Sunday, September 11, 2016

Day 80, 81 & 82: It's all downhill from here!

Prairie City, OR to Mitchell, OR to Redmond, OR to Rainbow, OR
 
Daily Mileage: 83.1 + 69.2 + 66.2 = 218.3
Total Mileage: 4,719.7
Average Speed: 12.5 / 12.8 / 13.8
Elevation Gain: 3,437/ 3,275 / 3,120
 
 
 
Day 80
The sun was shining over the mountains and it promised to be a nice WARM day. The son of our warm showers host works with the park service and had a bunch of non perishables that he unloaded on Wally and I. Canned fruit and chili! Dinner for a few nights, woo!
 
We rode down to the coffee shop which apparently sold tubes. I am still in desperate need, limping around on my last pached tube. They didn't have any for me, but we were told in 13 miles, the chamber of commerce in John Day has a little bike shop and should be able to help. I hope so, because it is day 80 and we are celebrating with 80 miles to a hostel in Mitchell, OR.
 
I added a bit of air to my rear tire, sucked down a donut (holler at wheresdan.com) and prayed this tube would last 13 miles.
 
This ones for Dan!
 
It was a gorgeous day and all downhill to John Day. We got there in 50 minutes and I bought two new tubes. Ahhhhh I can finally breath again!
 
 
The remainder of the ride continued to be downhill and all of a sudden we were stuffed back into some canyons. It is so fun to ride through this and gape at the towering walls of rock above.
 
 
After 50 miles, the gradual uphill began for the next 20 miles. The sun was beating down... Suns out guns out. I rolled up my sleeves and zipped off my jersey. Maybe I can even out this tan before I reach Seaside. It was so hot and I was so sweaty my arms were glistening with sweat. I don't think that has happened since Colorado!! I love it!!!!
 
 
Now we are a few miles into the ascent and I am laboring. My legs feel exhausted and I cannot seem to get Jasper moving at all. Then I feel the slight bump, bump, bump. I looked down and saw my tire was limp.
 
This time I didn't freak out and scream. I knew this was coming and I was happy to have a new tube to replace it with. The tube wasn't popped, just slowly leaking from the patch. Upon further examination the patch looked like old wrinkly skin so I threw on the new tube while Wally and I chit chatted.
 
Usually I would be super focused on the task at hand, but at this point, I can now change a tube like it is second nature. I haven't used tire levers the last few changes either. That is kind of cool, kind of sad. Call me, if you want a tutorial.
 
 
Back on the rubber, only a few miles to the top, then we roll 7 miles downhill into Mitchell.
 
Not so fast! Only a few hundred yards later the sound of a gun goes off. Jasper is okay, I am okay, but I turn around and Wally is shaking his head. Another popped tube. Haha we can't go anywhere together! At least it is hot and gorgeous out!
 
Finally, we make the 7 mile descent just after 6 PM. It was a wondrous descent. After 75 miles, it was nice to almost literally fly into town.
 
 
Our stay for the night is the Spoke'N Hostel whom I found on Warm Showers but also got a note passed along from David that it is an awesome place. Jalet (pronounced Juh-lay), the proprietor, messaged me back on facebook saying they like to take their guest to the Painted Hills for sunset at 6. Wally and I were bummed we were to late. On the up side, were both craving some soda, so we hit the grocery store and enjoyed the cold fizz bubble down our throats. 
Then, who pulls up in their car? Jalet! She told us there is still time to see the Painted Hills so we road the very short ride to the hostel, which is in a church (it basically is the church), then hopped in her car to see the hills.
An absolutely incredible sight. Not just for their beauty, but every color you see was a different environment millions of years ago. One color was a time flooded in water with millions of fish, another color was a jungle, another color they found woolly mammoth fossils, and lots of colors are different types of lava flow. From 40 million to 6 million years of history right in front of our faces.
 
       
As the sun set we drove back to the hostel for showers. Jalet cooked us spaghetti with meat sauce while we cleaned off. Quite possibly the best meal I've had this whole trip. Home made and taste just like moms!
 
I truly gorged on the pasta. Three full plate servings and I almost didn't have room for scooped Huckleberry and Death My Chocolate ice cream.
 
This whole place is a dream. This is Jalets job and something she has a great passion for. She said she has never seen a hostel, but she nailed this one. Upstairs are the bunk beds (complete with power strips and 4 setting light above your pillow), a lounge area and pews for hanging a meeting new people. Downstairs is more hang out area with a few guitars (ah man it's been a while, I played a bit) and the kitchen complete with tons of fruit, oatmeal, fresh mint lemonade, cookies, coffee, hard boiled eggs and much much more.
 
 
Like I said, this is a dream and a place that would exceed Queen Elizabeth's expectations. I don't know if I can leave... But unfortunely after breakfast and a few coffees, I will have to go on. It is a place like this that makes me want to return to Mitchell, OR. Forget the hostel even, I will come back to say hi to Jalet.
 
     
Chill zone
 
Jalet hosted over 300 cyclist this year and I know how gracious we all are for what you have done here. Thank you a million, trillion times Jalet.
 
Me, hostel dog, Jalet and Wally
 
 Day 81
Similarly to leaving my brother and friends in Denver, it wasn't easy to leave Spoke'n Hostel. That is obvious if you saw when we left (11:30). Jalet made us feel loved and at home and what more could you want on a trip where you have been away from your family practically the entire time.
 
Spoke'n Hostel
 
I made Wally and I three eggs and two pieces of toast each then we continued to fill up on cookies and were forced to eat and take as much fruit as we could. No problem there.
 
 
The day began with a 15 mile or more climb and Wally and I were excited to get to the top, eat lunch and fly down into Redmond.
 
At the top we pulled in for lunch at the Ochoco Divide campground to use the picnic table. The 75 year old host gave us crap for "day use" and wanted us to pay 5 bucks to use the table for 20 minutes. We were outraged and began to pack up. Wally moaned under his breath, "This is not what I fought over seas for" and surprisingly the old man heard it.
 
Wally hates to use the veteran card, and I can attest I haven't heard him use it for any type of grocery discount or anything like that, but this had the appropriate affect on the older gentleman. When he was steadfast on making us pay and happy to see us leave otherwise, all of a sudden became our best friend. 
 
"Oh since your a veteran you can stay. I am so sorry I didn't get around to brushing the pine off this table! How is the ride going today?" Just leave us be man.
 
 
After lunch we began our much awaited 40 mile descent into Redmond. That last about 5 miles and we were greeted with wicked headwinds slowing us down to hard fought 10-12 MPH rather than the easy 15+ we were hoping for.
 
It was a more exhausting day than we anticipated. To top it off, we stopped for a soda 20 miles outside of Redmond and as we began the final leg, Wally got a flat! Wouldn't be a day without one!
 
He got this flat around 5:30 (8:30 EST and I wanted to watch the first NFL game of the year! I got fantasy players going tonight!!) and it happened to be on the busiest highway we have been on since Yellowstone. So we were already upset about the heavy traffic, but another flat at the end of the day is.... Wait for it... Deflating.
 
 
Once that was fixed, I made my mind up, I am sprinting these final 15 miles to the city limits to minimize death. Wally aptly named those 15 miles, "The Death Dash."
 
A dash it was. I flew through those miles. Had it not been rush hour it may have been a more relaxing ride; it was beautiful, but there was no time for that.
 
Mountains in the distance
 
We arrived at our Warm Showers house, Patrick, while he was out on a hike. He warned me he is moving out so his house is empty, I told him we didn't care. We let ourselves in and made ourselves at home. As promised, it was empty. Only his bed remained in the TV room on the floor and one giant piece of art that he was leaving with the new owners.
 
Pat took us out to the brewery for the second half of the game and bought us two beers each. I got an incredibly delicious peanut butter stout called Nut Cruncher. Pat works for the Forest Service and is bike touring down the Pacific coast 400 miles at a time. He is an awesome guy who would love nothing more than to take 3 months off, or forever off, and bike tour.
 
 
Back at his house he has hops growing up a pergola and had us suck on one. Such a bitter taste, if we bit into it we would be tasting that bitterness for the next week.
 
At last it was bed time and falling asleep on a two beer buzz takes approximately 2 minutes.
 
 
Day 82
Wally took the time to swap his front and rear tires to maybe avoid further flats. We'll see if that works.
 
 
Today is our final big climb of the trip and apparently a very beautiful one. Similar to yesterday, but better. Up to over 5,000 feet and then flying down to the coast at 0. However, all in due time.
 
Naturally, Wally's front tire gave out 10 miles in. Luckily, it only took a quick pump and we rode 5 more miles into Sisters, OR.
 
Not at all what we expected. A town of roughly 9,000 people and a gorgeous one at that. I got good vibes immediately as we drove in. A sign under "The town of Sisters, OR" that reads bicycle friendly is always a good start. We made our way to the bike shop so Wally could get itself and another spare tube. 
 
At the Blazin Saddle bike shop, the first thing that was offered to us was a free beer on tap. I knew it was right about this place!
 
Shocker, I noticed my new tube from a day or two ago was getting a little flat, so I also got a new tube and decided to change it as well. I figured why not have a fresh tube at the right PSI for our final big climb.
 
After a beer and lunch we made our way to the final climb.
 
Right outside of Sisters the scenery, as promised, started to become forest like. I was loving it! I was dancing in my saddle and in the middle of bursting out Bohemian Rhapsody, "Mommaaaaaaaaaaa, oooooOOOOOOOOO!!"
 
 
Then it happened. Come on say it with me, you know the drill. 
 
TSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!
 
Alright so screw the right PSI. Clearly if my tires are inflated above 50 PSI, I am getting a flat. This all started when REI Denver gave me a new wheel. I didn't get my first flat until just outside of Denver and now I'm on... 7? 8? I don't know anymore.
 
So, contrary to my hopes, I am climbing this final pass at whatever PSI my tiny frame pump can get me to. It's all good though, because it is freaking gorgeous.
 
 
Also Wally gave me a few caffeine pills so were flying high now. The ride was a beautiful forest that eventually peaked onto lava rocks. 11,000 years ago it would have been liquid hot magma.
 
 
So we did it! Despite all these flats we reached our final pass!
 
 
The descent was the topper too. A wild turning ride through this forest. Wally and I held on tight to our brakes almost the whole time, but it was magnificent. 
 
 
Also at the top we enjoyed warm sunlight, inside the forest we were smacked with a sheet of chill like we just rode into a refrigerator. As we twisted and turned and got below 2,000 feet we felt the immediate temperate swap back to warmth and my goosebumps were final gone.
 
 
It was awesome to enjoy a descent with no headwinds and better yet, no flats. We cruised those final 30 something miles to our (maaaaybe) final campground of the trip, Delta Campground. We are quite literally in a forest. I'm sorry Axl, WE'RE IN THE JUNGLE BABY!!!!
 
 
Very cool place for the final campsite. Actually, not cool, it's supposed to be in the 60s tonight and dry. I can curl up in my tent and fall asleep under the stars tonight one last time. Oh my god, I'm gonna cry just typing that.
 
 

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