Distance: 40.2 mi
Average Speed 10.9 mph; Max Speed: 32.2 mph
Elevation Gain: 2,283 ft
Average Temp: 70.0 F; Temp Range: 46.4-89.6 F
Today was a very short day. At 40 miles, it included one mountain pass. The next town on is another 38 miles, and over a second mountain pass.
I closed the last entry saying that it was going to be a good night…I was wrong.
For the first time in this tour, exhaustion didn’t win. I woke up a number of times, tossing and turning. It was so bad at one point that I woke up with my headphone cord wrapped (loosely) around my neck. I had my favorite podcast to sleep to going all night (Sleep With Me) and that helped some, but I woke feeling like I had barely slept. It wasn’t the fault of noise or, as far as I could tell, physical discomfort. Just one of those nights, I guess. Possibly the fatigue I feel now because of that will make tonight a solid night.
Last night I made an attempt to pre-pack as much of my gear as possible. I measured out my breakfast into a small Ziploc and put it on top in one of the two panniers I carry food in. I packed and sealed the other pannier, and did my best to organize the rest of my gear for easy packing. It worked out pretty well, actually. I was all but packed before the water had finished heating for breakfast.
This campsite didn’t have any electricity at the sites, but there were a few sockets in the bathroom. In the evening, I plugged my batteries in for a few hours, and I did the same for an hour or so this morning. That was enough to charge up my phone, GPS, iPod, and headphones, but my tablet was all but out of power. Still, I had enough to get me through the pass and to Mitchell with a functioning GPS, which was all I needed.
Today was a lonesome day. There were no towns to pass through, just 40 miles of open road, including the Ochoco Pass, between me and my destination. Not that the scenery wasn’t stunning.
On the slow ride up the pass, I turned on some podcasts. On a recommendation, I had downloaded a bunch of episodes of “The Truth.” The first one was a dramatization of the conversation Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin might have had if they had crashed and been stranded on the moon, followed by a reading of the speech written for Pres. Nixon for that contingency. It was riveting. I don’t want to put down any of the following episodes, they were also good (with one notable exception that I did not care for), but that was a hard act to follow.
As expected from looking at the elevation profile, Ochoco Pass wasn’t nearly as challenging as McKenzie Pass. I reached the summit in good time and had a fun, speedy descent down the other side.
It wasn’t even 1PM when I arrived at Spoke’n Hostel, a church run by a couple, Pat and Jalét, who adhere to the philosophy of Courageous Hospitality. Outside is a water station with Gatorade powder, a post of bike tools, and other signs of welcome.
Inside, what would be the sanctuary is filled with bunk beds and comfortable seating, since they believe that if they want to truly live Courageous Hospitality, they have to make hospitality the priority. The congregation meets in the basement area, where there are pews (currently set up around tables for conversation and/or work) and a full kitchen.
There are games and other activities all around, from board games to puzzles, to a bowl of conversation starting questions such as “Have you ever thrown up in public? Tell about it.” And “What superpowers would you like to have?”
Out in the back is a shower, a place to do laundry (using a clever combination of two buckets and a plunger, and more seating, including hammocks. There is currently only one other guest, who started his TransAm ride from Seattle two weeks ago. He’s travelling light, only two panniers and a backpack, and is the first fellow TransAm rider I’ve met so far.
Pat and Jalét took us both out to the Painted Hills around sunset in the church van. Sunset, they said, was the time to see them. Photos can’t quite capture the spectacular play of light and shadow, but they can convey it better than words.
I’m glad I had a short day so that I could enjoy this to the fullest. A+ and I highly recommend this stop to anyone thinking of staying in Mitchell. If you are spiritual, I don’t think you could fail to be moved by this couple’s devotion to living their faith. You don’t need to be spiritual to appreciate the cozy atmosphere and warm welcome offered to all.
I plan for tomorrow to be a long day, starting with a mountain pass, ending with a long, slow climb into Prairie City, a good jumping off point for the three passes that will be left between me and Baker City.
Roadkill count: 1 goat, 1 deer, 1 unknown mammal.
The painted hills are lovely. May have to drive out there. Now that you’ve met another TransAm cyclist, will you be riding together?
Thank you for taking us along on your journey! What an incredible way to see the country.
Now I am doubly sorry we never got to Oregon. Beautiful sights. This is one of the 3 states out of 50 we didn’t visit. So jealous. We are so glad you are sharing this adventure.
OMG – those pictures of the painted hills are amazing! Must go see those! I continue to love your pictures (and video) and live vicariously through these. What an amazing trip and it seems like you are meeting wonderful people all along the way – I hope it continues.
According to Pat and Jalet, it doesn’t count unless you go at sunset. I would definitely recommend it.
I’m catching up on reading these again and this episode is wonderful, going from a downer of a night to euphoria of this wonderful couple’s hospitality and gorgeous scenery throughout! Keep on keeping on!
You look pretty in that picture, and the painted hills are wonderful! It looks and sounds like a really nice place to stay.
Farkle?!?! Not going to even ask …
The painted hills are gorgeous. Love seeing the picture of you, too. 🙂 Goat for roadkill? Even in the UK, I haven’t seen a goat as roadkill and there are pastures of them around. Stay safe!
There were some goats in the area. Perhaps one got out? Or maybe it died on its own and was left there. It’s hard to tell sometimes.