Last weekend Kevin and I drove out to north eastern Oregon (to the mouth of the Deschutes then down to Maupin) for an absolutely wonderful 240km loop which gave us back our sense of freedom and simplicity. The second we hopped back onto our loaded bikes everything except the empty country roads ahead seemed to drift away, and we were truly able to feel that blissful sense of exploration and wanderlust once again. Our last few weeks adjusting to life in Oregon have been busy (more about how that’s been in a few days), and Kevin I really needed this small escape back back to a life of eat, pedal, sleep; a life without appointments to keep, people to meet, or apartments to find. We had so missed our bikes and the lifestyle that comes along with them, and this weekend trip did wonders to recharge our happiness batteries.
This section was interesting because it shows what much of Oregon looks like – dry desert like nothingness – in contrast to what most people, including myself think of; green trees in lush rainy valleys. Very few people live in the huge eastern section of Oregon because nearly everyone lives in the valley or on the coast. It was also wonderful because we were able to do almost all of our kilomters on small backroads; our favorites!
Though it wasn’t like the opened ended completely unscheduled cycle touring we are use to, this weekend cycle tour was still an amazing experience and we look forward to exploring our beautiful state of Oregon through weekend/week-long trips as often as we can. We were happily surprised to find kilometer after kilometer of empty gravel country roads, as well as beautiful paved ones with no one in sight. We were also happily surprised by how friendly everyone was; near the end of our first day a couple from Portland pulled over to offer us plums before inviting us to camp with them and their three month old baby (who is already on her third camping trip!). We happily accepted and found ourselves camped right next to the Deschutes with them and their friends for the night which reminded us how much cycle touring is a gateway for friendships with like-minded folks.
For those of you interested in touring throughout Oregon, there are two great resources I can suggest if you needs maps or route ideas. The first is Ride Oregon which allows you to search routes by region/length/difficulty. They have everything from small paved bike paths through the city, to traversing Oregon by gravel road. The next is Oregon Bike Packing which provides great descriptions and route details for a huge variety of mountain bike/gravel road cycle touring options.