Day 3 Detroit Lake to Sisters, OR 60 miles
“Okay Santiam Pass…let’s see what you can throw at me tomorrow.” That is how ended my post yesterday. I was feeling a strange confidence after surviving yesterday’s battle with dead-tired legs and cramps threatening for the last 40 miles. I must have caught the mountain’s attention because she rewound the clock about three months and treated me to a wintry/spring day in Oregon, more typical of March.
I had left my rain fly off the tent last night just so I could enjoy the stars and the night breeze coming off Detroit Lake. I awoke as light was beginning to come through the trees. As I allowed my senses to adjust to the new day I began to hear the pitter patter on my tent. I sprang up immediately and placed the rain fly over top loosely just to keep my gear from getting wet while I prepared for another day’s ride. It wasn’t much of a rain, really. Oregon, I swear, has 20 different ways of categorizing rain and this was more in the heavy mist category.
I dressed lightly as a little mist would serve to keep me cool until the clouds burned off (or so I assumed). There was no need to overdress. Only one problem. The further I traveled up the mountain the heavier the rain (it had moved up at least one category from heavy mist to light rain) and the colder the air became. It never really became a full on rain, so I just kept putting off changing into the heavier gear. By the time I had reached the top of Santiam Pass at 4817 feet in elevation, I was drenched. I am staying at a motel tonight drying out, doing laundry, and making strategic plans for the days ahead.
The good news. Today was a realistic test of what I could expect from my physical conditioning for the trip. After an especially fragile ride the day before my body recovered quickly. I will have at least 20 major passes to cross in this trip and this first one went quite well. I felt strong and despite Santiam’s best efforts at demoralizing me with that penetrating heavy mist/light rain I got over my first mountain range with my ego and my confidence intact.
A highlight of the day was coming up on Gary and Elaine as they pedaled to Malheur Lake. They own no car and his recumbant bike was loaded down with 110 pounds of gear. What I especially loved is that he said as they have gotten older they prefer the comforts of a good cot to sleeping on the ground. In his trailer were two 10-pounds cots so that they could camp in style. That’s dedication! I also met Ryan who was on the last legs of his own 10 week ride on the TransAmerica bicycle trail. He left Florida on May 2 and was finishing up in Astoria, OR. And then Matt and Selena who were actually riding ahead of their “sag wagon” that had broken down on the side of the road!
My fears of riding out into the wilderness cut off from people has not been realized. Of course, I have yet to cross the great expanses of Wyoming, Utah and Nevada. And there is still that dreaded 2nd week I have been told about. I withhold final judgment until later!