Start time: 07.17
Start location: Mitchell
Start State: Oregon
Start weather: warm
Total millage so far: 4,059.80
Finish time: 12.58
Finish location: Redmond
Finish State: Oregon
Finish weather: Hot
Miles today: 68.34
Total millage so far: 4,128.1
Today's top speed: 35.9
Today's average speed: 14.4
Todayís ride time: 4hr 42min 26sec
Punctures - 5 (slow back wheel), (staple in back wheel), (major blowout), (back wheel 31/7/12) , (back wheel 01/8/12)
So here I am, in another town Iím not sure the name of, laying out on the grass, listening to music and trying to write my blog. The realisation that the holiday/trip is coming to an end soon, is beginning to hit. The map on the van of this state, Oregon; the line is getting closer and closer to the Pacific Ocean. This crazy idea all started when on holiday last year while driving around Pennsylvania's beautiful countryside. I wanted to cycle around there, but the cost of getting over and doing it was pretty high, so I joked that if I were to do that, I might as well cycle across America! Well blow me, here I am nearly completing this crazy idea. I donít feel that it has engaged people back home like I had hoped, following the adventure as it unfolds. I have had a great time though, yes there have been ups and downs, nightmare cycle days, pouring rain while trying to sleep in a plastic bag Ė some people call it a tent, and I still canít see the appeal of going camping. Iím definitely trying to make the most of the time out here now. Three more days of cycling to go then its back to cycling across London.
We are at the foothills of another mountain range, the Cascades I think, need to check. The snow capped pointed mountains appeared over the hill today and we can see them from camp now. The camp, on the lawns of the local swimming pool are nice, people drive past on the main road looking over and wonder what we are up to. The empty schools are next to us, waiting for a new term to start, the silent football pitches ready for the pounding feet to come. The cars which do drive by are a mixed bunch. The majority appear brand new and more often then not, HUGE! Why they all need new cars, and such big ones at that, is a mystery still. Some are used to pull huge caravans across the country, I cant believe all of them are though. Where do they park them all?? I doubt if they would fit in the front garden. Then you have the people in their huge hillbilly style trucks, big wheels, loud engines which sound like WW2 doodlebugs, huge tires which sound like they are tearing up the road. I guess that is America for you. Not sure I have worked out the country fully after three months. They seemed to be trapped into this consumer cycle of needing to buy buy buy no matter what, at any cost. Maybe thatís why the country is in the state it is in, everything is on credit. There are these adverts on TV for reverse mortgages which appear to give you free money to spend. Of course what it is really doing is taking equity out of your house, your future. The adverts donít tell you that of course, its just free easy money each month. Sounds amazing. The people on the whole, have been friendly and generous, interested in where your from and what your up to. I donít think small town England is like that now, used to be, but not now. The social problems are many, I guess the most obvious on this trip has been the poverty in Kentucky and the most famous American problem, FAT PEOPLE! Lol We have seen some gigantic people over the past three months. Itís kinda gross, but the most upsetting is when you see really fat kids and the parents not seeming to give a toss about them, just giving them more crap food. The quality of the food is pretty crappy at times what with all these out of town areas where hundreds of food outlets vie for customers, every style of food you can think of, and all of it heavily processed and just reheated on site.
It is a beautiful country with so much to discover all over, I can see why many donít have passports and leave. So there are lots of great things about the country. Shame the political system cant be sorted out, you can see it just getting worse and worse here. Vote Elephant or Donkey. I wonder what the trip would be like on your own, self supported, very different for sure. I guess it depends on what kinda person you are, but I would say do it in a group or with friends.
Today then, hmmm erÖ hard to get started today and met with a long hill pretty much from the off. The morning was much warmer than yesterdays too, and the water from the nice hotel tasted nasty. There was a rewarding long downhill run into the first town. I got some fresh water and tried to get a top up card for my phone. Nightmare, ended up just walking out. The winds were not too bad and I made good time into the finish town. Iím not sure how I found the camp site though, very hit & miss lol, but I made it in first. I think it will be sad to leave some of the group, having spent so much time together over the past three months. There is email and Christmas cards, but I will miss mother Wendy's mothering and Ginaís fun and excitement for sure. I wonder if she will ever go back and pick up Halfway???
One of the saddest parts of the trip is knowing that Ollie wont be there at the end to welcome us in, I guess there is a part of me which hopes that he will be there at the end waiting. To have lost him so early on really molded the tour in a different way. I donít think it has tainted it, but given it a new dimension. I think the trip has been everything and more in what I wanted and expected it to be. Its just a shame that its coming to an end now. I wonder if I can get away saying now that I want to cycle around the world?? Lol. Nope, I donít even think Iím that crazy. Driving, now thatís another thing lol. Watch this space haahhaha.
Huge thunder storm tonight which has lasted for about four hours so far. Amazing lightning strikes hitting the ground in the distance, streaking across the sky and multiple ground strikes too lasting a good few seconds. Great to watch. Sun is going down and the clouds have turned purple as it continues to happen. Windy out but no rain with us, although we can see it in the distance. Good nights sleep?? Who knows. The tent has extra pegging tonight just in case.