Howard writing: Yesterday took us up and over Ochoco Divide, which more or less separates central from eastern Oregon.
The landscape has changed dramatically – jagged rock hills have replaced mountain forests, browns have replaced greens, and volcanic rock is evident.
With rain forecast for the next several days, and with a wonderful tail wind, I decided to add 16 miles to an already-long day yesterday and push on to Mitchell. Total riding distance was 85.7 miles, with 3300 feet of climb. Wendy rode 24 miles, round trip.
Mitchell is a sweet town (population, 120) not far from John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. We’re camped in our little trailer outside a bike hostel that doubles as a church on Sundays. There are several other cyclists here, and it’s fun to trade stories.
Yesterday, a wife-husband duo who own a coffee kiosk in Redmond, OR, committed a random act of kindness toward me. I rolled up to the window and ordered my coffee and we chatted for quite a while about the ride, about the central Oregon region, about small town life, etc.
These are cordial and warm people. When I pulled out my money to pay, they refused to take it. I said, “C’mon, that’s not right, let me pay.” The guy said, “Look, we own this place and we can do whatever we damn well please!” Then they asked if I had room to carry with me a half-pound of their custom-roasted coffee beans. I had to refuse the offer. That lovely encounter warmed me for the next 50 miles.