What’s better than riding the dreamy roads of eastern Oregon with a handful of good friends? How about door-to-door support for you and your entire group on board on air-conditioned shuttle bus that’s stocked with yummy drinks and snacks? Fortunately, as I found this past weekend, that’s no longer just a dream.
The new service is the latest in the impressive bike tourism arsenal of Phil Carlson, owner of Treo Bike Tours. His ranch is situated 16 miles southwest of downtown Heppner, Oregon (pop. 1,200) and about 200 miles east of Portland. My assignment was to be the embedded photographer as Carlson and his crew supported a group of seven friends on a four-day, three-night bicycling vacation full of riding, relaxation, and exploration. (I tried, of course, to only partake in as much of it as was necessary in order to accurately report this story.)
This was the second time I ventured east to explore the farms, valleys, and rivers of ‘Oregon’s dry side’ as a guest of Treo. Last August I went on one of Treo’s first trips. At that time, Carlson was still fine-tuning his offerings but it was obvious that he had something very special to share: a combination of hospitality and access to amazing rides that I haven’t experienced anywhere else in Oregon.
Fast-forward almost a year later and I’m happy to report that Treo is breaking exciting new ground. His purchase of a shuttle bus means he now offers not only pick-up (and drop-off) at your front door in Portland (!), but an unparallelled level of support when you’re out on the road putting in the miles. Treo has redefined the role of the “SAG wagon.”
Over the next four days, I’ll share photos and brief notes from each of our daily adventures…
Day One: Wasco to Condon via Cottonwood Canyon State Park
That first day would set a tone for what the group had in store for the rest of the weekend. Stay tuned tomorrow as I share more photos and notes from the group’s ride into the John Day River valley where they peeked into Oregon’s prehistoric past and traded spandex for swimming trunks.
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Some of my favorite riding! Glad you’re making your way east – I love these pictorial articles (otherwise known as “living vicariously”). During the recent Amgen Tour of California I thought of these very roads as I was eyeing the “ice vests” some of those boys were wearing…
Also, I wonder if that fellow in Condon knows Tacx makes bike trainers. 😉
I was trying to figure out how they transported all the bikes… looks like there’s a cargo trailer being pulled by the bus…
where were the bikes stored overnight?
Yep. The bus pulls a big cargo trailer that can hold a dozen or so bikes and lots of other supplies, parts, luggage, food, water, and so on. I should have made that more clear in the story. I’ll consider adding something.
As for where the bikes go overnight… they’re secure let’s just put it that way.
Wow. It looks so hot out there – make sure to use sunscreen and hydrate!
Looks like a ton of fun. By the way, back in May I experienced that as spectacular as it is to road bike past Cottonwood Canyon State Park on the highway, it’s even better to explore the park by mountain bike.
Amazing! I could see this appealing to a lot of people.
There’s some great gravel around TREO, as well. I did 2 days of riding from there in April.
Phil rented the ranch to us without SAG or food service, so we drove ourselves and cooked in the kitchen. It was an awesome base for self-supported rides on the rougher roads around there.
Longish route with old cemetery visit, crosses a bridge with supports made out of cars!
Out and back to Lonerock ghost town:
PS – the Hardman cemetery on the hill above TREO glows at night. You’ll have to go up there to find out why.
Beautiful, and awesome.