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Wednesday 18 May 2011

Day 9 - Blue Mountains

Todays mileage: 59
Total Mileage: 452
End Point: La Grande, OR

Before I forget, two things. Firstly a thankyou to starbucks la grande who just gave me a free latte and some money towards sponsorship - they're great :) Secondly I have been asked about the hygeine situation. Well of course this would be an opportunity to live in filth with a good excuse, but with the exception of the day in the post lady's lawn I have had a shower everyday. That's not to say I am clean, I think that would require 2or 3 proper scrubs. But I have the essentials including my electric toothbrush.

Last night I stayed in a nice motel in downtown pendleton, which is really pretty except for the massive prision as you come into the town. I wound down by going to the cinema to see bridesmaids, actually quick good as comedy chick flics go!

Got up at a reasonable time in the morning, raided breakfast and then headed out of the door. At which point I found I had a puncture (flat tyre). After yesterdays gravel this was no suprise. I did a quick change trying to ensure I didn't get a pinch flat outting the new tube in. About halfway down the road I discoved that my back wheel was no longer circular and I was getting a horrible bump because the beading was not sitting flush with the rim (apparently its called seeding).

After chatting to the bike shop in seattle and to mr.palmer I decided to take the entire tyre off the rim and start again. This seemed to work, I pumped it up, and then disaster another flat, I must have pinched it. Down to my final tube!! And so I head out of pendleton towards the ominous 'cabbage hill' (let me make it clear, its a mountain, and if white pass if 5* difficulty, this is 3*). Apparently it gots its name as a truck full of cabbages crashed at the bottom! Ouch!

The road up was the older route 30, which was deserted as the interstate now runs parallel. Its the type of road Jeremy Clarkson has dreams over. Steep switchbacks, but halfway up I started to find lots of livestock. I've been telling pam recently how safe cows are, and then the cows started to head towards me me ominously. I had flash backs to an article I had read 4 years ago where a woman got trampled to death by cows in kenilworth. Cycling on the wrong side of the road I made it passed the cows with one hand on the bear spray!! That would have been weak using it on cows!

At this point I realised my rear tyre was going flat - my third and final tube.. aggghhrr! Thought it would be wise to repair my first tube and pulled out my puncture repair kit. This was going to be a bit risky as I had found this repair kit in an old draw at home, it had 'mountain bike rider' stuck to it - a magazine I stopped reading the late 1990s! Happy to say everything held and at the top of the hill did a swift change over and the tyre held for the rest of the trip. I also did some music listening - normally I never do this when cycling, but the zig zagging of the road meant I could easily see cars coming up or down, and in fact only 2 cars passd the entire climb.

The route down was awesome. The old 30 had sweeping tree lined turns with perfect tarmac, and a cool view of the union pacific railroad. I went through Meacham, chatted to an old truck guy who told me this was the epicentre of Oregons snow clearing in the blue mountains. There were still a few patches of snow around at the top.

The last 10 miles I had to join interstate 84... always wanted to cycle on the interstate! Oregon state law says its ok as long as there isn't an alternative route which there wasn't. Most of the trucks were nice and went in the outside lane, and even if they didn't the should was massive.

Safely in la grande now, nice campsite and guy gave me a discount down to $10 from $21! Going to check out the local bike shop tomorrow, grab some spares and maybe have some mexican toinght. Adios!

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