Friday, 20 July 2012

Umatilla, OR

Breakfast place in Walla Walla
I'd been cycling for a couple of hours this morning when a regular clicking sound started. It was present whether or not I was turning the pedals. I investigated and after initial lack of success – due to my mistaken belief that the problem lay with the front wheel – found a 3 cm nail in the rear tyre. It had entered the base of the tyre, gone right through, and come out the side. I pulled it free, expecting to hear a hiss of escaping air, but the inner tube was intact.

Looking across the Columbia to Washington state
After riding west on US 12 for nearly 50 km, I came to the Columbia River and turned to follow it south-west on US 730. The river runs through a gorge not a valley. Treeless slopes rise up on both banks. The road and railway run along the water's edge. The wind was coming at me from the south-west and slowed me down, but fortunately it was nothing like as strong this morning as it often is here – the wind turbines were rotating only lazily – and I welcomed its cooling effect.

I've made it to Oregon
After a further 10 km I came to the state line and entered Oregon, my eleventh and last state. Immediately the shoulder narrowed from about 1.5 m to 50 cm. As I continued it widened and contracted periodically. Often it was narrower than is comfortable when heavy trucks and trailers are travelling in the adjacent lane.

I reached Umatilla (first syllable pronounced You), my staging post for the day, after 90 km. My motel and another across the road are sandwiched between two 'gentlemen's clubs', the first I have come across on this trip. I'm told it's possible to get a meal without being exposed to exotic dancers. I will find out later whether this is true.

1 comment:

  1. Just caught up after another Melb visit. Congrats on reaching your final state. Great achievement. Your pelican shot was nice but can't wait to see your dinner pics. Ride safely.