This song will no longer congure up childhood memories of sunday morning church services, but instead will send me into awful flashback of Nate skidding fingers-first across the pavement on route 126 just west of Eugene. The first (and hopefully only) crash of our ride occurred when Nate was inspired by bicycle-tour delerium to launch into a rousing version of the traditional hym "Come Thou Fount", became distracted by the spirit of the song (and the vocal solo that replaced the words he didn't know), and bumped into Joe's back wheel. This set him off balance and sent him sliding across the pavment. Fortunately his injuries were minor. After some impromtu first aide, he rode off with a dislocated fingernail and 3x3 patch of missing skin on his upper-thigh. Moral of the story: know the words to songs.
Yesterday was the first real climb of our trip. We crossed the Cascade range through McKenzie pass (5,300ish ft.). This required over 4,000 feet of climbing. Fortunately, we had 20 miles to gain this altitude. The climb was not as steep as many roads out east (reddish knob, massanutten, talcott mtn.), but its length was unlike anything that i could previously conceptualize. The pass featured an "observatory" that offered breath taking views of "the sisters", which are 3 mountains each between 8,000 and 10,000 feet. We averaged 25-30mph for 10 miles on the east side. It was fun.
We reached Bend yesterday evening and are staying with Michael and Sacha. They belong to a Mennonite church plant that is pastored by a man named Sam Adams, who is firends with Tato, who is a Member of "The Church of the Servant King", which is very well connected to Wipf and Stock publishing, where Charlie works, who went to Duke with Peter Dula, who is one of our profs at EMU. Yup, its kind of like "7 degrees of Kevin Bacon", except is like "how many degrees can we be removed from a person and still be allowed to sleep in their house".
They have been hospitable to us as if we were life-long friends. Michael gave us some suggestions about how to view, "his favorite place on earth", Yellowstone and Sacha, who is a school chef, has helped us reimagine our daily menu. Nate and Joe are at Trader Joe's right now stocking up on high-energy and nutritional foods. We hope these dense and nutritional foods will prove to be cheaper in the long-run.
We need to stock up on food before our next 4-5 days because no one lives where we are going. This is going to be the first mentally tough section. The landscape will not vary and we can expect to sleep out every night. Our next "destination" where we have arranged shelter is Boise, ID.
I hope to write more about bicycling and advocacy, but I have not had time or energy to put those thoughts together. Maybe in South Dakota I will have less to write about and be able to squeeze some of that in.