Today is July 3. I am in Mountain Home, Idaho. From Burns, Oregon, I have covered the following distances: 65, 91, 92 miles. My legs felt like jello, so I only biked 31 miles today and decided to get my legs back because I start climbing tomorrow. My goal is to spend Independence Day in Fairfield-- about 60 miles away and at 5,100 ft elevation.
The ride from Burns to Juntura on June 30 was pleasant with some intermittent challenges: Stinkingwater Pass (4800 ft) and Drinkwater Pass (4200). Juntura was like an oasis. HWY 20 is lined with these huge trees that offer shade in the desert. Appropriately, the motel/campground/cafe is called the Oasis. It's the only place to stop for food between Burns and Vale, so it stayed busy. I had a terrific conversation in the restaurant with the Clarks, who wanted to know all about my trip. They invited me to sit and we talked for a long time.
After a breakfast in Juntura, I was back on the road. The ride between Juntura and Harper was one of my favorites. It was about 35 miles that followed the North Malheur River through canyons created by the surrounding buttes. Very scenic and quite fast as a lot of it was downhill. I thought it was prettier than my time in the Cascades. In Harper, I had a sandwich and talked with an old man (who never gave me his name). I would have been out of Harper 30 minutes earlier, but the man started a new story every time I tried to leave. I turned south in Vale and followed the Oregon Trail to Kearney Pass and made it all the way to Parma where I camped in the city park right next to the replica of Ft. Boise.
I knew that yesterday was going to be a long ride. I wanted to get to Grand View. It was 90 miles. I stopped in Homedale for breakfast. The only place that the lady at the gas station said was open was the bowling alley. I was skeptical, but found the bowling alley and a little diner attached. Breakfast was delicious and everyone inside was very friendly. I think every diner either said Hi or wished me well on my journey.
I then rode the 40 miles or so to Murphy, the county seat of Owyhee County and one of the smallest county seats in the country. It's unincorporated but does house the sheriff's office and courthouse. I was really getting worried because my left leg was hurting a lot. I thought I might have injured my hamstring. Now, I believe it was just cramps, but there was some concern I might not make the 30 miles to Grand View. I also attribute it to fatigue of back to back to back tough days.
So I finally make it to Grand View. A really nice guy named John (or David-- something biblical but not Obadiah) [photo above], saw me lost and yelled, "Are you looking for the park?"
"Can I camp there?"
"Everyone else does," referring to previous bikers. He was really nice, good old western guy. Talked to him for a few minutes and then he points me towards the Lion's Club park. Before I can set up camp, all these dogs come over. They all belong to either Justin, Heather or Heather's mother. Justin invites me over, telling me that their house has an extra room, bed, bath and there is chicken cooking on the grill. Stunned, I accept. They were just moving in, so things were in a state of unpacking.
The rest of the night was fun. We ate dinner, told stories and shared our lives. I met six month Violet, who has the biggest and best eyes and an adorable smile. Happy kid. Justin told me about being in the Air Force and all the stuff he hunts. I got to see (and hold) several of his guns. Most of you know, I'm not a gun guy, but it was fun learning things. It was also neat to see another person's passion. Justin was passionate about hunting (lots of badger pelts downstairs) and guns (he works in munitions at Mountain Home Air Base). We talked into the night, I had a great sleep in a king bed and got up and went to the Y-Bar for breakfast (where you can have a beer with your omelet), played with Violet and then I got on the road.