Location: Austin Junction, OR (Camped by Clear Creek)
I slept in an hour or so this morning at the church. I ended up sleeping in the sanctuary so I could put a wall between Brian and me. My hacking cough and violent throat clearings would have woken a hibernating bear. I fell asleep quickly on the hard floor, after reading several dozen pages of a book I found in the church library. The book was called How to be a Christian without being Religious. It was an old book, but I found the title interesting. It seems that escaping the religious mundane, the ritualism and the mechanical church attendance on Sunday, is to venture out into the world and spread the Good News. The few chapters brought to mind one individual, George Kelley, who ventured well into unknown China to evangelize. I certainly have a sliver of his adventurous spirit, but likely not one equal.
I thought about his activities some today, and how difficult times must have been when he had no one to turn to for help. I’m sure he would say he always had God, and no person could help him more than God. But, the point I recognize is one that I have recognized before, and that is the value of good people to rely on, the value of family, a home, and friends with whom I can share success and failure. I’m thankful that on this trip I have someone with whom to share the things I see, the pain I feel and just the happenings in general of life on the road. I hope to always have someone to share my experiences with because they often mean more when shared.
Today we biked another fifty miles, and I held up well despite my sickness. We made several climbs today, but the one at the end of the day nearly killed me. Eight miles and 2,300 feet in elevation change. With sun beating on my neck and back, I reached the top around six o’clock. Brian was, of course, already at the summit pass. Dixie Pass, it was called, at 5,200 feet. We coasted down the other side of the mountain to a store where I bought us each a beer. We grabbed some snacks and candy and left down Highway 7 to find a campsite. After much indecision, we bedded down below the road in a glade by Clear Creek.
I think we may be on someone’s private property, but we are in a national forest, and my understanding is that a person can camp in a national forest as long as he is twenty feet from a road and a quarter mile from a designated USFS campsite. Anyway, if we get booted by some locals in the middle of the night, it will give me something to write about tomorrow.