This morning a bunch of ladies came to the church for a meeting of some kind. Some asked if we were getting ready for school. Others asked what kind of trip we were taking. They were all impressed that we were following our dreams when they found out about our trip. A few even thought we were very brave for undertaking such an adventure.
We started off with a lot of uphills, including another six mile long climb, but it led to some beautiful scenery. We saw a lot of bikers today, even though it was a week day. One part of our route was on a bike path that included some pretty sweet overviews and tunnels. It was totally beautiful. Of course what goes up must come down, and we enjoyed a long downhill at the end of the bike path. Weeeeeeeeeee!!
At the bottom there was a little ice cream shop and grocery store. We met some cool bikers there who told us we were headed for Rowena Crest Lookout and that it was really beautiful and a popular ride for cyclists from the area.
They also mentioned a pioneer cemetery that was just up the road. April was interested in checking it out, so we stopped to see what it was about. It was a bit of a hike, especially in our bike shoes, but it was pretty cool. Some the the tomb stones dated back to the 1800's and included things like "Born in Tenn", true Oregon Trail Pioneers! Here's a video of it:
When we got back to our where we parked our bikes we had our first wildlife encounter: I saw the tail of a snake as it slithered into the underbrush by our bikes. April had visions of snakes curling up in her panniers for a while after that.
There was another big climb to Rowena Crest, but the view was amazing. We stopped and had our favorite lunch: honey and chicken in a hot dog bun. And on the other side of the overlook was another long, winding, scenic down-hill. Lots of fun!
April insisted on having a short day because of my cold, so we stopped after 25 miles at The Dalles. I wanted to go longer, but April was pretty determined to stop for the day and work on the blog. As we rolled into The Dalles, we came upon a radio station/gas station event where they were giving away free hot dogs! Sweet! After lots of cold meals and not a lot of variety, a grilled hot-dog was delicious.
We had a bit of trouble locating a place with wi-fi, but a nice lady told us about some wi-fi down the street and even came by a little later to make sure we found it. We had just arrived and were unpacking our computer, and she offered us a lock for our bikes if we didn't have one! We've met so many really helpful people...and we're only just getting started!
April spent hours updating the blog. Hours and hours. Only having one computer has been a huge headache while were trying to catch up on our blogging, fix website errors, process pictures, etc. We think once we're caught up, we'll be ok because we'll be able to do a day or two at a time instead of all the catch up we've had to do. I walked around the grocery store we were in. Then got some coffee from Starbucks, then walked around the grocery store again.
We spent the night at the Nazarene Church of The Dalles. Andy, the pastor was there when we finally arrived around 8:00pm (pacific time), and he was getting ready for a wedding the next day. As he led us to the back yard, he told us "Be careful of the goat heads in the yard." Huh?!? What kind of church did we just arrive at again?!
Turns out "goat heads" are a type of thorny plant that grows in the northwest and is the arch enemy of bike tires (and bare feet). It turns out they are everywhere up here and it certainly isn't the last we'll deal with them!
Andy told us a bit about the Nazarene denomination. He said they came out of the holiness movement in the 1800's. They believe that there is a point in time in a person's Christian walk where they align themselves with God so that their natural inclination is to do good and no longer to sin. That was a huge deal at the time it was proposed...and still is in many ways.
As we set up our tent outside, the wedding setup was going on inside. The groom, his father, the best man, the pastor, and the church drummer were all there helping with the setup. But when it came time to mop the floor, everyone stopped and watched the groom mop the floor by himself. At one point there were three video cameras (including ours) going to "document the occasion" :-)
After all the fanfare of set-up and meeting people was over, we went to bed, tucked behind the church under the moonlight. Goodnight, all.