Leaving John Day - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

April 30, 2020

Leaving John Day

Breaking camp

We’re not actually leaving John Day yet.  That comes early tomorrow morning, when we drive north to Pullman.  Today though is our transition day, devoted to a last visit to the wound nurse, keeping dry, taking a break from the bikes, breaking camp, and taking in a bit of reflection.

Really though, transition began yesterday afternoon, after we returned from the day’s ride.  It took a few hours but eventually the threatened thunderstorm arrived, with a vengeance.  At just before 5 we heard a distant rumble of thunder and looked out the window, surprised to see that it was still 81 degrees out.  We watched two young boys skipping down the street, and about two minutes later they came back the other way, running full tilt for shelter.  It was amazing watching how quickly the storm blew in and transformed the scene.  Ten minutes later, by the time it began abating, the temperature had dropped 16 degrees.  It gave us a vivid reminder to take threats of thunderstorms seriously.  It would be catastrophic to get caught in the open on our bikes during one of these cloudbursts.

Ringside seat for the big show.
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Ten minutes ago it was dry and 81 degrees outside.
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Ron SuchanekThunderstorms are not so bad from inside a warm, dry house!
I might have camped at that fairgrounds when I did the Old West with my buds a few years ago.
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3 months ago

Today it’s nearly 25 degrees cooler than yesterday, and off and on wet.  With no plans to go anywhere, we have all day to get ready for departure at a relaxed pace.  At 10 I head back to the clinic for a last visit with Angie, and get another encouraging report of my slow but steady progress.  And, I get a souvenir to remember her by!

Something to remember John Day and what happened here. Not that we’ll need help. I don’t think we’ll forget this month.
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Earlier in the month I promised that I’d give you a tour around the estate.  I never got around to it but here are a few shots, to remind ourselves as much as anything.  It’s quite a large cottage: two bedrooms, one bath, large living room, large kitchen/dining room.  And, there’s a smaller cabin out back with a third bedroom in case you have a large clan or just want some privacy for your Zumba sessions.  More space than we need of course, but it was economical ($1,350/month), very well equipped and very comfortable.  We’ve gotten spoiled.

The living room is very comfortable. This is about a fourth of the space of the entire unit.
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The kitchen/dining area. A bit messy, but we’re in the process of moving so that’s natural. It’s not like we’re untidy or anything.
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We spend much of the rest of the day packing up in spurts, interrupted by assorted breaks to eat, read, blog, have a beer, watch an episode of our current miniseries (World on Fire), eat again, have another beer.  Very relaxed.   Very nice.

There are still a few last minute items to throw in, but it looks like it all fits.
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Looking back

It’s hard to find anything positive to say about such a horrifying time in the world’s history, and in our nation’s.  It is true though that it opened up a unique opportunity for us, since we had to relocate somewhere anyway.  I don’t imagine that we would have ever carved out the space to explore this remarkable region in such a thorough way, and in such a perfect season to be here.  At best, we would have fit in a few days on the way to somewhere else.  Being here for over a month gave us the time to dig deeper and explore many backroads that we’d never have experienced otherwise.  Even with the unfortunate encounter with that silent assassin in Dayville a month ago it’s been a very rewarding stay, and one we won’t forget.

We’re well aware of how fortunate we’ve been to have the freedom of movement we’ve enjoyed here, and the relative security we’ve felt.  Grant County is so sparsely populated that social distancing comes naturally, and it still has only a single coronavirus case on their books, detected nearly two months ago.

I can’t imagine how those of you that have kept us company and followed along this month must feel about how we’ve spent time here, when I know that many or most of you have been much more constrained.  Just know though that you are in our thoughts and have our sympathies and we greatly appreciate your sticking with us.  Here’s to a better month ahead!

And, when better days do come, you really might give this exceptional region a try.  To help you think about it, here’s the link to our Collection of John Day Rides.  We’ll see you in the Palouse!

This is a composite map of our day rides here. They’re named by the date each was ridden, so you should be able to relate them back to the corresponding journal entry.
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Jen GrumbyThat storm video brings back memories of Undaunted Porridge!

Love your John Day cottage .. thanks for the tour! And that's a great price for a month of Coronavirus Sanity, filled with some beautiful rides.

Thanks also for the link to your collection of rides. It would be great to park there and check a few out!

As always, so grateful for your journal. But it's been especially comforting during this Season of The Plague to have a daily detour to The Land of Normal.

Looking forward to the next journey!

Scott - may your wound keep healing well and your Pullman wound care visits be few!
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3 months ago
Ron SuchanekThanks for posting these excellent rides. I can't wait to get back out there and check them out.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekI hope we can get back there ourselves sometime. If we do, we’ll certainly stay at the Mitchell Bnb. It looks like a great place, and the perfect base for exploring the painted hills.
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3 months ago