Today started off great. April decided to lead this morning, and it was downhill and shady. She was singing and laughing and talking (to herself as much as to me). We knocked out the first 20 miles in no time. At Biggs, OR we stopped for lunch. Biggs just exists as a huge truck stop. Really. It's the last stop for fuel or most other services for the next 83 miles if you're headed east.
We had a delicious lunch of jojo's, chicken and honey sandwiches, and ice cream! In hind sight, it may have been a bit heavy for lunch when we still had 35 miles to go, with no options for stopping early. After lunch, with April still in the lead, we crossed the bridge into Washington...
...where the conditions took a nasty turn. It became totally arid, dry, and hilly...with a headwind of at least 10-15 mph. April stopped singing happy songs and started singing about hating headwinds, and hills, and throwing her bike in the river. Sometimes the mental challenges can be just as demanding as the physical ones!
We crawled along at 5-7 mph for the entire 35 miles. Even the downhills were slow because of the headwind. We also quickly learned that the other thing that apparently stops in Biggs is shade. There was none. We had made it through the Cascades and into hot, dry, shadeless deserts of Washington (and Oregon). We later learned that the area we were in, known as the gorge, only has east winds a few days out of the year. It just happened to be the day we were riding it.
During our slow trek east, we met Karin and Claus who were cycling west (with a nice tail wind). We stopped and chatted a bit. It turns out they are from Germany and are just finishing at four plus month bicycle tour all over the United States.
We eventually arrived at the town of West Roosevelt, consisting of a mini-mart, a post office, an RV-Park, and a city park (with tent camping). The first thing we did was go to the mini-mart and look at all the cold food and drinks available. We settled on some ice cream bars that turned out to be the best ice cream bars ever! They were La Michoacana premium all natural ice cream bars. April got guava and I got mango. They were sooooooooo good.
After we finished our ice cream bars, we got some food for dinner and, feeling refreshed, headed to the park.
The park was about a mile down a side street. We looked at the signs, and camping wasn't mentioned, so we rode a little further. We ended up going through a gate that said something about a government treaty fishing site. There were some bathrooms and what looked like some tent sites...except they were occupied with things like broken campers and cars that were up on blocks. April was tired and getting cranky and just wanted to set up camp, take a shower, and eat dinner. But I wasn't so sure this was the right place.
I found a nice man who explained that we had wandered onto a Native American reservation fishing site and that public camping was at the park next door. So back we went to the park we had just passed. This time we noticed that, while there were no signs for camping, there were indeed some tents set up and one RV marked as "camp host". It was a unique camp for sure. There weren't really sites. Just pick a grassy spot and go. Oh, and we had to check for sprinkler heads around our tent and install a PVC pipe "shield" so that our stuff wouldn't get wet when they came on that night. But it was free...and they had showers!
Before April took her shower, she discovered that her face had salt all over it from today's journey. After a commemorative picture, we were off to the showers.
Feeling squeaky clean, and somewhat refreshed from our ice cream bars, we had a bit of a celebratory dinner to commemorate our difficult journey that day and enjoyed some wine we had picked up at the mini-mart! Here's hoping we found all those sprinkler heads!!