Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | June 22, 2016

Day 10: Idaho in sight, but first, flat tire mayhem and more pie porn

Day 10
Destination: Ontario, Ore.
Today’s mileage: 45. Total: 572

Brogan, Ore

Starting line for Day 10: Brogan, Ore. It was a beautiful day, except for that wind and those damned “goatheads.”

Well, that’s Oregon, folks. … Among the things I learned about this fine state:
1. It’s got lots of ups and downs.
2. The climate fluctuates wildly.
3. It has unsurpassed beauty in all its forms, from veritable rain forests to high desert plains.
4. The people are friendly. We met four old boys today at a little restaurant in Vale, Ore., (the Starlite Cafe; check it out if you’re there) who reminded me of my Uncle Richard and some of his Northern Wisconsin brethren. They were good-humored and charming. Easy with a laugh and fast with words of encouragement and good cheer. … It warmed my heart to chat with them for a few minutes.

old farts club

A younger fart shares a laugh with the Old Farts Club (OFC) of the Starlite Cafe in Vale, Ore.

5. And the state is polluted with something called “goat heads” or “puncture vines.”

My cousin Sally asked me why I’ve had so many punctures. It turns out, the likely culprit are those nasty goat heads. … Luckily, I’ve brought along some spare tires and tubes — and in this instance, I even had my filmmaker wife, Melody Gilbert, along to document my clumsy effort. But in fast-motion, I look pretty efficient. (See the video here):

Today’s ride, after yesterday’s hard-charging 80 miles, was 45 but it was a hard 45. I rode into a steady wind all day (so much for the prevailing westerly breezes). I fixed one flat tire on the road. I limped into Ontario, Ore. (at the border with Idaho) with a slow leak from the rear tire from another puncture from those damned “goat heads.”

puncture vine

These little buggers will puncture even the hardiest of tires — and they do a number on the bottom of feet, too.

Why had I never heard of goat heads? Everyone out here sure knows about them, mostly, it seems, from stepping on them. (Something Melody has done a couple of times already!)

There was a little more pie today. I think this might be a daily feature, at least for a while. Damn, I like a good piece of pie in the midst of a ride. And coffee — even on the hottest of days — hits the spot for some reason. I guess I’m a true Northern Wisconsin Finn after all.

 

Pie with coffee

Lemon Meringue was the flavor of the day.

It’s on to Idaho tomorrow!

The finishing stats for Oregon:
572 miles ridden
30,611 vertical feet (or so) climbed
Longest ride: 88 miles
Days ridden: 10

For more on our trip, including extra pictures and videos, please check out our website, 55andalive.com

Oh, and one more thing: I’ve been very lucky to have my loving and devoted wife sharing in the joys, and the trials and tribulations of this journey. … I realize there are many who make this trip cross-country trip “unsupported.” And to them, I say congratulations and great job! But I love sharing the road with Melody, even though I’m often grumpy when she breaks out her many cameras. … In the end, she’s been my partner for 30 years and we’ll add this great adventure to our ever-expanding catalogue of great life experiences. My, how lucky we are. My, how lucky I am.

 

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Responses

  1. One state down…. very impressive. I do believe I would hate those goat head things. They sound horrible.

  2. That photo of you with the Old Farts Club is so charming, Mark! But the “goat spikes” sound more like a Biblical plague. (Why does nature even *make* stuff like that?!) I hope the next leg will bring fewer punctures — and even more pie. 🙂

  3. One state and 500+ miles behind. Reading about the high desert brings back memories. Oregon is, well you said it…


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