July 5, 2004

7/05/04 Umatilla OR

85 miles (2860 total)

Would have had our earliest stat yet this morning if it wasn't for my flat front tire. Found two of the smallest nails I've ever seen in the tire.

I don't know, but I felt like a man possessed. Mike was surprised at my blistering pace. As we rode through Walla Walla, I was sure glad it was a holiday. It would have been mass chaos to ride the bikes down these streets on a regular work day. But for us, we had the roads almost completely to ourselves. As we neared the end of town, everyone seemed to be setting up onion stands on their front porch.

That stepped up pace I had set was killed as we hit our major climb for the day outside of Dixie. Had a truck lane but compared to some of our recent climbs, it was not steep and not long. We even got a bit of downhill on the other side but that was tempered by a headwind.

The whole valley is pretty hilly but everything is cultivated. Lots of the wheat looked ready to pick while we saw them load truckloads of green beans from the fields.

[smile] Lots of activity in the fields

But as we kept heading west, the heat and landscape reminded me more of the desert. We worried a bit about water, so stocked up in Touchet.

'Severe Side Wind Ahead' is not good for cyclists

A little more climbing before we could finally see the Columbia River. Wow! It was huge. Imagine the Grand Canyon filled with water. Traffic seemed to lighten up a bit as we pushed on, but we still needed to stop every thirty minutes or so for a water break.

That's the Columbia River Gorge

It was a long hot day, so we were happy to finally reach Umatilla. All we could think about was finding some food in some air conditioning. And if they served ice cream, more the better.