60 miles (97 km) – Total so far: 3,819 miles (6,146 km)
100-105 degree heat really smothers all chance of enjoying any pedal stroke made after 11:00 AM. We’ve tried all manner of things to avoid these blistering temperatures: starting early, cycling late, hibernating in restaurants during the worst of it, jumping in rivers, hydrating like dolphins. But in the end, the rides have been something to get through rather than enjoy.
But today, my friends, was wonderful. Determined to actually enjoy some of our ride, a 4:00 AM start allowed us to experience 40 miles of beauty before 9:00 AM. Over the course of the morning the scenery shifted from lush National Forest land as we crested Dixie Pass to a beautiful view of the valley below. They valley itself was bordered by semi-arid buttes threaded through with sparkling rivers. Every mile was a joy.
The day proceeded to get even better at Silver Spur diner in Mount Vernon, OR. The owner, Dale, made us feel welcome right away with a friendly smile. The food was plentiful and good, even by plentifully good diner standards. We lingered over our coffee for about an hour, because at this point the air outside had already passed into nuclear blast zone levels. Have no fear, dear reader: 20 miles after breakfast is about as easy as the 2nd half of the day can get, so we hopped on our steeds with smiles on our faces… and began sweating immediately.
Fortunately, we had a strong headwind today. Wait! What! Yep, that’s right. A 20 MPH headwind is just the thing one need when fighting 100 degree weather (provided the humidity is low). In addition, over the next two hours we each drank about a gallon of fluids to keep from getting massive headaches as we have been over the last week.
Entering the town of Dayville is a great treat. Everything about the little shops and main street say ‘welcome’ in all the little nuances that seem important. In addition to the sense of welcoming, one can tell that the city is really trying. So many of these small towns have just thrown their hands in the air and given up, but Dayville is really putting their best effort in. After cooling down in the mercantile exchange, Terry got up to no good, and ended up in trouble with the law (for the fourth time this trip).
We’ve heard all manner of great things about the Dayville Presbyterian church, which runs a hostel for bike tourers. We knew we could look forward to showers, wifi, laundry and a relaxed atmosphere in a cool environment. We were further surprised to find that Jerry and Jonathan, who are now a day ahead of us, had left us dinner.