Here in Oregon, we have a pretty cool thing called Cycle Oregon. In a nutshell, it’s a week-long, supported cycling trip that takes people all over the state, biking through (I hear) some of the most beautiful places and staying in many, many cute towns. Much of the money raised by Cycle Oregon goes back to the communities that host it, either through grants or by paying for services when thousands of cyclists pass through.
(that’s right. Oregon’s made for cycling;)
It seems like a pretty cool deal. When I was a public school teacher, I always wanted to do it, but it happens early in September after school starts. When I stopped teaching, I suddenly had the time but couldn’t afford it anymore. And now that I’ve done a bunch of touring on my own, even if I could afford it, I’m not sure I’d want to. These days, I like to figure out my own path, plan my own route, find my own campsites — all for much cheaper per week than $985.
So in a few days, I’ll be embarking on Cycle-Oregon-stasia-honnold-style, where I will traverse the state on my own schedule. Unlike previous trips I’ve taken, I don’t really have a plan except than that I will head east. There are things I’d like to see — things like the Grand Tour scenic bikeway, the Wallowa Mountains, maybe even Hell’s Canyon — but other than big brush-stroke thoughts I have no route picked out, no places I definitely have to get to, just a whole bunch of time to explore a part of the state that I very rarely see.
(okay, this one’s from Utah, but who knows what other sorts of biking, scenery, and totally ridiculous traffic signs are in store for me??:)
Part of bike travel for me is unplugging from everything, so as of Friday, I’ll be taking a blog and email hiatus. Think me happy thoughts while I’m off! :) (And if you read this before Friday and have strong opinions about anything in Eastern Oregon I should definitely visit, hit me up! :)
Depending on how far East you get – and what your “unplug” status is feeling like when you get there – we’re only 45-50 miles east of the Oregon/Idaho border. We’d love to see/hear from you, or even offer you a shower and a home-cooked meal or two! :) Shoot me an e-mail or give me a ring (I think my cell is the same).
There are some amazing places along the Owyhee Reservoir (really back-road, middle-of-nowhere places) that we love to explore. In particular, Leslie Gulch (google it) is really wonderful. The area around Baker City is nice too. I have a co-worker who always waxes poetic about the country around Halfway, though I’ve never been there myself. We’ve never made it up to Anthony Lakes either, but that’s another place we’ve been meaning to get to (outside Baker City).
If you’ve never been, the small towns outside La Grande are great too (Elgin, Wallowa, Joseph, Enterprise). Wallowa Lake is a real gem. I’ll bet the campground is still open – but there is lots of more primitive camping in the area, too.
Shower and home-cooked meals? Sign me up! :) Actually, I just emailed this to you, but I have family in Idaho as well, so it’d be pretty rad to make it out there. I’ll let you know for sure as I get biking and see how fast/far I’m going:)
And thanks for the thoughts! La Grande and Baker City and Halfway vicinity are definitely possibilities; Leslie Gulch might be too far south, depending on how much time I have. We’ll see.
OMG. So excited!! :)