Today was about as flat as can be with only a few short rises in the landscape of less than a few hundred feet. While it makes riding easier, it also makes the ride less interesting. One can only get so excited about more wheat fields and more sagebrush.
|Rest stop at the Round Barn|
|Round barn interior|
We did have the opportunity to stop at Pete French’s Round Barn, one of the highlights of the region. French built the barn in the late 19th century to have a place to train horses during the cold winters. By building a round barn the horses did not have to make sharp turns as they were learning. Upon entering the barn, I am most excited by the intricate design of the ceiling. Cycle Oregon donated some money to a barn restoration project a few years ago.
|Scenery on the way to Crane|
Lunch was set at Crane Hot Springs, a natural hot spring with a few rooms and a pond filled with mud. Our camp was only a few miles away so many of the riders stayed for hours or finished the ride and then returned to the hot springs for the rest of the afternoon. After 55 miles, I just soaked my feet and then headed to camp arriving early enough to catch the early show on the stage. The singer was a local whose stories reminded me of the kind of songs Jim Croce used to sing with a religious cowboy theme. His wife and mom were part of the audience so I chatted with them a bit. His wife, a rodeo champ, said that he has no desire to do anything other than be a rancher. He has no desire to become a full time entertainer whatever his talent might allow. Our headliner entertainment, the Dave Cooley Band, played piano-based rock and roll.
|Crane Hot Springs|
The small town of Crane is home to perhaps the only public high school left in the United States where students actually live in dorms. Students come from up to 150 miles away, too far to commute on a daily basis so they are bussed to Crane Sunday evening and return home for the weekend on Thursday unless they have a game. The 62 Mustangs have a prodigious sports record with several state championships. We met several of the students as they carried our bags from the storage truck to the campsite. With a suggested tip of $2, it was well worth it to us and earned each of the teams a significant amount of money to improve their facilities. The wrestling team is working for a new mat and the volleyball team will get new nets to give just two examples of how the money is used.