Location: Dayville, OR (Dayville Community Presbyterian Church)
I’m much too tired to write tonight, but I’ll jot down the facts of the day. We lucked out last night and didn’t get besieged by thunderstorms. I could hear them in the distance as I lay awake, and occasionally flashes of lightning woke me up in the night
This morning, we loaded up on water and drank our fill at the well. We had forty miles to the next reliable water source, which was at Mitchell, a small town with only about two hundred residents. The number of residents is dwindling too. Half the stores in the town were boarded up. Some had “for sale” signs. Others simply had closed signs, with the word “permanently” spray painted on the doors and windows.
We reached Mitchell around noon and had a burger at the small café there. It was a great burger, and we sat at a picnic table in the shade. The blazing sun had pushed the temperature in the mountainous desert to near ninety degrees. A cool breeze blew from the mountain peaks, but when we started up the next mountain at two o’clock, the wind moved just as fast as I could pedal up the road, about three or four miles an hour. I was trapped in a pocket of slow moving hot air, so I had to stop often to catch the breeze and cool down. Sweat poured off me, but I eventually made the six miles to the dry, red summit, where Brian was waiting for me.
The remainder of the day was pleasant, despite the miles being those between fifty and seventy-five for the day. Most of the miles were downhill with a strong afternoon wind at our back. We coasted for the most part, weaving through canyons of red rock and gold sands eventually through the layered sediment cliffs of the John Day Fossil Beds. It was still hot and dry, but the speed of the ride kept me cool. Each time I slowed, I felt the nasty heat. I could feel it burning my arms and knees. It burned my nostrils, and it wore on my energy so that I thought the rubber on my tires was sticking to the pavement.
We reached Dayville, OR around six o’clock and immediately stopped at the general mercantile for a Gatorade and some snacks for the next day’s ride. The clerk at the register told us about the biker hostel at the Presbyterian Church at the top of the hill in town. It sounded much better than the city park where we had planned to sleep, so Brian and I rode to the church and let ourselves inside the sanctuary. We checked in with a member of the church down the street, and we came back to do laundry, check our email, and eat dinner.
For dinner, tonight, I could only eat and apple and an orange. The sickness I contracted a few days ago has really infested my lungs and sinuses. I feel worse now than before, and I suspect that I may need to rest a day to cure my body. When biking, my body devotes all its resources to pedaling and activity, leaving little energy left over for my immune system to function effectively.
I hope I’ll shake the sickness soon. For now, I’m going to sleep in the kitchen area of the small wooden white church.