Day 7 – Hart Mountain Spring to Frenchglen
A chronicle of my 7-day ride of the Oregon’s Big Country route.
I slept decently at Hart Mountain Springs campground. Although there were quite a few people there, it was rather quiet by 10pm. Also, I was dead tired and didn’t wake at all until sun up. I didn’t go for a dip in the hot springs as planned, there were just too many people there already so I decided to get going.
After filling up on oatmeal and nutella, I headed out for what would be “all downhill” route to Frenchglen.
Instead of filtering from Guano Creek at Hart Mountain, I was able to get a few litres of fresh water from a ranger station just a few miles away from the campground. Tank water never tasted so good! It was a nice change from the weird tasting reservoir water.
The route was all wide open, no trees, and mile after mile of washboard surrounded by plains of sagebrush, tumbleweed and sand. Although I was going “downhill” the progress was still slow as the washboard kept my speed low and the loose gravel on my toes to keep from washing out.
There really wasn’t anything all the memorable about the route other than I could watch Steens mountain creep into view and Hart Mountain slowly fade behind me.
But there were 3 times I heard this loud BOOM that was too loud and low to be firearms or fireworks. I was convinced the first time it was an explosion like blasting for a mine, but there was nothing on the horizon. The second time it happened, I noticed it was followed by the sound of a jet that faded into the distance but I never saw it. The third time it happened the boom was again followed by the sound of a jet. I was hearing sonic booms!
Along the way to Frenchglen, the terrain flattened out a bit and my cell signal got better. I started texting Audrey a bit as she was monitoring my Spot Tracker like a hawk since the incident the day before.
After about 6 hours or so, I finally hit some pavement again. Immediately I missed the crunch of gravel under my tires and loathed the passing of high speed vehicles. I wasn’t ready to deal with traffic again.
It wasn’t long after that I finally finished the last climb of the whole trip then descended right next to the Frenchglen Hotel.
My ride was over. I was thirsty, hungry, and eager to sleep in my own bed. I didn’t waste any time packing up the bike, slamming some gatorade and starting the long drive home.
After 6.5 hours of driving, a shower, and quick chat with Audrey in person. I was done. Home. And in my own bed.
Despite the lack of excitement through the day, it was still a good day. Good ride. Epic.