Sam’s Cycling Crucible Check-In, Day 7: Union Creek to Vale

Hello from the DELIGHTFUL Vale Trails RV Park and Campgrounds. 

After the day I had, it’s practically Club Med.
 I still owe Y’all a recap of my sixth day of touring, but my accommodations yesterday evening on the banks of the BEAUTIFUL Union Creek were delightfully un-plugged from the civilized world. 

I’ll give up access to instagram for views like these ANY day of the week!
 Stay tuned for a full blow-by-blow of my historic, folkloric, and not at all automotive 65 mile ride through Oregon History from La Grande to outside of Baker City at a later date.  

Crossing boundaries amd takin’ names!
 For now I just wanted to check in, give everyone an update only progress and let y’all know I survived 78 miles of biking and bush-whacking. 

It was touch and go there for a little while…
 I could write up a magnum opus detailing all the mistakes that I made today, but I’m not quite mentally ready to re-live every moment of today’s 13 hour, 78 mile, mostly dirt, and occasionally backcountry trail suffer-fest. The most salient lessons I can impart at this moment are:

1) Sometimes a “Short Cut” makes your life WAY more difficult in the long run. 

This looks reasonable
 2) Google maps and I have VERY different opinions about what constitutes a “road.” 

Dear Google: you MUST be high!
 Today’s ride began with BREATHTAKING scenery and lung-busting climbs. 

Just how I like it.
 I began to get a little nervous when my directions had me proceed to pedal on a dirt road, but I figured that the gods of Google couldn’t steer me wrong. 

This is worrisome.
 I was beginning to enjoy being all by myself in the remote Oregon forest. 

How many people get to see this in person?
 Circumstances deteriorated rapidly. 

 The forest service “road” I was trying to follow was, in reality, a minimally maintained horse trail that traversed private property. 

Do I hear banjos?
 I pushed my bike on foot and hoisted my frame over barbed wire fences for four miles before finally making it out of the wilderness.  

I seriously wondered if I could get atrested (or shot) for cattle-rustling.
Once I was riding again the fun didn’t stop. I spent another dozen miles uphill on gravel before finally reaching the twenty-five mile paved portion that took me to my final destination. Suffice to say, there were no sandwich-stops to be had on today’s tour. 

I dont even want to think about what all those “bonk-breakers” are doing to my microbiome.
 All in all I learned THREE things during today’s tribulations. When I started planning this trip I glibly told people: “I’m sure something will go wrong, but I’m an adult with a Ph.D., a positive attitude, and a credit card!” I realized today, while I was lost, alone, and seriously wondering whether I would make it out of the woods in one piece that, as grateful as I am for my education and financial fortune, none of those things are worth a tinker’s damn when faced with an insurmountable obstacle miles away from civilization. I realized today that, among all of my attributes, maintaining a positive attitude is the one source of strength I can rely on when times get rough. When the only way out is through, you keep moving forward because that’s all you can do. I realized today that the most valuable part of a personality comes down to glorious, genuine GRIT. 

Keep trucking!
 Time to collapse into my tent. Tomorrow I’m bound for Boise!

8 thoughts on “Sam’s Cycling Crucible Check-In, Day 7: Union Creek to Vale

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  1. Dear Sam, you are brave and wise beyond your years, And I’m sorry today was so grueling. I hope tommorow is all paved with sandwich and icecream stops aplenty. Boise might be a good place to stay in a motel, get some zinc oxide, swim in a pool and calorie load however you want. As well as the whole sleep in a bed thing. Just a thought. Love and Light mom


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