Wallowa Wayside to Cove Warm Springs
Nice climb early. Then rolling into Elgin. Took the alt route with 10 miles of gravel.
From the wayside it was downhill to MInam, which had a kind of resort. I stopped at the little store there and was happy they had my favorite ice tea. This was at the confluence of the Wallowa and Minam rivers. From there the road started to climb. The climb took us out of the woods and onto the rolling prairie. Some nice farms on the way up. After that it was some long rollers on in to Elgin. We stopped in Elgin for a while at this little park square. Some people had a second breakfast.
From here I teamed up with Steve, Joe, and Robert and we diverted to take the alternate gravel route. This was a great change. Nice and quiet and hardly any cars. Some short steep hills to grunt up, and great views of the farmland and the mountains beyond. It was quite a bit longer than I expected. Steve, who plotted the route, had at time said "a couple of miles", or "about 5 miles". It was 10 miles on the gravel, which was mostly well packed and easy riding.
After the gravel we still had a long ways to go and it was getting hot. I stopped in the shade of a tree by a farm house to have a snack and cool down. Lyle passed in the SAG wagon so at least I knew I was on route. Then Steve came by and we finished the ride together.
Cove Warm Springs offered a nice grassy place to pitch our tents, a covered area with picnic tables to have our potluck, a pool, and hot showers. The shower was good and the pool was lovely but not quite warm enough for my liking. We had our potluck that evening. This started out as a "whatever is left in your panniers" kind of meal but over the years morphed into a "go to the store and get something good" meal. However this store didn't have much of a selection so the meal was closer to the original intent. There was plenty of good stuff to chose from, and we all had a good time.