Malheur National Forest & the Blue Mountains Range
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
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.
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
|Location||State||High (F)||Low (F)||Precipitation (in)||Max Wind (mph)|
The Day : Images
The Day : Video
The Day : GPS
|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|