TransAm Days 78, 79, and 80 28th, 29th and 30th of July

Tom writes:

Mitchell to Redmond: 109 kms


Redmond to McKenzie Bridge: 124 kms


McKenzie Bridge to Eugene: 93 kms


So near but yet so far...
So near but yet so far…

Total number of punctures so far: 8 (Ami 5, Tom 3)

Total distance so far: 6650 kms


So we have reached Eugene, the second biggest town in Oregon and, coincidentally, also the penultimate stop for us on this at times seemingly never ending opus.

Right now I am lying on my hostel bed enjoying some peace and quiet and wondering gently to myself how I am likely to feel this time tomorrow. We have a good 120 or so kilometres left tomorrow before we hit the coast and some strange form of normality returns to our lives and after it is done I wouldn’t be too surprised if a tiny tear or two may be found in some lone corner of my eye.

On the plus side I know that we are both going to feel a real sense of achievement at the fact that forever more in our CVs we will be able to title ourselves “Conquerors of the Trans Am”. We are both fitter than we have ever been and the tiredness that we both absolutely feel is far more mental than it is physical. Churning out the necessary miles every day for three months does take its toll on the old psyche even though I personally really enjoy most of the time spent in the saddle.

The sadder bit is going to be the saying fair well to some people who we have really grown to like during this long period. These are folks who have fought the good fight with weird humour and a great spirit which breeds a little bit of an all for one, one for all vibe. We have certainly had some great laughs and the odd moment of sadness, but surprisingly few arguments which in my opinion is quite impressive considering how intensive everything has been.

The sad fact of the matter is though that however much you try to stay in touch the chances are that we will probably never see most of these people ever again.

To all concerned, we are going to miss you.

From left to right top row: Ami, Dave, Karla, Tom, Jack, Jared, Madison, Zoë and Ronny. Kneeling: Johnny and Christi.
From left to right top row: Ami, Dave, Emily, Karla, Tom, Jack, Jared, Madison, Zoë and Ronny. Kneeling: Johnny and Christi.

(Embarrassing admission: I just updated this photo as I just saw I had forgot to name Emily in the group picture. No slur was intended, just a simple stupid error. Sorry Emily.)

I continue now with an embarrassing admission. In my last diary post I said that we had seen some of the famous Central Oregon painted hills but I realise now that this was bullshit.

On the evening after penning this our lovely host from the Spoke’n Hostel, Mitchell (and once again if you are in the neighbourhood support her business, it was in the top three of places we have stayed at on this trip) took us on a little excursion to see the real Painted Hills that the area is so famous for.

And they were unbelievably spectacular.




When you get up close you see that the surface is like caked, dry mud; someone in the group compared it to unpopped pop corn. Apparently the effect is caused by ancient climate change that even the major oil companies can’t be blamed for. You can read more about it the geology behind it here if you are interested. All I can say is that it is amazingly beautiful.

Three days of riding followed though the usual glorious countryside (which isn’t, as Stephen Fry suggested, another word for the extermination of Piers Morgan). We took our final real climbs of the trip and the last one, McKenzie Pass was quite an experience.

The climb wasn’t that steep, although it was pretty long, but as we neared the top we suddenly found ourselves in a lava field left after the eruption of a nearby volcano about 1500 years ago.



I don’t know if I would describe it as beautiful – although on second thoughts I probably would, in a similar way to the Dungeness coastline in Kent, England being beautiful. Not lush, green and soft but jagged and harsh.

I loved it.

Descending the other side we dropped a total of about 4000 feet (1200 meters) which was particularly glorious as the landscape we now were whizzing through had for some reason best known to itself turned itself into a rain forest.

It is not often you see a scene change like that in such a short distance. Apart from the fact that poor Ami was stung by a wasp at speed on the way down, it was an exhilarating few minutes in the saddle.


Not much more to report from the rest of the rides except that Eugene seems quite a nice sort of town in a hippy kind of way and that Ami’s mum has turned up to ride the final stage with us tomorrow.

My good wife will I am sure write a bit more about that at some point.

Nearing the end now.

Auf Wiedersehen.


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