We were invited by Julie to come in for breakfast, and we sat down to a wonderful spread of scrambled eggs, pancakes, and bacon (for Cameron). It was a delicious and fantastic way to start the day! After breakfast we said goodbye to Julie and Curt, thanking them profusely, though never enough, for all their hospitality.
The headwind was already strong at 9 am. A few miles up the road we met a Swiss cyclist named Max. He was headed to Walla Walla too and decided to bike with us. The more the merrier! The going was slow even with drafting in our group of four, but eventually we arrived at Lewis and Clark Trail State Park and sat down to a long lunch.
We passed a truck carrying a single, enormous windmill blade
Back on the road a few hours later, the wind was roaring. We put our heads down and went up and down a few big hills, keeping a consistent pace. Finally, around five pm, we turned off the highway and onto some smaller roads. Our excitement built as we approached our destination, and upon arriving at our old friend Liz's farm, we were so happy to share big hugs and eat a lot of pasta with fresh veggies.
We cooked up some potatoes for breakfast and reviewed a crude map of South America drawn by Max. He told us about his favorite places, inspiring in us wonder, excitement, and anxiety for the road ahead. Though we were staying to spend time with Liz, Max was to meet his brother in a few days and had to go. Cameron decided to go with him towards the coast rather than head south with us. It was hard to watch him leave after spending the last weeks together, but I am hopeful and optimistic that our paths will cross again soon.
After the guys left, Tam and I ran some errands. Most exciting, her new pack was at the post office, purple and shiny. Thank you, Osprey, for your fantastic warranty!
A delicious lunch, a short nap, a tour of the farm with Liz, and cooking gnocchi with Tam rounded out this restful day.
We got up early and fueled ourselves with left-over gnocchi before hopping in Liz's truck. A couple hour drive brought us to one of her favorite hiking destinations, the Wallowa mountains. We then hiked up through peaceful forest and past gurgling streams into a gorgeous alpine meadow. The leaves were starting to turn vibrant shades of yellow and red, and simply lit up the mountainsides. Our destination for the day was mirror lake, a blue green gem nestled just under the spectacular peak known as Eagle Cap. We ate lunch by the lake, played with Liz's energy-filled 9 month old dog Charlie, and enjoyed freezing swims. What a wonderful place! It's already dark when we start the drive home.