Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | June 22, 2016

Days 8-9: The good, the sad, and the power of pie

Day 8
Destination: Prairie City, Ore.
Today’s mileage: 55 miles. Total: 447

Yorem and Mark and wagon

Yoram and Mark and an old wagon in Prairie City, Ore.

My new riding buddy, Yoram Ephraim of Israel, and I used this as a nice and easy training ride. After our 88-mile run the day before, we were happy to pull into Prairie City in the early afternoon. We set up camp at the Prairie City Depot and RV park. Melody, me and Yoram set up our camp under the shade of some sweet old trees and within earshot of the gurgling stream that passed nearby. The campground had decent bathrooms — and even showers! — so we were set for the evening. We had a couple of beers, we ate some brats and hot dogs from the grill, and we talked until the mosquitoes went into attack mode.

saying goodbye

Saying goodbye is never easy, but we loved sharing part of the ride with Yoram. We will most certainly meet again.

Day 9
Destination: Brogan, Ore.
Today’s mileage: 80. Total: 527

I told Yoram I was feeling melancholy as we parted early today. We made one nice climb, up to about 5,400 feet, descended and said goodbye. I’ll miss that guy. He is a special one. Luckily for Yoram, he was able to connect with a couple of other bikers who were going his way, so while that group headed north to Baker City, I headed east and south, aiming for Ironside. The riding has changed dramatically from the first week. There’s still plenty of climbing, but now I’m in high desert and the terrain is hilly, dry and desolate. I rode for miles and miles, and my only companions were herds of grazing cattle, scores of prairie dogs, and an occasional mule deer. But it was spectacular. I had three more hard climbs — and lots of smaller ones — and I’m feeling stronger every day. I loved my two days with Yoram and I miss our conversations — and I KNOW he would have loved some of the authentic Americana I experienced.

About 35-40 miles into my ride, I was kind of bonking. I stopped into the Water Hole bar in the little town of Unity. But I didn’t want beer (I know, shock!). I had one thing on my mind. Pie. Pie and ice cream. Pie, ice cream and a cup of coffee. I walked into the door and a couple of bored regulars looked toward me — and then turned back to their beers. … But I’m sure I was a sight for the jeans and cowboy hat crowd.

I said hello and asked the man behind the bar:

“Hey, do you have any pie?”

He said, rather proudly: “Why, yes. Dutch apple OK?”

I said, “Absolutely. With ice cream?”

“Coming right up.”

Met and the pie

To me, pie and ice cream is like jet fuel. Today, it did its job.

When the pie arrived, it was gigantic, stuffed with apples with a generous dollop of ice cream. The coffee came and I started in on it, not sure if I’d be able to finish. In about five minutes, I had reduced the huge serving to a stain on the plate. Feeling rejuvenated, I paid — $5.50 for the works — and set off … for where I was not sure.

Once I started rolling, I didn’t stop until I had logged 80 miles and crossed into the Mountain time zone. I’m closing in on Boise and I’m feeling stronger every day.

Riding through the high desert

No more rain, rain forests or even clouds in the sky. High desert and feeling more powerful by the day. Here I come, Idaho!

(For more on the journey, including extra photos and videos, go to our website:



  1. I can’t believe you’re really doing it!!!!!
    So amazing. Go Mark🚴
    How does Melody like camping?

    • Well, we’ve camped a couple of times and done cheap motels the other nights. Weather early made the idea of camping quite unpleasant. We drove ahead last night about 20 miles for a motel because the camping option was a little too rustic. Ha. We’ll drive back to that spot today and I’ll be at the border of Idaho this afternoon sometime. Oregon has exceeded my expectations, for difficulty and for pure beauty. Really a wonderfully diverse wilderness.

  2. Sweet! You have made it sound as though this is the most sane and easy thing to do. Crazy… be sane. I’m fascinated by “high desert”. Never heard that before.

  3. Hey, Mark, is Yoram keeping a blog? I would love to get his story and impressions.

    • He just writes in Facebook — in Hebrew. But you can follow him, I think, by just searching for him by name.

  4. Wow, Mark. I’m really in awe of what you’re doing! Keep up the good work and — most of all — stay safe on the roads! (Hi, Melody!) 🙂

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