Well, Prineville, Oregon to be exact. It doesn't strike me as very exciting.
Haven't had the opportunity to update this for nearly a week. Idaho has a lot of nothing in it, so no libraries, so no computers and the same is true for this side of Oregan so far. I'm surprised I've managed to find an open library on a Monday to be honest as it's usually a day off here.
So since last week, what's happened...the group is still together, just. I think Chris and Chris might be making an effort to escape but they'll be lucky. Having said that we'll be at the coast in a couple of days or so and that's where the lads will part company and head south to San Francisco so we'll all be going our separate ways very soon.
We made it through Hell's Canyon, just. It was well named. The road leading up to it was seeming guarded by lots of really ugly crickets, seemingly called Mormon Crickets (see picture). They are about 2" long and 1" high, jump about 6" and stride around the road eating the corpes of their mates that have been crushed under wheels. Lovely. As we decended into the canyon at breakneck spped, we were expecting a cooling breeze but instead it was like cycling through an oven. It was well hot. Over 100 degrees we discovered later. It was good though, quite enjoyed it. There were loads of big carp (possibly) in the river below the dam, surfacing and slowly swimming around...it was too hot to do anything particularly quickly. We eventually got out of the canyon and found a store with a porch where we crashed out for a couple of hours, till it cooled down a bit. For some reason I then decided to leg it 10 miles up the hill as I was full of energy and a sprint seemed like a good idea, at the time. I was battered the following morning though. So we made it to Halfway, had beer and dinner then went to a bike hostel where we stayed the night. It was run by a woman who said she had cycled 'a bit' but her son revealed she had competed in 3 Olympic games for the USA and come 3rd in the womens Tour de France. Inge Thompson. What was nearly as cool as that was that they had a semi-resident tree frog living in their bathroom. I was impressed. And they had dogs, a couple of which I actually liked - one was an Australian Dingo cross, which was pretty good. And horses, which were huge.
From there we went to Baker City, which was only 50 odd miles under an overcast sky but it was a nightmare. Possibly the hardest day so far. Drank all my water, couldn't get up the hills, was knackered. We all struggled, Shaz had to get a lift into town, but we ended up at an RV park with a pool and a hot tub so the hideous day was soon forgotten and we went out for Mexican food in the evening. Which was nice...
Where did we go then...? Mmm...still have no memory. We are back on long days, about 80-90 miles and we stayed in another bike hostel on Sat night, Maike and Chris cooked Thai chicken curry which was (a) cheap and (b) good so was a winner, especially as they also bought chocolate cake. The night ended up with a video, The Thomas Crown Affair, which is crap.
Yesterday saw us over another hill, which bored me to death. It's funny how some hills are ok and some are just tedious. I was so bored with yesterdays, it got right on my nerves. The scenery was ok, we went through a good canyon, called John Day. This made me laugh as I had a lodger with that name, who vanished, so he became known as Dead John. He's not dead though, he was just avoiding paying me money he owed. The downhill was good after the annoying uphill so that made up for it. We went passed a tree that must have had 50 pairs of shoes hanging from it. Not sure what this is about - we passed a similar one a couple of days before. It's not exactly recycling.
We ended up in Mitchell, at a very entertaining cafe. The woman running it knew exactly how to handle us - took the piss out of our accents, made us do as we were told and had a laugh. She was great. I told her she should go to see the old witch in Jeffrey City that mum had the run-in with, to teach her a few things. I was being quite tame by using the term 'witch' but they thought it was a bit much I think, although they did laugh. We were in town early, by 3.30, which is almost unheard of as we did 80 + miles I think, but it did mean we could chill out for once and not just arrive in town, put the tents up and go to bed.
Another early start today, up at six, 95 miles to do and we should be in Sisters tonight, again at a city park, so no showers again, unless we use the sprinklers. We haven't been told off for that yet but give it time...
Tomorrow will see us to Eugene and then it's only 70 miles to the sea!!!! This isn't a good thing, although it does mean Alex is nearly here. As Mick Cant said in his message after the last blog, it's supposed to have been arduous, a trial, etc etc and it's actually been a pretty good laugh most of the way. That's not to say it hasn't been bloody hard work but I have / am really enjoying it, and would quite happilycarry on for another few weeks / months. My knees and right thigh may have a different opinion but the painkillers I have are very good.
Although the coast isn't far off I think it will be next Saturday before whoever is left of us gets to Astoria. We cycle up the coast for a couple of hundred miles, it's not just a sudden stop when we get to the sea, so it's not quite in the bag just yet. But almost.