Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Day #42: A Few Steps Forwards & 20 Miles Backwards

Today's Route: Bend, OR to Blue Bay Campground (14 miles N of Sisters, OR) (50 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 1,850

This morning as we cycled, we enjoyed a fantastic view of The Sisters in the distance.

The Sisters in the distance.

Here's another view of The Sisters, with a neat horse sculpture in the foreground:

Horses riding in front of The Sisters.

Riding through Oregon today made me think of this wonderful ad promoting bike tourism in Oregon.

Yes, the morning's ride was just like this (minus the love affair thing between the riders).

As I was riding along this morning, I was trying my best to forget that I was up nearly all of last night listening to our neighbors at the hiker/biker campsite. As it turns out, the man and woman were quite verbally abusive towards one another. In a nutshell, the guy couldn't do anything right. He was, and I repeat word-for-word, "the definition of a dick."

Throughout the night, as the hour hand moved round and round the clock, the volume of the couple's yelling seemed to get increasingly louder. Alex sleeps with earplugs, so he had a blissful night of sleep last night. I, on the other hand, prefer not to use earplugs, as I like to rely on my ears to keep me in-the-know. Though, for the record, I don't care to be in-the-know about other people's relationship issues. Particularly, if that in-the-know means getting little sleep.

For Alex's benefit, I relayed last night's conversations to Alex. Verbatim. We've been borrowing snippets from the couple's conversation to add a hue of comedy to our day, just as we frequently repeat "Lucky, come to daddy!" (refer to Day # 21: The Soundtracks of My Mind).

Alex was joking that it'd be funny to create a new soundtrack for the Oregon tourism video -- a soundtrack of the couple's yelling at one another. Funny indeed, but only because it would be a true representation of my morning ride experience.

We also reminisce on another "campground soundtrack" that I neglected to mention in my blog. Our first night out of Yosemite, we stayed in the tent section of an RV Park in Lee Vining. Right next to our tents was the picnic table for our neighbor's site. A young man and his (presumably) girlfriend/wife were sitting at the picnic table. They were having a pretty intense conversation about Jesus. Strike that...it's more like the young man was lecturing the woman about Jesus. The next morning, she was in tears. We don't know what the deal was, but the whole thing was rather strange.

As you may recall from yesterday's post, by accompanying Randy along Route 97, we were able to shave quite a few miles off of our route. A few steps forward!

In an attempt to further shorten out route, we stopped at the Hop'n'Bean in the town of Sisters to do some wifi route research.

The Hop'n'Bean in Sisters.

As we walked into the coffee shop, an older couple sitting at the window table inquired about our ride. As it turns out, they are going to bike the Sierra-Cascades route as well. They are leaving this July and will bike the route from north-to-south.

Back to our attempts to shorten our route...

Now that we've seen all the major sites that we've wanted to see, such as Yosemite and Crater Lake, both Alex and I are anxious to get home and move on to the next big things in our lives. With the intention of shortening our route, Alex used the bike feature on Google Maps to find a more direct route for us to Hood River. Awesome!

Before leaving the coffee shop, I visited the restroom, where I saw this cute sign:


We stocked up on food at the grocery store, we topped off our dromedaries, and then we were on our way.

About ten miles outside of Sisters, we hung a right onto Camp Sherman Road to begin our new route.

The road was gorgeous! The lush, green forests were such a refreshing contrast from the dry deserts of southern California. And there were very few cars, so we practically had the entire road to ourselves.

Beginning our new route.

A few miles into our new route, we saw this sign:

A controlled burn would make for some fun entertainment.

We were looking forward to seeing the controlled burn. About a quarter of a mile later, we came across a "Low Visibility" sign. We must be getting closer to the burn!

A little further down the road we saw a "Low Visbility" sign and then a "Controlled Burn Ahead" sign facing the opposite direction. Hmmm. I guess we wouldn't be seeing the burn after all.

We followed the first few turns dictated by our new route. All was well.

Ten miles into the new route, we hung a right onto Warm Springs Rd (aka FR 12). Wait a second...this is not a paved road! This was the first sign that this new route wasn't a good idea.

This ain't a paved road.

Just moments after snapping the above photo, I hopped into my saddle, put my feet into my pedal cages, and began pedaling as I attempted to move into a smaller chainring. I didn't get too far into the gear transition before I fell completely over onto my side. Fortunately, the panniers served as airbags, making for a soft landing. This was the second sign that this new route wasn't a good idea.

We half-pedaled and half-walked about a quarter mile down the gravel road. We flagged down an approaching car and inquired about the quality of the road. We were told it was dirt'n'gravel for miles and miles. The driver attempted to give us an alternative paved route, but his "go to the bottom of the hill, take a right at the rock" directions were nonsensical to us.

As there were many, many miles to our new route that included forest roads, and as the route led us further and further away from main roads, it wasn't looking as though we'd find pavement any time soon. Given that our tires aren't ideal for this type of road, we decided to turn back.

I was bummed that we had pedaled an unnecessary twenty miles. I knew better than this. I knew that we should have consulted with Google Earth first to look for that comforting yellow stripe down the middle of the road. My bad...I had been too wrapped up with getting caught up on blog posts at the coffee shop to question the route. Oh well, so goes the adventure.

We retraced our ten miles back to the main route. Our attempt at taking a few more steps forward ended up taking us twenty miles backwards. 'Twas a big, fat bummer!

We rode a few miles further along the Sierra-Cascades route and pulled over at a campground for the night.

It's a good thing we stopped when we did, because it started to drizzle just as we were putting up our tents. The drizzle turned into an intermittent proper rain. Ten minutes on. Ten minutes off. Rinse. And repeat.

The plan is to get a good rest this evening and then to put in some heavy-duty miles tomorrow. Let's hope that we can continue to take steps forward, without having to take any more steps backwards.


  1. Regarding the "cute bathroom sign", are you sure you were in the Women's bathroom ... I never thought women had to aim. Hope the remainder of you ride goes well ... and never trust Google bike maps.

    1. You raise an interesting point, Randy. Alas, there was only one bathroom in the coffeehouse. ;)

      Experience with Google bike maps has taught me to "trust, but verify." As the experienced cycle tourist, in retrospective, I should have shared this learning with Alex. :)

  2. I have a firm rule, those who rudely keep me up late hear me singing at the top of my lungs when I get up at dawn (and I am a drill sarges son, I am LOUD! More importantly I am a BAD singer!) shoulda woken them both up

    1. Awesome rule! If only I had thought of that!

      I bet you are the kind of person who has a lengthy list of similar rules. The list would make for a fun blog topic! ;)


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