Cross Country Recumbent
Saturday July 19, 2003. Baker City OR to Oxbow OR
|Way too hot
The theme for today is HOT. Real hot.
Breakfast at the B+B was splendid, and that's why I didn't get such an
early start. I stopped at the grocery on the way out and picked
up a few essential items (batteries, toothpaste, oatmeal, honey).
On the way out of town I passed folks who were doing a 10K run as part
of the Miner's Jubilee. Hah!, finally people covering ground even
Lest you forget, this is well and truly desert now. I keep
expecting Wile E. Coyote and the road runner to pop around the
This is almost the last view of the Powder river. I was
sorry to see it go because it meant I would soon climb up into the
entrance to Hells Canyon.
Just before the climb started I stopped in Richland and had a
milkshake. Although the milkshake was good in retrospect I
should've had the lemonade. I also got my water filled up.
By this time I'm down pretty low and the heat is becoming truly
opressive. I think the lady making me the milkshake thought I had
a few screws loose to be out in this stuff. The problem of course
is that it is hot here every day.
This is the shot about a third the way up, looking back towards
Richland. I will spare you the summit shot, as it isn't that
inspiring. The whole grade was a bit too steep and I was barely
moving in an effort to keep from overheating. I consider myself
pretty well informed with regards to heat-stroke, and I spent most of
this climb going over the symptoms in my head to make sure I was still
OK. The humidity was gratifyingly low, although I do think that I
personally contributed a measurable amount of moisture to the
atmosphere on this day.
One ironic thing about the whole climb is that most of it is lined with
those big free-standing metal fences designed to block snow
drifts. If only...
Of course coming down off the pass is fun, except it just gets hotter
the further down you go. There is a reason why they call this
place Hell's canyon. The first town is Halfway (halfway to
what?). If you will recall, gentle reader, there
was a blurb in the news a few years back, during those heady dot-com
days, about a small Oregon town that changed its name to
Half.com. Officially. Well, this is it.
I did not have the gumption to inquire about this to the locals, but oh
to be a fly on the wall during that city council meeting!
I rested in Half.com and decided to move on. Next stop was Oxbow,
where this is a nice campsite right on the Snake river. I
jumped in the local swimming hole right where Pine creek empties into
the Snake. It was almost bathwater warm, so I moved instead to
the Snake which was reasonably cold. This shot is from just below
Tommorrow I'll ride through Hell's canyon and then climb out of
it. An early start is a must to make the climb before the heat
becomes too much.