Curtis cruised past me in the parking lot. He was "jelly fishing" on his bike. He had taken both feet out of his pedals and was throwing them back and forth in a jellyfish-like motion. "Okay! Let's go to Juntara!" he said as he jellyfished his way out of the parking lot to start our 70 mile trek. We were all bent over our bikes laughing for five minutes before we contained ourselves and joined him.
Oregon is a very beautiful state. Cassie had introduced Oregon to us as "similar to Texas," so all of us were somewhat dreading it, picturing the desolate landscapes and demoralizing headwinds of Texas. However, we were all amazed by the beauty of the land on our way from Ontario to Juntara, OR.
Our cue sheet was very simple today. Take two turns to get onto the main road, travel 67 miles, take two turns to get to the host site. We were heading straight west and unfortunately the wind was headed straight east. But it was nothing like we'd encountered in Oklahoma and Texas. We quickly combated the wind with an efficient pace line.
The canyon we traveled in was breath-taking. Buttermilk mountains covered in sagebrush surrounded us as we zig-zagged through the valley along the aptly named Snake River. We had a few climbs over some passes but for the most part we cruised along the river, winding through the foothills.
Juntara is a little cattle town nestled in the foothills. Tonight was another perfect Bike and Build style night. When we got to the gym where we were staying, we chatted while we waited for the van to show up with our luggage. Before long, it pulled up and we helped unload it, forming a well-practiced assembly line to move the bags and bins in. After that, we passed around the garden hose and showered. Next to the gym is an arena and we watched the locals flaunt their cowboy and cowgirl skills as they roped cows and ran barrels. Their culture is so much different than our team culture. We really felt like we were in the Wild West today.
For dinner, we were treated to hamburgers made from grass-fed, locally-raised cows. Even some of the vegetarians could not refuse the chance to eat such a burger. They were delicious. We finished the night by taking the opportunity to ride some horses. It was great to get onto a different saddle or once! I showed off my cowgirl skills by loping a horse around the yard for a little while and this encouraged my teammates to try it out. Soon, everyone had the chance to trot or lope on the horse and we had a great time cheering each other on. It was great to get back on a horse again! I have missed riding.
We have 57 hilly miles into Burns, OR tomorrow. Hopefully the wind is at our backs!