Big Casino

Some days I become so tired that keeping the wheels rolling requires the same will-power I'd imagine it takes to survive one of those action-movie cliff scenes. I'd hoped to make it 70 miles to a campground near Sumpter. It became apparent very quickly that was not going to happen. I don't know what it is, but occasionally just being on the bike is very difficult.

I counted down each of the last 17 miles into Baker City. Going uphill, it was a slow process. The Taco Time in town would be as far along as I could bear to go today.

Don't get the wrong impression. Mentally, my spirits are high. It's physically that I can't bear to go any further today.

I checked into the Oregon Trail Motel, which is a great under $40 place by the way. It was very clean and came with a free breakfast. While I only made it 41 miles, I'm still on pace to hit the coast in a weeks time.

East to west travel (or vice versa) was not made very easy in this part of the country. Since Missoula, I've gone over 400 miles of very windy roads. There has been a lot of lateral backtracking that can be kind of frustrating. I've had to go well south to Cambridge then back north 60 miles to Halfway, Oregon, just to make it another 20 miles west. To try and help you visualize the scale of the zigzagging I've done so far, if I'd just taken the roads straight across to Seattle from Missoula, I'd be 40 miles away, right now!

Instead, I'm 400 miles from Florence. Again it's not about the end game, it's the experience. I'm just putting on record how scenic the scenic route is. But had I gone the shorter way I would have missed Devil's Canyon and the Oregon Trail Monument. I mean how many people can say they've seen the Oregon Trail Monument? (those settlers need something in DC so more Americans can be exposed to what they went through for "business opportunities").

Again I'm really worn down today. I'm hoping a good night's rest will change all of that. I've been ruffing it (city parks, no showers) quite often, so I don't feel guilty about checking into motels. I think it's very important to maintain a healthy balance of comfort on this trip. You can always trick your body to do more when your behind the goal mentally. If you lose that mental strength, things will spiral out of control. If I didn't have a credit card I would supplement my mental health with more time off, really slow days out in the wild. Ultimately it would solve the same problem, but I believe it's worth the money to expedite the process.

"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." - Mae West