First Leg: Eugene to Baker City - The Sharkey Brothers’ 2023 Summer Bike Trip - CycleBlaze

First Leg: Eugene to Baker City

Intro

I’m writing this as an easy way to keep family and friends updated on me and my brother’s bike trip. If it turns out that other people can get use or entertainment out of these anecdotes and pictures, that’s a plus.

We are planning to ride sections of the TransAmerica Trail ( sections 2-5, plus some of 6). The information provided by the ACA makes doing a trip like this way easier. 

 June 24th

Eugene to Blue River Reservoir (Day 1 - 51.19 mi)

After a fantastically slow thrill ride on the Amtrak from Chicago to Seattle to Eugene, Mitch and I started out from Eugene, OR on June 24th. Within minutes of riding towards Springfield, OR, we made our first wrong turn and happened to pass by the Oregon Ducks football stadium. It felt good to finally get started. We rode along the McKenzie River for most of the day and luckily found an open site at the Blue River Reservoir Lookout Campground.

Heading toward our campground at Blue River Reservoir
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Showing off the fit along the McKenzie River
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Showing off the fit along the McKenzie River
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Camp Setup for night 1
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Blue River Reservoir
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June 25 

 Blue River Reservoir to Sisters (Day 2 - 52.12 mi) 

We biked from Blue River Reservoir to Sisters, OR, and a piece of Mitch’s soul may permanently remain among the volcanic rock atop McKenzie Pass. I took fewer and fewer pictures as we got into the 2nd half of the climb.  After we completed the climb, we didn’t even need to touch the pedals much as we coasted into Sisters Creekside campground.

Starting the climb
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Long climb for the day
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Starting strong
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Break 1
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Andy BazIs jimmy growing a stash?!?!?!?
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Break 2
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Break 2
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Break ?? At Belknap Crater
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Final push to the top
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On top of McKenzie Pass
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Creekside Campground in Sisters, OR
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June 26 

Sisters to Prineville (Day 3 - 49.41 mi)

Thankfully, there was significantly less climbing today than yesterday. However, we ran into the “storm of the century” in Prineville, OR. So instead of camping at Ochoco Lake, we camped at Crook County. RV Park… yes we made it to the other Crook County.

Sisters Coffee Company
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Leaving Sisters
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Stopped at Smith Rocks State Park - Mitch was tempted to look around, but we have 30 miles to go
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Smith Rocks State Park
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Entering Crook County, OR
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Crook County, IL resident standing confused next to a sign
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A little bit of rain
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More rain
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June 27

Prineville to Mitchell (Day 4 - 47.96 mi)

From Prineville, we had to climb over Ochoco pass (4720’) to get to Mitchell, OR. The insane Oregon landscape never gets old. We stayed at a cyclist hostel in Mitchell called Spoke’n hostel. We met some other cyclists doing the transam. We met one guy from Iowa headed west and another guy from Denmark headed east. Alex, from Eugene, is not following the transam trail but making his way across the country on his own route. We wound up riding with him for a couple of days until he broke off towards Boise.

Lake Ochoco
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Climbing up Ochoco Pass
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Lunch after the climb
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Terrain getting a little more arid as we head towards Mitchell
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Happy to be done for the day
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June 28

Mitchell to Mount Vernon ( Day 5 - 60.97 mi)

We got a late start today but began with a rigorous 1600 ft climb out of Mitchell, OR. I woke up with a headache and sped up during the second half of the pass before drinking some electrolytes at the top. It didn’t go away during the descent until I had some ice cream and ibuprofen in Dayville- a tried and true method to eliminate various illnesses and ailments. Mitch handled the climbing better than me today. 

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View of the dry terrain in Mitchell
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Riding from Mitchell to Dayville
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Lunch in Dayville
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June 29

Mt Vernon to Sumpter (Day 6- 62.21 mi)

We set personal records in distance traveled, ft climbed (5256’) , and time spent riding (5:44) today. Without many good places to stop, we decided to push and complete all 3 of the upcoming passes in the same day. Individually, they were a lot shorter than the climbs we had just gotten past. We considered “dispersed” camping in an old ghost town, Whitney, but there wasn’t a good spot to set up.  Our endurance has already improved a ton, and we were able to power through these climbs. When we finally made it to the Sumpter RV Park, the owner told us that a previous transam rider had paid for the next cyclist campsite in advance. She also let us do laundry for free. Idk if it’s just in her nature to be that generous, but we might have just looked in that bad of shape.

Packed up at Clyde Holiday State Park
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View halfway up Dixie Pass
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Descent from Dixie Pass
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Austin Cafe
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Lunch at Austin Cafe
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Dixie Pass Summit
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Ice cream and a turkey sandwich for my 2nd lunch
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Descent from Sumpter Pass
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Whitney “Ghost Town”
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Camp Setup at Sumpter RV Park
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June 30

Sumpter to Baker City (Day 7 - 28 mi )

The trek to Baker City closes out the first leg of our trip. We had some short and easy downhill riding along the powder river. 

Powder Lake
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Headed towards Baker City
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Riding along side Powder River
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View from A Frame RV Park
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Next up: Baker City to Missoula 

Today's ride: 352 miles (566 km)
Total: 352 miles (566 km)

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