Instead of snow it rained half of the rather mild night of 2 degrees and continues in the morning. Since my rides on the Pacific coast I have a rather adverse relationship with rain and I struggle a bit finding my positivity this morning. I start reestablishing a healthy relationsship to rain again by making fun of it. "You don't deserve the name rain! Compared to the coast you are at max a light drizzle!"

Mentally it helps. I doesn't help with the tent being stowed away soaking wet. It also doesn't help the fact that it is again 9:30AM once I hit the road. 2 hours of daylight wasted. It's a major concern for me these days.

Fortunately I can always rely on my first daily happiness booster - back on the bike. Things are good!

By 10:30AM I make it to the village Monument. As usual I have a great visit to the local general store for coffee and cake. On top the owner tries to talk me into buying his store once my trip is finshed. I enjoy some more chats with other customers of the store.

"What do you want there, in redneck country? I heard a few times while telling people about my plans going to east Oregon and Idaho.

I must admit, I love to be back in the country side. People are friendly [at least to me]. People like to chat [have been missing my roadside chats, did not have many since I left the remote roads in Canada.]. It's the first time, that I really have the strong feeling drivers take a whole lot of care with me [back to noisy pick-up trucks, though]. Everybody greats me [I had that before], everybody passes me with a wide margin [Very seldomly I had that before], in the very rare occasion that there is traffic from both directions, drivers slow down behind me and wait until they can switch lanes to pass me [Never had that before].

However, the statistics, the posters and signs along some of those villages speak a rather clear language. I am in Trump territory. So far I haven't got the chance to talk politics out here, which I would be very curious about.

After Monument a very long climb awaits me. I pass the snow line and even get some snow on top. Nothing to major but it stays rather cold the whole day and the sun only peaks out a few times.

There is no real downhill on the other side. I rather stay on a high plateau covered under a thin layer of snow. I am starting to get a bit concerned about my tent that is still stowed away wet. No clue when and where I could dry it in these conditions.

In a mild snow storm I arrive in Long Creek. Once again the saving grace comes in form of the general store. They allow me to dry my tent inside and I also have a great burger [can't even remember when I had my last homemade roadside burger] + a bucket of coffee.

Properly refueled I am back on the road by 3:30PM trying to squeeze out a few more miles out of the last hour of daylight. It's again one of those magical evenings [maybe its also the burger in my stomach]. Nothing than the open road - no car - open landscape of the plateau at about 1000m of altitude - framed by slightly higher hills, snow covered - endless cattle grasslands with only occasional single standing cows that look more like they've been forgotten when the rest of the herd was brought in - a crazy sky with snow clouds - here and there sun rays shoot through clouds. Beautiful! I can wait till Mexico for the warm weather [might regret this attitude]. 

After climbing the Ritter Butte pass [which reminds me of the Berlin-based club Ritter Butzke] and a slippery descent I pitch my tent again at John Day River [not foamy anymore].