of the town of Mitchell. Once we reached the top it was all downhill for the next 25 miles or so...we were trying to get in as many miles as possible as to adhere to my rough schedule I had mapped out for this trip.
In brieft, it was a long hot day in the high desert land with little, if any, relief from the sun. I know I spent a lot of time hydrating and applying copious amounts of sunscreen....though who knows how much good that really did. We rolled on through a lot of one-horse-towns, which we used to refill our water bottles and stuff down some consumable food products.
Our main goal was to reach the town of John Day in order to resupply our food load and to get in a decent meal and stop at the local library...we accomplished two out of the three. We hit up a Mexican restaurant that fed us very, very well for a great price, stocked up on food, and walked away from the library with big frowns painted upon our faces (their internet access was down for the time being...go figure). It was fine though. We still chatted wtih the librarian and absorbed as much of the A.C. air as our pores would absorb.
We pulled out of that town around 3pm and still had about 30 miles of riding to go....it woudl mainly be uphill from the get-go and one more mountain pass to get up and over. The beginning of the climb was through rolling prarie-like land, with herds of cattle sprinkled about in a random fashion. The views of the tall, towering mountain ranges made for great distractions of the climb that soon lay before us. Luckily, the temperature was gettin cooler and it was mostly overcast at this point in the day.
We trudged onward and upward not really knowing how far from the top we really were. Each winding turn resulted in our disapointment in seein, not a summit sign, but another turn that would result in the same discovery.
About halfway up the climb there was a random viewpoint/overlook for eager-eyed tourists to snap Kodak moments gallor. I took two pictures. One of the mountain range and one of the touristy covered-wagon that was sittin all alone in the parking lot.
Finally, arond 6 or 7ish...we rolled down the mountain for 7 miles straight into Austin Junction. There was only one building there and a field in the back for bikers to pitch tents. Steven and I did just that and went inside to chat with some other bikers that Steven happened to know from a previous days ride. It was great to finally relax, share stories, and meet some new folks. One of them (Gene) is planning on riding through all the 50 states and is raising money for disabled veterans...Steven (a different one) just retired from the Marines and is biking XC and going to end up in Bar Harbor. He's taking his time, taking pictures, rock climbing, etc all the while. Before it got completly dark we all trudged out of the lodge/convenience store and called it a night.
http://www.havetoride.blogspot.com/ = Steven's blog address for further reading/another person's perspective on riding XC