My day started early and threatened rain until I cleared the Mount Hood mountain pass. Somehow, a sun spot stayed in view and I only had 11 or so drops touch my helmet.

State Route 26 begins at Seaside, OR, and ends at Vale, OR. Its name changes from Sunset to Mt. Hood Hwy, and drops and gains approximately 4000 feet in elevation. I highly recommend this route. It’s slow to go this way, but it was so diverse in it’s geology and color that I would ride it again.

I ran into gusty winds after descending the pass to the pastoral prairies, and you take breaks when you feel like your wheels are shifting out from under you and you’ve got massive cramps (yes, this is my Tampax moment). I pushed on and didn’t take many photos, for I truly wanted to reach Vale.

I stopped in Madras, nearly Madre for Mother in Spanish, but not quite so. I ate at the well advertised Black Bear Diner. I sat at the counter along with a 72 year young lady named Doris. We chatted as we snacked. I asked her what one pearl of wisdom she’d offer for being a good mother. Then it became clear that she didn’t understand me, for she said, “Clean the house. I had two husbands and they always made me hire a maid.” Doris walked to the diner from the nearby assisted living house. The waitresses doted on her and she’d always find something for them to bring to her. She said her family were all over the country and she was alone, again. She was getting sad, talking about a lot of her past. Asked my name several times. I asked her what activities they had at her house. She smiled and talked about the church friends who visit and pray with her, and was going to play Penuckle with ‘her girls’ tonight. I offered to buy her dinner and she was so surprised that it took her two seconds to hand me the bill. She got up and gave me a very long hug. I wished her Happy Mothers’ Day. She held my hands and gave me the best thank you I’ve ever received.

We chatted more, the waitress asked what I rode, and added that she had a Ducati, “Well, I had one. Paid for and everything; but, I had to sell it. I shouldn’t have done that.” I suggested she buy a used one since they’re cheaper. “I just want to ride. That’s a good idea.” Call me a cycling evangelist. Hope she does buy one if that’s her passion.

More research uncovered that few services are available near Vale, so I took things slow and reached John Day, ‘a metropolis’ so said the gas man in Dayville where I refueled.

The light at this time of day is so warm. Large and fluffy clouds spritzed down a few droplets to cool me off. Temperature range today was 45-90 degrees F. I wore all my gear the entire time, and envied the cool look on other riders’ faces with their t-shirts flapped in the wind. That’s one risk I can’t take riding solo.

I talked with Gaila today, and I’m looking forward to seeing her and Tad in Flagstaff. Not sure whether I will follow them or continue with my original plan. Depends if I spend time camping in Zion–a national park I’ve blown by two other times. I must explore that space this time around.

At my hotel, I met two cyclists from Vancouver, BC. They’re headed to Flagstaff for a family reunion and didn’t know about Overland Expo. I doubt they’ll go since they have plans. Fine gents. They took Edelweiss’ Italian catered motorcycle vacation last summer–highly recommended. Gives me the bug to do just that next summer. For now, I’m enjoying the high heat and headed out for a small snack. Long day again tomorrow. Utah or bust!

Happy Mothers’ Day to all you moms, near moms, surrogate moms, and however you define someone you call mom.

Take good care.