Day 14: Portland to Champoeg

Work & sightseeing til 4. Nice enough lunch in Doug For. Checked out Voodoo Donuts Too (their 2nd branch) but big  queue and not that bothered by donuts so skipped it.

Cycled out to Champoeg (a French word, pronounced shsmpoo-ey). Stopped on route in Wilsonvilke for the only Fry’s Electronics store in Oregon. Yee gods it’s big! Discovered my phone (the i9100 version of the Samsung Galaxy S2) has the same style of battery as the AT&T model. They didn’t have it in stock, and since then my phone’s battery appears to be working properly again, but good to know just in case.

I left the store empty handed as I couldn’t find any let keyboards or cases suitable for the new Nexus 7, so I’m stuck typing on the screen key board which isn’t great. Anyhow, left around 7. My Garmin insisted I should go down the interstate just to the next intersection, in order to cross the river, then it was an easy 10km to the state park. But I had previously seen signs saying cyclists are not allowed on the interstate – though there weren’t any here. Googlemaps insisted I had a 30km journey in front of me, going along to the next bridge, at Newberg, whichis further West than the park, so I’d have to double back along the far side of the river a few km. A much longer route, and with sunset at 8.10, I would be travelling/arriving after dark. Hmm, what to do?

After about ten minutes of deliberating, including asking a local what the exact interstate rules were (he didn’t know), I decided the longer route was better and I’d ridden plenty in the dark before, including earlier on this trip. About 40 minutes in, I was rolling along a country lane – standard British fare – through lovely countryside, filled with farms and a lot of horse stables. (In fact, I was here). My Garmin beeped, I looked down, George steered just off the tarmac onto the hard-packed stones that form the road edge on these country roads. Nothing amazing in of itself, but I immediately got a double puncture! After 1200km with no punctures, two come along at once!

George and I exchanged a few strong words, as one does in these sort of situations. Then I got on with the repairs. I’m actually pretty impressed with myself – front was off, inner tube whole spotted – a pinch split, as I expected – and with a new inner was back on in 5 minutes. The back was a little longer, what with the drive train to work around, but still was under ten.

It is now about 8.10pm I think, the sun has hit the horizon, and my Garmin informs me I have just under another hour to go. Just as I’m adjusting the rear wheel position for the correct chain tightness (it uses a horizontal dropout for the internal mech, rather than a derailleur) a car pulls up and asks if I’m okay. I explain what has happened, and where I’m going.

The driver – Sharon, of Newberg – is another cyclist, returning from an evening ride, and clearly knows the local area; she advises against the ride in the dark, and very kindly offers me a lift as far as the bridge. I accept, without the doubt I’d been expecting – usually I can be stubborn and once starting things like to see them through but I seem to be bringing a slightly different attitude to this trip.

We chatted as she drove, and she very kindly took me all the way to the campsite, whilst providing a couple of local history lessons, and useful information about the location of bike stores (so I could pick up a new inner tube, just in case I couldn’t repair the existing ones). It was an example of someone going out of their way to help me, and whilst I could probably have made the camp under my own steam eventually, I had a much better night because of Sharon’s generosity.

She hasn’t been the first American to be really warm and generous, but she definitely gets a gold star — thank you Sharon of Newberg! I hope your future riding trips are smooth, and that if you do happen to get into trouble that karma will come back to help you.

Days stats..
Don’t have most. Know I rode about 40km.

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