After a good night at Deschutes River it's time to leave mighty Columbia River behind and disappear on the backroads. I slept at a State Park campground. Unfortunately, all facilities are closed for the season so no possibility to refill water. Luckily fellow camper John hooks me up with some water and on top a delicious fresh brewed coffee! Thanks John!
The first few miles are still paved [Celilo-Wasco highway] while I climb up from the river. Once on top and back on gravel a stunning landscape enfolds in front of me. Nothing but yellowish grey grassy hills ahead, the Cascades mountain range in the west with its single standing snow covered peaks [look like former volcanos to me]. The gravel roads [farming roads] are probably the best I've ridden so far - loose gravel but very well maintained, not bumpy at all. I wonder for whom, I don't see a single car today. I stop a lot to take in the vast scenery, especially at the Deschutes River Canyon that I see from above. Again, a recipe for little progress... [I start to get slightly concerned about this, there is no need for crazy rushing, however, it's not getting any warmer and days are still getting shorter...]
All the land left and right is posted and fenced. It's completely empty, though. It looks like cattle farming but I don't see a single cow. The few farm houses I pass are empty and abandoned. Unfortunately, that makes it hard to find a "legal" spot to pitch my tent. At one farm house with light, I try my luck already well passed sunset: "Hello, anybody at home?" I shout out several times. Nothing happens. In the land that has more guns than people I also don't want to push it. I turn around.
Long story short, I pitch my tent on the thin corridor between road and fence. The night is as bright as the day with the full moon and I try to wrap my head around the idea whether I should ride in the darkness in the next couple of days to make some more progress [if it wouldn't be sooo cold after sunset].