Along Highway 26
Day 78. Before launching on this trip, I thought that there would several days where it would be the same stuff, different day and I would struggle to find anything new or a previously unexpressed observation. When you're traveling between 45 to 80 miles a day, how different can one day be from another.
To some degree that preconception has survived reality, particularly in Wyoming and Montana. But mostly it has not. This vast country is chokerbox full different vistas, roads, and most significantly, our people.
Today it was more high desert and lava crested buttes and then we started to climb the Ochoco Mountains. It was warm and slow going. Twice the summit seemed to be reached only to start climbing again. But the summit came and it wasn't without a little wistfulness because this is the second to last large hill/mountain we'll have to cross.
Entering into this valley between the Ochocos and the Cascades, we could so the massive snow covered Cascades ahead of us. Those we cross tomorrow at Mackenzie Pass and from there we'll be in the lush green part of Oregon but more important we'll never ascend over a thousand feet in elevation. It's just us, a few proper tiny hills, and the Pacific Ocean.
Bill got another flat tire. It's been reduced to a minor nuisance, delaying us maybe fifteen minutes. He has had bad luck with flats. Like my previous flat, the cause of this one was an insidious little thin wire, no more than ten millimeters that somehow came off the road, through the tire and into the tube.
Tonight we're staying in Redmond, Oregon. It's a largish town at 27,000 inhabitants. We stopped for our traditional post ride ice cream but could only find a Cold Stone Creamery in a traditional strip mall filled with Starbucks, Jimmy John's and the Mattress Firm. The sea salt and sweet cream shake is great, but it felt detached and ersatz after we have almost exclusively dined small town local for the past three months.
Eating, of course, is a big part of the trip and it wouldn't surprise me if a third of the posts and pictures are about food. We need the fuel and water. Mostly we eat like in the picture where two of us cook and we sit, semi circle, and hash out the day's ride and sights. Today Chris and Phil made spaghetti, always a crowd and carb pleaser especially before tomorrow's big (and last) climb.
We’re staying at another sleepy motel with yet another old English name - the Village Squire. We joke that there must be a rule in Adventure Cycling that we have to stay at medieval themed names like Knights Inn, Olde Towne Inn, or The Village Squire. It seems half the “guests” are permanent residents. There are kids here and it’s heartbreaking to see their innocence in such a squalid place.