Despite the old and run-down nature of the Westward Ho Motel in Bend, I managed to sleep adequately well. I couldn’t wait to get out of there the next morning, however. I rode to the north end of town and grabbed a bite of corned beef hash and eggs at Shari’s — across from The Riverhouse where I should have stayed to begin with — then continued over to Prineville where I gassed up the bike.
I followed Highway 26 east to Mitchell before heading north to Fossil. I often stop in Fossil for a BLT but wasn’t overly hungry so I continued back west toward Antelope. I was hoping to buy a bottle of water and have a short break in Antelope but their only store/diner was closed despite the sandwich board sign out front advertising the fact that they now sold bottled water.
8 miles up the road I stopped at the only remaining establishment open in Shaniko,
an ice cream shop that also sold a few other items. I got a nuked corn dog and ice water for $1.50, gave the old lady working there a $5 bill and said, “Keep the change.” After chatting with the old man sitting on the front porch for a bit I continued north on Highway 97 to Biggs where I gassed up and chugged a frappuccino. Once across the Columbia River I made my way to my sister’s ranch halfway between Goldendale and Bickleton, at the end of a rough and bumpy dirt and gravel road. My bike was covered in dust and dead bugs and I’ve never seen anything more beautiful.
My sister and her husband and I stayed up to around 10pm chatting then headed to bed. I slept well and was up by 6:30 am the next morning. My Dad and his wife arrived from their home in Hermiston around 8:30 am and we visisted until noon, had a quick lunch, then I mounted back up and headed back down the dusty trail, homebound.
I had to change into and out of my cold/wet weather clothes three different times on the way home. The weather was tumultuous and fickle, hot and muggy one minute then cool and rainy the next. I made it home safely, however, without getting overly wet and despite the nearly bald tire on the back.
My trip was a huge success. I logged over 2,500 miles in 9 riding days (12 days total, with a three-day stay in San Francisco). It made me want to turn 40 again next month. And next year. And the year after that.