Friday, October 16, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twenty-two, 091008 - Hermiston, OR

Day Two Hundred Twenty-two, Date Thursday, October 8, 2009
Time in Saddle: 7:11
Distance for the Day: 75.22 miles From Hilgard To Hermiston, OR
Accumulated Trip Distance: 11,156 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 3234’/537’, Highest: 4205’ Accumulated: 2785’
Speeds: Avg: 10.4 mph, Max: 39.9 mph
Weather: 46° partially clear, becoming overcast but remaining cool throughout the day
Expenditures: $9

I woke up at 6:05am, got up at 6:10am, and was ready to roll by 7:07am. The air was cold, but not freezing, for which I was grateful. The sun had risen, but because the site was surrounded by hills and trees, I couldn’t see it. I met the woman who spoke with me the night before, and she offered to host me should I pass their place on the Oregon coast on or after Nov 1st, which was very nice. I hit the road at about 7:45am, and continued heading north and west on Hwy 84/30. I passed up two possible places to get breakfast – they were too far off the main road, so instead had two meat and cheese sticks, a PayDay Bar, some M&Ms, a breakfast bar, and some Dole fruit drink. This would have to hold me until Pendelton, where I’d be able to get a lunch. This was one of those days where I’d have to doff and don my rain gear; on the uphills, I’d overheat, and have to take off the raingear. On the downhills, I’d freeze, and have to put ‘em back on, again. The Blue Mtns – up and down, over and over. At 11:30am, just as I was pulling into a rest stop, I got my first flat (#20) since before New Jersey on the rear tire. It was a handy place to get a flat – I had a nice, calm, semi-warm place to take off all my baggage, remove the rear tire, and replace the inner tube with a new/used one. (Self-sealing tires can’t be patched, as their liquid sealant causes patches to fail.) I carried the three spare inner tubes I had before getting the self-sealing inner tubes, and used a CO2 inflator cartridge to quickly get the tire to a fairly high pressure – it wasn’t as high as it should go, but would work until I got to a gas station with an air pump. I was good to go in about 45 minutes; talked with several people about my trike and trip while and after I fixed the flat, and then continued on my way. I stopped in Pendelton at 1:50pm to restock up on supplies ($14) including air for the tire, and got a Subway sandwich ($8) before continuing on at 3:40pm along I-84 towards Yakima. I made the town of Umatilla from Pendelton in a very short time (5:44pm) as it was mostly downhill, and sometimes very steeply downhill. The sun was pretty low before, and I thought I wouldn’t make Umatilla before sunset, but I made it with time to spare – how nice!

Note: ever since around just before Yellowstone, my left brake lever began to stick when it got cold. It became very hard to squeeze the lever, and once it did, it wouldn’t release. It didn’t freeze to the point of keeping the brake on, but the handle wouldn’t spring back like it should, either. Later, when the air temperature warmed up, it went back to being totally normal, again. I didn’t know what to do about it, but it wasn’t a big enough problem to go through a concerted effort to try to fix it. Weird.
I rode until sunset at about 6:30pm, when I just entered the town of Hermiston. I discovered it was an actual city, so I did as I’ve done before: ride through it to its far edge before finding a suitable stealth campsite. It’s more difficult (though not impossible) to find a good, private, quiet stealth camp inside a city, and I wasn’t in the requisite exploratory mood to search one out. After getting closer to the far edge, at around 7pm, I found an empty ‘business for sale’ building, which had a nice level, clean asphalt lot behind it, no lights, no nearby neighbors, and was above and away from the road far enough to attenuate the noise suitably for sleep (N45 51.581’ W119 17.341’). I set up my tent by 7:45pm and read, munched, and drank until hitting the hay at 9pm. The sky was clear, but the city lights washed-out all but the brightest stars. I hate light pollution.

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