Comfortably Numb

by Gravel Girl / April 19th, 2015

IMG_9469I am at that level of exhaustion that can only be created by some absurd sports event.  I want to shut my eyes but I know that I need another glass of water along with another mound of food. The lights from inside the trailer cast odd shadows, leaving half the trailer overly lit while the other half far too dark.  The sound of frogs has begun to overtake the road noise from a highway that runs from the town of John Day to the border of Oregon, through an impressive nothingness.

I am just outside the town, along the appropriately named John Day River, just next to a company that fixes large saws for the logging industry. The same company that sports a huge IMPEACH OBAMA sign.  Beyond that is a large saw mill, a gun shop, a Thriftway grocery store that displays an impressive number of hunting and fishing magazines at the checkout, a coffee shop that tourists flock to for real lattes, and a butcher that will, “turn anything you shoot into jerky.”

FullSizeRender (8)I think about the beauty of today’s main event, a bike ride that climbed 4,000 feet straight up for 23 miles, at pretty much a consistent grade, starting through luscious green pastures littered with large black cows, pausing through big vistas of the entire valley, and ending on a tremendously flat plateau that looked like something out of a western (minus the winter remnants  of the tiny patches of snow.). And for the return, swooshing down a paved road, a “highway” with an occasional farm vehicle, along a river that cuts through a deep, wind-producing gorge that left me clinging to my bike.

The ride time turned in to just a smidge under four hours, about an hour too long for this time of the season.  What was I thinking?  I crawled the final 4 miles from the town back to camp, wishing I had never stopped, no matter how good that banana bread and chai latte tasted.  I cursed at the smallest of uphills or wind until I hit my turnoff.

And now that I’m post hot shower and first mound of food, I lay here horizontal trying to remember the words to “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd.

FullSizeRender (9)Kevin is glued to a computer, busy mapping out his adventure for tomorrow: a loop up (a key word in all Kevin bike rides) and around the Strawberry Mountains. A ride I have assured him he can do solo; I’ll drive the car on the route because getting lost on the route he’s mapping would mean we would never find him.  If we see a car for the entire dirt road portions of these rides, well the drivers looks so shocked to see you that I am guessing we become the topic for the evening dinner conversation: “those idiots on bikes, where were they going?”

I try to switch my current song to an obvious Beetles hit (Strawberry Fields) but can’t seem to get off Pink Floyd.

I have become ….. Comfortably numb.

Hello is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
I have become comfortably numb…..

And no, Kevin I’m not riding tomorrow.  :-)

Click “View Full Route” in the upper left of the graphic to fully explore the ride — pictures, cue card with turn by turn directions, and downloadable GPS files. For help with Ride, GPS files, etc see the “Help with …” page.

1 thought on “Comfortably Numb”

  1. I think I know the climb you are talking about. It goes southeast out of Praire City and climbs a long way. Last summer, my buddy and I did a pavement/gravel bike camp trip from John Day, up and around Strawberry Mountain and came down that road to Praire City. After we got off of the 395, we were passed by two cars and did not see another until the next morning on the way back in. It was the best bike camp trip we did last summer.

    Here is the link to it:

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