Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 77 - August 19, 2013 - Prairie City, OR to Dayville, OR

Miles - 45
Total mileage - 2,077

One of those lovely camping minute, you're wrapped comfortably in your sleeping bag as the sun rises, the next minute you can't unzip yourself from that thing quick enough to get out before you sweat to death.  That's how we awoke this morning, and quickly opened up the tent to let the cool morning breeze in as we packed up the sleeping bags and mats.

We stopped for breakfast at a local coffee shop, then headed on down the road.  Today's elevation profile showed a gradual downhill all the way to Dayville.  The scenery was more of the same - we were in a valley in the high desert - dry hills with sometimes lush farm or range nestled between them.

We had heard from several people weeks ago that the town of John Day had experienced a big wildfire recently - and we certainly saw the remnants of it as we approached the town.  Burned hillsides with the ring of red fire retardant dropped by helicopters marked both sides of the valley.  The fire came dangerously close to nearby homes.

We stopped in John Day for a bathroom and snack break at Dairy Queen, and there were many firefighters there grabbing lunch before heading to more hotspots in the area.  Summer sure keeps them busy around here.

We rolled through the town of Mount Vernon, eager to reach our destination.  And wouldn't you know it, about 10 miles out of Dayville, our pleasant day of riding is smashed with a strong headwind!  We took a lot of breaks, and powered on through, finally reaching Dayville and were greeted by this amusing sign

Dayville is close to the John Day Fossil Beds...haha.  We had a cold drink at the one gas station in town, had lunch at the one cafe, picked up a few drinks for the evening at the mercantile, and headed to the Dayville Presbyterian Church, which provides a hostel for cyclists, and has done so since the 70's.

We called Rose, as the sign in the church instructed us to do...she walked down from her house just next door to tell us about all the amenities they had for cyclists, all paid for by donations from cyclists (a shower, washer and dryer, fridge, full kitchen).  She welcomed us, had us put a pin in the map indicating our hometown, and told us we were welcome to sleep in the sanctuary.

Not too long after Rose left, a guy came in and let us know that he was teaching a hunter safety course in the sanctuary, but that they would clear out by 9.  Fine by us, we took showers, did laundry, made grilled cheese sandwiches from the leftovers in the fridge, and watched the first part of Ken Burns' documentary on The Dust Bowl.  The things history nuts do to wind down after a day of cycling...

Can you see the Shep silhouette in there?

I also had a tiny piece of what may have been the largest cake ever, leftover from a party for a local teacher who celebrated 30 years as an educator.  That's dedication!

The sanctuary was nice, but it took me forever to fall asleep - sleeping pads are much more comfortable on grass rather than a hard floor!

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