Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Steve's Journal: Day 2, June 20 (Part 1 of 3)

PLEASE NOTE: Due to limited internet access in many of the Western states that I have biked thus far, this blog is being updated as access allows. Sorry for the delay.

Day 2, Cle Elum, WA to Vantage, WA; 57.6 miles

Part 1
At 2:00 a.m. I woke up with a very sore right hip and my left shoulder was throbbing. So, Pollie gave me three ibuprofens and I managed to go back to sleep.

Today was intended to be an easier day. I knew that the ride would be much shorter than yesterday and that it would be the last day that I would see Pollie for about three and a half weeks so I was in no hurry to get up or leave. After dawdling, showering, packing, getting the bike ready, eating a bagel with peanut butter and honey, and then dawdling some more, I said goodbye to my pouting wife and pedaled off to Ellensburg. The weather report was a 40% chance of scattered showers, 65-66 degrees and 10-16 mph winds out of the Northwest.
The joy of a road cyclist is one simple word: tailwinds. Winds out of the Northwest meant just that and a brimming smile came to my face a I pedaled out of town at an “easy” clip of just over 20 mph while my heart rate sat comfortably at around 108 beats per minute. Yippee!! I hope these winds hold up.

After leaving Cle Elum I rode on Highway 20 (towards Ellensburg) which is a two lane road with the white stripe for a shoulder—always a little scary but when I can see cars and trucks approaching well into the distance in my rear view mirror mounted to my sunglasses, it enables me to prepare for the worst. But today, those cars, RV’s and trucks that did pass gave me lots of room, something that I can’t often say about Seattle traffic.

This road is just plain beautiful. As I cycled up a few rolling hills to my right and well below me a rapidly flowing river caught my eye as it meandered and curved along, mimicking each bend in the road as both were cut form the very rock faces of this valley. Between me and the river far below is an equally meandering set of railroad tracks that seem most often to be far too close to the river’s edge for my comfort but some civil engineers years ago obviously decided that this was best.
The view got me thinking back to when the railroad was first built coast-to-coast in the U.S. and when the railroad barons ruled the day. Two parallel tracks with such a weight carried….

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