Day 4: Elgin to Pendleton
MILES: 75.3 | ELEVATION: 5,220’
Today is long on miles but also big on scenery. Check the tires, clean the bugs off your sunglasses and we’re off! We ride out from Elgin High School (go Huskies!) and work our way over to Highway 204 heading for the Umatilla National Forest and the Blue Mountains.
The first bit of today’s ride is a lengthy climb with a fairly mellow grade. After riding up out of Minam yesterday this hill should feel like Kansas. The increasing number of snowmobiles you’ll see in yards is a good indication that we are passing through an area popular for its winter activities. There are several Sno-Parks, campgrounds and even a ski hill (Spout Springs Ski Area) along this stretch. At the summit, it gets a little chilly, so be sure to have an extra layer handy for the downhill. And speaking of downhills…this descent is your reward for all the hard work of getting here. It’s fast, but not screamingly-fast, the road surface is brand spankin’ new and the views are fantastic.
Lunch is in Weston at a tidy little community park. After a little H&R (hydration and relaxation) in Weston, we start our traditional post-lunch climb. This short climb delivers us to crop fields as far as the eye can see – nothing but rollers and peas for miles. From here, we begin the Thorn Hollow descent, a speedy little section with a couple of fun switchbacks just to make things interesting. After that, the road turns into a rolling ribbon of highway that leads us through the Umatilla Indian Reservation on our way into Pendleton. Once in town, we wind our way through backstreets past an eclectic mix of well cared for historic homes to Pendleton High School and a much deserved layover day.