Monday July 21st
Quote of the Day: "Always pedal faster than the horseflies"
Today was a more difficult day, 82 miles over two climbs at 12.1 ave mph. There were times when we couldn't pedal faster than the horseflies and it was annoying. Strangely as we pulled out of Paulina after breakfast at the store, the sign said 87 miles to John Day but eventually my computer only accumulated 82 miles and Sandrine's Garmine agreed with the 82 miles as well. Believe me the 5 miles would have been significant at the end of this ride as we climbed 3800 feet today and had a wild 14 mile decent into John Day that at times had us going 35 mph while still riding the brakes. Ultimately we lost 4300 feet today. All day until we got within 2 miles of John Day there was no cell phone service. This is our third day completely off of the Trans American route.
The Reward: Extremely remote territory and beautiful scenery. Would have thought due to the remoteness of the area and low traffic we would have been on dirt roads and were thankful that was not the case!!!
This should be the wealthiest rancher in the region as this land has natural irrigation unlike any of the other areas we saw.
A traditional type of cornerpost for fencing:
We met a German/Scottish couple today that have been touring for 3.5 years and have accumulated 31,000 miles. I forgot to take a picture. They asked us why we were carrying all the water and suggested a purification filter system.
Clark county is the largest county in Oregon and yet has just one traffic light, at the Dairy Queen in John Day, which is our destination.
I have decided I want to be the FedEx driver in this county - driving through all this beautiful country and 10 deliveries a day ... maybe.
We make "pitstops" as required. Sandrine's quote of the day is: "I never seen a guard-rail and a steep embankment that didn't have the word 'washroom' written all over it." I wonder what drivers must think when they come across a scene like this:
At just the perfect time we met our second Water Angels of the trip. As this couple pulled by us I shouted back to Sandrine, "Look at the golden oldie" meaning the trailer that was old but in excellent condition. Just after I said that the trailers brake lights came on and the driver pulled to a stop. I thought "oh no I've insulted him and he is ticked off". Ahh the stories we can make up....
In actuality Tom is stopping to ask us if we need water:
Tom and Dawn offering San Pellegrino drinks. You can not believe how excited this made Sandrine as it is one of her favorite drinks and she is flabbergasted to find it out here in the way back of beyond.
For the past two days due to the remoteness of our route I have been carrying 12 pounds of emergency provisions. The bulk is 1 extra gallon of water above our normal 5 standard bike bottles that we each carry, and 2 pounds peanut butter. Had I known of the existance of water angels I wouldn't have had to carry the 8.3 pounds (just googled it) of extra water,
Powered by San Pellegrino we finally made the third summit of the day and then the wild ride down into John Day:
One of the worries we carried most of the day was the reports from west bound riders (also detouring the fire) that there were no hotel rooms available in John Day because the fire fighters had taken all that were available at the 4 local motels.
When we arrived in John Day I pulled over at the edge of the road waiting for Sandrine - I like a little faster decent than she is comfortable with - and a truck pulled up. It was Mike Cosgrove who is the Grant County Cycling Ambassador. He was just checking on us as he had done a day previously to Sandrine as we rode into Paulina.
Yes he is the real deal:
I mentioned my concern to Mike regarding finding accommodations and he said there would be no problem and made a few recommendations. We said goodbye and he drove off. A few minutes later Mike was back and he had checked and found out that 3 of the hotels were sold out and the 4th he couldn't recommend. He got on the phone to his wife Sophie and said he was going to be bringing some guests home and asked if there be enough dinner for us. She graciously said that would be no problem with an alteration to the menu. So Mike loaded us in his truck (reference discussion on pragmatism) for the ride up the mountain to their beautiful house overlooking the valley and we enjoyed chicken stir fry.
Here are some views from the Cosgrove's deck:
Watching the storm roll in is spectacular from this vantage point and it left us eager for a lightening show while at the same time concerned that it could potentially block our journey towards the east due to addition fires.
Mike has just purchased a Renovo brand wooden bike that is just slightly heavier than carbon fiber with the best vibration dampening available. It has Shimano D2 electronic shifters. Somehow reminds me of one of the Richardson boats that my great-grandfather used to build back in the day. Beautiful piece of equipment:
As we have seemed to have gotten out of the danger of the fires we have agreed that tomorrow will be a down day. We are going to visit the Kam Wah Chung Chinese Heritage Museum in John Day that several have recommended. Then on 13 miles to Prairie City to take it easy.
All for now - keep reading and let me know you are out there.
The Usual Disclaimer:
And finally please remember the cause - soldiersbestfriend.org I will go into this in more detail and perhaps some level of haranguing later on, but for now here is the link .... and an additional link for donation SoldiersBestFriend - Donate Please :):) As you donate please enter my name in the appropriate spot so the folks at SBF can tally the results to encourage me and let me know WE are getting something done TOGETHER. Oh and I would be a lot more comfortable if you use the "honorarium" option vs the "memoriam" option - you'll understand when you click on the link:):). I will be inserting this call-to-action in all of my blogs so I hope you don't mind.