Bike Odyssey
North America 2004

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Journal for 17-May-2004 : Bend

Foggy morning, and it was a balmy 5C and the sun was shining when we left town. Soon after leaving we were cycling under just lifted fog, and got distinctly colder.

Narrow busy highway not a great deal of fun. But mostly just cold.

Sat in the sun at the visitors centre in La Pines.

Back road a welcome (if a bit bumpy) alternative to the highway.

Reached the Lava River Cave, where we had a snack which the local squirrels (brown forest rats we think) tried to get in on. Unsuccessfully as it turned out, but they had great fun running up our panniers, bikes and even legs.

The Lava River Cave is a self guided walk more than a mile into a mostly un-collapsed (mostly) lava tube. We spent an hour walking to the end of the cave and back. Very interesting, especially the double tube formations. These are one tube on top of another. The main tube is formed by lava solidifying around a flowing core. As the eruption subsides, the amount of lava flowing through the tube decreases, and a lid cools on top of the lower flow, giving the final tube two levels.

It was a bit claustrophobic at the back end of the cave. Linda said it reminded her of being rugged up in her sleeping back. “I feel like the South Park character Kenny”.

When we emerged from the cave we found it was raining. As we cycled off (amid storm warnings) the rain got heavier, as we descended off the lava fields towards Bend. By now, the 97 was a humongous freeway. We made it as far as the first truck stop where we ducked inside for lunch and hot chocolate.

Three hours later we were back on the freeway, the the old highway, then the back streets of Bend. Linda's bike's freewheel started to seize up, making her chain drop off as she back pedaled to get in gear at the thousands of American stop signs. As of the rain wasn't enough. We'll need to get this fixed tomorrow.

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