The age of the pioneer is not over yet. For gravel bicyclists eastern Oregon offers abundant opportunities to boldly go where no bicycle has gone before.
\"Pioneer\" is another one of those words whose meaning shifts a little when it crosses oceans. Here you have the results of a Google search for images related to \"pioneer\" in America and Germany. As you can see, here pioneers are history, in Europe they are fantasy.
Here a pioneer is one who is among the first to use or apply a new method, area of knowledge, or activity. Bicycles have been around for more than a century but gravel bicycling is a new and rapidly growing form of cycling. There are now a few places like the Treo Ranch which offer an opportunity for almost completely traffic-free cycling adventures to those who are ready to leave the beaten path and try something new.
These peaceful trails can lead you to a little bit of history and a little bit of fancy. If it is history you seek, Oregon may be home to more ghost towns than any other state in the US.
The children of the original pioneers have moved back to the cities but their one-room schools and isolated farms houses still stand to illuminate the lives they lead while they struggled to transform the raw prairie into farmland.
People think we're all becoming constantly more crowded, but that's not really the case. We're packing ourselves ever more tightly into our cities but, if you are willing to come to eastern Oregon and leave the pavement, there are plenty of open spaces left.
Time moves a little more slowly out here. In the cites everything is constantly being recycled, repurposed and rebuilt but here we can leave things be until it is time to look at them with new eyes and find charm in what was once unremarkably mundane.
Sometimes a little neglect creates lots of beauty, you just need to know how to find it.
It is not all abandoned and derelict. There are always a few who remain and the local community often takes steps to preserve some of their best treasures.
Of course none of this is truly unknown any more, but if you are adventurous and quick it is still very easy in eastern Oregon to pedal to a place where you will be the first bicycle there in the history of the world.
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