Day 54 – Umatilla, OR to Bates, WA

Today was a day to be thankful for repair kits. This morning, Aidan had the sad realization that the reason behind his sleeping pad feeling less comfortable than usual was because the floor of the tent had been breached by some goathead thorns (aka puncturevine thorns!). Ms. Sonn warned us about those. Mine has been slowly deflating every night too, so now we both have one piece of gear that isn’t entirely coming through for us. 

It was raining this morning (finally!) when we got up, so we quickly ate breakfast and were on the road. We immediately crossed a bridge back to the Washington side of the Columbia, getting on route 14 which will take us almost the rest of the way to Portland! But it wasn’t the best day for Aidan’s inflatable gear, because a sneaky staple on the road gave him a flat tire. He fixed that in no time though, and we were back to pedaling. 

The gorge made for a great ride today. We passed a sign early on warning drivers that it would be 83 miles until the next services, but as we’re so self sufficient (all sorts of food, plenty of water, repair kits) we were not bothered in the least.

We stopped for lunch at a convenience store/cafe, where they had a little notebook to record bikers who were passing through! We added our little message in there, ate lots of our Indian food and supplemented with fries and fish and chips from the cafe, then were pointed in the direction of the park for our afternoon break. 

We had some great conversations with some of the wind surfers there, napped, and went swimming. We both brought our sleeping pads into the river, and managed to find and mark the leaks! Now if only we’d put those patch kits in the panniers…

As we pedaled out of the parking lot, we simultaneously got flat front tires. So we pulled over and got to work. 

As my bike was turned over, I noticed that my back tire was wearing out, so I took both wheels off and pulled out the spare tire I luckily have been carrying with me for the past 3,000+ miles. 

Aidan decided to save his other spare tube and patched this one. He’d pulled one of those cursed goathead thorns out of his tire, and I’d found a little staple. Once our tires had been successfully replaced or patched, we got back on the road feeling quite accomplished and vowing to be more careful about where we bring our bikes. 

Evening riding is hard to beat – it was impressively windy this evening, but we took turns drafting, and were still able to appreciate the landscape. 

We found a wonderful camp spot for the night – down a steep gravel road by the main road, with a pond and a sandy thorn-less area for our bikes and tent. We were even able to walk around barefoot without the all-too-familiar feeling of getting a thorn stuck in a foot! Now that’s luxury. 

Aidan patched his pad using the tire patch kit, and it passed the test overnight! I’ll be working on mine soon, but only after I mark the new hole from a hitchhiker goathead thorn that appeared inside the tent in the bottom of my pad. At least we’ll get good at patching things…thank you, puncturevine. 

The night sky more than made up for the sad sight of deflated items. The stars were magnificent, and Aidan once again captured the stunning image. 

5 thoughts on “Day 54 – Umatilla, OR to Bates, WA

  1. Laura August 10, 2016 / 10:45 pm

    Hi Aidan and Clara!
    I’m so glad your spirits were not deflated by all of that! Ha ha ha!
    Love, Mom/Laura

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wendy bratt August 11, 2016 / 12:22 am

    Oh my…..😍Perseverance at its best! Mom/Wendy


  3. Nancy Vanderlin August 11, 2016 / 12:34 am

    I have an inflated (!) sense of pride in how you two have managed every aspect of your amazing trip! Your starry sky photo is beautiful!


  4. Chris / dad August 11, 2016 / 3:01 am

    I guess you’ll need to restock tubes and tires. Missing you on the Cape. I saw a huge racer today at High Head….it was way too fast to catch. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sarah August 11, 2016 / 2:56 pm

    Wow! Stunning! I love the stories and photos! ❤


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