(September 17– written by Dave)
Last day of Cycle Oregon. We’ve had great trip. The coffee crew turned out to be a great experience. Everyone pitched in and did their part. We really enjoyed being part of Team Nossa Familia. I won’t lie, the early starts (most days we set 4AM alarms) were a shock to the system but not one person on the team overslept or missed a shift. It was a really good group of folks.
Mid-week Geoff left the team, to be replaced by Anna. While a newbie to the whole Cycle Oregon coffee booth thing, she jumped in and did a great job – mostly on the brewing team with Kris. Anna was even polite and didn’t object to the newbie hazing directed her way.
We had a choice today to ride 60 or 33 miles. The 60 mile route involved a lot of climbing. Normally we would take the long route whenever given a choice but based on the 2019 Cycle Oregon we knew that the booth would be busy on the last day. We opted to ride the short route to help our teammates but also so that we could enjoy the last day with less stress. Everyone else on our team rode the long route or drove a van. Our decision to ride short was validated when the last riders, Kris and Anna, arrived at camp and were politely escorted into the vans for the drive back to Portland (Kris managed a shower at least). I’m pretty sure everyone had fun on Cycle Oregon but it’s a long week and everyone was understandably keen to get home.
As for our ride, today we rode Highway 26 from Dayville to John Day. It was a somewhat boring ride. Rather than have lots of beautiful rocks to look at (scenery) we had farmland and lots of signs to look at (signery). I’ll post a few of the signs below.
The last time we rode Highway 26 from Dayville to John Day was over 30 years ago on August 6, 1992. That was part of our honeymoon ride across the USA. That trip is included here on our site under the trips page. As I was typing up the notes for today I re-read the entry from the 1992 trip. Interestingly, way back then, Nancy and I felt a little unwelcome being lycra clad cyclists in Mt Vernon, a town close to John Day. Perhaps that explains some of the signs we saw today.
Below there are three photos that happen multiple times per day when Nancy and I go on an organized bicycle trip. This trip was no exception. Nancy is a good sport.
The sign below was from Dayville. We rode into Dayville on the 16th as part of the Cycle Oregon route. I took the photo on the morning of the 17th. I don’t think it meant what it read literally – that is “hunters of cyclists are welcome”, it was trying to be nice. When we drove through town at about 4PM on the way back to Portland, the word Cyclists had been removed. They didn’t waste any time changing the sign to just welcome the hunters. I hope that Cycle Oregon’s financial contribution to the towns is remembered and that us being out here has had some positive impact on bringing different people together – even in a small way.
At the finish in John Day we were served lunch by a local church group – they all wore nametags with their church and first names. At the drinks station, a young Asian woman had arranged the drinks in the water tub very nicely. I noted this and thanked her and the two older church men standing nearby. Her English was not strong but she thanked me and said the two men taught her how to organize the tub. I suspect that the church probably sponsored her immigration to the US, in part because of the somewhat surprising conversation that followed…
Old man 1: She does good work.
Old man 2: She’s an immigrant.
Old man 1: She’s a good immigrant.
Old man 1: Our border is really messed up, but she’s legal.
Drink tank woman: laughs nervously and smiles.
Me: (somewhat flabbergasted by this conversation and grasping for what to say): Wow, that’s something… did you know that more illegal immigrants in the US today flew into an airport than crossed a land border?
Old man 1: No, that can’t be right.
Old man 2: No, he’s right. 60% of the folks illegally in the US today flew in, were cleared by immigration and overstayed their visas.
Old man 1: Shakes his head in disbelief and says “I did not know that…”
Me: Before I said what I really thought, I thanked them again, smiled and walked away.
From my point of view, there were many things “challenging” in the conversation. I won’t dive into it here, other than to say, Old Man 1 and Old Man 2 both probably believed just as strongly in their world views as I do in mine. Maybe Old man 1 will think a little different about the border now – maybe…
I’ve been showing political signs and talking about some of these issues in the blog because that’s what we saw on the trip. It’s also sort of what you’d expect today when you bring a bunch of lycra-clad mostly city folk out to the country. We have different perspectives. Intermixing and talking about them 1-1 is probably a good start towards some level of mutual understanding.
And to be completely fair in this blog, I should point out that other than the slightly odd conversation today at lunch and a few brazen yard signs, everyone out here has been super friendly and welcoming. In some of these towns just about every single townsperson had volunteered to help host us. It just goes to show you that we often have more in common than we have differences. You just have to turn off your TV and engage in a conversation, sometimes bridges can be built, I hope so at least.
So, back to the ride. My unofficial, highly subjective score for Cycle Oregon overall by bucket:
Food: Ok, not great but not bad. If you ate towards the end of a service time, often they’d run out of “feature” dish. And you never got ice-cream unless you take it at the start and eat it before your main.
Routes: Great – Eastern Oregon roads are almost empty and in a week, we had a grand total of one angry driver. Scenery was amazing.
Route marking: Perfect. Daily signage meant that maps and phones were never needed, just follow the ever-present arrows
Nightly bands: Complete miss. They were good musicians, but too loud and played too late – we are old and had to get up at 4AM after all. But we also heard this same comment from many other cyclists, so it wasn’t just us.
Lunch: CO didn’t serve lunch this year. They suggested people would eat enough at the last rest stop and be happy waiting for dinner. Didn’t work – we bought pizza from a local vendor almost every day (and they were delicious). Eat to ride, ride to eat!
Small town Oregon: Full marks for hosting us. Maybe go a little easier on the FJB signs. Conversation is much better than labelling and name calling. At least we’re talking now so that’s a start.
Campsites: Mostly good with some grass. Mitchell not good with dust. But really, there is a drought in the west so we’ll be thankful for having a place to stay.
Coffee in camp kitchen: Dreadful but that’s fine because our Nossa team was there to fill in the blanks and we sold more coffee.
Overall: More fun than drudgery. Overall it was a great trip. We saw some great back roads, met some nice folks and are looking forward to doing it again next year (now that we’ve caught up on some sleep).
Finally, last but not least, thanks to Augusto and the Nossa team for having us on the Cycle Oregon crew again this year. Sure, we were tired at the end of the week but we had a blast. Our team was great – hard workers, flexible and just the right amount of friendly banter. We’ll be back again next year for sure!
That’s a wrap!