Dominator 3 GTX & Defender 3 GTXIn the middle, frozen in timeThe next morning, we broke camp and headed into the nearby town of Mitchell to grab breakfast and coffee before our high-milage day into reaches of Eastern Oregon. Geographically in the middle of Oregon, Mitchell has, chronologically, stayed in the 1970s. The café wasn’t open on Tuesday (or most other days) and the only gas pump was similarly closed. The phone booth, against all odds, worked perfectly.
This was our day to put our heads down and go deep into Eastern Oregon, but I wanted to do it on a dirt road I hadn’t ridden yet. Something I’ve had to re-learn in this digital age of GPS, is that the paper map, more specifically a detailed Atlas, offers something that a screen can’t: Context.
“But the atlas tipped us to the specific dirt road I was seeking.”
To see both detail and the larger area at the same time is essential. On a screen, small roads disappear when you zoom out, and you’re left none wiser than when you started. But the atlas tipped us to the specific dirt road I was seeking; one that wound its way through a canyon next to a stream. Just a small dotted line next to an even smaller blue line but that was all we needed to enjoy 50 miles (80 kilometers) of winding gravel through an empty canyon to our next stop.
“The sun was setting and we took advantage of the low angled light to shoot our dusty return trip.”
The town of French Glenn is barely a town. Another gem with a single gas pump, a catch-all general store, and a hotel that also serves as the only meal for hours around. We lucked into the last three seats at the communal tables. On our way back to camp, the sun was setting and we took advantage of the low angled light to shoot our dusty return trip in all its backlit glory. At camp we hung our hammocks from our bikes to the single tree with limited success but ample enjoyment…
Watch the next episode of “Chasing Light” Part 3.
Chasing Light, a 4-PartAdventure Travel Video Series