Day 1 – Baker City to Halfway
MILES: 54.5 (57.3 W/ GRAVEL OPTION) | ELEVATION: 2,881’ (4,742’ W/ GRAVEL OPTION)
The wait is finally over. You’re suited up, carbo-loaded, chamois buttered and ready to roll. Your 7 day cycling journey starts right here.
Today we rise and shine with the Baker City sun and navigate through town towards Highway 86 heading east. As you warm up and find your rhythm, take a gander at the wide-open vistas that are the first of many you will ride by this week. These are the same vistas that pioneers on the Oregon Trail saw when they passed through this area around 150 years ago. In fact, around mile 7.5, we’ll ride past the road leading to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. While not a scheduled stop, this museum sits on a 500-acre site that includes actual preserved ruts from pioneer wagon wheels. The views from the Interpretive Center are great too, but you’ll get very similar ones from the seat of your bicycle.
The Powder River is at our side most of the day flowing towards Richland where lunch will be served at the local Grange. If you’re more in the mood to sample the local flavors, The Shorthorn Restaurant and Annie’s Café will both be open and can both be found along the main stretch of town. While relaxing and refueling in Richland, get a load of those beautiful mountains stoically standing in the distance.
The afternoon riding gets right underway with glimpses of lakes and reservoirs as you work your way up in altitude. A steady 7-mile climb puts you at the summit and then it’s a mellow downhill cruise into the picturesque foothills of Halfway.
*Gravel Option: About 23 miles from the start, take a left onto Sparta Lane. This well-kept gravel road takes you up and over, meeting back with the main route at lunch in Richland. The option takes a bit more effort due to a good bit more climbing, but oh boy–those views!