After resting up in Mitchell, we rode through the John Day Fossil Beds, where a cool little museum displays some of the prehistoric mammals that have been discovered there.
It got crazy hot as the day went on, and we took a nice long river break after picking up a few things at a market in Kimberly. Little did we know that it would be days before we’d see another store!
We spent the night in Monument and tackled a huge climb as the temperature rose; we got about 25 miles before stopping to take refuge in an air conditioned motel in Long Creek. Unfortunately, the grocery store we’d been counting on was closed, so our dinner came from what we could scrounge up at the gas station market.
The next morning, Erin got a head start while Greg waited for the store to open so we wouldn’t need to restort to eating pine cones. We had an amazing 2500 foot drop down to the John Day River, and then slowly regained that elevation as we followed the river over 40 miles. The road was absolutely beautiful – transitioning from prairie scrubland to pine forest as we gained elevation, and in the whole 40 miles we probably saw 5 cars. Also along the way we got caught in a huge downpour, with a little bit of hail – our first rain of the trip. We rushed to get to the campground so we could hit up the nearby store/restaurant before it closed. We made it with an hour to spare, only to find the store closed anyway, taunting us with signs promising Huckleberry cobbler and draft beer.
From there we had a couple of passes to climb before we finally rolled into Baker City – the first town with more than 200 people in six days. We stayed at another awesome bike hostel, along with seven other bike tourists, all of whom were doing the Transamerica route. We also met up with Andrew, who managed to sweet talk the owners of the local brewery into baby sitting his truck for the next two weeks. (Barley Brown’s Beer is fantastic, by the way! I’d had two people along the ride recommend it, and it is definitely worth a visit.)
Just three more days until I break off the ride to pick up my rental car in Boise and head home!