|Journal for 20-May-2004 : The Dalles|
Early start thwarted by discovery my rear tyre was flat. Incredibly this was our first tyre failure since the Nullarbor, and the first penetrating puncture since, well I can't honestly remember. But with all this shoulder riding on the US highways we can expect more of these.
Enjoyable riding leaving Madras. Made really good time cycling through the ranches until we reached the first of today's big climbs.
This hill was 10km long, and it took us the best part of an hour to reach the top at the rest area at Cow Canyon.
The lookout at Criterion Summit was a bit of a dud. The identification plaques for all the surrounding mountains had been removed, and in any case the mountains could not be seen for the brewing thunderstorms approaching us.
Fantastic 20km descent into Maupin. Yes, a 20km downhill. No need to pedal, no need to brake, just point and go.
Lunch by the Deschutes River. Tourist info at Maupin had something I definitly did not expect to see: local topographic maps, with the contours in metres. These revealed a major 300m+ up-and-over we hadn't planned on, so we took something of a long cut through the state park along the river.
Nice riding along the river down to Sherar Falls and bridge. Lots of fly fishers in the river, and at the falls (all 1.5m of them) lots of people and curious fishing platforms with people sitting on the holding long wooden poles. Very confusing.
Horrendous climb on the 216 out of the Deschute River Canyon. The hill wasn't that long, or that steep, but tracked a small tributary who's canyon channeled with wind straight into our faces.
Tough riding back to the highway, with thunderstorms all around us we were rather anxiously feeling the odd heavy spot of rain.
The next major climb also gained more than 500m, and also took us the best part of an hour to conquer. No 20km descent on the other side though. Just undulations and headwinds.
The last little climb just 3km from the Columbia River was a killer, but did give us good views of the mechano set bridge over the Columbia River.
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