I have racing stripes on my head! Yesterday, it was cool and gray in the morning and I didn’t put on my ‘do rag under my helmet when we left. Then we popped into the sunshine and I didn’t think anything of it. The sun, of course, came right through the air vents in my helmet and left an nice racing stripe tan on my (ample) forehead. From now on, I’m doing the ‘do rag thing.
Today was just another day of breathtaking scenery. We started in the heavy forest and quickly climbed two passes — each just slightly less than 4,000 feet. Cool and clear and fresh and rhododendrons everywhere. In addition to the two passes, there were several smaller hills along the way to the 45th parallel — halfway between the equator and the north pole. In total, we climbed nearly a mile — one of the biggest climbing days of the entire tour. As we traveled southeast, we left the cool, damp forests behind and entered the high desert. The air dried out quickly and the temperature rose. The forest thinned out and opened into lush meadows filled with yellow and lavender wild flowers. Then it got even drier and the trees virtually disappeared, replaced by low grasses and scrub. The earth turned deep red as well. Many of the road cuts looked like multiple layers of red velvet cake. As we neared Kah-Nee-Tah, we could see the forest — anchored by Mt. Hood — behind us (above) and the desert — anchored by Mt. Jefferson — ahead of us (below). Notice the difference in the vegetation.
Now, it’s time to properly introduce my biking buddy, Steve Berthe. Suellen and I met Steve and his wife, Ann, on a bike trip from Prague to Vienna. He’s a strong biker to say the least. In our first days of riding across America, Steve has been the first to finish the route each day. Steve is a few inches shorter than I am and weighs 20 pounds more — and it’s all muscle. He punches a great hole in the air so we all like to slide in behind him. Thus, he’s acquired a new nickname: The Locomotive. Truth be told: we often just call him Loco. You’ll be hearing more about him in this blog.
While Steve likes to finish first each day, I have more modest objectives. I just want to be the first rider named Travis to finish each day. So far, I’ve been remarkably successful.
Day’s distance: 65.6 miles (105.6 km)
Average speed: 13.8 mph (22.2 kph)
Day’s climb: 5,150 feet (1,570 m)
Total distance: 241.1 miles (388 km)