Day 77. Arrived in Mitchell just at 4pm. Barry and I are cooking but after today's hot ride, we needed the iced tea and lemonade along with a shake.
Shake. Shake. Shake.
They are the little carrots we dangle in front of us after a hot day long ride numbering on the 40s to 80s.
Mitchell is a small town, with an old west feel. They, like many of the towns we are passing through from Wyoming to here, preparing for a total eclipse which will occur on the 21st of August. This tiny little county expects over 50,000 people on that day. Almost every town has an eclipse "center" so it is a big deal.
Spoke'n Hostel and the Assembly of God Church.
We've stayed at three hostels now and this is easily my favorite. It's run by young Pastor Pat Farrell and wife Jalet. Their church meets in the basement with a regularly attending congregation of twenty which isn't bad considering the town has 130 residents.
Spoke’n Hostel describes itself as "an oasis of hospitality and radical generosity springing out of Christ’s love for the stranger, traveler, and community."
In 2015 when Pat and Jalet visited Mitchell, Oregon they were quickly struck by the struggles and possibilities this remote Eastern Oregon community faced. Work is very hard to find, isolation mentality had eroded relationships and the town’s heart was faint from the ravages of the recession.
In stark contrast, a vibrant community of tourists and bicycle travelers were passing through Mitchell in masse on their way to the Painted Hills and cycling the 4500 mile Trans America Trail.
They decided to open a hostel inside the Assembly of God to share a Christ-centered hospitality to travelers in hopes of growing the local economy. This growth would help local businesses and provide a base salary for a pastor to focus energy on mending relationships with local community members and teach about God’s unconditional love.
Spoke’n Hostel has 12 beds (6 bunks) in the bunk room (formerly the sanctuary) and 3 more beds in two semi-private rooms. Each of the sturdy, hand-made bunk beds includes linens, pillow, handmade quilts, reading lights, charging stations and privacy curtains. Mattresses are high-quality foam with a soft and firm side and are an extra large twin size, suited to the tallest traveler.
A full kitchen is available for travelers to prepare their own meals. The Hostel intentionally does not feed travelers to encourage dining at local restaurants.
Since June of 2016, Spoke’n has been host to nearly 400 (predominantly bicycle) travelers, 3 retreats, and countless meetings. Businesses in the town report a 30% growth in their revenue because more travelers are staying overnight, and the town is regaining its spirit.
Comments from travelers frequently refer to Spoke’n as an unexpected oasis and have responded by scores of 5-star reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Trip Advisor. To cap it all off, the Oregon Governor’s office of tourism selected Spoke’n as their 2016 recipient of the Tourism Development Award, high praise from one of the most renown tourism boards in the country.
It's a fabulous religious outreach program and Pat and Jalet have been outstanding hosts.
Painted Hills Overlook
The Painted Hills are one of Oregon's self-proclaimed seven wonders. They are geologic calling cards from the Cretaceous period when much of this area was underwater.
Pastor Pat, brought us out here and explained what the colors represented. Nice enjoyable side trip.