7/31/18 Prairie City to Dayville: Kam Wah Chung and Awesome Church Hostel - Undaunted Porridge - CycleBlaze

July 31, 2018

7/31/18 Prairie City to Dayville: Kam Wah Chung and Awesome Church Hostel

Yesterday we slept in like normal retirees and even made coffee at the campground before heading to the AirBnb for the day.
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Yesterday was a rest day in Prairie City, or more accurately, a heat day in an AirBnb.  We didn't leave, 'septin' to walk next door for groceries. We have time, so there seemed to be no reason to push on. But we are rolling again today, a 44 mile down hill to Dayville.

The best kind of ride during a heat advisory is one that's all downhill. Thankfully that's how the road from Prairie City to Dayville was designed: 44 easy miles. We left at 6am, planning for a 2nd breakfast stop at the Silver Spur in Mt. Vernon (tasty!) .. and an early arrival in Dayville. The forecast was for 90 degrees by 11am. The haze from the Northern California fires gave us false hope that it would be overcast and less hot, but by 10am it was obvious that the heat advisory was the real deal.

The shoulder on highway 26 was comfortably wide enough and the traffic was relatively light. Before we hit the Silver Spur, we stopped at the city park in John Day for a pit stop. There was a sign for the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site, and we were disappointed that we were there way too early to take the tour. 

There was a smoky haze in the air this morning
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Bruce LellmanFor anyone getting to Kam Wah Chung later than those early bird Grumbys I highly recommend the tour of this place. It's utterly unique and fascinating.
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1 year ago
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From the Oregon State Parks website:
If you haven't seen this place you need to go. Originally a Chinese medical clinic, general store, community center and residence, Kam Wah Chung gives you an incomparable glimpse into the past. The museum was built in the 1870's, possibly as a trading Post. The tiny, unassuming building became home to two Chinese immigrants, Ing "Doc" Hay and Lung On. Both became locally famous: Lung On as a general store proprietor and businessman, and "Doc" Hay as a practitioner of herbal medicine. For 50-some years, the building was a social, medical, and religious center for Oregon's Chinese community.

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Not bad....
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Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnAnother one we really like
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1 year ago
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Look at the skinny calves on that guy.
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The various heat waves we've experienced on this tour have presented one irksome challenge. Staying safe from heat-related health incidents takes precedence over stopping to smell the flowers. The Kam Wah Chung tour is one amongst many opportunities we've missed in the name of pedaling with purpose during the early cool hours of the day.

Fortunately, when we arrived in Dayville, our heat-related angst was quickly erased by the kindness of Rose, a member of the Dayville Presbyterian Church. Rose welcomed us to stay in the church, which has become a legendary refuge for touring cyclists.

It all started in the early 1980s when a cyclist asked a woman named Millie if he could camp in her back yard. Millie said she could offer him a better place than her yard and invited him to stay at the church. He was the first of a hundred or more cyclists that have stayed at the church every year since.

Millie was a loyal hostess to two-wheeled travelers for many years until she passed away in 2006. Shortly afterwards Rose took over where Millie left off and has been extending great kindness to cyclists ever since. When we arrived, Rose showed us the fully stocked kitchen, the bathroom with shower, the laundry room, and the 'Biker News' bulletin board. Below the board were a few binders filled with notes from all of the grateful guests. We looked through them and found the notes written by Holly and Jim that we met in Sisters last year. And another note from Rich and Cissy when they passed through Dayville in 2013.

The Biker Ministry bulletin board
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Millie
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We slept behind the alter just like our friends Rich and Cissy
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Scott AndersonHey, I slept here too! Back in 1986, on a solo ride from Detroit to Baker City. It wasn’t Millie that gave me access though - some elderly gent. I must have been one of the first to sleep there.
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1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Scott AndersonYes you were probably one of the first. They have guest books going back to the early-mid 80s. Great place and handy service to provide.
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1 year ago
Rich and Cissy, 2013
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We spent most of the day in the church, with a couple of outings for cold treats. In the early afternoon we walked to the Dayville Mercantile, which has a truly impressive selection of anything you might need. Plus a bike repair station! In the afternoon we went to Twisted Treasures Gnarly Goods for ice cream.

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Dayville Mercantile
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Dinner at the church was rice with chicken and green beans, and salad. We wanted to get rid as much of our heavy food as possible before tomorrow's climb up to Mitchell.

How lucky we were to rest for the night in a church that has been an important refuge for touring cyclists for almost four decades.

A cyclist crafted this stained glass for the church back in the early 90s and it's shown up in countless TransAmerica blogs. Now it's in another one.
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Today's ride: 44 miles (71 km)
Total: 1,953 miles (3,143 km)

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Scott AndersonGood luck tomorrow! There are some tough miles ahead of you around Mitchell.
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1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Scott AndersonThanks. It was a long climb, 27 miles or so, but we got out early and finished before noon and the heat.
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1 year ago