I left Biggs, OR this morning at 9:00: that’s pretty early for me. I decided to push past the campground at mile 37 and try to make Umatilla (yume-a-tilla). I had some concerns.

Although my route today started and ended in Oregon, 83 of the 86 miles would be in Washington on Route 14. As usual, the ride started with the requisite 2 mile climb. After I turned right on Route 14. I checked my average speed: it was a forecast for a long day at 7.5 mph. Did I mention that it was getting drier?

Yes, I was concerned. But I had the wind at my back. And then I found an angel on my shoulder. Three angels, actually.

This is Ty, Drew, and Mac. Drew and Mac are 17 years old (Mac will be 17 in six days). They are doing a senior class project; bicycling across America. Drew and Mac are from Missoula, Montana, the home of Adventure Cycling. I am using Adventure Cycling maps. Mac’s mom is the “Route Coordinator” for Adventure Cycling. So we were all using the same maps. Ty is 21 years old and he is the adult supervision. Ty is from Lawrence, Kansas. The trio is on their way to New Jersey. They are joining a group near Minneapolis and they are raising funds for a charity. Please check out their blog at bikestoryforcory.blogspot.com (Ty’s blog is just-keep-pedaling.tumbler.com)

So let me set this up; the terrain is mostly flat, the wind is pretty ferocious (at our backs), I now have three youthful, strong, devil-may-care cycling companions. Let’s go baby! We covered 30 miles in an hour and a half. Umatilla, no problem.

One more angel. About 6 miles from our destination we stopped to take a break at a dirt road for a farm. A white pick-up truck came down the hill, kicking up dust, and stopped. The driver rolled down the window. It was Vern from the largest farm in Washington. He told us about water rights to the Columbia River, the cost of pumping it up to the 4,000 acres, how potatoes could only be grown on a field every three years. As we parted ways Vern told us that he had fields of fresh peas and we were welcome to them. I didn’t know if he was joking or not so I said “Don’t let the dogs out on us if you see us in the field.” That’s when Vern offered to get us some peas. “I’ll meet you up the road” he said. Sure enough, we saw the dust rising from Vern’s pick-up, so we pulled over and we all stood there in the middle of the road taking a “pea” break!

Thanks Vern!

Oh, I almost forgot the party. We will be passing through Missoula, Montana next week. It’s Mac’s birthday. There is a party at the Draught House, June 8 for Mac, and his cycling crew. I’ll be there and I’m sure they have room for all of us. They have good ice cream in Missoula.