Find Your Way
July 31, 2002
Sumpter to John Day

Today's Miles = 61.7
Average Speed = 10.5 mph
Maximum Speed = 38.0 mph
Total Miles = 4176.9

Today was a much better day for me than yesterday had been. First, the night of good rest in a real bed had pretty much taken care of the sore throat I'd been carrying around. Second, the day felt at least twenty degrees cooler than yesterday had. And Third, Lynn was driving down to see me from Pendleton where she had been doing some field research.

As usual for my motel mornings, I stayed in my room as late as I could trying to get caught up on my messages. I was afraid that by the time I got on the road I would have let the nice cool morning hours slip completely away, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the day simply wasn't going to get all that hot.

Early in the afternoon I spotted a tandem behind me. For a moment I thought it might be Mark and Emily from the mothership, but I knew that they had headed north out of Missoula and I wouldn't be seeing them again any time soon. Before long I was joined by a new couple, Bill and Megan, on their loaded bike. Bill and Megan are from Atlanta, Georgia, and were the first other riders I have met who had taken the same approach I had to getting on the road. They had quit their jobs, sold their house, put all their stuff into storage, and starting riding West. They aren't sure yet where they plan on settling when their ride is over, but curiously enough one of their top choices is Fort Collins. Since they have never even visited Fort Collins before, they picked my brain for a while about the town as we rode past thickening woods of evergreens.

I rode with Bill and Megan as far as Prairie City, where we met up with another cycling couple, Amy and Andy. I would have been tempted to visit and camp for the night in Prairie City, but for the fact that Lynn was planning on meeting me in John Day and I needed to keep heading on down the road.

When I got to John Day I rode along the main drag looking for lodging for the night. I was surprised to find that despite it being early in the afternoon, and despite there being numerous motels in town, every one of them had their "no vacancy" sign hanging out. It turned out that the USFS had reserved every available room to provide lodging for the fire crews coming on leave from fighting the nearby fires. Fortunately, I walked into the lobby of one motel just as they had gotten a single cancellation and I asked them to hold the room for me.

I wasn't sure if Lynn had made arrangements for accommodations as well, so instead of checking in I rode around until I found the city park and I spent some time waiting there. My bike caught the attention of three young boys in the park, and they rode their bikes over and we talked about what I was doing. To pass the time I used some of my bike tools to fix some little problems they had, and they kept me company until Lynn called to tell me she was in town.

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