Freeze ride day 8: Pancakes, snakes and old west digs
Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at www.salisburypost.com, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at blog.salisburypost.com/gottarun
I knew there was a terrible climb to start with this morning, so I got up earlier and was on the road by 5:30. I made it to Dayville, Ore., which just happens to be another stop on the stage coach line. This is still ranching country, with some hay being produced. There is also major fossil research being done here.
The climb over Keye’s Pass was uneventful, but a whole new world of scenery opened on the other side headed toward Dayville. For some reason, possibly after the poor selection in Mitchell, I was consumed with the thought of getting a good breakfast. That I did! I got great pancakes and eggs at the Dayville Cafe. Debbie was my waitress and she filled me in on the latest cyclists to pass through.
It is another 30 miles to the next town and getting hotter, so I had better get going. Back later.
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My goal was to climb that mountain this morning and make 70 miles, and that would have been enough. After talking to some locals, I decided to see if I could make it to Prairie City, another old west town. If tomorrow’s ride started from here, I would go right into the first climb of three for the day. I made 85 miles, complete with another tailwind and some more Dairy Queen ice cream. Those DQ girls give good advice. My room tonight is in a restored Wild West hotel. My bathroom is across the hall. Gunslingers had to cross the hall to get to the bathroom too, but I bet they didn’t get their own bathroom like I did.
It got hot here this afternoon in what is called the high desert, touching the mid-80s. Then the clouds came in with a few storms, and once again that wonderful tailwind. This trip is becoming a real adventure with lots of new people to meet every day. I did see two rattlesnakes today and at least one was alive. They must like to crawl on the road. One store owner chided me with the fact that this IS the wilderness and there are lots of wild animals out there. I do find plenty of welcoming signs for cyclists.
A little touch of humor happened this afternoon. My clothes, especially the cycling ones, really needed to be washed. This little one-horse town has a laundromat, so I paid it a visit and got the clothes clean, but not without quite a struggle to figure out how to run the machines.
Tomorrow I hope to climb the three peaks, all over 5,000 feet in elevation. It will be the hardest day yet, and there is no place to get water or supplies for 68 miles. Might as well get into practice though because there is a stretch of 123 miles later in the trip.
As for today, I have seen plenty of gulches, draws and passes. “Head ‘em off at the pass, pardner!”