7/28/18 Baker City to Sumpter: Scenic Byways and a Haunted Hospital - Undaunted Porridge - CycleBlaze

July 28, 2018

7/28/18 Baker City to Sumpter: Scenic Byways and a Haunted Hospital

Two Scenic Byways for the price of one.
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When we left Baker City this morning on Highway 7, we passed an Elkhorn Scenic Byway sign. About a half mile later, on the same road, we passed another sign: Journey Through Time Scenic Byway. How lucky are we to get double scenic-ness in one short 29-mile ride?!

As has been the trend for the past few days, the landscape changed quickly over a short distance. From the sparse sage-bushy region surrounding Baker City, we climbed alongside the Powder River into juniper-covered hills. A bit higher, the dominantly appearing trees were ponderosa pines. The forecast was for another day in the mid-90s, but somehow the presence of trees made the rising temperatures seem less daunting. Now at least we had shade to duck into if we needed to get away from the sun.

The flag on the left is one of those Dont Tread on Me flags. I don't imagine too many people are going to venture out this far in the middlen of nowhere to tread on this guy, but I guess he wanted to be sure, so he bought the flag.
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Highway 7 was a great road to travel as we took in the scenery. Though the shoulder was narrow, the surface was generally smooth, traffic was very light, and the climb was gradual. Before we knew it we were almost to the Sumpter cutoff, so we decided to take a few minutes to check out the Sumpter Valley Railroad museum. It was nice to take some time to walk around and look at the old rail cars. We left Baker City at 6:30 to beat the heat and it was still cool enough to take a break.

Another interesting ranch gate
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Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnWe like this one - cool name.
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1 year ago
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The water tower for the Sumpter Valley steam engine
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I think this sign means "Blazing hot sun ahead"
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Judy & Sharon Thieme-Rahnha ha, I just said "I wonder what that means?"
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1 year ago
Ponderosa pines. It's great to be back amongst them.
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Hmm, another fixer-upper possibility for the Grumbys?
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Another one.
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I love seeing these old buildings. The arid environment keeps them in fairly good condition.
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Andrea BrownHere on the west side they all get eaten by blackberries. I can just smell the ponderosas in these photos. Love 'em.
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1 year ago
Dee Fortethese buildings are amazing - wonder how old they are?
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1 year ago

From there it was just 6 miles to Sumpter, a former mining town. Today the population is about 200, but during the mining boom it was about 7,500. The town even had a hospital in the early 1900s, which survived a large fire in 1917. Now the hospital is the B&B where we stayed. The owner, Brian, told us that it has been featured on a couple of TV shows, The Ghost Mines and The Dead Files. And I found an article written by a woman who said she saw a ghost in one of the bathrooms.

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The excellent Sumpter BnB
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The Duke Room
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The common area of the BnB. There were 4 bathrooms, ac, TV couch, microwave and fridge
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Off to buy a $5 can of chicken
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On our way to the B&B we stopped at The Elkhorn Saloon for 2nd breakfast. We just squeaked in at 10:50, which was lucky because we were hungry and they're closed between 11am and noon. And good thing we were in Sumpter on a Saturday because both of the town's restaurants are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

After we showered and relaxed at the B&B we went to Angie's Goldpost general store to pick up food for Sunday's dinner. This is because we'd be in Prairie City on Sunday and the grocery store there is closed on Sundays. Anyhow, pickings were slim at Angie's so we ended up with a $5 can of chicken (gasp!) and a can of green beans. These will be mixed with the rice that we already have ... A fine Sunday supper, no?

The gold dredge. It must be quite a challenge to keep this thing together
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Dinner in Sumpter was simple: sandwiches, an orange, and chips. And bedtime was early ... so we'd be ready for our 6am departure to Prairie City. Thankfully the Hospital Ghosts were quiet and we slept well. 

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Today's ride: 32 miles (51 km)
Total: 1,862 miles (2,997 km)

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Dee Forteno to ghosts. but what a cool town!
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1 year ago
Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnWe definitely dig Sumter.
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1 year ago