Our 6th morning found both Trish and I feeling pretty refreshed considering we’d just climbed almost a vertical mile and a half the previous day. We got up and called the hotel at Wallowa Lake to see if we could get an early check-in. They said that would be fine, so we left Indian Lodge around 9:30am and made the 6-mile jaunt to Wallowa Lake. Once settled in our new hotel, the Eagle Cap Chalet, we talked about our game plan. Trish’s saddle sores from the previous day were feeling a lot better, but she didn’t want to push her luck with a long ride, so she opted to hang around Wallowa Lake while I went on a solo ride. I decided to go the minimalist route with my bike setup and headed back for Joseph.
My plan was to find a cool mountain bike trail to ride, but after stopping at the forest service station in Joseph, I was apologetically informed that there were no mountain bike trails within a 10-mile radius of Joseph. However, an older gentleman loitering in the forest station informed me that there was a lightly used forest road next to a big white building labeled Hidden Creek Grange if I went down one of the main roads in Joseph a few miles. He said it was on the way to Enterprise, and since I was eventually headed there anyway, I decided to keep my eye out for it.
I should have never doubted the loitering forest service man’s reliability. Sure enough, a sign next to a white building pointed up a graveled forest road that looked like a decent alternative to trails. It was a beautiful ride up to a nice creek and campground. I was glad I made the side trip. Unfortunately, my only fall of the trip occurred on my descent down, where I hit an unseen mammoth pothole lurking in the shadow of a tree. The fall wasn’t that bad, and after looking around to make sure nobody saw my embarrassing slip, I quickly pushed my pedals towards Enterprise.
Enterprise isn’t what you’d call a bustling metropolis. However, after visiting this sleepy little town, I now know from experience that there is one reason to set your GPS and cruise control and make the 5-hour trip: Terminal Gravity Brewery, whose tagline paradoxically states that it is the ‘Middle of Nowhere Center of the Universe.’ This little Brewery is just outside of the main strip in Enterprise (I use ‘main strip’ for want of a better word for a road with a gas station and some shops on it). Once there, the massive brewing facility and quirky yellow taphouse will put your mind at peace and remind you that spending five hours of your life wasted in a car really isn’t that bad in the grand scheme of life.
The ambiance of the facilities is very nice, and the beers are above average, in my modest opinion. As a modest IPA connoisseur, I’d say that their flagship beer, the Terminal Gravity IPA, is a bit on the thicker, malty side for me, but has the refreshingly citrus aftertaste you expect in an IPA; definitely worth a visit. I actually like their interruption IPA more. It was lighter, hoppy without being overwhelmingly bitter, and had a nice malt finish.
Since I’m on an IPA kick right now, I feel that they are the only beers I can actually give a somewhat accurate description of. The others were nice to sip while I anticipated these final two anchor beers, and then scrupulously took notes on them.
Having toured the facilities and paid the check, all that was left was a leisurely, slightly fuzzy, 13-mile bike ride back to Wallowa Lake where I tried to emphasize to my wife that Enterprise was a sleepy town in middle of nowhere, repressing the knowledge of a hoppy wonderland that is the center of the universe.