Sunday, June 15, 2014

Day #41: A Bittersweet Reunion

Today's Route: Chemult, OR to Bend, OR (73 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 1,800

Randy rode the ten miles to Chemult and pulled into our motel parking lot at 9:30am on-the-dot. It was so great to see his smiling face.

Randy and me.

Randy was riding off the Sierra-Cascades route today. He was going to follow Route 97 straight north to meet up with a friend of his for a few days.

After looking at an Oregon map, Alex and I realized that if we also took Route 97 straight north, we could shave a number of miles off of our ride.

Option A: Stick with the original Sierra-Cascades route. This means more miles and no riding with Randy.

Option B: Ride north on Route 97. This means shaving miles off the route and being able to ride with Randy.

Looks like an easy choice!

Randy, Alex, and I set off on our bikes. We drafted off one another and made a fairly quick arrival into the town of La Pine, about 25 miles away. Randy treated Alex and me to lunch to celebrate our riding friendship.

We rode another 20 miles together before Randy needed to turn off to meet up with his friend. Once again, we shared our goodbyes.

It was a bittersweet ride. It was great to see Randy again, but sad to have to say goodbye once again.

We definitely won't be crossing paths again with Randy as we travel north to the Candian border. But there's a chance that Randy may ride up to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state before he heads down to Portland for the Blues Fest in early July. If this is the case, we may be able to meet up with him somewhere near the Seattle area, after we've completed our trip.

All my fingers and toes are crossed that there will be more riding with Randy at some point in the future.

After parting ways with Randy, Alex and I continued north along Route 97 towards the town of Bend. As has become our ritual, we pulled over at today's summit sign to take a photo. "Lava Butte Pass. Elev. 4510." Of course, childish jokes were shared as we snapped our photos.

Let the Lava Butt jokes begin.

Bend is, surprisingly, the largest town we've passed through since leaving San Diego. The plethora of cars and people and shopping malls was a bit of a shock.

Nonetheless, Bend looks like a really cool town. We were nothing but impressed by the bike paths, which seem to exist alongside every road.

Fun bike lanes in Bend.

Just a few miles outside of Bend is Tumalo State Park, where we're staying for the evening. This is our first stay at a state park in Oregon. I forgot how wonderful Oregon State Parks are for bikers!

Oregon's $5 hiker/biker sites! And that includes a shower!

When we arrived at the hiker/biker site (a large grassy area shared by multiple hikers and bikers), there was a couple that had made themselves comfortable in the site. I think we put a damper on their camping stay, as they needed to make room for us. Fortunately for them, Alex and I both disappeared into our tents by 7:30pm, so the couple had their privacy back. So goes the hiker/biker experience.

It was another truly great day today. While we'll once again miss our dear riding friend, it's the bittersweet moments on bike tours that seem to create the most enduring memories. Thank you, Randy, for your friendship on this tour. You, my friend, are the absolute joy.

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