north end of a large lake. The trees had an autumnal feel and the leaves are turning. It was very peaceful as we began the long slow climb up to Santiam Pass. The weather was mixed, but dry to begin with.
Carolyn cycled with us as we whizzed down hill to Detroit. They then went ahead but soon decided the road was too busy for their liking and so they said “see you in Bend”, referring to the proposed stay with Wayne and Doris tomorrow night. We plodded on up the hill. We had 38 miles uphill to do and so this was not for the feint hearted or anyone who wanted to rush. We reached Marion Springs for breakfast at about 11, and had an enjoyable hour looking at the buzards over the salmon river, oggling at the elk heads on the wall (restraining ourselves from saying that they must have hit the other side of the wall at a fair speed) and enjoying the omlettes.
Eventually we pulled ourselves away and began riding again along Highway 22. More up, and then more up and so on. The road followed the North Santiam river (logical as it was a river on the north side of the Santiam Pass). There was water on the road, and the lorries sprayed us as they passed. Lots of cars coming the other way hooted in support as we slogged up the road. About half way up we came across a lovely young Dutch couple on bikes (who stopped to cook up lunch) who were doing the same route as us. They were loaded with panniers (as we had been on part 1) and asked about the trailer. I was cautious in not singing its praises too much becasue they had thought about bringing one and decided against it. The most I could say is that it works for me – which it certainly does. At one point today I took a copuple of extra things from Bernie’s panniers to even out the speeds. As she gets fitter I will surupticioulsly slip them back in to weigh her down but that seems the right thing to do at the moment. We said our goodbye’s to the Dutch couple (sorry no names or photos because brain not in gear) and continued to climb, following the river valley.
About 4 miles from the summit of Santiam Pass we joined Highway 20 and it got busier and, more significantly, the rain began. It was miserable to be honest but it did not last very long. We struggled up the hill and hit the summit at 4,814 feet (don’t forget the 14 feet – we earned every foot).
Then a long, fast(ish) descent as the rain eased and the road became dry. We had planned to camp at Suttle Lake but the campgrounds were closed already! This may become a problem but appears to be a sign of government cutbacks. It was a shame as the lake looked beautiful and it would have been a lovely place to camp.
So we slogged on for another 8 miles and got to this delightful campground. No water unfortunately and hence no showers but we will have a bed and a wash tomorrow. There were some RVs who are always good for water donations – smile, best English accent and empty pan works a treat.
We are both tired but have done over 60 miles and 4000+ climbing) for each of our first 2 days on part 2 of the trip. Pretty sure we will get less tired as we get fitter but it was a good ride today. The forest roads mean that the views are few and far between, but it is just a joy to be in the mountains. Short day tomorrow and must get Bernie’s rack fixed.
Bernie: Was in my sleeping bag by 6.30 to have a ‘rest’ but nothing could then induce me to come out! Thanks to David’s mum for repairing the zips on our down sleeping bags. The temperatures are significfantly colder than the summer and we were snug as anything We just about kept our eyes open until the light started to fade at 8pm.