My Route

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Day 72: Tuesday, 11th September. Destination: Little Pine Inn, John Day, Oregon

This morning, over breakfast, I got talking to the local prospector. He finds 3-5oz of gold per day, but has to crush a lot of rocks to retrieve it. At $650 per ounce, that's nice work - but it's a lot tougher (and less romantic) than sitting by a stream panning, as the images in the bars like to show. Still, I'm surprised not more people are doing it.

The three passes out of Sumpter once again proved to be less horrifying than the route elevation profile would have you believe. I should know better by now, but when you see a near-vertical line heading up 1000ft it's hard not to think there's going to be some pain involved. The road, in fact, wound itself pleasantly through a forest carpeted with pine needles scattered with pinecones the size of avocados. It was another still, frosty morning, with crisp sunlight and blue skies.

At the bottom of the second pass, I spied three cyclists resting and mending punctures outside the (closed) cafe/store/campground at Austin Junction (the place I'd thought had had accommodation). Hi there Jon, Don, and Mike! Turns out they're doing the TransAmerica trail from Yorktown to San Fransisco. Just as we were chatting, a voice came out of nowhere asking us if we wanted any drinks or ice-cream. Was it some kind of angel? It was so dark inside the building, at first we couldn't figure out where the voice was coming from, but a lady opened up the store for us. Mmm... huckleberry ice-cream, and cool water to refill our bottles. So we cycled over the third pass together, in the afternoon heat. They headed on to Dayville, but I stopped early at John Day (town motto: 'Every day should be a John day.' OK, not really, but it should be).