Day 15 06/04/22
We decided to spend another day in Mitchell at the hostel. We got some sleep which was a very welcomed event. Most of the day was spent chatting with people and repacking for the days ahead. We wanted to lighten our panniers and found a few things like rain pants and booties to be something we could part with. We hope that wasn't a mistake! We also boxed up a deck of cards, a tens machine an air pillow and a headlamp to mail home. All in all, it wasn't much weight but every ounce counts when we are grinding over the mountains. Went into town again for dinner and had some great local beer with a Greek salad piled on with grilled chicken. When we were done, we both still felt hungry so we headed over to the general store for a bag of chocolate donuts and milk. YUMMY. Spent the evening talking to a westbound rider, Frankie, an eastbounder rider, Kieran and learned about what we are in store for. From what we hear, we can expect to have 20 plus encounters with dogs in Kentucky. Off to bed!
Day 15 06/05/22
After spending two days in Mitchell it was time to leave. We hated to go because we had such a good time meeting travellers and hearing all their stories. Got up at 5:30am and on the road by 6:30. Right out the door we had a climb to the summit in a blasting headwind. The terrain was absolutely, dropdead gorgeous. It was like the stretch of road in Glennwood canyon near Glenwood Springs without the traffic. We saw deer and coyotees and hawks and an osprey today. After riding 40 miles we came to a cafe in a little town called Dayville. I ordered their huevos rancheros and Sarah had french toast. I ate every last bite and finished off Sarah's french toast.
We got back on the bike and it felt like I had a feed bag strapped to my stomach. A highlight of the day was during a long stretch of farmland a man yelled from across the highway, "great bike and do you guys need some water." It is amazing how a little
encouragement lifts your day and makes thing possible. The moment we arrived at our campsite the heavens opened and we got soaked but we did manage to get the tent up and keep it dry. One last thought. The other day while riding I heard Sarah making a gutteral noise behind me. She had a fly go down her intake valve and for the next 30 minutes she sounded like she was hacking up a hair ball. At that moment I had a bug fly in my eye. That was annoying because I could feel it crawling around in my eye socket. That provided an opportunity for imagination to take over. What in the world is that bug up to and where is it going? Finally had to just set that thought aside and thank God for the protein. Camped at Clyde Holliday State Park in Mount Vernon and spent the night.
Rode 65 miles today.
Day 16 06/06/22
We slept in a little later than usual because the previous day was a slog so we had planned for a shorter day. Since it rained last night everything was soaking but thankfully the sun was out and we hung up our clothes line. Everything from the tent to our towels went on the line and mostly dried before we had to pack up. We got on the road with little breakfast in the tank hoping to pick something up along the way. Both of us were dragging from the day before but we pedalled on in spite of wanting nothing more than to go back to bed. We rode seven miles out to John day to get some food. Spent a long time talking to a Vietnam Vet outside the grocery store...what a hoot. We pedalled on to Prarie city which is set in an amazing valley with snow capped mountains and beautiful green valleys. Pulled up to a coffee house which served all kinds of amazing drinks. The best thing is that we haven't seen a Starbucks in over 500 miles. While I was inside ordering a drink, Sarah had a man come up to her and in an excited voice, asked if she was doing the Trans America Trail to which she replied, "Yes." He shared his story of riding in the innagural tour of the Trans America in 1976. It was fun to hear his story. He asked if he could sign up for our blog and follow along. We left the coffee house to do an 8 mile climb up the pass. We came to a turnout where we saw a covered wagon and a man greeted us with, "welcome brother and sisters," while extending outstretched hands holding bananas. It turns out he had cycled the same route as us in 2018. He (Keith) was camping with his wife (Kathy) and she and Sarah had a long chat. He is a medical internist and is planning on riding the Great Divide trail in a few months. They offered us lots of encouragement and water and went on their way. It was here that Sarah decide she had enough and hitched up her wagon (see picture). We reached the summit and finally rode the wonderful downhill we so deserved to Austin Junction. Arrived at Bates State Campground and set up camp. Our touring buddy, Jeff Helm showed up late in the evening. Oregon has some of the best kept and beautiful campgrounds I have ever encountered.
Rode 38 miles today
Day 17 06/07/22
The morning started off with fog. Our tent was soaked; but what a beautiful, cold, damp morning. Had some oatmeal and sucked down a protein drink followed by some nuts and off to Baker City. We had two summits to climb right out of the gate. The ups are gruelling but the downs are rewarding. After the first climb we stopped in this expansive, Yellowstone sized, meadow without all the tourists. Amazing to see all the birds especially the sandhill cranes off in the distance. They stand so tall and at first we thought they were deer. We feasted on peanut butter and jelly tortilla wraps with cheese and crackers and basked in the beauty. It was just what our souls needed for the next climb. At the second summit we met a guy who was driving a support vehicle for some riders who were going to North Dakota. The riders showed up as we were leaving. Had a great downhill following the powder river and seeing some eagles along the way. We arrived in Baker City after six hours on the bike. After stopping by the hostel where nobody seemed to be around, we decided to get a motel. On the way we came to an intersection and I miss communicated. Miscommunication always spells disaster as we came to a stop and didn't unclip in time. With a scraped knee and a bruised ego we slinked on to our motel. Dinner at a local restuarant and off to bed.
We rode 51 miles today
Day 18 06/08/22
Took the day off to catch up on laundry, rest and plan for the next week which is going to be awesome if it doesn't rain.