I’m thankful for flat tires.
In the months leading up to this trip, people told me that things would go well because my dad would be watching over me. I’m not a religious person, nor a superstitious person, but human nature makes us think this way, and I found myself agreeing with this sentiment. As my mind wandered during the first 15 or so miles of today’s ride, I thought about the number of flat tires I’ve gotten lately. Last year, I only had one all season. Up through yesterday, I have now had seven flats this year. I know far worse things could happen, but the idea still nagged me. Just then, I rode past a Shell station and it hit me like a bolt of lightening. My dad owned a garage; he changed tires almost every day for 40 years. Maybe my flats are his way of living on through me, or of having me continue his work, or maybe just a way of reminding us all that we need to remember where we came from. Either way, I will now be thankful for flat tires.
The route today was tough. It started out tame enough, with a 10-mile ride on riverfront trails to make our way out of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. It then followed the Columbia River for about 10 miles, before turning up for an eight-mile climb out of the valley. At some points during the climb, when I was riding alone and there were no cars, all I could hear was the spinning of my cranks. At the top of the climb, we were shocked as we virtually entered another world. Instead of the usual descent or more hills, the terrain opened up into the endless fields of the state’s central high plains. This continued for about 50 miles, with literally no shade, until we dropped back into another rocky valley, the area around the Grand Coulee Dam. The same extreme heat of the previous afternoon followed us most of the day today. The staff said that if you made it through this day, you could make it through any day.
I arrived at the end of the 99-mile route around 3:00pm. Average speed was 15.4 mph, maximum was 41mph.
We spent the night at Sun Banks Resort, a lakeside campground. This was our first overnight stop without an indoor sleeping option; my tent went up and down without any problems. The evening air was cool, clear, and dry, so most of us slept without the rain flys on our tents, giving an amazing view of the stars.
Dinner was at the Electric City VFW post. Afterwards, a bunch of us relaxed for a few beverages on the porch of the resort’s lodge. Later, a van load of us went to see the laser light show at the dam. On the way, as we debated whether to stop for some take-out beverages, Matt from Australia had the quote of the day: “I’ve seen the dam. We need beer.”
Filed under: Coast to Coast 2004 |