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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

May 1, 2007      Miles 25      Total miles 283


I didn't get away from the camp site until afternoon today. It rained during the night and into the morning. I mentioned that my food supply was meager and the next food stop is forty miles down the road at Mitchell. Around 10:00 AM I heard Wally, the man I met the night before, holler my name. He wanted to know if I'd like some coffee. I popped right out of the tent and went to his motor home and had coffee and blueberry muffins for breakfast. What a way to start the day!

This is Fosteen and Wally. They had all kinds of funny stories about their birds and dogs which live in their motor home with them. They have been married for 57 years. She was 16 and he was 18 when they married.

Today was a cold and wet day. As soon as I got a mile away from my camp site, sometime after noon, it started sprinkling. Then it started raining. Then it started pouring. Fortunately, I have a poncho which keeps my chest and top of my arms dry. There wasn't much to do except ride. This is beautiful country but there are no shelters as you climb the mountains. There is also very little traffic, in this area, which is nice. I didn't take many picture because of the rain. Oh, I saw three eagles today. One was very close and they are just the most awesome bird to see up close.

I saw one area which had cockleburrs everywhere. I know this isn't all that interesting, but hey, it was raining most of the afternoon.

This was the beginning of the climb to Ochoco Pass which is at 4,720 feet. The good news is the camp site where I just left was at 3,000 feet. It was steep but not a killer. I think getting my wheel bearing adjusted made a big difference.
The huge old barns are still everywhere                              

Just as I was pitying myself, out here in the cold and rain and climbing a mountain, I thought this is pretty much the pits. I want it to be 60 degrees, sunshine, the wind at my back and downhill all the way. Reality reared its head and I heard a thump, thump, thump. Dang! My trailer/mountain detector had a flat. A flat! The last thing I needed. I aired the tire and within a couple more miles it was flat again. I was in the middle of nowhere. I had a patch kit but the glue was dried up. All of a sudden, up ahead, I saw a beautiful building with cars all around. I thought maybe it was a lodge of some sort. It turned out it was a private school and I rolled into the parking lot. A very nice looking young man came out and asked if I needed anything and I told him I had a flat but no way to fix it. He told me he loves bikes and loves to work on them even more. I took the wheel off and he said he would be back in a minute. He came back with a patch on the tube, reinstalled it, aired it up and sent me on my way. I simply couldn't believe my luck. I'm telling you, there isn't another building for ten miles in either direction.

This is Jared Sartell. He was my guardian angel for the day and the young man who fixed my flat tire. I couldn't believe he just walked out of that building and took over helping me like he did. What a nice young man! He is a counselor here at Mt Bachelor Academy which is a boarding school for troubled teens. He can now add helping troubled old men to his resume. He counseled me by telling me I can get a patch kit for a couple of dollars. Ha!

I made one more friend this day. She was giving me one of those hound dog barks as she chased me up the mountain. I couldn't outrun her and figured I was going to lose part of my leg. I realized pretty quick she wasn't a threat and stopped to get a picture of her and love on her a bit. She was well taken care of and you can see she is a real beauty.

I only went 25 miles today. I wanted to go farther but the rain and the climb to the top of Ochoco Pass was enough. I was afraid to get caught in the darkness and not have a place to pitch my tent. There are a lot of fences and I don't want to be jumping fences to camp. I found a secluded spot at the top of the pass. It rained all night and the wind howled over the top of the mountain but my tent never flapped once. The trees are so tall and dense that I never felt the wind but it sounded like a train going overhead all night.