Mike trailered his bike to camp and planned to ride home with me. His cold (or whatever it was) had improved enough that he felt able to ride, so we packed up and left on Monday morning as planned. We headed back into Baker City and ate breakfast. Since I tend to ride a bit faster than Mike, especially in the twisties, we decided to maintain our own pace and just meet at the motel in Bend, our final destination for the day.
Although I had ridden the same road from John Day to Baker City, the trip back felt like a brand new route. The views change dramatically when traveling in the opposite direction. Fortunately the weather was quite a bit better than when I arrived. Coming down out of the mountains toward Prairie City I had an outstanding view of the Strawberry Mountains to the south. I stopped at a viewpoint and took some pictures.
I gassed up in John Day and bought a snack, then rode another few miles and took a break in the day-use area of Clyde Holliday State Park near Mt. Vernon. There was construction near Dayville and my delay there was long enough for Mike to practically catch up with me; he told me later that he could see me six or seven cars ahead of him. Once past the junction of highway 19 (where I came from on my way in) the road was brand new to me. I was impressed. The landscape and geology was fascinating along highway 26 and other than few land barges I had the road practically all to myself.
It was 2:00 in the afternoon when I stopped at a Subway sandwich shop in Prineville. Although the temp was 66 degrees, it felt quite a bit warmer. I stripped down to my jeans and t-shirt then headed in for a club sandwich and orange juice. As I was getting my gear on, I saw Mike ride past. I hurried to catch him, and found him gassing up at a gas station halfway between Prineville and Redmond.
While I was in line at Subway I overheard the gal mention it was forecast to rain fairly heavily the next day. I mentioned this to Mike, offering the alternative to riding straight home instead of staying the night in Bend. Although his cough had returned, he was up for it.
The wind was picking up and we could see the clouds stacking up on the west side of the Cascades. By the time we rode into Madras, we had a very strong cross wind. I gassed up, Mike popped some more cough drops, and we continued northwest along 26. The wind really blew us around, hitting us broadside on our left. Once we got into the trees, however, it settled down. I pulled over and put some more clothes on, anticipating colder temperatures going over Government Camp. We stopped there, at the rest area, and chatted a bit, then said our goodbyes and rode our separate ways.
I had ridden over 360 miles, my biggest single-day ride yet, and got home just shy of 6:00 PM. The trip total was about 745 miles and my bike hit 13,500 total.