Waking up at the gym in Vida the first thought that hits me was that i was still in Oregon. Lots of racers have already gone into Idaho. Well thankfully Oregon is beautiful and spending a little more time here isn’t a bad idea. Took a little time to pack up my gear. Dint want to eat anything till i could get a cup of coffee. Started to look for a coffee shop but turns out it would be 11 miles to reach one. Slow going but finally got to the store. The store was the last stop before the Mckenzie pass. Got a cup of coffee and sat down for a while. In the meantime Don caught up. We decided that i would start ahead since i was already sitting there a while and go upto the crossing of the pass and try and go through. If the road to the pass would be closed i would wait at the intersection. In the meantime a skateboarder rolled up. Red was traveling across the US on his skateboard and would hitch hike when he couldn’t anymore. Interesting conversation with him. He works jobs that nobody else would take and does that for about a couple of months and then moves on. He is not allowed to visit California since he has warrants so is trying to find a place somewhere in the mountains. He’s been on the road for 2 years and plans to do this till he’s 30. Apparently dope was illegal and got him into trouble. His troubles haven’t gone away even though it legal now.

IMG_20180605_121124Red before he headed out on the road

I started towards the pass and discovered that the barrier that says no entry wasn’t closed. Now 7 miles to the top and slowly started to make progress. A bunch of cars came up. The hiking path near the pass was open. Tried to find out if the road to the top was closed but nobody knew anything about it. Close to the top the barrier on the road was closed but the cycle path was open. Quickly rode through. As i climbed to the top of the pass there was signs of work done on the road. If this was India the road would have been long open. I remember riding through roads that had just been cleared of ice and snow in Ladakh when season was just starting. The cleaning crew had told me that large streams had formed on the road but its ok to ride through. As i got near atop there was just one single dump truck. Thats it. All the fuss about closing the road for work to be done and there was just one truck. Everyone here worries about liability. As i climbed  a little more I up to the famous lava rocks. IMG_20180605_174031Lava rocks / Lava Fields

Brad had told me about them in Astoria. Fields of black rock all around. Sat down and had a smoke. Took a couple of pictures. As i sit there looking at the rocks it occurred to me that i would have never ever seen any of this if i wasn’t on this particular race. Its interesting how a simple activity like riding a bicycle could get you to see interesting stuff that you dint know existed. Started my ride down the pass and passed by the national forest. I wanted camp there for the night but decided to press on.

IMG_20180605_161121Road leading to the climb on Mckenzie

IMG_20180605_181903One of the gates stopping traffic at the bottom of Mckenzie .

Reached the town of sisters. Pinged Micheal to figure out where the campground was. Turns out its his birthday and he had taken a hotel room. Went to the gas station and got coffee. Opened up the tracker and noticed that Don had taken the alternate route. Just while I was tracking him he called. He was 10 miles away and was coming to town. He was going to meet his Eagle scout and invited me to dinner. Setup a meeting place at Subway. I really needed some vegetables, it has been a while. Found Subway and quickly parked the bike and went in. It was getting colder and dark. Don and Justin reached and we ate and talked for a while. Don had not seen me on the intersection and thought i had gone ahead on the alternate route. He dint want to ride all the way to the bottom of the pass and get turned around.  Justin runs a cycle tool company called Abby tools. Apparently India is one of the handful of countries that he doesn’t ship tool too. Told him about the guys who import tools in the country and asked him to connect with happy earth. Hopefully something good will come out of it. I asked him about how they manage to stay in business after manufacturing in the US since cost of labour was high. Apparently there are customers who are specific on where the product is made from and they help keep these businesses alive. We sat there talking for a little bit. He lives really close by and was telling me about this particular town. Apparently Sisters is a tourist town. They have the roadeo and a quilt show. Don’s wife Joyce had heard about this town. Don started to make plans about his next ride. He could visit the quilt show with his wife and then ride the Lewis and Clark trail. Being newly retired it would take time to get used to not having to go to work so he dint have to worry about time.

IMG_20180605_093837A town with an interesting name

We left Subway and headed towards the campsite. Justin had noticed a campsite in town and told us about it. While riding to the campsite we got lost. Looked on maps and found that the city park was close by. Its called the Green village park. Here parks have a loo and a shower. It was closed but would open at 6 am.  We saw a fire station opposite the park and DON went to find out if they would let us sleep inside. Apparently they don’t let you sleep in the station but told him that we could sleep in the park. We found the gazebo in the middle of the park that looked nice and clean and setup camp for the night. Just as i was about to sleep the sprinklers came on. I asked Don about them and he insisted that it wouldn’t come into the gazebo. Sometime in the middle of the night the sprinklers near the gazebo came on. My bike, tent and sleeping bag got drenched. Well since we couldn’t do anything i went back to bed.

When i woke up in the morning Don wasn’t there. He had moved and slept on the picnic table at night. A few minutes after the sprinklers had hit me it started on his side drenching him completely and forcing him to find a place that wasn’t wet.  I went to the loo and discovered that they had these hand dryers setup. We quickly put the stuff that was wet under it to dry and the rest of the stuff under the sun. As i was packing up Don noticed a sign on the fence of the park saying “No overnight camping”. We hadn’t noticed it last night nor did the police tell us about it when they passed by  and saw us pitching our tent. Maybe they wanted us to learn a lesson.

IMG_20180606_072316Drying my tent and sleeping bag after getting wet by the sprinklers at night

Lesson for the day : When the grass in the park is green find out if they have sprinklers. Maybe the term Green in the name of the park should have given me a clue.

Up next : Day 5: Sisters to Michell.