Introduction - Florence - Missoula - Salt Lake City 2013 - CycleBlaze


The Route

Welcome to my Florence-Missoula-Salt Lake City tour journal. I've biked extensively in the western U.S., but 95% of this route is in places I have never seen before by bike or car.

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It's easier to visualize the route map if you click the button in the upper right and select "Terrain" view.

The route pieces together 7 segments of interest.

Days 1-5: Florence, Oregon to Sisters, Oregon

East on the Adventure Cycling Transamerica route, crossing the Coast range, the Willamette valley, and the Cascade range. At the crest of the Cascades the route goes through miles of lava fields, climbing to 5325 feet (1614m) elevation.

Days 6-8: Sisters, Oregon to The Dalles, Oregon

Back roads route of my own design on the semi-arid eastern slope of the Cascade range. It roughly follows the Deschutes river north, downstream, from 3182 feet (964m) elevation in Sisters, to 109 feet (33m) elevation in The Dalles.

Days 9-13: The Dalles, Oregon to Lewiston, Idaho

East on the Adventure Cycling Lewis and Clark route, upstream through the mid-Columbia river basin and across the southern Palouse. The elevation is low and the landscape is semi-arid hills covered with golden grass and wheat.

Days 14-17: Lewiston, Idaho to Missoula, Montana

East on the Lewis and Clark route, following the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers upstream from desert to lush forest. Crosses the Bitteroot mountains at 5233 foot (1595m) Lolo Pass.

Days 19-25: Missoula, Montana to West Yellowstone, Montana

Southeast on the Transamerica route. First up the Bitteroot river valley to the continental divide at 7241 foot (2194m) Chief Joseph pass. Then through the arid Big Hole and Beaverhead valleys, climbing again to forest along the Madison river. The elevation is high, near the continental divide. The gentle Pacific Northwest climate gives way to a more stormy Continental climate.

Days 27-32: West Yellowstone, Montana to Evanston, Wyoming

Route of my own design that goes mostly south near the Idaho/Wyoming/Utah state lines. It stays west of crowded Yellowstone National Park in high remote valleys near the Continental Divide. Crosses the Pacific/Great Basin divide at 7630 foot (2312m) Salt River pass.

Days 33-34: Evanston, Wyoming to Salt Lake City, Utah

Route of my own design that follows the Mormon emigrant trail southwest to downtown Salt Lake City, crossing the Wasatch range at 7420 foot (2248m) Big Mountain pass.

Map image with terrain view.
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Elevation profile with labels.
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Charmaine RuppoltWow, lots of climbing on this tour you did!
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4 months ago

Getting to Florence

On the morning of July 31, 2013 I loaded my bike and panniers in my wife's car and we drove 2 hours to Florence. We walked around Old Town and had lunch at a waterfront tourist restaurant. After lunch we drove northwest about 5 miles to see the mouth of the Siuslaw river.

Mouth of the Siuslaw river. Closest I got to the ocean before the tour.
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This area is the Oregon Dunes. Because of the shifting dunes, the roads don't go very close to the ocean. This was the closest I got to an ocean view before the tour.

Afterwards we drove 3 miles south of Florence to Jessie Honeyman State Park. My wife dropped me off at the day use area at 2:30 PM. I unloaded the bike and pedaled a mile to the campground and set up my tent in the hiker/biker site.

Afterwards I hiked 3 miles around Cleawox Lake and to the top of a big dune. The weather was unusually cool and cloudy. High of 59F (15C) with occasional drizzle. Many people were in the dunes, but few people swam in the lake.

Big dune across Cleawox lake.
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Charmaine RuppoltI've biked from Eugene, Oregon to San Francisco, and went by these sand dunes - they were great!
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4 months ago
Wayne EstesTo Charmaine RuppoltIt would be interesting to know how many bike tours have started at the Bike Friday factory in Eugene. You are the second person I know of. The other buyer came from Australia.
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4 months ago
Charmaine RuppoltTo Wayne EstesI'm not sure how many people START their tour on their Bike Friday at the Bike Friday factory - but I'm sure a lot of people definitely stop there to see the factory. :)
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3 months ago
Most of the dunes surrounding Cleawox lake are forested.
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I made dinner at the campsite, but didn't really have anything to do in the evening.

Hiker/biker campsite at Honeyman State Park.
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Charmaine RuppoltI've camped in the Honeyman State Park - it's nice. :)
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4 months ago

I had the hiker/biker site to myself and it was rather boring. The lush forest was very nice to contemplate, though.

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