Day Three: Long Creek to Bates State Park - Racpat Old West Scenic Bikeway 2018 - CycleBlaze

June 3, 2018

Day Three: Long Creek to Bates State Park

No water between Long Creek and Bates

"Cows aren't as easy as sheep" Patrick says to the man who herded the cows to the side so we could pass. "We don't talk about sheep" the man replies with a grin.

We had arranged the night before for the campground owner to fix us a breakfast from the "Stagestop" trailer kitchen. For $5.50, we had fantastic biscuits and gravy, two eggs and coffee.

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Just that private property doesn't allow access except views
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Today the first part is rolling hills. We start at marker 87B with a 2 mile up, then down to 85B across Pass creek and again cresting the next rolling hill at 84B down to 83B across Pine creek. We can see a tower and the road winds around and cresting at 82B with a dip before reaching 81B, the Summit at 3993 feet elevation. At the junction to Ritter Hot Springs, we turn back onto Highway 395 and follow the Upper Middle Fork of the John Day River.

At 20 miles from Bates, we go through Galena, there is nothing here. We have been looking for a spot to get to the river to filter water. There are private property signs everywhere, though a few sections the river is close enough to filter, we waited too long to go for it. This is beautiful riding. After Galena, the road for 6 miles goes away from the river. Then at 10 mile, on our right, Ruby Creek offers a chance to filter water. Along this stretch is where we met the cattle drive. At 6-7 miles, there is a campground that is near the river with a pit toilet no water. We continue onto to Bates State Park. Here too, only pit toilets, though there is potable water. In retrospect, we would have been just as well off stopping at the first campground and filtering water.

Jerry crests the hill
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There's water, just that it's on private property and fenced
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We arrive at Bates just before the rain and wind storm hit. We quickly set up the rainfly and toss our gear inside and then stretch out enjoying wine we carried in a plastic carafe and cheese while waiting out the storm. Jerry arrives just at the end of the rain storm. We are the only guests in the hiker/biker area that charges $8 per person, while an RV-site costs $11. We opt to move to a site for $11 rather than $24 for the three of us. We'd like to have an Oregon bean-counter explain the logic behind their pricing structure, something sure smells fishy to us.

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Today's ride: 52 miles (84 km)
Total: 145 miles (233 km)

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