Weather: Sunny all day. Low 50s to start. Low 90s to end. The heat has finally found us. 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. Downhill on newly paved roads. Downhill with a bit of a tailwind. Downhill without a lot of that uphill stuff. 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. Almost all of the shoulder was freshly paved and beautifully smooth. Sorry 2015 North alumni, you’ll have to come back to ride this newly paved shoulder that was under construction when you were here last year.
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 Jackson 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 little hot to end but it is late June. We are in the high dessert. We’ve been a little spoiled with the cooler temperatures. It’s time for lots of water and ice. With the mostly downhill terrain (see above) and light winds, it made for a very enjoyable & relatively quick day. Most of the riders would have been into our hotel 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.