Before I’d even set foot outside this morning I had a setback: last night I had taken off both tyres and tubes, and had checked that they were intact and good to go. Despite my precautions, I noticed that the front tyre was flat while I was loading my bike. I took the tube out, and inspected it but couldn’t find a problem – to be safe I replaced the tube anyway, and pumped the tyre up. Despite the repairs I was off by 06.10 expecting another day fighting the wind – I wasn’t disappointed, and although it wasn’t as bad as yesterday, it was just as persistant.
The area I cycles through this morning is designated as a desert, and it lived up to it’s name – barren and arid. Although, it wasn’t hot with the tempertature around 12°. Soon enough I dropped down onto the banks of the Columbia river, and followed it for the remainder of the day. The Columbia River Gorge is awesome, with rugged cliffs dropping straight down to the wide river. I’m passing through the cascades at he moment – the last mountain range before the ocean, although I won’t have to do any climbing. Following the Columbia River is the only way to avoid the mountians, as such the River is a major commerce route – with an interstate and the Union Pacific train line packed along it’s banks, not to mention the freight barges travelling the river itself. Despite the activity within the gorge it doesn’t appear cluttered – a testament to the scale of the river. This makes for some awesome views, with mountains up to 12,000 feet visable from the gorge.
Despite the wind, I made pretty good time today – and was honing in on ‘The Dalles’ – my destination by 13.00 having done 70 miles. I was about 10 miles out at this stage, and was looking forward to getting off the bike, but another puncture stopped my in my tracks. I repaired it and finnished off the remaining miles, however I had to top the tyre up with air twice to maintain enough pressure – I obviously had a slow-leak puncture.
I spent the afternoon going over both tyres again, and repairing inner-tubes. The front was fine – I still don’t know why it went flat, and the tube that was in the tyre last night is holding air wih no sign of a puncture. The rear tyre had been punctured by a peice of wire, causing a slow leak, with the pressure falling I got a pinch flat. I’ve taken the peice of wire out of the tyre, and have now switched the tyres around, as the rear one looks like it’s on it’s last legs, having now done nearly 2,000 miles! I just hope they hold up for the last few days of the trip.