Images taken 2001.

An old steam train runs by the town of Sumpter, Oregon.  I camped in the area and took a ride.  This wooden caboose was one of many features.  The train mostly runs on weekends for tourists.  I was lucky enough to arrive near a weekend.  Sumpter Valley Railway is a volunteer labor of love.  It attracts old train buffs from all over.

Filling steam engine from an old style water tank.  Notice one of the passenger cars also.

Chugging along through central Oregon countryside like in days long past.

The town of Sumpter has an old gold dredging machine.  It is now a museum that one can walk through and look at many rusty gears.  A massive chain propelled the many dredging cups.  With each link being about 4 feet wide, it is larger than my bike chain.

Speaking of bike mechanics, it is Hard to find bike repair shops in small towns.  They usually have several auto parts stores, but bike shops are almost unheard of.  Much of the trip, I was limping along with a few broken spokes.  Baker City was the first town to have a bike shop for nearly 200 miles.  It had a shop, but no mechanic was around.  I decided to try and fix the bike, myself, using some of their tools.  Not knowing much about freewheels, I tried to take it off with a wrench.  This ended up getting it on too tight.  No one could take it off after that.  Now I needed a new back wheel, but waiting for one to be shipped out of Boise Idaho, or somewhere would take too long; especially since this was Saturday afternoon and an order could not even be placed until Monday.   I decided to buy a new bike!

The old bike wasn't that expensive.  I donated it to a local Goodwill and got a mountain bike.  The new bike was not that expensive either.  By this time, a mechanic had arrived and they transferred my racks  to the new bike.  I rolled out of the shop and continued, with out even looking at my new owner's manual. 

The bike performed well for the rest of my trip.  A mountain bike, with a smaller wheel radius, has more durability for the weight of camping supplies on the back wheel.  Mountain bikes are a bit slower, but this is a case of the tortoise and the hair.  Who wants to go a bit faster and then be broken down?

Exit to more information about Sumpter Valley Railway

Theslowlane.com.