Tursday, June 21 John Day, Oregon 116 miles
The roads were great and good amount of room on the berms. I bet those heavy loaded huge trucks loaded with logs are also glad to reach the top. They grind away going up, just like the bikes. Biking in the Ochoco (O-CHO-KO) valley, there were interesting geological sites. The centuries old Painted Hills were just a ways off the road we were following but with the temperature rising and many miles to go I don’t think anyone stopped. A huge volcanic rock was near the road. It’s called Mitchell Rock. Just past that, many saw an antelope grazing near the road. But the bikes spooked him away. I rolled into a small town - another one so small that if you blinked you might miss it – this was Mitchell, OR.
We bikers were stopping at the Bridge Creek Café. We cleaned her out of those pieces of made-from-scratch homemade, from fresh picked blueberries, pie. It was delicious!! All these tiny out in the middle of nowhere cafes have some mighty file cooks! That pie, while it didn’t cool me off, gave me the boost I needed to start the next steep 6.5 mile climb to Keys Summit. I made it up to the 4,369 foot summit. For me that was a hot climb. A few opted out and waited for the SAG van and hitched a ride up to the summit of the mountain. I’m staying in the EFI Club ( Every Frick’n Inch). At mile 84 another pit stop at a café in Dayville. I’m talking SMALL town. I don’t think anybody owns a car out in this territory. It has to be a pickup truck with your dog riding in the bed of the truck. This is cowboy country. I was in luck, more fresh-made-right-there pie. Cherry pie and I took it all the way and asked her to put a scoop of ICE COLD ice cream on top. Those poor gals at that café. All they got done was filling our water bottles. They said next time we ride through let them know in advance as they could bring in more help. It was so hot by now, I took off the shirt is was wearing and dipped it into a garden fountain in the yard. I soaked with water, a hankie to put on my head under my helmet. Ahhhh, was that nice for about a half hour. No, probably 10 minutes, everything dried out immediately.
There was more beautiful and interesting geological things to see. Cycled through the John Day Fossil Beds. The road was narrow and winding, the rock rose almost straight up from both side edges of the road. The cliffs went way up, could hardly put my head back far enough to look up to the top. It was about 2 miles through this area. Had to be careful on this narrow winding road, no place to get off on to the sides of the road, there wasn’t any sides! As I got past this area, I looked back and could see the millions of years ago formation of the Basaltic Gorge. Time was moving on, I was really dragging. Only 10 more miles to go but I had to rest. When I got to Mt. Vernon, I pulled in at the Texaco station. The employees and a few “locals” were sitting outdoors in the shade on the well-used bench. While I drank a power sports drink, they were fun to visit with. They too had the usual questions we get asked everywhere. Where you biking from? Where you headed? How long will it take you? One teen boy, who told me he was a 10th grader, told me a little about Mt. Vernon. He said the population was maybe 2,000. It is named Mt. Vernon after it’s famous horse. Seems this horse was the fastest horse around and they called him Mount Vernon. He pointed to where I could go see the horse’s grave, if I wanted to. But it was getting late and I had a hot 10 miles to go.
I pulled into John Day and the destination for the night – at 6:40 PM. Just in time for a fast shower and go to the dinner being served next door at the Stagecoach Steakhouse at 7PM. Unbelievably slow. These places have never had 70 bikes descend on them. We all drink so much water that they could bring in a water pitcher person and it would keep him hopping for an hour. Sometimes we just get up and fill a pitcher ourselves and bring it over to the table. I had the Halibut baked fish. My protein and a big baked potato for my carbo loading for tomorrow’s hot ride.
Route Rap followed, where we got the cue sheet/map for tomorrow’s ride. Then it was lights out by 8:30PM. The only TV we watch is the weather channel.
Gunnel’s site: www.gearspeak.com/gunnel/
Phil’s site: http://pmarquez.homestead.com
Jamie & Shawn’s site: http://www.geocities.com/jparady
Jim’s site: www.padrerider.com