Today was a difficult but rewarding day. I got off to a wonderful breakfast of Honey Nut Cheerios (seriously I haven’t had cereal since the tour started and I miss it). I said goodbye to the friends from the hostel (David from the night before, who left before me) and got under way with my back to a beautiful sunrise
It’s so nice not having to pack up all your stuff in the morning. Anyways I immediately started a six mile climb. It was pretty rough going. I was still feeling sore from the long day yesterday and things just felt creaky going up. Slowing down helped but going slow on climbs is kind of miserable, especially when they involve a lot of mileage. The scenery was fantastic though, and I was look to forward to the descent.
I saw a rider coming the opposite way and he stopped to chat. He was finishing the reverse of my route. He gave some sage advice, including to bring a spray bottle to ward off dogs in Kansas. He also told me the descent I was starting was stunning. He wasn’t wrong. I entered a canyon flanked by high walls on both sides. The road weaved between these walls for miles. It was really special.
I caught up with David and he shared some chips with me for lunch (at 9:30). I wish him all the best on his ride if I don’t see him again, he was an awesome person. There was one harrowing experience through the descent. I was in the lane because there was no shoulder. A truck pulling a camper trailer rounded a blind corner. Immediately after him came a huge pickup truck that decided to pass right after the corner. I waved my arms frantically to get his attention, and I think I did, but he continued in my lane trying to pass. I pulled over, as did the truck with the camper to let this guy pass. In the end he didn’t come close to me thanks to the camper trailer moving over, but it was still scary. I continued on.
A few miles further was the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument visitor center. It was a detour but I decided to check it out. It was cool, and the fossils were impressive, but I didn’t stay long. I did take this awesome photo though.
I got back on my route and continued on towards Dayville. A few miles outside town I felt a sudden stinging in my cheek and heard a buzz past my right ear. I’d just gotten a drive by beesting. In the past I’ve been allergic so I was somewhat worried that I may have a severe reaction so I pushed hard to Dayville quickly. A few miles later I arrived and entered the first shop I saw. The owner was incredibly nice and gave me Claritin and anti itch cream free of charge. I applied it, picked out some drinks and ice cream then decided to plan my next move. I could stay in Dayville that night at a church that houses cyclists for free. Or, I could push 30 more miles to John Day and stay somewhere in town, like a motel, or camp at the fairgrounds. As always the heat factored into this decision, it was supposed to be over 100 within a few hours. I was feeling lousy after the bee sting and was strongly considering just stopping for the night, but decided I wanted to be in John Day to set myself up for the following day, which would include 3 5000+ ft summits. Staying in Dayville would make the mileage more awkward. I therefore pushed on. Frankly I don’t know if it was the right decision. The heat was brutal, the miles were slow, and the shade was sparse. I also got my second flat of the trip and had to fix it (root cause another metal staple). Overall it took me about two hours to go twenty miles which felt like an eternity. The scenery was once again farmland with imposing mountains all around. The route followed and crossed several time the John Day river. Fun fact about John Day, he was a man who was robbed of everything, including his cloths, near this river. The story got passed down for years until just about everything in this area bore his name. Apart from the robbery he wasn’t particularly consequential. After the third crossing I rolled into the small town of Mt Vernon. Most the shops were closed but I checked the map and found a small campground just outside town. I did find a gas station that was open and got snacks and asked about the campground. They said it was awesome. I rode another mile and pulled into the campground and it indeed was awesome. It’s an Oregon State campground which means hiker/biker sites and showers for under $10. Bargain. It’s right along the John Day River.
I got checked in then immediately fell asleep under a tree for an hour. It felt wonderful. I showered, ate some of the snacks I’d bought, then was approached by a man. He said his name was Eric and that he was an avid cyclist and really wanted to get into touring, specifically the route I’m doing. We chatted for a bit then he walked off. He came back with his wife Tomie and they were nice enough to invite me to dinner in their trailer! I happily accepted. Eric repeatedly tried to get me to take the seat off his bike in the hope that it would be more comfortable than mine, but I couldn’t do that to him. We sat around, they gave me some lemonade and a wonderful dinner of rice broccoli, and chicken with cheesecake for dessert. I ate an absurd amount and felt full for the first time on this trip. After dinner we went on a walk then chatted more about nothing much. It was really one of the most special experiences so far. If you guys are reading this thank you so much, it really meant a lot.
Anyways I’m heading to bed, Tomie offered me blueberry pancakes for breakfast, which I of course agreed to, so I need to get some sleep. Night!
- Cliff bar
- Shot blocks
- Ice cream sandwich
- Apple Danish
- Oreo ice cream sandwich
- Sour patch kids
- Fritos bag
- Peace tea