Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Bike Inn - Mt. Vernon, OR

Thick frost covering my tent and bicycle slowed me down this morning. It was 19 degrees out when I scraped the ice off my thermometer and packing up stiff, frozen gear sounded miserable.

I did none the less get on the road before 10am. The sky was clear and it felt likely to warm up. A few weeks ago, I'd keep my cyclocomputer on daily mileage, for something to look at. Now it's usually on temperature, so I can cheer myself up by watching it rise as I ride down the mountains. Before long it was in the 50s again, and sunny. Out of the Malheur National Forest, I rode into a beautiful, golden valley. The downhills are getting to be stressful with my slipping brakes - I might actually have to replace the pads soon. They've made it pretty well through the last 8000 miles...

Despite my moderately early start, the day got away from me. I stopped a little too long in Prairie City, eating cheese and crackers. When I got to John Day, the sun was at the horizon. Three cyclists riding back into town suggested I call it a day at Mt. Vernon. I knew about the accommodations, there, but I've been looking forward to the church run bicycle hostel in Dayville. More then just a church where cyclists can camp - it's set up more like the awesome hostel in Hutchinson, Kansas. Pushing on, in the dark and cold, an extra 25-or-so miles was clearly a bad idea, though, so I called the woman who runs the Bike Inn in Mt. Vernon.

Let me point out that my desire to reach Dayville has nothing to do with the quality of the Bike Inn in Mt. Vernon. It was just a goal I got attached to, a place I'd looked forward to seeing, and nostalgia for the places we slept in Kansas and Wyoming. The Bike Inn is wonderful, and the lady who maintains it is a sweetheart. She was out of town, tonight, so it was just me with the chickens and dog. I took a long shower, had a bucket of buttered noodles, and watched Dances with Wolves. Here is to a frost, ice, and snow-free morning...

Inside the Bike Inn

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