(September 14 – written by Dave)
Today was our day to drive the vans, so no riding. I am happy to report that we successfully moved the vans from Fossil to Mitchell without incident, 45 miles. Yeah, I know, no big deal. Well, these are kind of big vans, one pulls a generator and most important we have all the coffee kit and our entire team’s gear. You’d hate to have an issue and the roads are really windy.
Nancy was slightly nervous about driving but stepped up and even took on a bit of a trucker persona complete with thumbs up and a trucker pose. I’m not sure how well it was executed but it worked so there you go. And she found some snacks for the drive so she was more or less happy.
We had special route for transfer traffic, different to the route the riders took, and it was quite scenic. I can only imagine what the riders got. Cycle Oregon allocated 2.5 hours but it barely took us an hour. We arrived at camp at 11:00 and had to wait a bit for our site to open. Eventually we got the vans parked, with me being clever enough pull straight in without having to back up the trailer. It was hot and dusty but we got booth set-up and ready for selling when one of our teammates Kris arrived to help. We finally got lunch at almost 2:00 when our early rider/boss Augusto arrived. He admitted stopping at the brewery for a pint and burger in Mitchell.
We are camping about 1 mile from town in a giant dusty field. It is scenic, surrounded by lots of nice rocks and mountains, but it is dusty. It wasn’t so nice in the blazing mid-day sun. It’s much better in the evening light. The site has lots of goat head thorns and we picked up 3 flats in our first two riders. Most people started to carry their bikes.
We keep milk and ice in a refrigerator truck (known as the reefer truck). We normally make 2 or 3 bike runs with a trailer to the reefer truck during the day for supplies. Because of the thorns, we had to commandeer a Cycle Oregon quad for our delivery this afternoon. We’ve promised free coffees to the quad drivers for the rest of the time we’re here in Mitchell. We have another layover day here tomorrow. Nancy and I are planning on riding the long route – 80 miles and 7,000 feet of climbing. We’ve negotiated the early departure from the booth so we can get out before it gets too hot. And for some good news today, the smoke mostly lifted and we got some blue skies. Tomorrow’s forecast is mostly the same.
Full marks to drivers on the other days. Driving should be easier but with all the set-up and not getting to ride it is actually much harder. It’s easy to be grumpy on a driving day but we did our best to keep smiling through the afternoon selling and when we greeted our teammates arriving from their rides.