Day 57

Today’s ride is dedicated to Grace’s mother’s coworker and friend, Barb, who is a survivor of ovarian cancer. She has been an advocate for cancer support and a great help to Grace’s family.

Today was a day of many gears. We finally left the desert and found a forest – the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Baker City to John Day, Oregon was quite similar to day 5 in that there were 3 steep mountains to climb, this time in the Blue Mountains rather than the Appalachians. Before the first mountain, we stopped at the Snack Shack of the Union Creek Campground. The people there were kind to us and many of us bought a second breakfast. Then we began climbing. Several mountains later, we turned off the main road and found a beautiful sign: ice cream.

At Austin House Café & Country Store, we met Lynn who is a survivor of stomach cancer. He was a cowboy and he is glad to still be breathing. Thankful for life, every day is a good day. We also met Cindy, a missionary who is a survivor of ovarian cancer. The people we heard from today are so brave because they put their trust in God. Also at the café, all of us ended up getting delicious lunch and ice cream for desert. It was a nice break from peanut butter and jelly, especially on a difficult day.

After we had climbed and descended 3 mountains of ~1,000 feet each, we found a cool covered wagon photo-op. Then unfortunately the rest of the ride was less downhill than expected and had a huge headwind. But a pleasant surprise met us in John Day. We planned to camp at Clyde Holliday State Park, but there was room at the county fairgrounds. That cut 7 miles off our ride; actually 14 because we would have had to backtrack tomorrow morning.

Once all the groups were in, we used the $75 of McDonald’s gift cards donated by Connor’s family to get dinner for the team. It was a fun field trip, with the entire team in the van and then eating McDoubles, McChickens, and fries. Fortunately, Oregon has no sales tax, so we ended up cutting a good deal from the dollar menu. We sometimes talk about what we miss most from home, and the top ones on the list besides friends and family are normal food and a bed. For the time being, we are simply content to eat whatever food comes our way that has enough calories to replenish the thousands spent daily. Tomorrow we go to Paulina, a small town south of Ochoco National Forest.

Photo credit goes to Blake for this cool one in front of Austin House, a great rest stop.

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