End of Day 7 and Day 8, Prairie City to Baker City, 65.45 miles, riding time 6:66, 10.27 avg mph, 4534 elevation gain
Got to Prairie City after an ice cream stop in John Day. Jimi, my Warm Showers host met me on his bike right as I was arriving into town which was super fun. We arrived at his beautiful home perched up on the hill overlooking the town with breathtaking views of the Strawberry Mountain range. Years ago, my ex husband and friends of ours biked around this range of mountains and it was a blast. The snow-capped tops provided a contrast to the pastures below. Jimi told me all the snow on the peeks would melt away within the next month.
After feeling human again (shower), Daniel, Jimi's 22 year old son just recently back from a backpacking trip in Europe and Jimi cooked me an amazing meal. We sat outside on their deck enjoying the perfect weather and view. I did a load of laundry (THX Jimi!) and rested well. I woke up around 5am to the smell of a dreamy egg dish with sweet potatoes, onions, peppers and other veggies that Daniel made for breakfast. After downing that, I packed up and Jimi rode with me along the highway for a few miles until he turned around to head to work. This journey isn't necessarily about the biking. It's a big part of it, however, the people you get to chat with and especially the kind Americans that willingly take you into their home and treat you like family is a gift that I'll never take for granted. I hope when I get back to Portland, I'm able to host and reciprocate the kindness people have and will continue to give me.
I rode from Prairie City to Baker City yesterday, getting an early start. I knew I had 3 mountain passes to climb with an elevation gain of 4524 feet total. YIKES! I enjoyed the day fully. My body feels great. A little sore, but strong. Although, it was curious that there weren't ice cream trucks waiting for me halfway up each of the 3 passes (Dixie, Tipton and Sumpter). C'mon! I really could have used a Toasted Almond Ice Cream bar. I would have even settled for a Rocket Popsicle halfway up the Tipton Pass. But, alas, nothing. Hardly any cars passed me. I think about strange things while riding. Like, which knowledge/skill-for-a-day I wish I had. Yesterday, it was ornithology. It would be great to be able to identify birds along my way. Birds that flirt with me and chirp at me and follow me. The other day, I wondered why we humans love throwing banana peels out the window. I notice more brown, dried up banana peels along the road than flattened snakes. And, that's a lot!
I soaked my feet in a creek after the turn off to Sumpter and within a few miles I heard a 'POP'! How exciting, my first flat tire! Well, well... it was much more than that. My brand new tire, ordered custom from a guy who built my wheels wore completely through after a week. So, I had to pry the new tire off (not an easy task with a new tire), replace the tube and put my spare tire on. Took me about an hour. I'm very concerned why this happened (see photos in album below). Maybe I'll get some answers from you readers as to what you think did this. It looks worn, not like something cut it. Hmmm. So- I have booting material with me and I'll keep the old one for a bit, but I'm hoping I can get a new tire shipped to me in Missoula since I ride 650s. Not convenient. Frustrating in fact.
After everything was ready to go, I had what is probably a really nice downhill into Baker City in the gorge. I say, 'probably' because it WAS beautiful, however the head winds were strong, I had to bike hard just to keep up at 10mph. But, I enjoyed it fully and ended up at my second Warm Showers host's home by 6pm. Wil and Julie are great hosts and after they fed me, we chatted most of the evening. I slept hard with dreams of picnics and food.
Today is my first layover day. I have a massage scheduled (YES!) and errands to do. I'm in the Baker County Library- a fantastic resource for the community with tons of magazines, daily newspaper (even the NY Times!) and free wireless. Gotta love and support out local library systems folks. Super important resource in our communities.
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