Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day #3: I Love Me Some Good Tailwinds

Today's Route: Goldendale, WA to Umatilla, OR (87 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 213

Last night through this afternoon, I had an affair with Washington. But I'm back in the loving and faithful arms of Oregon tonight.

After yesterday's bride episode, I decided to look up the wind report. At the time I crossed the scary ass bridge, the winds were between 23 and 28 miles per hour, with gusts up to 37. No kidding! It's good to know I wasn't over-exaggerating.

All night long I heard the sounds of passing trains and of trucks using their compression brakes. Now, I don't know a whole lot about compression brakes, but I do know they are used for steep descents.

This decent of the trucks last night would be the ascent of my bicycle this morning. As I pulled into last nights campground, I had a brief glance at this mornings route. It started off with a steep incline, and very narrow shoulders. I decided to make it an early start this morning so that I could tackle that section with low traffic and hopefully minimal winds.

I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm, which was set for 5 am. I awoke to an infestation of pincher bugs in my tent. I wondered if they had spent the night crawling through my nostrils and ear canals. Ok, there were only three earwigs. That I found. But I'm sure it's the same rule as for cockroaches: if there are three, there are thousands. I pulled up my big girl panties (good thing I brought a lot of big girl panties on this trip), and I respectfully moved them outside to the wood chips. Then I began my day.

I rolled out of camp a few minutes after 6 am, and warmed up my legs on the ascent to Highway 14. At the top of the climb, I was greeted by an elegant farm of windmills.

The windmills.

The ride today was almost entirely on Highway 14. The traffic was modest, and the shoulders were fairly wide and clean. It was interesting to see how drastically the scenery had changed from the day before.

So plain and simple.

I saw my first bike tourist yesterday. But he was heading westbound on 84, on the other side of a four-lane divided highway. I wasn't going to risk my life for more than a simple, acknowledging wave of the hand.

But today I met my first tourists. Nick and Addie are headed westbound. These folks had a tough day of riding, as they were riding against the wind. Which means that I had a relatively easy day of riding.

Nick & Addie.

Tailwinds were my friend today. They get all the credit for enabling me to cover 87 miles at an average pace of 14.3 miles per hour. Yes, that is one minute and six hours of arse-in-the-saddle. Not bad!

Just yesterday, it dawned on me that my riding form wasn't quite right. By scooting my toosh back in the saddle time, I could bring about a trifecta of magic: a straighter back (and thus a comfortable, sustainable posture), relief from a tingly right knee, and consolation from numbcrotch.

And today it dawned on me how I love to hear road farts. You know, the sound a vehicle makes when it crosses over the center rumble strip. If I can hear an approaching vehicle fart, then I know that the vehicle is giving me extra space. Fart all you want, cars and trucks.

For your information, I popped two squats today. But boy, I drank a lot!

One of my squats was right beneath the Crow Butte Park sign.

Speaking of drinking, many bike tourists reward themselves after a ride like today's with an ice cold beer. As I don't typically drink, I'm going to reward myself with a nice little orange ibuprofen pill. It's my way of celebrating a great ride, yet minimizing any inflammatory hangover.

I'm staying at an RV park tonight. RV parks aren't my first choice for camping, as the camping is usually in a big open field, which usually means no nature and no privacy. But there is wifi here. And there are clean bathrooms. And FREE, WARM SHOWERS! I'll take it!

Free, warm showers!





  1. I enjoyed meeting you at the macD's in Biggs the other day and reading your blog. we had a great first science day in Pasco and are ready for day two tomorrow. You should be coming into Walla Walla tomorrow. Have a good ride!

    1. Great to hear from you, Annie. Glad to hear the class went well, and hopefully everyone is pumped for their ice cream today. Yes, I'll be in Walla Walla this afternoon, staying with a Warm Showers host. I'd love to read your daughter's blog, if you can get the address.

  2. Sounds like the adventures are now in full swing. Enjoy the warm showers and scenery (and the tailwinds while they last). Truly shocking to hear about the McD's but a good tip about the wifi.

  3. Thanks for your note, Alex. Can't wait for you to begin your adventuring - hopefully sooner rather than later. ;)

  4. I'm too lazy to leave a comment. Where's the like button?


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