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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 7 - Baker City to Ontario - The Power of Gravity!






We are all smiles today...

Thanks to the power of gravity...





"It is all downhill from here"

Why does that expression usually have a negative meaning?

We bikers LOVE downhill!






We're over the hill?

That's a good thing in the biker world!

So we fly today from Baker City to Ontario, Oregon.


Downhill almost the whole day!




Look at this route map!

Is that beautiful?





Entertaining the local horses with our bright colors...







We cruise along the interstate...






We handle construction with aplomb...






....inside the barrels we coast happily along...

gravity helping speed us to our destination.

We dodge big onions fallen from the passing trucks.

Why so many onions?





We have a lovely picnic lunch...




...with fresh berries from a previous  ABB rider .







Then load up with sunscreen...





Pull on the gloves...





And back out on the road...

We're riding down a lovely canyon....

soft hills rising around us....






Cars whizzing by...









Trains under our wheels...




Out past the hills we find the desert turned green with intense irrigation...

the water shoots out into this dry air...

I don't understand - I would think half of it would evaporate...





...and another half runs off muddy to the ditch...



All kinds of crops grow around us...





sugar beets



onions





...corn like back home in Indiana.




Past the green crops

past the irrigation...

... is the golden dry desert.





We reach the Snake River - the path for Lewis and Clark and the Oregon Trail pioneers.




And now the Snake River leads us east towards Idaho...



An ironic sign - since Malheur means bad hour in French.






The flowers along the river are beautiful...








Milkweeds, just like at home...











I pause under a bridge for a respite of shade...




And Gerard catches up with me...

Gerard from Alabama uses biking to control his diabetes...

pretty good treatment I'd say...

I've heard a diabetologist say exercise is more effective at controlling blood sugar than all the medicines around...if you can get people to do it.






Gerard and I alternate taking each others pictures in this wonderful setting....






In the middle of the desert we find this wonderful hedge of roses...




I stop for photos and Gerard pedals away to the east...

Leaving me behind in the quiet of the desert along the rich banks of the Snake River...








I'm alone except for the occasional passing of a faster biker..




Hey, look! It's Alex and Katie!

Al had gotten held up by a flat tire.






She's generally way out ahead of me these days.



I'm getting close to Ontario, but I'm not ready to sit in a hotel room.

Besides I'm ready for a Diet Coke.


So I find a nice cottonwood tree and settle down in its shade for a midday break.

I'm imagining what it would be like to live in eastern Oregon...

so dry - rare rain

few clouds to ever charm your skies...

Do these people all farm?

Or work at the nearby penitentiary?







What's that noise above me?









Nesting birds in my cottonwood...




Yellow bellies - but they look like swallows to me...

I watch their antics as I eat my trail mix for the salt.




Finally time to get back on the road.





As I stand I realize my hosts have left me their names...




I visit their rose garden for a moment...

I hear their little dog barking in the kitchen...





the roses are lovely and so well cared for...








Now back out in the heat for the last glide downhill into Ontario...

Stop! It's another red-tailed hawk!




I think that's number 6.

I'll have to go back and look at my pictures.

The pointing finger pictures help us keep count.

And darting into the willows I glimpse a bright orange bird.

Do they have Baltimore orioles here?





I pull into Ontario and notice their water tower proudly proclaiming their onionatic heritage.






Glad to find my hotel room close to the red machine...

Al's waiting in the room.




We've arrived early enough to Skype home -

to visit with my Mom...

and Tom, KC, Nicky and Dusty....

It starts in rain in Indiana and TJ calls home to come get him...

His lifeguarding job has been called off for rain again.





I miss home...




But I wouldn't miss this adventure of seeing America by bicycle for the world.

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