Cycling Date: Sunday 21-June-15
Weather: Overcast in the morning with the sunny taking over in the afternoon. Low 50s to start. Low 80s to end. Winds mostly out of the west.
Highlights of the day:
After several days with significant climbing, the riders were not terribly upset to learn that today’s route was primarily downhill. The seventh day on the road took us out of the mountains and to the eastern edge of Oregon. It included our first foray onto an interstate highway. In some of the western states it’s legal to ride on the highway when there are no reasonable alternatives, and we met that criteria twice today. We were on the highway for a total of 7 miles, on a Sunday, so the traffic was light. A good portion of the shoulder was freshly paved and beautifully smooth. Until…
We experienced our first construction of note that required us to shuttle the riders. By shuttle, I mean we put the bikes on the van and riders in the van (that in vs on is something important to remember) and drive them through roadways that are not safe for bicycle travel. We had a 7.5 mile stretch on I-84 where the cars & trucks were forced down into one lane and often required to ride on the shoulder. Not safe at all for our riders. We had a great SAG stop at a rest area off the interstate where the riders waited while vans got them through the construction in small groups. The riders were superbly patient and the staff did a great job juggling bikes and people. It made the day slightly longer but the ride infinitely safer.
The pine-covered mountains gave way to golden rolling hills along the Snake River. This is a river the riders will get to know very well. It comes in and out of our route all the way into Wyoming. What we saw today was wide and ambling but soon will be dotted with rapids and falls as we head east.
We are also coming into farmland. This is farmland that apparently would not exist without a great deal of irrigation. Brown borders of scrub and dried grass surround the bright green fields. No irrigation. No green. We passed large fields of clover and (what I think was) lavender. Breathe deep and relax! We also passed large fields of onions later in the day. Breathe deep and hear the tummy rumble with hunger!
It was a good day. Not too too hot, some sun, and some beautiful quiet roads. Most of the riders would have been into our motel by early afternoon, but we also changed time zones today from Pacific to Mountain. Tomorrow we ride 60 miles into Boise and our first rest day.