We weighed up the advantages to staying in Prineville one more night and compared them to the risks in heading out and riding over. We were well rested after spending the day yesterday walking around and eating! We faced the chance of rain and the chance of weekend traffic, but then there was the real scare that if we stayed in Prineville one more day I could get bored out of my mind and that usually leads to trouble! So we headed out! The advantage to heading out early is of course less traffic and this morning no rain! The scenery changed yet again as the mountains that bordered the valley we had been following closed in so we were now in another beautiful tighter valley enjoying the company of a stream alongside us babbling and soothing for a long way until it gave way to a forest of tall Ponderosa Pines. An interesting fact about the Ponderosas we have picked up along the way helps us understand why the floors of these forests are so clean and brush free!The thick bark on the trees makes them resistant to low ground fires which keeps the floor clear whether the fires are caused by natural starters or controlled burns to assist the growth of the trees for lumber. They are magnificent tall trees. The road work crew has been tackling a project to drop some of the faltering trees close to the roadway, this gave us a strong scent of pine almost all day! Mother Nature at its best!
The ride was pretty uneventful and we were thrilled that we neither had to deal with rain or traffic! We did have an opportunity to meet Al, he hailed us as he traveled the opposite direction. He was returning to his home in Bend after cycling to a Christian Retreat at the summit! He very generously filled us in on the road ahead and things to look for! Said the rain clouds had parted while he was at the top this morning so we were happy with that news! He had completed the TransAM last year in 57 riding days! Crazy, he was about our age! After our fun chat with Al it was a quiet peaceful ride and if this was the road that was going to take us up and over 4,700 feet, well we could hardly tell it was so gradual! (Well, there were some tricky bits)
We finally did hit a little squall of rain, but nothing major, we didn't even put our jackets on still thinking ourselves pretty clever for taking the challenge! Soon enough we could see the rain ahead and thought it best to get prepared. Donned our ever amazing Shower Passes rain coats and it was not a second too so! Mostly because the temperature dropped very noticeably and then the rain!
As rain goes, coupled with traffic and cold we were still doing pretty good. Passing cars threw up a lot of road spray, but we were still doing ok! We still kept reminding ourselves it was not so bad! I think what kept us going was the road really never got to be the difficult pass we were expecting so we were thrilled when we saw the top! Thank you Oregon for the Summit Sign to show we made it! I forgive you for not having one on Santiam Pass! Glad to be at the top we knew what was up ahead. We were pretty wet, really should have had another layer on under the jackets but thought it will get warmer as we drop down. Wrong. It got colder and wetter! It was raining so hard that we would have gotten any dry clothes wet trying to get them out of the bags and onto our cold backs!. I was so freezing I knew if we stopped it would be even colder so we pushed on! It was about 10 miles of downhill before we got enough of a flat road that we had to peddle again! And peddle we did to work up the energy to warm us back up!! The rain stopped and we stopped to put on that extra layer. The air was actually much warmer, it still felt cold while riding so it was a surprise to feel the difference! Layered up and warmer we pushed on to our destination in Mitchell, Orego. And now it really gets good!
Spoke'N Hostel run by a pastor in an old church building and of course he just happens to be a barber! Pat was outside welcomed us by calling out our names and we rolled our dripping bikes inside to the warmest most welcoming room we have seen this trip! The beds are hand made, the quilts are hand made, absolutely everything is provided for you! Sheets, pilllows blankets, towels, completely stocked showers, of course kitchen, comfy overstuffed chairs and hospitality in abundance! The set up is very European with bunks in a dormitory style room. Each bunk has privacy curtains and each area has a light, plugs, USB ports,hooks for clothes, extra blankets so cozy! I think its all rather exciting and part of the adventure. Mike not so crazy about it but seems quite settled knowing so much privacy is here!Enjoy the photos to help you get a feel for it! Wonderful!! All donation based! Mike took advantage of Pat's barbering skills and got the best haircut! Walked into town for a delicious meal and take note of the cherry pie photo! OMG . . .just as good as it looks!
Once again small town living wins out. America the beautiful and it's the kind, trusting generous people that make it so!
2 riders Garry and Rob caught up with us tonight. The first 2 we have seen on the TransAM going our direction. They met a few months ago on the Adventure Cycling Website looking for riding partners! I thought maybe they were life long friends! Traveling much quicker than we are!
Looks like everyone else is all tucked up and cozy in their little private bunk, mine is the only one left with a glowing light and the clicking of typing keys! I think it is Lights Out for this biker chick! Good night everyone!!