Sixty-Seven: Sleeping with the Enemy (Dayville to Prineville)
I started today with four frozen water bottles and a healthy serving of pancakes. It’s uphill out of Dayville, but the first pass was gentle, and you ride through really pretty country. I went past two John Day fossil units. This part of the country used to be rainforest, and scientists have pulled remarkable specimens out of the hill. In addition, I went through Picture Gorge, named for iron oxide paintings prehistoric peoples left on its walls.
There’s just one stop between the Dayville and Prineville, non-ville Mitchell. I had even more pancakes here. I ordered three, but the chef told me to start with two, and I’m glad. They’re the size of hubcaps. I couldn’t finish them for fear of a violent divorce on the way up Ochoco Pass.
It’s only 4,720′ at the summit (and my second-to-last pass of the trip), but a tough climb. I traded my helmet for a bandana to keep the sweat out of my eyes. There’s a campground at the top, but it burned, along with much of the forest a few weeks ago. I hear Highway 26 was closed at the end of July. There’s fresh paving where fire melted road.
From the pass, it’s downhill all the way to Prineville. Ochoco Lake has a nice, county-run campground, and $5 hiker/biker sites, but it’s about 8 miles out of town, so I kept trucking to Prineville proper, where I met Jerry W., an amateur cyclist, retired property manager and carpet-cleaning mogul. His girlfriend’s also named Jerry (Jerri?).
I’m camped at Crook County RV Park, nestled in with 40′ trailers and RVs. A tent site is $10.95 (no hiker/biker rate), and that includes showers, electric, water and wifi. I’d be more stoked about wifi, but I’m pulling in my first Sprint LTE coverage since Breckenridge, Colorado.
A family from British Columbia’s set up nearby. They’re in a camper-van, and the daughter has her own tent. It’s windy, and the EZ-UP I dinnered under blew down before bed.