Location: Sisters, OR (Sisters City Park)
I woke this morning with a sore throat. It hurt yesterday but I didn’t think much of it, attributing it to dehydration and acid reflux. This morning, though, I could tell that I was sick. I couldn’t feel a fever, but my throat was dry and scratchy. Since I couldn’t do much about it, I packed my stuff, loaded up with water, and moved out.
Brian and I were set for our climb into the Cascades. We thought we’d climb into them yesterday, but our route followed the river. Today, though, we climbed from around 700 feet to 4800 feet, with several sharp ascents and descents on our way to the summit pass. The climb took a major toll on my legs, and my sore throat turned my fatigue into frustration. We climbed and climbed and climbed. To top it off, I ran out of water an hour or so before the top of Santiam Pass, our route through the Cascades. We had planned to take McKenzie Pass, but the route was closed due to the damage caused by last winter’s snowfall.
When we finally reached the top of Santiam Pass, we welcomed the six miles of steep downgrade. Brian and I released the brakes and sped down the mountain, certainly reaching speeds of thirty five miles on bicycle. It certainly is exhilarating, to speed down a narrow shoulder on a curvy mountain road, with traffic on your left and a sharp death fall into a gorge on your right. We found water a couple miles down the hill at a lakeside resort, and then we pressed on another fifteen miles to Sisters.
We coasted into Sisters, thankful to put today’s frustrating fifty miles behind us. The climb today was one of the longest and greatest we will face on this trip. The climb took nearly five hours. We passed through the town of Sisters, which was full of gift shops and other touristy business, and we went to the park on the eastern edge of town. I was disappointed to find that the park charged twelve dollars a night, but I hear we will only rarely pay for a campsite east of the Rockies.
As Brian and I were making camp, Dan, a heavy set man with orange hair and chin stubble, visited our campsite. He’s on a week-long tour on his recumbent. He offered to split the campsite fee with us, and then he said two more cyclists had visited earlier and would likely want to split the campsite once they returned from town. The other two cyclists, Mark and Kim, a small old man and his young Malaysian wife, rode into camp about an hour later. We split the fee five ways, which is great for our budget. Our tents are crammed in the site though, and I’m guessing that the soft spoken Dan snores loudly. He seems like he’s got the body to really belt out snores.
Brian, Mark, Kim, Dan, and I sat around a picnic table for dinner. Mark offered us great advice on camping as we move east. He and his wife started in DC and are headed back to their home in Portland. Kim seems less than thrilled to be out here, but she smiles and nods when Mark tells a story or offers a bit of advice. He said that we should stay at the St. Rose Catholic Church in Dillon, Montana, and also at the Baptist Church in Jeffery City, Wyoming, though he said to be ready for a fifteen minute sermon from the pastor of the small Baptist church.
Brian and I will likely take advantage of both of those stops since we are already tired of paying for places to camp. Also, Dan suggested we stay with an old woman named Gillian in Ordway, but I can’t remember which state she is in. We’ll find out soon, I imagine, because Brian and I are ready to start cranking out some miles. Despite the monstrous mountains today, we still managed to travel over fifty miles. Tomorrow I anticipate more of the same, as long as my symptoms don’t worsen over night I will do fine.