(Written by Dave)
Wow – what a night (and morning) at the hostel. The block party was all that Nancy described yesterday and more. We had a “crew” hanging on our front porch all night smoking dope. They were guests, we think, and they kept coming in to use the bathroom. We had clouds of smoke throughout the house all night. I’m pretty sure that we would have been pulled up by the police if they’d smelled us this morning – just from the smell of our clothes! Not really our scene, but it made for an interesting story and a night we’ll not forget soon.
The band next door to us stopped at 10:40 but other bands around the neighbourhood went much later. And this morning, there were lots of people still hanging out – mostly in heaps on someone’s lawn. It was fun watch the crew pictured below. They were packing up as we rolled out, getting into a Volvo – not really the image we expected but then again, I’m not sure I really knew what to expect after such an interesting and crazy night.
Being Sunday AM we had quiet roads leading us to the edge of town and a grocery stop at Fred Meyer for supplies. We picked up dinner for the next couple nights because we were not sure what services we would find up ahead.
We started climbing right away from Freddies with a hard 11% pinch getting us to the top the first hill. This was the worst of the day percentage wise but we did have a lot more up and down than we’ve seen in a while. Our two riding companions were pretty quick on the uphills (no luck getting them to help carry our gear) but they were also kind enough to wait at the top of each big hill.
The ride itself was quite scenic – lots of farms, barns and scenic valleys. This area is home of a number of Oregon’s famous wineries but we didn’t stop. Most of them were not open before 11PM on Sunday and we weren’t attracted enough to hang around.
We had a late morning tea at Lorane, where we found a small grocery store that was open. We were all flagging a bit by the time we pulled in and pickings in the store were slim. But fortunately, they did have pretty good looking maple bars, so we indulged (Nancy and I shared one, Andy ate a whole one himself). We supplemented our maple bars with blackberries picked from the bushes behind the store.
It was hilly again after Lorane with the longest climb of the day coming before Curtin. Nancy and I rode this same route in 1994 on Cycle Oregon. I remembered the climb well as back then we were really fit and riding the tandem. We passed a lot of people to plenty of oohs and awes but we were much younger then! Today we were a lot slower, bringing up the rear of our quartet once again.
Once we crested the hill, we had a pretty fast downhill and flat run into Drain. I wanted to say Down into (the) Drain, but I couldn’t figure out a way to make it work… It was now time for lunch and we couldn’t find much in Drain except a mini-mart and a drive-through espresso trailer. We chose the latter and had great espresso milkshakes, plus a few small baked goods. Perhaps not the best lunch but it did the trick getting us the last 10 miles to Rice Hill. We stopped en route to pick roadside blackberries for a treat when we got to camp.
We been in contact with an RV park in Rice Hill but were not really sure what to expect. I talked it down all day just in case it turned into another “Dave Special.” It actually worked out great. Ninety percent of the park is filled with permanent residents but the owners are very restrictive on letting people build any kind of permanent add-ons to their motorhomes. And they also are strict on keeping the park clean and tidy. As a result, we have a great tent spot on some grass with a picnic table. There are not many trees but luckily we had some high clouds come in this afternoon. It was hot, but not too bad.
Andy wins hero of the day points for riding his (empty and now very light) bicycle into Rice Hill proper to get us some vanilla ice-cream. Boy, did the ice-cream and blackberries make an amazing finish to the day – smiles all around for sure.
The park manager came by and gave us a quick park and regional history lesson – really nice folks here. It’s great when a spot turns out better than you’d hoped.
We made quesadillas for dinner and generally enjoyed a peaceful evening. It’s all feels such a world away from the crazy scenes last night. I’m sure we’ll all sleep good tonight, even with a little highway noise from nearby I5. Tomorrow is our last day riding with Andy and Anna and we’re headed for Glide, up Highway 138. We have another RV park picked out and will also be keenly looking for blackberries in those last 10 miles. With luck, Andy will be interested in more “hero points” to help us finish the day again.