Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 51 Daunted Courage, August 19, 2013

Progress to Date (in red):

Saya’s (age 6) quote of the day, exasperated that people were not paying close enough attention to what she was saying: “I still haven’t finished my sentence since I was, like, 4 years old.”

We cycled about 56 miles today from Walla Walla, Washington to Umatilla, Oregon.  Here are some of the most memorable aspects of today’s ride, with some bonus trivia included for you to use to impress your friends at cocktail parties:

-       The powerful smell of Walla Walla sweet onions swirling around our noses as trucks passed us carrying loads of the popular food.  Did you know that these famous onions originated on the island of Corsica and were brought to the area by a French soldier around the year 1900?

-       As we rode west out of Walla Walla, we saw hundreds of wind turbines lining the Vansycle Ridge to our left.  Did you know that, with nearly 200 turbines in operation, this is the largest wind project in the Pacific Northwest?  When complete, the project will include over 450 turbines, making it the largest wind project in the world.

-       We ate lunch under the shade of a lovely tree on the grounds of a Seventh Day Adventist church just off our route.  We found a skunk near the church and nearly got sprayed.  Did you know that, if you are sprayed by a skunk, it will take 2 – 4 weeks for the singularly obnoxious smell to go away if left untreated?  The famous tomato juice remedy does not work.  It just masks the smell until the tomato stench wears off, and you’re back to your skunk stink again.  To get rid of the smell, add ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent to a quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide and apply liberally to the stinky area.

-       We passed a number of wineries as we rode, and Becky vowed to return again, replacing cycling for many hours with wine tasting for many hours.  Did you know that there are over 60 wineries in Walla Walla alone?  They are like the dangerously beautiful Sirens in Homer’s Odyssey tempting me to abandon this silly Lewis & Clark bike ride and spend the next week studying to become an oenologist.  Or just getting a good buzz.  Or both.

-       As the broad, glistening waters of the Columbia River came into view halfway through our ride, we immediately pulled over the bikes to appreciate the scene.  I imagined Lewis & Clark’s pleasure when they first reached this impressive river, knowing that it would lead them to the Pacific Ocean.  Did you know that the Columbia River is the fourth largest river in the U.S.?

-       Becky got two flat tires today, and my bike trailer got one, thanks to the ubiquitous goatheads along the road’s shoulder.  The plant, whose scientific name is tribulus terrestris, produces fruit that breaks apart into small nutlets with several sharp points sticking out in a way that resembles a goat’s head.  Sho counted 14 nutlets lodged into the left rear tire on the bike trailer after it blew out.  We spent ten minutes carefully removing each one before replacing the tube.  Did you know that the plant tribulus terrestis has been found to increase a person’s sex drive? 

Here are some pics:
From the road

Our lunch spot


Wind turbines on Vansycle Ridge

Vicious goathead

Drafting off Becky along the Columbia River

Glistening Columbia River

Sho counted 14 goatheads in this tire


  1. Terrific post! Way more useful and amusing information than the average bike journal! And y'all are in the Adventure Cycling blog today -- enjoy the Gorge! Jim

  2. Thank you, Jim. We had such a great time visiting the Adventure Cycling Association and hanging out with the cool people who work there. Your blog post is great -- there are so many families that would love to go on a cycling adventure with their kids, and you're giving them the tools to do it.

    -- Charles