Portland > Bend: 162 Miles (mostly by bike)
True to form, I stayed up too late the night before (I was blogging... you're welcome) so when the alarm sounded, I hit snooze and rolled over for an extra hour. I hadn't packed my bike at all either so by the time I got organized and ate breakfast, I didn't get out of there until around 7:45. It was a really cold morning, like all the other Portland mornings had been and I had to wear pants and my rain jacket as a wind-breaker. I rode about an hour before I started sweating too much in my garb and shed my extra layers...
I had also started getting hungry and since I knew there wasn't much civilization for a long time, I stopped at the first place I could find. I was kind of annoyed actually that it was like 5 mins after I had put on sun screen because that meant I had to put on a shirt right on top of my sweaty and freshly applied SPF30. Ew. It also turned out to be pretty bad Mexican. Everything was not good. Not even the salsa for the chips. I did manage to save one of the tacos and some beans and rice for later. That was a good idea.
I couldn't wait for the road to flatten out and definitely couldn't wait for it to go back down. Eventually I hit the summit and stopped at the local Chevron Station to refill bottles and to munch on some freshly-made cookies. Getting there I must have looked like I had just stepped out of the shower because sweat was dripping off my face just about every 3 seconds. Needless to say, I was very glad to sit in the shade, drink some cold water and eat cookies. (Remember in an earlier post when I said I couldn't wait till the Rockies for a real climb? I can wait now.)
The trees eventually all but vanished completely and I found myself in a barren wasteland occupied by only by sage brush and a random Juniper here and there. After 15 miles of this and baking in the sun, I was just about out of water and didn't have a fill-up spot for another 15 miles. I bit the bullet and stopped at one of the few rancher houses that just so happened to be close-ish to the road to ask for water. Since they had horses, I figured it would be a good bet that they'd have from high-quality H20. I parked my bike by their front gate and started putting a shirt on to look half-decent. I had my head partially through the neck hole and one arm through when the owners drove into the driveway. This was easily the most awkward moment thus far... the young daughter got out of the car to open the gate, but got back in the car when she saw me. The mom eventually got out and didn't say a word. It seemed like she was trying her best to ignore me, will my off of her property. So I asked if they had any water I could have to make it to the next town. The Native-American-looking mom, just said "no." She then explained to me that there was some seismic activity a few years ago and all of the ground water in the area was no longer potable. They have their water trucked in. She did have an un-opened bottle in her car that must have been there for a week on the dashboard because it was almost boiling hot. Not having any other options, I took it, thanked them immensely and continued on my way.
Even thought it was around 5pm at this point, it wasn't getting any cooler. In fact, being down in that gorge, it felt like it was getting hotter. My brain felt like it was cooking inside my skull. It was not nice. I suffered my way back out of the gorge up a clamp as intense as the original downhill into it. The sun was starting to get low enough that the sky was changing colors in the way of a sunset and looking back over my shoulder was a great view of all the mesas and little plateaus silhouetted against the sun. I was still painfully hot though and didn't want to stop to look at the sun. Up on the main plateau though, the landscape had suddenly changed from brown to green as fields of grass opened up in front of me. Kentucky Blue Grass, Alfalfa, and others were planted by the acre up there at the peak of hay season. The elaborate sprinkler systems looked very enticing and I probably would have run through one if not for the barbed wire fencing off all the fields. Boo.
I continued on the next town of Madras where I desperately wanted some ice-cream. A few miles from town, I passed a sign for a McDonald's advertising one of their McFlurries. Perfect! Getting in to town though, I spotted a Sonic.... OMG, THERE IS A GOD. I looked at my cyclo-computer clock to see what time it was because I knew they had half-price milkshakes after 8pm. It was something like 8:13. Things literally could not have been any better. I got a vanilla shake and a huge ice water and enjoyed myself for the next hour as I cooled off. I called my friend, Austin, who lives in Bend to check in. As it turned out, he was north of Bend, not too far from where I was doing some errands. We agreed to head towards each other since that would be the fastest way of connecting. So, I swapped my camera helmet mount for my headlight mount and rode south to meet him along hwy 97. It took the two of us to lift my bike into the back of his truck, but I had effectively made it! Autin's mom made some bomb-dot-com tacos that night when we got to his house around 11p and I met his brother, Adam. I showered and climbed into bed shortly there-after.