Day 11 June 28, 2001

Pendleton, OR - Sunnyside, WA

108.00 miles
12.84 average speed
12:00pm left Oregon
11.00pm stopped in Washington
8:24:23 total ride time
811.33 total trek miles

For those of you who are close readers and check what we said we were going to do against what we are in fact doing, you will notice that we are beginning to name cities in these updates which have never been mentioned before, most particularly on our schedule. I'm sure most of you have figured out why, but for the few of you that haven't I will clarify. After day nine, we changed our schedule.I just don't want any of you to think the names of the cities have changed, that we have simply begun naming them to suit our fancy, or that the cities themselves have disappeared or been washed into the sea. I'm not being frivolously silly by saying that. One or two of the towns we were supposed to have passed in our travels have been swept away by something that sweeps towns away.
            Before I get into this day's experiences, I want to tell the readers something I've learned about America in this eleven day trek. I feel it appropriate that with July fourth coming up I should praise the institution that has kept America together all these years. Those of you who keep up on politics can be sure I'm not going to attribute much to the big boys in D.C., but it's not because I don't find anything to attribute to them. I just don't think they're the ones keeping this country together. The people doing it don't know their doing it and that's why they're able to do it so well. Usually these people aren't too keen on the government - I've talked to over a dozen of them. The people I'm talking about are the ones running the 76s and the Texacos and the Chevrons and the Sinclairs - that enormous net of gas stations that keeps America's guts from falling out. I'm not going to say any more than that right now, just think about it. I may come back to it later.
              When we woke up this morning in the Pendelton Best Western hotel room (smoking - that's all they had left. It wasn't bad), all we could think about was how far we had come the day before and how wonderful it was that we didn't have far to go today. By the time we finished breakfast, however, the mood changed as our ambition got the better of our judgment.We decided to push about one hundred miles to Sunnyside in hopes that that would allow a Saturday arrival in Issaquah, WA. Coincidentally, the same time we made that decision, we unwittingly discarded all our remaining scraps of wisdom. Those two choices, one made actively and the other a precipitating consequence, birthed a day that will live on in infamy until we make a worse one.
              It is the same with bad decisions as it is with breeding - they usually produce their own species. We left past noon, which meant we could only take short eating breaks so we could make it to Sunnyside before dark. So we weren't eating enough all day, which was stupid, to put it mildly, but that also meant we couldn't ride as fast. At sundown, we were still twenty miles away. We were tired and we were hungry and we had tendonitis and then it was dark. We lashed our mini-maglites to our handlebars, giving us just enough light to see the tire hit the pothole.
              BUT - yes, there is a "but" - when we did finally arrive at eleven o'clock at night, Mary and Gary Johnson (Dan's brother's in-laws family) had dinner waiting hot out of the oven, complete with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and soft beds for all of us. We closed our eyes and that was it.

 
  day 12