Through the National Monument again - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

April 23, 2020

Through the National Monument again

We leave John Day for Pullman a week from tomorrow.  We’re down to 8 riding days, assuming the weather holds out for us, so we’re looking through our short list of new rides we want to take and old ones we most want to repeat.  At the top of the list is the one we began with almost a month ago - the ride north from Picture Gorge to Kimberly, through the eastern part of the National Monument.  Rachael insists on repeating this ride before we leave town.

It’s lightly raining, windy and coolish this morning, but it looks warmer and drier downriver by Dayville and Kimberly, at a thousand feet lower elevation.  This looks like our best time to repeat this ride, so we hop in the car again and head west.  On the way through Dayville we glare at the home of our tormenter, noting with satisfaction that no dogs are out today.  Maybe it really was a rare aberration when we biked through.

It’s still drizzling in Dayville, but by the time we park the car just north of    Picture Gorge the sky is overcast but dry.  We unload the bikes and start pedaling north into a stiff but manageable headwind.

We’ve seen this spectacular road before so I won’t say much more about today.  This time we generally stay close to each other since I’m not stopping as often for photos of the same landscape we’ve seen before.  We continue biking a couple miles beyond Kimberly, still closely following the John Day - this road stays with the river and well behaved for almost another 30 miles, all the way to Service Creek, before climbing north into the mountains toward Fossil.  We may be back though before we leave to ride this final stretch along the river.  It’s on our short list, so hopefully it will fit in.

Heading north. The sky is mostly overcast, but improving.
Heart 1 Comment 0
It’s been nearly a month since we were here last, so hopefully not too soon to show you some of the same terrain. It looks a bit different under a grayer sky anyway.
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Approaching Goose Rock.
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A heritage structure in the National Monument.
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We’re a bit further into the spring now and starting to see a bit of new color here and there.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Bill ShaneyfeltTook some digging around on the internet, but I think maybe it is manyflower.

https://inside.ewu.edu/ewflora/thelypodium-milleflorum/
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltThat’s so great! I’m sure you must be right. I found several other photos of this plant, and everything looks right. I’ve never heard of it before.
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3 months ago
In the National Monument.
Heart 2 Comment 0
There are so many subspecies and varieties of lupine, so who knows what this is? Possibly a variety Lupinus lepidus, the Prairie Lupine.
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Bill Shaneyfelt
Lupines are so pretty, and found all over! I agree possibly prairie lupine. Sometimes they are hard to tell one from the other.
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3 months ago
In the National Monument, in the Foree area I think.
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From a distance, I was somewhat puzzled by this osprey pair. They look so uniform and almost cone-shaped, that I wasn’t sure if they were strange pieces of equipment at first.
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Still in the Foree area, one of the most colorful stretches of the road.
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Video soundtrack: Let it Slide, by Shawn Colvin

A first this year: bike tourists! These two are shuffling back to Buffalo, along with a third rider further ahead. They’re being held up a bit by their extra ballast, I suspect. The tail rider is carrying the extra six pack of Coors they couldn’t finish last night.
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Lavender honey.
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We ate lunch sitting at the base of this chalky roadside formation. We gave our shorts a good dusting off when it came time to go.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Andrea BrownThat's a natty looking bike, and its trusty Click Stand.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownYou know, every time I pull it out I think of you two. Thanks so much for encouraging us to throw them in our bags!
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3 months ago
This pretty thing was growing at the top of the chalky wall above. A row of these flowers was growing all along the lip - the only place we saw them today.
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Andrea BrownLooks like a native phlox, perhaps longifolia.
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3 months ago
Strapping in for the return ride. It’s still a bit too chilly to remove our coats, but won’t be before long. Having the wind at our backs makes all the difference.
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Andrea BrownI love that first hint of green on the grassy hills.
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3 months ago
South toward Kimberly.
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A last look at Sheep Rock.
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Jen GrumbyThis shot makes me wish I was floating down the river in a kayak.

What a scene!
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyIsn’t this a sublime spot though? The whole road is wonderful, but this spot is the best.
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3 months ago
Back at Picture Gorge, Rachael overshoots a bit in her perennial quest to round up her mileage.
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Bruce LellmanThat's a nice looking car.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYes, but it’s no Tercel.
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3 months ago
Jen GrumbyHello Old Paint!
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3 months ago
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Ride stats today: 41 miles, 1,300’.

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