After leaving Unity, Oregon I rode 66.4 miles to Vale, Oregon. There were some moderate climbs but much of it was flat or downhill so the miles seemed to go by quickly. This brought my cumulative miles to 448.10. I stayed overnight in Vale and the next morning had a wonderful conversation and coffee with 2 lovely ladies (Carol and Linda) at a local coffee shop.
My goal was to make it to my hometown that afternoon which would mean a day of about 60 miles. Knowing the communities I was in helped to make the distance between towns seem shorter. When I came across this in Nyssa, Oregon I knew I was getting close...lol!
Then I came up to the Snake River and I could see the welcome to Idaho sign on the other side...yay!
It felt so great riding into my homestate of Idaho! I've been on this road so many times in a car and while on my bike I was seeing things I probably had driven right past on numerous occasions including this...an actual drive in movie theater still in operation!
I rolled into Meridian, Idaho around 4:00 and rode to my bosses house to pick up my vehicle and headed home for a couple days of rest and visiting! Nick and I were able to hang out and have lunch...he is so excited about his new job at Rock Creek Shooting and is absolutely loving it! Thank you Phil and Rex for bringing Nick on to help at your incredible new facility!
I stopped into my workplace and visited with some of my co-workers which was awesome! Sorry I missed some of you :(
I've already ran out of water twice so I got 2 more bottle cages and 3 insulated bottles to keep the water cooler longer. Getting rid of gear I don't need and checking over Bobnick. I'll be heading out across Idaho early Sunday morning in route to Breckenridge, Colorado...my brother's home state.
Miles Today - 60.6
Cumulative Miles - 508.7
When I left John Day I knew my path was going to be changing as I am making a detour to go through Boise. Once again, Oregon dealt me 2 mountain passes in the same day.
My goal was to make it to Unity, Oregon but about 12 miles out, still climbing in mountains and I was out of water. With little choice, I kept pedaling on. I finally rolled into Unity and could immediately tell the services were very limited. I did a quick search and there was only one hotel/rv park and no campgrounds. I called and the lady told me they didn't have any vacancies. I explained what I was doing and that I was out of food and water. She was very helpful and gave me directions to a restaurant that was open for another hour or so. The restaurant was called, The Watering Hole. When I entered the restaurant there was only 2 gentleman in the place. I sat down at the bar and the bartender asked what I wanted and I asked for the largest water she had and she kept them coming! I ordered a sandwich and engaged in a conversation with the two men. They were amazed with what I told them I was doing and wished me well. I asked the bartender if there was any place in town that I could pitch my tent for the night and she suggested behind the community center about a block up the way. I asked if she would mind filling my water bottles which she did with a smile! She was so awesome! Thank you!
I pitched my tent and was out like a light. I was awakened at 4:00 AM by a chorus of what seemed like dozens of different birds. The RV Park/Hotel had a small cafe that opened at 7:00 so I tried my best to go back to sleep to no avail. I was reliving everything that happened the day before trying to make plans so it wouldn't happen again. About 6:45 I packed up my tent and sleeping bag to head over for breakfast. When I walked in, the same two gentlemen from the night before were there. As we enjoyed our coffee one of them told me that they have been coming to Unity from Salem each summer for tbe past 14 years. Having seen the limited amenities of the small town I was puzzled and asked him why. What he told me would have Nick drooling...lol! They come down to kill the whistle pigs, gophers and rats on ranchers and farmers property. Why would Nick love this so much? The property owners provide all the ammo as in unlimited until the problem is resolved. That's right Nick, unlimited ammo to shoot to your hearts content! Now that is right up Nick's alley! The gentlemen said they've been shooting all their lives and I told them if they ever get to Boise that they need to visit Rock Creek Shooting (www.rockcreekshooting.com). We finished our conversation, paid our checks and I headed out for the next leg of my ride.
Miles today -50.8
Cumulative Miles -381.70
Today was a short day as far as mileage is concerned but long thanks to the 95 degree temps!
I rode from Dayville to John Day Oregon which was relatively flat with just a few modest climbs. To keep my mind off the heat I put my headphones on listened to music while riding along the John Day river. I was noticing a lot of the lyrics mirrored how I'm feeling about this journey...here are a few of them.
"So often time it happens, that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key"
Already Gone by The Eagles
"When your hourglass runs out of sand you can't flip it over and start again. Take every breath God gives you for what it's worth"
Don't Blink by Kenny Chesney
"His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake. And the Colorado Rocky Mountain High, talk to God and listen to the casual reply"
Rocky Mountain High by John Denver
"So If you're tired of the same old story, oh turn some pages"
Roll with the changes by REO Speedwagon
"When the water's high, when the weather's not so fair, when the well runs dry, who's gonna be there, you find out who your friends are"
You find out who your friends are by Tracy Lawrence.
I'm about 180 miles from my home town of Meridian, Idaho! Don't know the exact date I'll be rolling through but it's in sight and I'm looking forward to seeing Nick and my co-workers at Office Value!
Miles Today - 31.8
Cumulative Miles - 330.9
After a much needed rest day it was time to get back on the bike and continue on to Dayville. There was a very steep climb just out of Mitchell, the rest of the ride was awesome!
I was about 4 miles outside of Dayville and came upon two cyclists, Ian and Jim. Ian was from Scotland and is going cross country East to West. Ian waved at Jim (who is a young 81) and when Jim waved back, lost his balance and took a tumble. He had several cuts and had hurt his collar bone. Ian was waiting with Jim until his wife and ambulance arrived.
I stopped at a local cafe for lunch and then headed into town looking for the Church I saw on the warm showers app that lets cyclists stay in the Church as they are passing through Dayville.
When I went into the Church there wasn't anyone there but there was a sign to check in with Rose at the house behind the Church. Rose accompanied me back to the Church, gave me a tour and told me about the history of letting cyclists stay since the 1970's. They have several thick binders that have all the thank you notes that cyclists have ever written. Pretty cool!
I was the only person in the Church all night which was kind of weird. They have a shower, washer/dryer and kitchen so I was able to eat, shower and do laundry!
Already in the second week of this incredible adventure...wow! I wanted to post a little about my thoughts after this first week and will update everyone tomorrow with details of my ride from Mitchell to Dayville.
Looking back to June 10th when my boss and I pulled into Florence, Or. in a driving rain storm perhaps this was to be a metaphor for the entire journey. What seemed to be a gloomy, drab day for the beginning of the ride quickly changed to beautiful sunshine and then back to heavy rain storms for much of the day. The pain from riding is hardly noticeable one day and is so painful the next, if leaves me wondering if it will ever stop and of course it doesn't really stop entirely but becomes manageable. The one thing that is consistent is the incredible people I'm meeting every day...each with their own unique story.
The very first day I met up with another cyclist (Ryan) about 5 miles into the ride. Neither of us having ever set on an adventure like this, we have been riding most of the way together, motivating each other, laughing, dealing with challenges...oh and Ryan cooks up an awesome bacon and eggs breakfast and steak dinner too! We have become good friends in just a week and look forward to keeping in touch long after the ride has ended. Many other cyclists including Karolina (AKA That Cycling Chick) who is trying to cycle across the country with no money...she is something else! A great sense of humor and could probably make sailors blush too! Mitchell, a recent college graduate that decided he wanted to ride across the country this summer before going back to school or pursuing a career and he's doing it! He is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. All four of us have crossed paths several times in different places on this trip and over the weekend we were all quests at the Spoke'n Hostel in Mitchell, Oregon (Mitchell is convinced they named the town after him!). This place and the people who run it (Pat and Jalet Farrell) are truly special. The hospitality shown to guests at this facility (A church) should be a lesson for all hospitality companies big and small. They are not only concerned about you as a guest, they are genuinely interested in you as an individual. Thank you Pat and Jalet for everything...I won't forget how special you made me feel.
There of course are so many other people I've met along the way...not just cyclists but people at rest areas, stores, restaurants and more who are so curious about what I'm doing and why! Offering suggestions for routes, offering food, water and extending well wishes for a safe and fun trip.
Then there is the time for heavy reflection while on my bike...my thoughts turning to Bob, Nick and a dear friend that is battling some serious health issues. I draw such strength from all of them and enjoy the time I have alone with each of them individually at different times of the ride. Going through some steep climbs or in the middle of nowhere, I never feel alone.
Then all the continued support from family, friends and co-workers. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate it. The commenting and sharing of photos, stories from my ride. The "great job Dan", "You got this" etc. Thomas and Joni posting photos of Ace on Facebook...it all culminates into, I'm not really riding alone and I am so thankful!
What does the next week, month or months hold in store? No way of knowing but I look to continuing this adventure of a lifetime!
Today's ride from Prinville to Mitchell, Oregon wasn't the longest or the greatest elevation gain in a day but it was painfully slow. There were some steep climbs but I think what really was challenging was the consistent climbing. What looked like flat terrain was really a long...long...gradual climb that has my knees screaming this morning!
I was taking it very slow today...partially because I wanted to take it easy part because the ride was tough. Which was hurting more? My knees or my rear end? Sorry I digress...
The landscape continued to be a joy to experience! Deer resting in the brush, beautiful lakes and more...
Another pass conquered !!!
And now the reward...yeah baby!!!
Checking over my bike I discovered a spoke that came out and others were loose. In the heart of Sisters is a bike shop called "Blazin Saddles" I called them and they said they could take a look at it first thing in the morning. As I approached the bike shop I saw a gentleman on his bike near the intersection. I went up and introduced myself...his name was Brad. He had started his cross country ride on the east coast and had reached Sisters in only 41 days! Amazing!!! Early congrats on completion of your ride Brad!
They said it would take an hour or so to get the shop opened and complete the necessary repairs. I gave the gentleman my phone number and walked into town.
When I saw Sisters Coffee Company I had to go in! What a neat place! I got my coffee and sat outside admiring the charm of the small mountain town.
I headed back over to the bike shop and they were just finishing up with my bike. Everyone in the shop was very pleasant and helpful...highly recommend Blazin Saddles if you find yourself needing repairs or gear in Sisters, Oregon.
Next stop was the Post Office so Ryan could ship home some of his gear to lighten his load. He had a lot of stuff and I'm sure it was much easier for him once all that weight was off his bike.
We then began our day with a light rain falling. It wasn't as demanding as a couple days ago but just enough climbs to keep us honest, finishing up in Prineville, Or. this afternoon.
Miles today 38.4
Elevation Gain - 1,110
Cumulative Miles - 210.9
Next Stop - Mitchell, OR
I started the day out taking it very easy...I had no idea how challenging the day would become! The first part of the ride was so relaxing, beautiful scenery and even ran into Karolina for the 3rd time on my trip. She is from Poland and believe it or not she is trying to cross the USA with NO money...WHAT??? Good luck Karolina!
Continuing on, enjoying the smell of the occasional campfire and doing a lot of reflection. It was as if Bob and Nick were right there with me. Thinking about my friend Doug, praying he gets better soon.
I wasn't planning on riding far today...plans were for a short, relaxing ride but with such beautiful scenery it was really hard to stop....wondering what was around the next corner.
Then, before I knew it I was at the base of the McKenzie Pass! I thought about pitching my tent and tackling it the next day but decided to press on. I could tell immediately that this was going to be a rough afternoon. The uphill climbs were relentless...no breaks anywhere! About 7 miles in, the road was closed to all vehicles except bicycles so that was awesome!
The miles went on ever so slowly...I was always looking ahead hoping there would be a downhill run just a little bit, but nothing! This was grueling, I didn't see anymore cyclists along the route until the end of the day so I out there alone to conquer this enormous challenge. The steep climbs seemed to never ever end! I have 2 water bottles and had only a 1/3 of one left so that was concerning to me. I did my best to ration what I had left as best I could. I got off my bike on more than one occasion and walked for a while. I remember sitting on a guardrail wondering how much further can this possibly go for?
I noticed the height of the trees ahead seemed to lower and I could see a little open space. I was so hopeful that the summit was near and it was. I few more climbs and turns and there it was! I MADE IT!!!! I was totally wiped out but knowing I did it was a feeling I'll never forget. Then I look over to my left and there was Karolina again...we briefly celebrated our victory and got ready for the glorious descent into Sisters, Oregon. 15 miles of nothing but coasting (and fast!) aaaahhhh!!!!
As demanding as today was, this was the reward at the top!
McKenzie Pass was the toughest part of my ride by far but has helped prepare me for what still lies ahead.
Total miles today - 59.7
Elevation gain - 4,626 ft
Cumulative miles - 172.5
Yes, Nimrod is the actual name of the town :)
I got started about 8:30 this morning. The weather had cleared and was in the mid 50s...perfect!
My riding companion, Ryan was going to be getting started later as he was waiting for the local T-Mobile store to get his phone replacement in. I headed out on to the Mckenzie Scenic Highway and boy was it ever scenic! Beautiful...
Completed the first day from Florence to Eugene Oregon. 64.2 miles, 2213 ft elevation gain. Hadn't planned on going that far the first day. A lot of rain but beautiful! Met Ryan who was riding for his mother that died of breast cancer. We took several detours off the main route that went along the river on dirt roads. Except for one encounter with two very angry dogs,it was perfect! Found out just how fast I can ride and how loud I can scream! Got into Eugene about 8:45 and got a hotel room for the night. Awesome first day!