July 13, 2001

7/13/01 Dayville, OR

56.8 / 4560 miles

Sprinkled off and on last night as Emily and I talked. Later, sometime after midnight, we heard something like laughter over a loudspeaker. Emily thinks it was ghosts (others said it was elk).

Emily is an early riser like me. But after all the heat I've had, I was surprised how cold it was. I actually had to use my fleece gloves for the first couple of hours on the road. And because we camped at the top of the pass, the wind-chill coming down the mountain made it even colder. But had a great view of the valley and Strawberry Mountain.

Had french toast at the Little Diner Cafe in Prairie City. The trouble with an early start is that a lot of stuff isn't open, like the Depot Museum.

From here, it was a leisurely ride downstream alongside the John Day River. At the city John Day, I took a side street to see if the Kah Wah Chung Museum, a Chinese store and herbal doctor memorial, was open. It was right next to the city park where I spotted a few tents and some bikes. One of the bicycles was a lime-green recumbent with a trailer. A quick glance around and I saw Bubba over by the drinking fountain.

I hadn't seen Bubba since Booneville, KY, but with all his shortcuts I thought he might have passed me. He told me that after spending a few days driving a rental car around Yellowstone, he cut across Idaho following the Snake River instead of taking the route up to Missoula. With him were two others, Iain from Scotland and Margaret was from Jersey. In Idaho Falls, ID, they were invited to be in the 4th of July parade, got to talk to the governor and be interviewed by the local TV station. Bubba just seems to make these things happen.

I should have taken a break in John Day. The museum would have been unique and I could have used the library to check my email. But for some reason, I felt I needed to be on the road. That didn't make sense since I was half done with my mileage and it wasn't even 10AM.

From Mount Vernon, the wind started to pick up. Had a little delay because of some road work but also met another cyclist. Rich was just headed across the state. Turns out he is a teacher in Corvalis, where Emily had given a violence prevention talk to the 8th grade. Small world!

Amazing! Saw a coyote and her two kits on the ride. I think it only happened because the young were playing too much by the river instead of hiding from cyclists with a camera. (or worse, a rancher with a gun).

First stop in town was the Dayville Mercantile. The story goes that Steve Cookinham was doing the TransAm until he got to Dayville and saw the "for sale" sign at the store. But it's again for sale. "I've got itchy feet" says Steve. Besides groceries, he and his wife, Linda, sell everything from horse shoes to incense.

The smallest City Hall I've seen this trip

Home for tonight is the Dayville Presbyterian Community Church who has been letting cyclists use their building, including showers with fresh linen for the last 25 years. Ever since the TransAm started as the BikeCentennial in 1976. Took advantage of a modern kitchen to cook dinner. It's nice not to eat alone.

I really find I miss the fellowship of kindred spirits, almost like a moth to a flame. It's not something I've experienced much in my life. And while I have a lot of differences with the cyclists I meet, we are much more alike because of this wanderlust to travel under our own power. Even though I'm near the halfway point, my thoughts keep straying to "after". I will either have to find a community of like-minded people or I'll have to work hard on keeping "my" identity alive without being assimilated back into the "normal" culture (like I do at times).

Margaret is from Jersey which is an island off the Britany Coast of France where she is a taxi driver. But she has a thick British accent. She met Iain years ago just now got together with him to bike across America. "I just love it here," she says with a big smile, "the people are so nice."

The hostel is looked after by Millie who lives next door. A sweet woman with a happy disposition. Her brother-in-law, Ed, was up from Tempe, AZ, to put in a new bathroom. "She doesn't even want to think about moving." he said. Ed got married in this church 41 years ago. After becoming a mechanical engineer, he moved to Arizona where he designed jet engines for business jets.