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Friday 27 May 2011

Day 18 - Clocktower vs. Mountain

Todays mileage: 69
Total mileage: 910
End point: Idaho Falls, ID

Parental warning, if you are my parents or parents of my close friends you may want to consider twice reading this next section. It is ofcourse entirely fiction and any similarities with real life are purely coincidental. I for one am going to exercise my rights under the 5th amendmant and article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights to neither confirm nor deny any involvement. Obviously if an illegal rendition occurs where I am transported to a north african country seeking NATO membership - then yes I was involved, yes osama bin laden is my step uncle and yes I know where the fountain of youth is. There you go Dick Cheney, enhanced interogation works.

It was late May 1999 and a crack commando unit carried out a well planned and secretive paramilitary mission. Storming the western side of the main school building access was obtained through an english classroom window, using a metal ruler. From there, using stealth the commandos made there was along the main corridor past the library and scaled the stairs to the second floor. Operating in near pitch black they moved through the shadows to the chapel entrance, entered, where they sort access to the loft. Reaching this point they were nearly complete in their mission of reaching the bell in the clock tower where they would leave their names for future generations to honour. Just at this point the lights went on - and a deputy headmaster appeared! To his credit he let us complete out mission and freed us without any sanctions. This mission I might point out was relatively harmless fun in comparison with some carried out by other operatives (e.g. painting a penis on the maths block roof....)

So what the hell does this story have to do with biking across america you might ask? Well I headed out to pickles last night for a bison burger, and opposite my motel there is a large mountain. The monutain is covered in numbers, I couldn't fathom what was going so I asked my server. It turns out every high school class scales the mountain and paints their year on it (its now illegal but still happens). The server told me there were trails leading up - but seriously the size of the numbers and some of the cliffs made this a full on climbing expedition. I was impressed, and slightly humbled by the clock tower adventure in comparison.

There were a few other oddities in Arco. A large green chair outside the pickles restaurant and more important I managed to complete my 'military in parks' trifecta - finding the top half a submarine and a torpedo in their park - brilliant!

I left just before 10am this morning with the wind at my back. After going about 15 miles I got another flat. I quickly identified the culprit, a thin piece of metal wire - I suspected this was from the beading of a truck tyre which I had read about. My 'puncture resistant' tube did not live up to its title and its an absolute nightmare to get off. Whilst I was changing it a kind couple in a Ford Explorer pulled over to check on me - I told them it was all par for the course but thanked them.

The landscape today has been dominated by three large buttes: Big South, Middle and East. They really are quite fascinating as the land around is so flat and they rise up so vertically. Big South reaches up to about 2400 metres and still had snow on the top. The land which I was cycling through is owned by the Department of Energy for their nuclear research and testing and they actually had a museum on route. The sign said it opened on memorial day and with my flat pushing me back I couldn't be bothered with the 2 mile detour just to see if it was closed. I'll read the wikipedia article instead!

After the museum the road split with me continuing on route 20 due East to Idaho Falls, with the south road leading to Blackfoot. This was fortunate as it kept the wind at my back. The shoulder was now wide and smooth and there was little to disturb me with the exception of a little deer in the midle of the road (see picture above). I cruised into Idaho Falls just before 4pm, but not just before I got rained on for 5 minutes whilst it was perfectly sunny - bizarre.

Tomorrow is the champions league final so looking forward to that and also hope to find some bike shops in town to discuss routes and get spare tubes. I will also officially unveil my Idaho Bell. 

P.s. I cracked up when I saw the motoring advert above in the local paper!

1 comment:

  1. That add is ridiculous...funny! Your story of school reminds me of a movie I once saw. Hope all is well, Brian! :) Love your posts!