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TransAmerica Trail: Week 2 Update & Gallery

By in TransAm 2018 Comments Off on TransAmerica Trail: Week 2 Update & Gallery

Having been on the road for 5 days, the team are now settling into a steady rhythm which includes getting an early breakfast and being out on the road by 7 am to ensure a solid few hours of riding before the sun gets too hot – freeing up the afternoon for a well deserved rest in the shade.

The day’s 70 mile ride was hot, but fortunately only featured a few hills, it ended in John Day – a small community in an isolated rural area surrounded by dramatic scenery including ancient rock formations and the beautiful John Day River.  Accommodation was spacious, allowing the team enough space to stock up on supplies and enjoy a delicious BBQ to end the day.

The following day was a relatively short riding day, with 3 chunky passes at over 5000ft under the scorching sun. Most of the team were done by 1pm, but two of the groups missed a turn and ended up arriving in Sumpter, the rest destination for the day just before 4pm, joining the others at the Elkhorn Saloon for a well deserved beer and some dinner.

Sumpter was another Wild-West town, buried deep in the Blue Mountains of East Oregon – a small town, seeped in history from its gold mining past. The team rested for the night in a lively motel, animated by a group of Harley riders and quad bikers who had come to explore the river trail.

July 27th 2018 was a sweltering day riding along the Oregon Trail with temperatures reaching the low 40s centigrade shortly after midday. The Oregon Trail was used by settlers from the east during the gold rush, when whole families travelled with wagons over the rocky terrain in search of a better life. The day began at 7am allowing for a couple of hours of cool riding, out of the day’s total 70 miles riding, ending in the small town of Richland with a population of approximately 176 people. The town’s local restaurant provided 16oz steaks at a modest price, providing a nourishing meal for a hungry team followed by refreshments at the local bar and an opportunity to chat to the locals.

The next day the team followed the river valleys leading in and out of the Oxbow Lake – the site of a large hydro dam situated on the Oregon/Idaho border, it was a hot and dry day with two difficult climbs. The team also crossed their first state line (and time zone, adjusting clocks 1 hour forward) into Idaho. Everybody was relieved to arrive in Cambridge, a small town in Idaho located near Hell’s Canyon National Recreation area, and cool off in the pool after the scorching day.

Cycling out of Cambridge, the team headed for Riggins, a small town straddling the Salmon River, and Little Salmon River, situated at approximately 1,821ft above sea level in a canyon. The day’s ride was the longest yet, with a total of 82 miles, with wildfires raging throughout the area. The smoke was visible from the road but luckily far away enough from the route, lots of fire crews were seen dashing around however. The team rested up in Riggins in a motel with pleasant views of the Little Salmon River – a popular location for white water rafting.

A short day followed, with 50 miles cycling – this did however, include a 12 mile, 3000 feet climb which had everyone sweating. The whole team was looking forward to the promise of a rest day, to sort out some chores and take a break from the gruelling treatment of some of the local drivers who, in response to the team not always being able to cycle behind the line marking the road’s shoulder,  drop down a gear, rev the engine to make its angriest noise possible then hurtle past whilst leaning on the horn – cycling on the shoulder is not always possible due to its harsher surface and the danger of punctures from odd nuts and bolts scattered about.

The day ended at Grangeville, Idaho County’s largest town – in comparison to other recent towns of the tour, Grangeville seemed like a bustling metropolis with its population of 3500!

The well deserved rest day consisted of finding a proper American style breakfast, cleaning the bikes, doing some paper work and gun window shopping! With some impressive gun safes on display too!

We will be following this epic journey every week on the Bike Adventures blog. If this trip has captured your imagination we are in the early stages of planning a repeat for 2020 – click the banner below. You can also read more detailed updates here.

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