I have let David do the last few days as he was the wounded party but there have been some requests to continue the blog – I see it as a travelogue and not just a cycling blog – so those only tracking the Sierra Cascades can leave this section out. Those wanting to check we haven’t done anyting else too foolish can read on!
Reflecting on the last few day, it has been quite an emotional time. I have had plenty of crises of conscious that, as a purportedly medically qualified individual, I should have put a stop to the cycling several days earlier. I was therefore relieved that when David took the decision that he could not carry on and even more relieved when he saw a proper doctor he was of the same view. Dr Johansson diagnosed bad bruising and said that, if there was a rib fracture, it was a crack and not displaced. I know bad chest bruising does not sound to serious but it is equally as painful as a fracture and the pain can last longer. Afracture just sounds more dramatic. So the result of our prssing on after the original incident was that David probably gained himself a few more days of pain but has not done any long term damage. We both so wanted to continue our cycling trip if it were at all possible and this desire probably did ovecomea measure of common sense in leaving Hood River for our biggest climb yet. That day was really tough for both of us but every one of you can imagine David’s inner reserves of strength at getting himself over Bennet Pass.
My first overwhelming sense on having to face up that the cycling was over for the moment was to get home ASAP. But firstly the cost of this would have been substantial and then, more importantly, the lovely offer from Wayne and Doris gave us a new persepctive to make the most of our last week before we were due to fly home in any event. Whether its being British or just me, I find accepting offers of help humbling and difficult; but also know from experience that help genuinlely offered always works out well. So with Wayne and Doris and we had a great stay in their lovely home in Bend. They showed us round the pleasant city and we drove up to Mount Batchelor.
Unfortunately there are still problems with forest fires on the region with a lot of smoke in the atmosphere so views were pretty hazy.
That afternoon we got out the maps and decided to hire a car to head over to the Oregon coast and down to San Fransciso. Getting the hire car sorted was easy and we then relied on Wayne and Doris’ expertise and local knowledge to plan to get the best out of our last week.
It must be recorded that GB beat USA at scrabble 2:1 (I thought I had clinched it with a score of 50 with a sigle letter x on a triple word for Ox and Ax but was beaten again by David — “size” on a triple word score – damn. An international diplomatic incident was averted when Wayne graciously conceding that “bleaker” was a proper word!
We had a series of lovely meals cooked by Doris. They are an amazing couple, We worked out that their children are the same age as us and grandchildren the same age as our children but they could easily pass as 20 years younger. They have had a varied and active life and now settling in Bend for the good weather and outdoor activities. I hope we can offer them the same hospitality in England.
So yesterday we picked up the hire car, left our bikes with Wayne and Doris so we can resume our cycling trip in September, and said our goodbyes. We took a route over McKenzie pass where there is an incredible lava flow covering 50 square miles. 3000 years after it has cooled it is still a desolate landscape with only an occasionally dwarfed pine tree managing to get a hold to grow on the lava field. At the top you see the extent of the lava field and from an observatory can see the peaks of about 10 mountains. Views still hazy from smoke though and we could see active smoke from a still burning fire in the distance.
As soon as we started down the western side of McKenzie Pass the landscape was greener and wetter. I was driving of course and David survived as passenger down the twists and turns of the mountains before a more gentle descent down following the McKenzie river. We negotiated the large city of Eugene and reached the Oregan coast at probably one of its least pretty sites – a dismal strip stretching 2 or 3 miles along the road in the famous Orgegan coastal fog!! However we were soon getting glimpses of the promised fantastic coastal scenery. We had headed north 20 miles because the guide book gave a good write up for the town of Yachats.
This was a quirkly seaside town nesteld below the steep hills. We found a small, friendly motel – but the electricity was off in the whole town! Our camping torches were useful in the gloom of the local supermarket where the generators had not kicked in so we were able to pick out a nice cold supper and good bottle of wine. Back at the motel we were able to offer a modicum of hospitality to some of our fellow motel residents by offering boiling up water on our camping stove and offering tea in true british fashion until the electricity came back on! It felt like holidays of childhood, a pretty seaside town with slate grey sky and slate grey sea and a faint drizzle. Quite nostalgic.