PENDLETON, Ore. – Poet Wallace Stevens, describing a barren snowy landscape, described “the nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is.” He could easily have meant the bike ride from Waitsburg to Pendleton.
Heavy rain fell overnight and ominous clouds threatened to douse riders on Day 5 at Cycle Oregon. A rainbow of rain jerseys dotted the two-mile climb out of Waitsburg but by the time riders reached Walla Walla, the rain ended and the hot eastern Oregon sun began to burn through the clouds.
The route traveled a 75-mile coaster of rolling hills through wheat country. First stop was Walla Walla, known for its onions and fruit orchards, but now a booming source of grapes for red wines. Cyclists pedaled past row after row of vines – and several tempting vineyard tasting offers.
After Walla Walla, the landscape transformed into an endless expanse of wheat fields. Except this is harvest season, so riders spun past vast fields where wheat once was – a sweeping landscape of nothing that was not there, and the nothing that was!
Riders pedaled with a purpose on this day because of our destination. The 100th edition of the Pendleton Roundup happens this weekend, and most of the 2,200 two-wheeled travelers on Cycle Oregon will trade Lycra for blue jeans on Friday to attend the Rodeo. As they say at the Roundup: Let ‘er buck!
PHOTO GALLERY: Day 5 in Pictures
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