August 12, 2006
I stayed in the motel room until almost 11am today, when I had to check out. My front wheel had gone flat overnight. I guess yesterday’s patch didn’t hold. So I had a few errands to do – first I went to the bike shop and got a new front tire and tube. I saw when installing the patch yesterday that the tire was worn down pretty well, and prone to more flats, so I had planned to replace it soon anyway.
Then I went to the library, where they had the fastest internet connection I’ve used so far. Finally then it was time for a stop at McDonalds for cheap food. I didn’t leave town until after 2pm.
Riding was scenic through mostly all National Forest land, as well as some roadside cattle grazing. There hasn’t been a single state without cows. Well, maybe North Carolina, but I was only there along the beach – I’ve seen cows in other parts of NC. Foreigners who ride the TransAm must go home and tell people about how America is filled with cows! I wouldn’t blame them – it’s true!
Oh, and there’s pickup trucks all over the country too. Isn’t the Ford F150 still the best selling vehicle in the country? More than the Toyota Camry, if I remember correctly?
So there’s three consecutive mountain ridges out of Baker City that are all 1,000 foot climbs – three sharp spikes on the profile map that I wasn’t looking forward to climbing this afternoon. It’s all through clear Douglas Fir forest with no underbrush, on a road with virtually zero traffic. The first climb was steady and enjoyable, with cool 75-80 degree weather.
“This is great,” I thought, “Even fun. I can do two more of these.”
I reached the bottom of the first ridge, and got a flat… yeah, on the brand new front tire. So I patched it up, and it was flat again in 5-10 minutes. I stopped again and replaced the tube. Now with an hour killed and daylight starting to fade, I reached the top of the second mountain, and began the descent.
The tube blows again. I had no more tubes on me, and in the gathering dark I didn’t care to bother with a patch that likely wouldn’t work anyway. So I walked with the bike for what seemed like forever, to get at least within a few miles of Austin Junction. There’s a store and cafe there.
Adding to the misery, It was a downhill grade that I walked at 3mph, as opposed to what would have been 30mph coasting on a bike.
I’m camping in the forest tonight, and I guess I’ll try and hitchhike back to Baker City tomorrow. Not happy, but it still beats going to work. Life is good.
in Baker City
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Google Map Route may not be 100% accurate.