Bike Odyssey
North America 2004

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Journal for 19-May-2004 : Madras

Didn't exactly get an early start, but early enough. No rain today, just a 30% chance of it (which so far has meant 100% certainty).

Nice back roads down to Redmond, the home of the Microsoft. No sign of any monopolistic software, but lots of new houses for their employees.

Stopped at the very impressive and very deep Crocked River. It was a an innocuous looking 50m bridge as we approached it, but the gorge below was over 100m deep. The sheer cliffs plummeted directly down to the rapids below seemingly out of the blue. The information panel about the collection of bridges that span this narrowest of crossings had some terrifying photos of construction workers climbing enormous ladders to complete the construction of the (still standing) original railway bridge. It also explained that in their haste to get the rail line up and running, they started operating trains with less than half the bridge's rivets installed.

As we cycled along a bird of prey swooped down to the road verge and grasped itself a hapless little squirrel. It nearly got away. The bird was distracted, briefly, by our passing.

Great views of “the Sister's” mountains, also Mt Jefferson, end even the odd glimpse of Oregon's tallest volcano: Mt Hood. This area is known as “the Cascades”, apparently because of the cascade of volcanoes than run the length of the state.

Much of the cycling along US national highway 97 has been on a nice wide shoulder. These bits of the road rarely get used, and unfortunately we get to ride over lots of things other than bitumen. Today this included a stretch of fresh, wet cow dung left by a cattle carter. Normally I'd swerve around such an obstacle, but while screaming down a hill (no chance of stopping) and a road train bearing down behind us, there was only one thing for it.

Made it to Madras for lunch. Decided it was too far to the next town.

We also noticed our bikes were rather pungent. The cow dung encounter was just too close to town to be completely worn off our wheels. Spent the afternoon cleaning our bikes.

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