First stop : a bike shop, to get new peddles. Second stop : a bank. Third stop : the library (another amazingly good one and very well used by Benders). Fourth stop : Townsend's Tea Shop, where I asked for a latte and I got a 'tea latte'! A groovy cafe in the style of an old-fashioned English tea house that never actually existed in England. Bend is a gorgeous little town, which had a population of 10,000 when Yoleen moved here in 1990 and is now up to 75,000, such is its popularity, especially amongst old folks. There are 80 golf courses in the vicinity, all of which are irrigated, the gardens boast wonderful imported turf and also the flowers are pretty impressive, including succulents and sunflowers. Something else I just remembered about Yoleen is that she indulges in an activity called Geo Cashing, where people hide and seek pieces of Tupperware using GPS, secreted all over the world, trade trinkets and write comments in log books hidden with their finds. Each to their own. I could have stayed in this tea shop all day, and really didn't want to hit the road to stay in a succession of lonely motels through some pretty desolate country between here and Boise.
Before finally leaving, I stopped off at Safeway, where I noticed people receive cash for returning cans and bottles. So that's why I've seen a certain class of individuals walking round town with shopping trolleys full of what I thought to be trash.
20 miles north to Redmond and the same again east to Prineville. I had originally intended to travel on Highway 20 via Burns, but Scott in Sweet Home had said there was no accommodation in Brothers, so I had to take this slightly longer, but more populated route to the north. The roads today were straight and fairly flat, and all the places I passed through were Dullsville USA. The mountains were too far away and although today was sunny and warm, the views were spoiled by dust. This high plateau is what the locals call dessert, yet there's still plenty of stunted vegetation. There's irrigated farmland too, as this is ranch country, and next to large houses there are often artificial ponds surrounded by weeping willows. There are even bulrushes in the irrigated ditches at the side of the road. There were strong winds on this open land, although thankfully none of them have been from the direction I am travelling as yet. Fascinated by the weird and wonderful plants around here, especially the heathery ones in lemon, and pale pinks and oranges. These subtle tints reminded me of the colours in those children's pictures composed of dots that you paint over with water.
After this morning's large breakfast, I didn't stop for lunch - in the shade of a tree, surrounded by animal bones – until 4 pm. But what did you have Adrian? I had a turkey, provolone (processed cheese) & pesto wrap, followed by a banana and a handful of jelly beans.
And so to Prineville, or rather Plainville. Tonight I spent my first night alone, in a motel and dinner was a simple hamburger from a fast-food joint. It was actually very refreshing to be on my own for a change, which is not to say I haven't enjoyed each of the 10 nights with warm, gracious and interesting hosts so far – but it is nice to have some time to myself – watch crap TV and not have to talk. I properly cleaned out all the Gatorade-streaked items from my panniers and laid out the maps, which now include large pink regions. I did something else which is far too disgusting to relate, but it was connected to spending long hours in the saddle and involved a sharp pin.