I begin this with special thanks to Steve and Patty Palmer who shared some of my training rides. Unfortunately, Steve came down with a virus a week before the ride and was unable to participate this year. More thanks go to Maelynn and Bob Anderson and their friend Stacey who volunteered to give me and my bike a ride to John Day for the start of the ride. After about five miles on the first day, I never saw Bob again on a ride as he joined with a group much more suited to his faster speed. I did see Maelynn and Stacey often on the trail and we usually had dinner together to share the day’s experiences.
|Camping on a baseball field in John Day|
Our group arrived at the campsite about 4:00 pm after a nice drive up the Gorge and then down Hiway 395 along the John Day River. We would use 395 on four different days of our trip. After setting up camp, we explored the set-up, had dinner, and listened to Etoufee (or is it A2Fay?), a fun Louisiana Blues group. We were camped on the lush lawn of the baseball field.
John Day is one of eastern Oregon’s interesting small towns. The John Day River is protected by both Oregon and national scenic rivers acts and is the gateway to both the beautiful Strawberry Wilderness and the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and the Painted Hills. The town is also the site of the Kam Wah Chung Museum. The museum memorializes the life of Ing Hay, Chinese doctor who cared for people of the area until the 1950s using traditional Chinese medicine.
|On the road to Prairie City|
|Selling lemonade can be profitable with the right location|
Today’s ride started with a slight uphill climb to Prairie City where we turned off Hiway 26 to climb almost 2800 feet following the John Day River as it flows out of the Strawberry Wilderness. While the ride was not easy, we did enjoy the gurgling sound of the river as it flowed beside us. Our first food stop included music and coffee from Trailhead Coffee Roasters a pedal powered coffee shop. Earlier, we had been treated to an old-fashioned lemonade stop hosted by two young girls who probably earned $1000 that day as it seemed that most of the riders stopped to partake of their drinks.
|Headwaters of the John Day River|
|Headwaters of the Malheur River|
|Music at our rest stops|
|A most amazing coffee roaster on wheels|