The trip we’ve been planning for the last little while has finally begun. I’m not sure how much Internet access I’m going to have over the next week, but thought I’d better post while I’ve got it. We knew today would be a big push, and it was. The Interstate is never my favorite riding, but tomorrow we’ll be in the Columbia River Gorge headed to Portland and then on to Astoria, so it should be beautiful.
That being said, we went over two passes after leaving Baker City which were quite pretty. We stopped for an early dinner at the Sumpter Junction Restaurant. Our waitress, Allie, had a lot of personality. She is the sixth generation to live in Baker City and filled us in on some of the history of the town. Along the Oregon Trail, Baker City was once the largest city between Salt Lake and Portland. I guess people have been stopping here since 1862.
Allie told us that gold had been found in the nearby mountains at one time, but the vein played out and Baker City, once destined to be the capital of Oregon, lost its prominence. Some of her ancestors were early members of the community, she seemed to know what she was talking about.
When I asked her, “What’s the best thing on the menu?” She replied, “The chicken fried steak—are you hungry?”
I didn’t realize that I was about to be served a delicious meal that would have fed two people (I left half of it on my plate). I don’t know if it really is the best thing on the menu, but it was the best chicken fried steak I’ve had in a long time.
After arriving in Pendleton, we walked around and discovered a quiet little town with a quaint Main Street, friendly people and a peaceful evening. “The sidewalks roll up around 9:00 pm here,” said one of the folks we met on the street. We were pretty bushed after a long day in the saddle, so that was OK with us.
I took some video, that I’ll likely post later. In the mean time, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s ride.