August 10, 2006
I woke up a little late, and went to the cafe in town for breakfast – The Seven Devils Cafe. It was a great deal – coffee for 50 cents, three big pancakes for $3.77. All their prices for food ended in sevens. The area is called The Seven Devils Range, because a legendary Indian who was lost in this vicinity said he was chased by seven different devils. There’s also seven mountain peaks nearby.
As I was finishing my meal, the one waitress / one cook cafe got slammed with about eight tables at once – two of them parties of four. A nice old couple came in, and I overheard the woman saying the chair at the only remaining table was too low for her. I yielded my booth to them, since I was just waiting on the check anyway. We started talking, and it turned out that the woman’s ancestors came through Berks County, right next door to my hometown.
The early riding was mostly flat to Cambridge, where I had a Coke and some Snickers. I passed a picnic pavilion and met two eastbound girls. The one said, “I think I know who you are… Jamie?” She knew me from this journal. Cool!
I followed a gradual climb for a few miles, and descended toward Hell’s Canyon. I met an eastbound couple from Seattle, and we had a nice talk, exchanging news of other riders, and the usual stuff. “Are we near the top yet?” they asked.
Hell’s Canyon… Seven Devils… where am I? Oh… Idaho!
Actually it’s quite beautiful, and the Brownlee Reservoir was stunning. I rode a tight little line between the bare canyon walls and the water. First it was along the reservoir, and then past a dam to The Snake River. This is the same Snake River that flows near the base of The Tetons, which you may have seen in the pictures of my day riding into Jackson, Wyoming.
Soon I crossed a bridge over the river into Oregon, but I never saw a “Welcome to Oregon” sign! What a bunch of crap. There’s are supposed to be bighorn sheep and mountain goats all through here too, but I didn’t see any.
Hell’s Canyon is actually the deepest canyon in North America, deeper than Grand Canyon. I’d never heard of it until today.
The wind picked up in the late afternoon, and created this wicked dust storm. Blinking dirt from my eyes and sucking it in my lungs is no fun, but fortunately it was a tailwind, and didn’t last very long. I came to this gas station/store/cafe, and the woman here offered to let me spend the night on the porch. Sweet.
Now a mild storm is coming through, but it’s slow-moving and mostly just light rain and wind. It’s great to finish my riding early for the day, and just chill in a dry spot, listening to the rain hit the aluminum porch roof. Complete relaxation.
Let’s see, my worries include: Where will I dip into the Pacific Ocean in Oregon? Will I stop for a while in Eugene, a cool college town, or go on up to Portland? Where should I stop at the next library? Will my cell phone have reception again soon? How far will I ride my bike tomorrow? So stressful, I know.
Now I think I’ll read some Isaac Asimov – The Currents of Space, and listen to the rain. Life is good.