Biologist on a Bike

Day 11: Dixie Pass Summit, OR to Baker City, OR

Distance: 57.84 mi
Average Speed: 12.7 mph; Max Speed: 35.7 mph
Elevation gain: 2,754 ft
Average Temp: 67.3 F; Temp Range: 46.4-82.4 F

I woke a bit later than usual, but well rested in more ways than one. My legs were feeling great after the day mostly off. Once again, Jim made a spectacular breakfast of eggs and veggies and good, strong coffee.

Where I woke up, Day 11

As Jim says “Even when you ride solo, you’ll never ride alone.”

Then we loaded all my gear into his car and he drove me to the top of Dixie Pass. I had ended the day between Dixie and Tipton pass near the bottom, so he saved me the fatigue of re-climbing a pass I had already conquered. You know what? I need to end more days at the top of hills so that I can start more days with downhills. I barely had to pedal the first few miles as I flew down the mountainside back towards where I had to bail yesterday afternoon. It was still a bit on the chilly side, so I wore my rain gear, down jacket, and windproof overmittens.

Right before the campground was water flowing out of an artesian well. According to Jim this is some excellent water, and people from Prairie City will drive here to fill up on it. I even saw somebody doing just that yesterday. I didn’t want to miss out on excellent water, so I dumped the tap water that was in my bottles and filled up.

Potable water flowing from the hillside

Then I removed my warmer gear and headed uphill towards Tipton pass

Mountain Bluebird. He was closer at first, but few to this stalk when I pulled out my camera.

Tipton Summit

A few miles from the top of Sumpter Pass, I stopped for lunch. While I was eating, two other TransAm riders came by. They are travelling light—one with two panniers, the other with a bikepacking style saddle bag—and trying to average near 100 miles a day, since they’re on a fairly tight schedule. Since I’m not shooting for anywhere near that, I doubt I’ll run into them again, but I wish them luck with their challenging goal.

I really like this picture.


The downhill from Sumpter Pass was spectacular. I doubt I pedaled at all for 3-4 miles, and I was hitting 25-35 mph for the majority of that time. Wheeeeeee.

When I first looked over here, there was a full-sized horse. Then I looked back and there was this…

I also saw Jim again. He was parked on the side of the road below Sumpter, and he waved me down. I admit to a bit of a head shake and a laugh, but at least I knew that this time he had planned to be out in this direction. After a few minutes, and two chocolate peanut butter cups, we waved goodbye.

The rest of the road to Baker City was uneventful, and I pulled out the podcasts for a bit of distraction. I arrived around 3PM, but my host wouldn’t be back until about 7, so I went to the market for some staples, had a sandwich at a local delicatessen, spent some time in the library and, after the library closed, spent some time in the local park writing out postcards.

Ellen got home around 7, as she said she would. Her dog, who looks part corgi, immediately began an enthusiastic inspection of my panniers. Avi (the dog) has been known to open zippers and half-closed panniers to get to the food inside, so I was extra careful to keep the panniers fully shut and the door to my room closed.

I had a shower, did some laundry, ate dinner, and had a wonderful time talking with Ellen. And now, a comfortable bed with a very cozy comforter is waiting for me.

Roadkill count: 1 raptor, 2 skunks, 1 unknown mammal

3 thoughts on “Day 11: Dixie Pass Summit, OR to Baker City, OR

  1. Andrew Roth

    Yes camping on top of a pass is sometimes a good idea. I did that in eastern Oregon too. It was a very cold night (we didn’t put up our tents) but spectacular starry sky. And the morning downhill was very cold.

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