I had hoped after yesterday that the weather would improve, and while I had clear skies today, the wind was worse than ever. I was up at 05.00 as per usual after another good nights sleep, and was feeling positive about the day ahead.
I cycled through the Walla Walla valley this morning, which is apparently famous for wine making and I passed at least a dozen wineries along the way, all largely commercialized and targeted at tourists. The wind made for slow, tough going today – it really drains you physically and mentally. After several hours hard grind, I joined the Columbia river which I’ll be following to the coast. It’s an awesome river, far bigger than I expected, and has carved a deep channel in the landscape which made for a great view. It’s the fourth largest river in the US and has a drainage basin the size of France! Soon after i’d started to follow the river I crossed the boarder into Oregon – my final state. Since I started the trip, when people have asked where I’m going I’ve consistantly replied ‘Oregon’ – now that I’ve arrived I’m going to have to be more specific! After enjoying the moment, I pushed on into the relentless wind, moving slowly but steadly toward the sea. Shortly after I passed two couples about five minutes apart – the first were on their first day and are cycling from the local town of Umatilla to North Dakota. The second couple started in Astoria and are cycling across the north of the country to Bar Harbour, Maine. Both sets were flying with a serious tailwind – one of the guys told me that they’d been able to coast for 70 miles with minimal effort the day before, which did nothing to improve my mood.
Throught the day the wind got stronger and stronger, and I it slower as fatigue set in. I got to within 1 mile if my destination, Boardman, when I had my first flat since Virginia – after a hasty repair I finally made it, and was soon ensconced in a motel, enjoying a well earned shower. I think the wind is set to continue for a couple of days – so I’ll just have to dig deep, and bear in mind that I don’t have far to go now.