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Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25: John Day OR to Mitchell OR

The view from my pillow.
You can see the striations in the John Day Fossil Beds on the hill ahead.
76 miles

Another great day. The big news is that Abby's riding again. She did over an hour this morning to start the day and was feeling pretty good -- but didn't want to overdo it.
We went through a fantastic canyon and then up SR 19 two miles to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument visitors center, where they have a great museum that clearly lays out the history of the fossil beds in the area. It's like lasagna, with lava flow layers instead of lasagna noodles separating the various layers. We did a short hike through the area. The picture above is of Beth vamping as she puts on sun block, with Sheep Rock in the background.

After leaving the fossil bed visitor center there's 32 miles of nothing (no services whatsoever), which consisted of a very long climb and then a big 6% downhill to Mitchell. The climb wasn't particularly steep, but was endless, in 95 degree heat. Still, a lot better than the endless headwinds of two days ago.

Mitchell is very small. Not only is the population 160 (or was, in 2000), there's no restaurant or store open. The Oregon Hotel has some hostel accommodations and some regular rooms, but with shared bathroom facilities. The wiring is acting up, so although we have some frozen burritos to eat, the microwave is off limits until they figure out what's going on with the breakers. They also have a bearskin on the wall of our room. There's no pool, spa, air conditioning, or TV, but there is free internet (when the electricity is on) so they have their priorities right.