Connecting Communities One Step At A Time

Mitchell, OR to Vale, OR

As we were preparing to settle in last Monday evening at the local campground in Mitchell, we struck up a conversation with Fred Bouwman. Originally from Canada, Fred is attempting to travel around the world from Thailand on a bicycle over two years and is raising money for an orphanage he volunteered at while working abroad (please see his blog)*.

The run from Mitchell to Dayville was nothing short of spectacular. Photos do the surroundings absolute injustice, but it was our favorite run day to date. We even found a shoe tree where I happily donated my flip flops!

We finished our run to Dayville with some cloud cover before arriving at the Fish House Inn and RV Park. With full RV facilities, WiFi, and some time to tidy up Rex, we were able to get some work completed (such as applying for grants; we have been grateful to receive help from our friends and family, but we continue to look for small grants to help). Adam attended a community fire briefing, where he learned about the South Fork Complex Fire, a large Type 1 fire about 6 miles south of Dayville. Afterwards we had a restful evening and even something of a gourmet meal.

On Wednesday we entered John Day. After Adam chatted with two volunteer firefighters and stopped by City Hall, we had an enormous lunch at the Squeeze-In. I believe Adam and I were even with absurd food consumption, and we left very full and happy. An hour later, we were fortunate enough to meet with Mayor Ron Lundbom and City Manager Peggy Grey. We had a wonderful conversation and learned a great deal about the community of John Day. Phil Grey (husband of Peggy) invited us to record a clip for the local radio station’s ‘Coffee Hour’, where we described the run, its origins and goals, and a bit of our own backgrounds. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer foray to radio! We then met with the Grant Union Jr/Sr High School Principal Curt Shelley and asked questions about education policy and how changing community demographics have affected the school. We ended the evening at the highly recommended and recently opened 1188 Brewpub.

On Thursday, we ran to Austin Junction and opted to camp at a beautiful state park in nearby Bates. The following morning, we ran to Unity, ate dinner at The Water Hole, and stayed at the Burnt River Motel and RV Park. Saturday consisted of 32 miles and we stopped 8 miles west of Brogan. Along the run, I stopped to chat with a man and his daughter who were out hunting antelope, and he called the run crazy before wishing me good luck and saying he hoped I would achieve something positive. 

32 miles further east, we are spending this evening in Vale, where we're at the Starlite Cafe enjoying good food, friendly service, and great conversations with the locals. Tomorrow we head towards Nyssa, and soon we'll be crossing into Idaho.

*On Saturday morning, we received an unfortunate email from Fred: he had been hit by the side mirror of a large truck and was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Bend suffering from two collapsed lungs, multiple broken and fractured bones, and a concussion. Fred is a very kind and unassuming man, and I’m sure he would like nothing more than to raise as much money as possible for the orphanage in Thailand. Please read his blog and consider giving, with our thanks.