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Malheur National Forest & the Blue Mountains Range

Open road, U.S. Route 26 westbound.  Near Unity, OR.
As I left the hotel in Boise, I stopped at a Dutch Bros. Coffee shop and was treated to a couple packs of road cyclists racing in a criterium. It was pretty cool to watch. As I looked through the day’s route plan, I figured it would be a pretty straightforward, and likely not very scenic, ride westbound via US Route 26.

I was fortunately incorrect on both counts.

The first part of the ride from Boise to the Oregon border was boring and not very scenic. From Vale, Oregon, US-26 begins to weave its its way through hills and valleys. There are some fantastic sweepers throughout.

The second part of the ride was beautiful, particularly the area within Malheur National Forest. Malheur is home to Oregon’s Blue Mountains range, which are quite beautiful. The views of the range continue through to Prairie City, Oregon.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.  U.S. Route 40, near John Day, OR.
Continuing west past Prairie City, the topography began to change again. The undulating hills began to take on a brownish-red hue, and were very distinctive. They reminded me somewhat of the northwest Colorado/central eastern Utah area where Dinosaur National Monument is located. These hills, however, were smoother, not as jagged as are those in Dinosaur.

Nearing John Day Fossil Beds National Monument‘s Sheep Rock Unit, the topography dramatically changed. It was overcast in the area, but I was able to capture some decent shots. As I rode through the canyon to the Sheep Rock Unit’s headquarters, I was struck by how dramatically ancient the area feels.

Beautiful Bend

Mount Hood from afar.  Near Powell Butte, OR.At this point, I departed the "Land of the Lost" and continued westbound. There were some great views along the way. As it was Memorial Day, the town of Prineville had just concluded its parade. As the crews began taking down the flags temporarily placed around city hall, I had to hustle to capture one of my favorite shots of the day.

The ride to Bend was beautiful. Halfway between Prineville and Redmond, the views opened to a giant mountain of the Cascade Range looming large over the valleys. The giant mountain was 11,249 ft. tall Mount Hood. It was striking how huge Mount Hood is in comparison to everything else.

I was very excited to arrive in downtown Bend, where I found my overnight stay, McMenamins Old St. Francis School. What a quirky and amazing place to stay – a real hoot. I’d heard great things about Bend, and they were all true. Bend was definitely in my top 3 of favorite places on the trip, it has so much to offer, and it’s understandable why so many want to live there.

The Day : Weather

Mostly CloudyRainPartly Cloudy Location State High (F) Low (F) Precipitation (in) Max Wind (mph)
Boise ID 65° 49° Trace 28
John Day OR 68° 41° 0.00 15
Bend OR 64° 35° 0.00 18

The Day : Images

The Day : Video

The Day : GPS

Total Time 10:21:22
Moving Time 6:40:44
Distance 348.8 mi
Avg Speed 33.7 mph
Moving Speed 52.2 mph
Elevation Max 5,281 ft
Elevation Min 2,139 ft
Elevation Gain 20,974 ft
Elevation Loss 20,111 ft


The Day : Tweets

I just uploaded “American Northwest 2012 : 2012-05-28 : Mon” on Vimeo:
May 29 via Vimeo Favorite Retweet Reply

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Don’t want to jinx it, but the weather stars are aligning for sunshine through the entire coast of Oregon. #ANW2012
May 29 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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Wow. Bend, Oregon has a really cool vibe. Only here for an hour with a walk around Old Town, just really cool. #ANW2012
May 29 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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After a good run of canyon carving, stopped at “Route 26 Espresso.” Beautiful spot with a gazebo to relax next to mountain creek. #ANW2012
May 29 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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State 8? Oregon. No interstate for 2 weeks. Now’s when it really, really starts getting good. #ANW2012
May 28 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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© 2013, Terry D. MacVey. All rights reserved.