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  • Writer's pictureMitch Metzger

Day 12 to 16 of Mitch's Trans America

Updated: May 23, 2019

  • Mitchell, OR

  • Dayville, OR

  • Mount Vernon, OR

  • Austin Junction, OR

  • Baker City, OR

Mitchell, Oregon has been my favorite city already. Only 130 population.

Day 12 was my day off in Mitchell, OR. I stayed at Spoke'n Hostel which is in an Assembly of God Church on the edge of town. It was wonderful. I finished my laundry, got lots of videos edited, rested and had a super Patty Melt sandwich at the Cafe' downtown, walking distance. The Melt was big and the fries were large serving also.

Watch video attached of my Mitchell, Oregon experience...

I met another biker passing through named Christopher here also. He is a medical student from Washington biking from Spokane, Washington to Los Angeles. It is a trip under 2,000 miles. He traveled major lighter than me and averaged nearly double of what I do.

Christopher is biking from Washington to Los Angeles - nearly 2,000 trip.

Mitchell used to be a place where the Stage Coach (public transport wagon pulled by horses) used to stop.

On Day 13, I started moving on from Mitchell, OR to Dayville, OR. I had to go over Keyes Creek Summit Pass at 4,382 feet nearly directly after Mitchell.

Keyes Creek Summit after Mitchell, OR going East

Between Mitchell and Dayville, in the middle of nowhere, I happened upon a "Shoe Tree." It was so cool! The huge tree, on the side of the highway, was covered with shoes of every type. I thought for sure this must be some wild activity of high school students when they are bored.

Later, after asking around, I discovered, from a girl in a restaurant, that told me, that when the High School wins a championship game, they will make a road trip tour to the tree and tee-pee it with old shoes! I thought so. I left a nice "gospel booklet and Bible" in a prominent location at the base of the tree for the next "party" that might swing by.

Shoe tree between Mitchell and Dayville, OR

Shoe tree between Mitchell and Dayville, OR

Shoe tree between Mitchell and Dayville, OR

As I continued through Day 13, there was an increase in rock formations and wall to wall rocks on both sides.

Between Mitchell, OR and Wayville, OR

Upon arriving at Fish House Inn & Campsite, in Dayville, OR, I paid my $20 overnight fee and set up camp. It rained most of the night and was cold. I spent a few hours in the middle of the night uploading videos from the warm laundry room floor. Again, I was the only bike-tent camper in the property since I am so early in the season of vacationers. I call myself an early Trans-Am'er! I have two titles now: YWAM'er and Trans-Am'er! ha

Laundry Room Office

On the morning of Day 14, I had breakfast at the local cafe' and then went across the street to Dayville Mercantile. It is a grocery store.

After buying snacks and taking my time since it was so cold outside and I was not in a hurry to battle the weather, the cashier asked me, "How's your bike holding up?" I was surprised that he cared about my bike. I fumbled a bit for an answer before, under my breath answering, "Well, I'm waiting for a big city cause I think I need to overhaul my bottom bracket. I think I have a little piece of dirt between my bearings."

He asked, "You want me to take a look at it? I have a bike shop in the back."

"Oh yea?" surprised.

He invited me to bring it around the back so I did. I ended up discovering he had over 9 years of bike shop experience in Portland, OR and had tons of equipment and tools, and parts in the back.

Within minutes, he had my bike up on the stand and my bottom bracket disassembled in a heartbeat. He only needed to tighten it 1/8th of a turn and the clicking stopped. He began to tell me about all the history this type of model and make of bottom bracket has in self loosening every "so often." That's all.

Since we were, on a roll, I had him (Simon is his name) adjust my fender, kickstand, and perfect my tire pressure and we we off and running! He would not accept any payment! I was so blessed and honored. My map actually showed a "bike repair" in Wayville but I never saw it hidden beside the store cause I wasn't looking either. Simon's services are highly recommended!

The bike shop is beside Wayville Mercantile.

Wayville Bike Shop

Simon, the bicycle repair man in Wayville, OR

Due to rain, cold weather, and having trouble staying warm, I stopped in Mount Vernon for the day. I found a cheap motel and concentrated on getting warmed up.

The following morning, during the checkout, I asked the manager, if she would be interested in having Bibles for their different rooms for future customers?

She said, "Yes. That's right. We don't have any yet, do we?"

They were the new owners/managers for only two months. They were still organizing themselves. I gave her 10 pieces. Perfect!

On Day 15, I would travel from Mount Vernon, OR to a campsite near Austin Junction. It was a State campsite for $8 per night for bikers. I had to go over Dixie Pass at 5,279 feet today.

I thought I had read somewhere that there is no water at this campsite (which turned out to be totally incorrect!) so I stopped to fill my bottles at this pipe coming out of the mountain. Beautiful, cold water. Note: Oregon does not have a lack of water! There appears to be enough water in this state to serve half of America probably! Amazing!

Water spout beside the highway near Austin Junction campsite intersection.

Prior to arriving at this campsite in Austin Junction, I had to pass through Prairie City, OR.

My care box with 20 Bible replenishment and more freeze dried, dehydrated meals for the next 10 days..

Prairie City, OR was an important stop for me, because it is the location I had shipped to myself a "care box" with 20 more Bibles and more freeze dried meals. It had already been waiting for me via General Delivery at the Prairie City Post Office. The Post Master was expecting me and we had a great conversation, exchanged my business card, gave her a Bible and took a photo with her and her mascot.

Prairie City, OR Post Master (non-uniformed) with her mascot. She watched my box for me until I arrived.

Even earlier in this same day, I stopped by John Day to make a purchase and a Heat and Air Conditioning Serviceman took an interest in what I was doing and gave me some of his sample "goat jerky."I have had beef jerky all my life and sometimes deer jerky but it's my first for goat jerky. It was fine. No difference actually.

Eating goat jerky that someone gave me outside a hardware store in John Day, Oregon.

I finished off the night of Day 15 with some freeze dried lasagna. It was okay, but not my super favorite. Too much sauce.

My little stove is working pretty good. I like it.

On Day 16, I paid my $8 campsite fee here at Austin Junction campsite, which by the way, has nice clean bathrooms, no shower, but tons of water, green grass, and is right beside the Highway 7 which takes you to Baker City.

Baker City needed to be my goal today. I really wanted to get here because I was in desperate need to upgrade my rain gear, bottom layer shirts, more wool in my socks, and find some way to cover my feet from the wind, cold, and rain. Baker City, has a population of 9,000+ and lots of outdoor shopping stores.

Between Austin Junction and Baker City is mostly downhill following the river so it is not too hard except there are no stores, groceries or replenishment opportunities for 50 miles. There is one place I noticed with a SIGN for "bikers to refill water" but I did not need to avail. My water was fine. I did lack snacks so I pulled over into a "picnic park" beside Phillips Lake to cook lunch.

Eating hot Cream of Wheat for late lunch at Phillips lake before Baker City, OR.

I had some Patriot's Pantry Cream of Wheat and Apple Cider. It was a little nicer weather, at this point of the day, but earlier while having to climb and pass over two Summit Passes, the weather was terrible.

Cooking lunch at a roadside picnic area between Austin Junction and Baker City at Phillips Lake.

The first Pass, after departing Austin Junction campsite is Tipton Pass at 5,424 feet. After that you go down and start getting ready for climbing to Sumpter Pass at 5,082 feet.

I was disappointed at Sumpter because there was no SIGN to tell you you arrived. I am guessing that maybe it was destroyed in last year's winter and they haven't replaced it yet. You know when you arrive at the top of Sumpter because there are SIGNS warning you about the downhill approaching.

Tipton Summit Pass at 5,124 feet after Austin Junction, OR

Sumpter Summit Pass at 5.082 feet with no SIGN on the highway.

After arriving at Baker City, former historical gold mining town, and still today, I checked into a cheap motel and decided to give myself an extra day here for shopping, organizing my things, upgrading my rain gear, sleeping pad, adding more wool socks. It was the end of Day 16 and Day 17 was my day off for all my logistics and admin.

Baker City is really spread out. I took taxi twice which is only $6 per trip. Eagle Cab 541-403-4456. Everyplace is too far to walk and I did not want to take my bicycle out today.

Images from Baker City, OR above. The guy in the blue shirt is Wyatt. He is the Desk person at the motel I stayed at.

I found out he is a Christian, goes to a Harvest church, and has as many as three or four friends that have either taken a Discipleship Training School with Youth With a Mission or are currently in YWAM training.

He said his pastor is pushing him to go too. I told him, most certainly, meeting me should be a confirmation/sign from the LORD that it is his turn now to take six months off to do a DTS. I sought to give him the various reasons why he should consider our DTS in the Philippines over other options across the USA. I gave him my card and hope to hear from him again during my travels.

I loved Baker City! 5 stars!

Tomorrow is Day 18. It is 400 miles to Missoula, Montana. I have to pass through: Richland, Cambridge, New Meadows, Riggins, White Bird, Grangeville, Kooskia, Lolo Hot Springs, Lolo, and Missoula. I have now finished two of my 12 maps. I am now starting Map Three! Yaaay!


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