Walla Walla to Waitsburg

The Middle Waitsburg Road, connecting Walla Walla to Waitsburg, is a pleasure to cycle. You have a bit of climbing to do, but the climb lets you slow down just enough to enjoy the topography. Rolling wheat fields, acres of dry peas, small farms peppering the landscape.

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Green, blue, dappled white.
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Every direction is a good bike ride.
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Go to the Laht Neppur Brewing Company in Waitsburg for a mason jar of beer.

Calories and the grumpy whiners

When bike touring, you need to eat. All the time. If you don’t eat, you become a grumpy whiner, and no one wants to bike with a grumpy whiner.

We have a ton of snack food; on my bike, I currently have gummy bears, fig newtons, potato chips, Nutella, peanut butter, trail mix, energy bars, bananas, rice cakes… and that’s just one of two food panniers. We stop, drink water, eat, bike, and repeat.

But the best eating is when we sit down for a meal. Kait has to make a point of finishing her plate and then having more; I, on the other hand, don’t need to consume nearly as much given my energy stores. When we eat in camp, it’s usually a simple meal such as pizza in a pot (hamburger, tomato paste, couscous, cheese, and a splash of red wine)–which is why it’s fun to eat out every other day or so. And, eating out means we get to have contact with humanity, which is a good thing to stay in contact with.

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The chocolate cake ala mode with bacon at The Old School House Brewery in Winthrop.
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Instant oatmeal with honey and peanut butter.
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A wonderful diner burger–a Father’s Day gift from Kait.
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Banana and peanut butter wrap.
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The Effie Burger in Lewiston, Idaho.

Pig

Kait loves stuffed animals, so she decided to bring one on our trip–Pig. He’s been with Kait since she was a little girl and has been on his share of camping adventures, but he’s never been on a journey such as this one.

It’s good to have a third member on our trip. He’s a quiet little guy, but he’s definitely part of what we’re doing.

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Pig dawns a hat to keep himself dry in a rain storm.
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Pig has a bit too much wine one hot summer night.
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Pig on the go.

 

Robert, the Long Haul Trucker

Several days ago, we ran into Robert–somewhere between Portland and Hood River. He’s a Scotsman who’s been living in London for the last 6 years. He quit his job as a patent attorney so he could ride his Surly Long Haul Trucker from Seaside Oregon to Virginia. We’ve enjoyed his company thoroughly, especially our hours long conversation about best films:

  • best Bond movie: Robert says Golden Eye, and I say Casino Royal
  • Best war film: Robert says Platoon, and I say Apocalypse Now
  • best Nick Cage film: Robert says Con Air, and I say Leaving Las Vegas
  • best film of all time: Robert says Star Wars: A New Hope, and I say Apocalypse Now
  • best comedy: Robert says Ace Ventura, and I say Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
  • best action film: Robert says Terminator 2, and I have to agree

We discuss other topics too, and I greatly value Robert’s take on topics such as Brexit, Scottish independence, and the Trump era. Funny that a great way to meet a Scotsman is to ride your bike through eastern Oregon.

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Robert and Kait.
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Robert on the road.
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Where’s Robert?

Four in the morning

The temperature forecast for today was over a hundred degrees in the afternoon. To avoid the torture of cycling through such heat (with a headwind), we decided to start early: 4:00 a.m. (PCT). Kait awoke on time as I handed her a cup of tea in her tent; I had my coffee. We made breakfast, packed up our bikes, and hit the road.

We were done by noon, having ridden straight through with Robert, our new cycling friend who is from Scotland and is making his way across the entirety of the country. Now, we’re happy to rest in a campsite. Just took some showers, had a cold beer, and we are grateful for the small parcel of shade we can inhabit.

The small things go a long way on an adventure.

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Kait, pre-tea.
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Cycling into a sunrise in Roosevelt, Washington.

Adventure

The less we spend, the more adventure we have. Last night, we rolled into our chosen campground, only to find out that it was full and there were no hiker/biker sites. We still scoped it out, and in the process found Kelly, the Forest Ranger for the campground. She told us that, about three miles up river, if we biked on an old unfinished railway (I’m not sure what to call it–they made a path for the tracks but never put the tracks down), we would find a primitive campsite (no cost!). Which we did.

It took a while to get there, but like most things in life, the effort was worth it.

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Biking to the campsite.

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Checking the map for the next day’s ride.

The journal

Kait’s writing a journal as we go from place to place on our bikes. It’s the story of the journey–our experience translated into Pig’s point of view (if you’ve been following the blog, then you know that Pig is Kait’s little friend who tags along in her bento box). She works on the journal when we stop to rest at a coffee shop or when we’ve set up the campsite at the end of the day. It’s fun to read, to see how Pig’s experiencing the trip.

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That’s one crazy cow.
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Pig hangs out, having a coffee, while Kait writes postcards to family and friends.