Cycle Oregon – Camp at Starkey

Cycle Oregon day 2 - Starkey camp scenes

[Dave, owner of
the Starkey Store]

The folks in Starkey, like Heppner and Umatilla, welcomed us with open arms; all 42 of them. Starkey is the first real small town we’ve stayed in. Total population is 21 and according to Dave (owner of the Starkey Store) they were the last town in Oregon to get phone service.

Setting up the Cycle Oregon circus of 3000 people in a place like this is—in the words of ride director Jerry Norquist—“a challenge” and that’s putting it mildly.

There was no running water for us to tap in to so the ride crew trucked in 30,000 gallons for the showers. Then, some forest fire crews called up and took some of the trucks, leaving some folks without their daily bathing ritual.

Cycle Oregon day 2 - Starkey camp scenes


I didn’t mind, I just walked down to the Grande Ronde River and took a relaxing dip. Back at camp, I noticed this guy making good use of a lawn sprinkler.

But a lack of water wasn’t the only memorable thing. We slept in a dry, dusty cow pasture, pocked by hooves and dotted with cow pies. But despite being in the middle of nowhere, people still lined up for accupunture treatments, yoga, and the massage barn was full all night long.

The night’s entertainment consisted of the infamous Bike Rodeo, where the intrepid and highly-skilled Bike Gallery mechanic crew tested their bravery with bike jousting, foot-down competitions, and of course bike limbo. It was dusty, but fun.

Cycle Oregon day 2 - Starkey camp scenes

[Bike Jousting in the middle of nowhere.]

After battling a 26K web connection in a back room of the Starkey Store, I hit the sack to prepare for another day of riding. Tomorrow we climb to 5,900 feet and end up in Sumpter.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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