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Day 74: Thursday, 13th September. Destination: Oregon Hotel, Mitchell, Oregon
Back in Picture Gorge, the road started to ascend towards the 4th-last pass of my trip, Keyes Creek (4,357ft). The drama of the Gorge receded making way for a hot plateau, and I was faced with an unexpected problem: a half-mile stretch of road in the process of being resurfaced and so down to one lane, as the other lane was being rollered. A lead truck lead convoys of traffic first heading one way and then the other. A policewoman came up to me and said, "put your bike in the back of the pick-up and we'll carry you across". My heart sank - have I cycled all this way just to be given a lift at this late stage? I begged her to let me cycle, and she relented, cautioning me that I'd have to keep up with the lead truck so as not to hold up proceedings. I told her I'd do my best. So, the problem was resolved with a tough time-trial, the smell of hot, fresh tarmac and the clatter of giant trucks adding to the tension as the car convoy slowly left me behind… I really didn't care, though: I was cycling.
I wasn't too slow: by the time the lead truck had turned round I was heading past and away up to the top of Keyes Creek Pass, before dipping down to the town of Mitchell. Or I should say, the one-horse town of Mitchell. But what a great one-horse town! The timber-floored Hotel Oregon had a bunkroom for $15 and a bathroom with an old-fashioned bath, so there I was chin-deep in suds feeling like Owen Wilson in Shanghai Noon (except without Jackie Chan in an adjacent bath and no crazy drinking games). Life doesn't get much better.
Posted by John Henderson at 08:50