Day 9 – 3 hills and 90 miles

Day 9 – 3 hills and 90 miles

Day 9 – 5/29

Up, out and early. I had goals today. Big goals. The town of Baker City and the end of map section 2.

But to get there I had to travel 90 miles and go over 3 hills. Horses generally don’t go that kind of distance. I did.

The first half of the morning was pretty good. Cranked out an easy 25 through the flat lands. Feeling good. First hill. My legs went “why are you doing this?”. The only thing that kept me going was the promise of a diner on the other side of the hill and delicious lunch. Buckeye had mentioned this one and circled it in my map. He was right. Delicious. I had hoped to catch Eric by lunch but hadn’t seen him. No matter. I now had a bacon cheeseburger and 2 cokes in my belly. Time to assault the last two hills.

Wait what’s that? Eric? Behind me?! He pulled up just as I was getting ready to go. And right as I discovered my rear tire was feeling flat and mushy. The same tire i had changed the night before.

Back inside for AC and another coke. He told me he’d gotten a late start and pushed the night before. We committed to Baker City. We’re going to do it! It would make this an 80 mile day for him.

I pumped up my tire and pedaled up the hill. And pedaled. And pedaled. Yes it was only a thousand feet of elevation gain. But it felt like forever. Finally the top. And another stop to put air in the tube. I had decided that short of it not taking air I wasn’t going to change it on the road.

Down the hill. Up the next. Shorter climb. Cursing on my part. Then a summit. More tire air. And down.

I met Eric again at the start of a 27 mile finishing stretch. All gently sloping downhill. Easy riding hopefully. And it was. Until the wind came full force front again. But it was only for a short bit. Just enough to make us groan. We wound our way along a river, matching it’s bends and curves with the weekend traffic. Finally ending up on the 10 mile flat stretch into town.

Eric stated, and I wholeheartedly agree, that no matter how far town is, when you get that mentality of “almost done” you just get tired. And tired we were as we pulled in to the Baker City Bike Hostel. To find a full house. 4 cyclists on a weekend tour, another pair on a 2 day ride and a motorcycle rider touring for several weeks. And us. Tired. Smelly. Sweaty. All we wanted was a shower, laundry and food.

So we got it. An outdoor shower is amazing when you have birds chirping around. A laundry machine is magic. And the local brewpub served us lobster Mac n cheese (Eric) and chicken parmigiana for me. We ate. And reflected that we had traveled 567 miles in 9 days.

And then I slept. The deep sleep of accomplishment

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