Day 9 & 10 Rest and Horses

My layover day in Baker City was dreamy. I woke up, took a ride into town (hauling no trailer!) and spent some time in the public library catching up on things. I got my brother a birthday card and my dad a Father's Day card (cowboy-themed, of course), got a hot stone massage, ate a huge salad (no ice cream that day) and went back to hang out with my hosts, Julie and Wil. Julie gave me a beautiful angle she made of ceramic. I zip-tied it to my frame (see photo). I went to bed early, waking up to the smell of Julie's amazing cooking- she made me eggs, bacon and potatoes to fuel my ride! I ate, packed up and said my goodbyes to them, thrilled to have met such welcoming, warm people (see photo). My Day 10 ride was a beautiful one, maybe one of my favorite so far. I biked from Baker City to Halfway Oregon. I passed the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center after seeing ruts from wagons on the Oregon Trail. I didn't take the ride up to the Interpretive Center because I have been there before, but I'd suggest it if you're passing through. A lot of my day followed the Powder River. I had a sweet tailwind and made great time overall. I stopped briefly at a beautiful spot along the river for a PBJ sandwich and was happy to see an island of daisies in the middle of the river. Like I said, daisies are my favorite flower and they pop up everywhere along my ride. It was tempting to cross the river and head to the utopian island for a swim/reading spot, but I wanted to get over the mountain pass between Richland and Halfway earlier than later. I stopped in Richland to re-stock my water supply and started the 4 mile, 4mph climb up the hill. Up the mountain! I enjoy the climbing actually. I go slow enough that it doesn't hurt or burn... It's just unbelievably slow-going. I sing... Yesterday was "the ants go marching one by one..." I stop and eat a Gu pack, drink water, stretch, get back on and ride more. It was the first hill that I could see most of the climb, switchbacks. I felt a sense of incredible accomplishment while I turned to begin each new switchback, but I'm curious if it's mentally more challenging being able to see how much you have to climb.
At the top, I sent some texts to people on my mind saying hello and then started the 7% grade down to Halfway. I arrived at my destination, Inga Thompson's home- a retired Olympic cyclist. She now runs Lone Fir Friesian farm and invites cyclists to stay in a room above the horses in the barn. I was awed by the beauty of the location. I showered and Inga and I went into town and spent the evening drinking beer, hanging with two of her friends, John and Ken. Our conversations went from relationships, to vintage Caterpillar toys to her Friesian horses mowing hay. It was awesome and I felt like I knew these folks as long-time friends. We got back and I crashed without even moving during sleep. I awoke to the horses out in the pasture as the sun came up. I took some photos, washed up, left Inga a note and now I'm at Stockmen's eating a big breakfast in preparation for an 80-mile day including another large mountain summit!
I'm extremely excited for two things today: my first state border crossing and meeting up with my colleague and friend Rhonda Heggen, the Physical Activity, Nutrition and Tobacco Coordinator at the Idaho Department if Education, funded by CDC. She is the counterpart to my former position at the Oregon Department of Ed and we've known each other for many years. Rhonda and her husband, Jon are cycling with me for 3 days! Can hardly wait for this Coordinated School Health 'team' to ride together!!

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