My Route

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Day 67: Thursday, 6th September. Destination: Hartland Inn, New Meadows, Idaho

Got up early as usual these days and checked my tires. Fine and fully pumped up (thanks to the folks at the Chevron garage and their air compressor). Three-and-a-half miles out of town, another puncture. I followed Erin's advice and swapped my tires around, putting the rather less worn-down front one onto the back wheel. To do that, of course, I had to deflate the front wheel. Still, plenty of time, and I finally found the thing that'd been causing these past few punctures: a deeply imbedded thorn barely touching the inner surface of the tire, but touching it enough to do mischief. The back wheel got sorted out fine, but just as I was pumping up the front one it exploded. The valve tore from the rubber. So that was my last spare inner tube. I blame my mini-pump, though it may be my pumping technique: either way, that's the 3rd time it's happened, and you can't mend a tube with that kind of tear. I didn't trust myself to pump up my last (mended) tire, so decided to hitch back to the Chevron in Riggins, and sort it out there. Which is what happened, with thanks to a nice lady who stopped to give me a ride.

The Chevron guy walked me over to a grassy patch by the kerb and introduced me to puncture weed with it's tri-pronged goatshead thorns, a nasty little roadside plant that can pierce tires without a second's thought. Well, at least now I recognise my enemy. 10:30am headed off out of town, again. This time, I met up with Erin and we had a pleasant day's cycle to New Meadows along the now narrow, winding and forested Salmon River, where Erin pointed out columnar basalt from which the road's route has been cut. We parted ways at the campsite just outside New Meadows, my intention to press on to Council. However, it was hot and I was worried about my tyres, plus there's a bike shop and a library in New Meadows, and a nice old Motel, so I decided to cut the day short. Two new inner tubes and a rather nice new pump (plus several more Clif bars) later, and I was sitting in air-conditioned comfort at the library blogging away.

Would have been a nice end to the day but for a thick crust of tar and gravel coated (or rather, glued) onto my wheels thanks to a stretch of new road just out of town. It took me an hour of intense and stubborn labour, sitting on the back porch of the motel, to scrape it off inch by inch with my multi-tool screwdriver. I would have bought new ones - infact I'd been intending to do so - but the bike shop didn't have any my size. By the time I'd finished, it was dark and the good folks of New Meadows had all gone to bed.