Respite at home

— This is the last day of the first half of a multi-day loop trip to British Columbia and northern California. —

Sleep eluded me for most of the night. I eventually dozed off at around 4 am, only to wake up at 6:00 am in a motel room without power. I looked outside and the electronic sign in front of the motel was inoperable as well. I got dressed for breakfast and noticed none of the signs down main street were working, so it was safe to assume the restaurant a block away was not an option. I ate the granola bar I had in my top case, packed everything up, and headed down the road.

I rode about eight miles into the adjacent town, Mt. Vernon, and saw the “open” sign was lit at a small cafe. I pulled in and parked right in front, between a half dozen pickup trucks covered in farm dirt. When I entered the entire clientele consisted of old white men in western shirts and an even combination of John Deere ball caps and cowboy hats. I sat down and was served by a thin, high strung women in her early 30’s, face covered in pock marks and jaw working overtime. I assumed she was a meth head tweaker. She was friendly, efficient, and equally capable of dishing back the good natured teasing she received from the regulars. I told the waitress that the power was out in John Day and she said that it had been out there as well, only coming back on a few minutes before I arrived.

I was concerned about fuel. I intended to fill up in John Day before I left but the power outage shut down the pumps. I rode another 25 miles into Dayville, the next town down the highway, and whipped into a tiny two-pump gas station and filled up. Just outside of town I turned north onto a secondary road that took me past one of the John Day fossil beds, through the small crossroad community of Kimberly, through the river town of Spray, and eventually into the town of Fossil itself. Without stopping, I veered west onto highway 218, one of my favorite roads in Oregon, and drank up the delicious curves between Fossil and Antelope and Shaniko.

I crossed over the high desert via Bakeoven Road, then dropped down the canyon into the Deschutes River town of Maupin. A dozen miles beyond I stopped in Wamic and fueled up at the same store/gas station I had visited just a few weeks before. I then completed the last leg of the trip by riding up and over Mt. Hood under showery skies, back to home in Sandy.

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