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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

May 7, 2007      Miles 45      Total miles 550


I got away from Richland after having breakfast in the local cafe. Here are some guys I met named Gary, Glenn, and Jack. We had a nice visit and they told me a lot of places I should see while in the area which are on my route. They got some pretty good belly laughs when I told them I was riding my bicycle over to Hell's Canyon. I am sure they are convinced P.T. Barnum was right.
You can barely see Richland in the upper right side of the first picture. It was a much tougher climb than I anticipated. It took me an hour and twenty five minutes to get to the summit which was seven miles. After reaching the top it was pretty much downhill all the way into Hell's Canyon where I am spending the night.

This plant adorns the sides of some of the mountains. It is very fragrant and has a smell similar to a lilac and gardenia combined. I loved riding through it just like I loved riding through the sage when it was raining. I talked to some people today about the wonderful smell and they said they didn't smell it because their windows were closed.
They run many more cows per acre in Oregon than we do in Oklahoma. All over the state, I have seen them use rocks like this as corner posts.

I have no idea what this is. They dot the landscape here and there. The rounded part on top is a screen. I need to find out before I get too far away from Oregon. Maybe it is some sort of grain bin. I think they are very pretty. This one probably stands sixty or seventy feet tall.

This is Terry. I met him resting on the side of the road near Oxbow. He is from Seattle and was going to take a shortcut over one of the mountain passes to get to the highway. After going up the mountain road for 40 miles he ran into snow which completely covered the road and it was deep and he wasn't able to go any farther. He said it was pretty scary up there because the roads have no guardrails and if you were to make a bad turn you could end up flying off the mountainside never to be found. There is a sign that says, "Travel at your own risk" but nothing which says the road is not passable. He was a little put out.

I have seen plenty of deer but they always run off when they see me. This one was enjoying the water too much to be bothered with me.

Why would they call a place like this Hell's Canyon? It is so pretty. I have read where the summer temperatures down here can get up to 110 degrees. This is where I am camped for the night.

This is my new friend, Sharon. She is from Boise and came to Hell's Canyon to spend several days with her Yorkies. When I pulled up on Ol' Blue she was fussing with her new tent and I helped her finish setting it up. In appreciation, she came over to my place and gave me a whole bunch of raisen oatmeal cookies which she made. They were delicious! Later she treated me to some scrumptious watermelon. My first watermelon of 2007. After wearing my bike helmet all day, there are usually lines or marks on my head. Sharon noticed what looked like a deep scar and asked me if I had a brain surgery and I told her it was just a lobotomy which had gone bad. Ha!
Don't be messin' with Grandpa!

As I left Oregon and entered Idaho I thought about what a great time I had on the rural roads of Oregon and the fine people I met and the beautiful places which are hidden everywhere. I got a very nice email from a young lady named Tara Cameron and I hope she does not mind me sharing some of her words with you because she said it all so clearly.

Hi Steve!
This trip is already amazing! Why, it it isn't even really about the bike at all is it? Suddenly in just reading 9 days of your journey, I have met 2 caring elderly people who have been married for 56 years, and remind us that marriage is in fact not about love, it's about commitment. I have met a couple of pastors who open their hearts and churches for a fellow brother.. and even lend a few cookies. I noticed that many times just when you thought you were going to have a bad day, an Angel walked into the picture and saved it... you were fed when you thought you didnt have any food, your flat tire was fixed, you got some glue just in the nik of time.. I have to say, someone is looking out for you! Its such an inspiration when your used to turning on the news and hearing about all the bad people in this world. What a blessing it was to read your journals today! It reminded me that the world isnt so bad afterall. We never see it from the view of a bicycle.. just from our TV screens.. Thank You for lifting my spirits today!