I'm having bike troubles. The chain is making a noise like it needs lubrication, even when it has just been lubricated. While using a screwdriver to force parts of the dérailleur away from the chain, in case it was from here the noise occurred, a young man pulled up in a pick-up truck to offer assistance. Sure, other cyclists have asked if I've needed help before, but in the UK I'm pretty sure that no one has ever stopped in their car. He couldn't help, however, and along with the front tyre, which now has orange patches showing through, hopefully Boise won't be too far away.
Arriving in Mount Vernon to buy a sandwich from the Silver Spur Home Cook'n Restaurant, I was reminded of where I lived, as this town shares its name with a suburb of Glasgow. I'm also reminded of home by the milometer, the clock on which is set to UK time (I'm unable to change it). Here it was in the 80s without a cloud in the immense sky at lunchtime on what could have been any day. There it would be 9 on a probably dreich Saturday night and the town would be “hoachin'” with well-dressed young Glaswegians already “steamin'” on pints of Tennents and voddie and Irn Bru. The tanned blonde in the restaurant took my order and mimicked the way I said banana. No, there was nowhere to buy fruit here. The Juniper Press was a free photocopied ad rag that had not been compiled on a pc or typeset; the ads were mostly in handwritten.
I don't see any McCain or Obama posters in this here Grant County, only “Ron Paul for President 2008” ones, whoever he may be. Continued to John Day, named after, well, John Day, a geologist, and the county's largest town, ringing in at 1,840 head of humans. There was wi fi at Subway, the local teenagers' retreat, blaring out bland indy pop. And so to tonight's stopover, Prairie City, only 48 miles from Dayville and still 103 miles to the next stop in Vale, but nothing could be done about that unless I'd brought a tent. I reluctantly ventured across the threshold of the Historic Hotel Prairie and asked the rotund lady at the desk about tarrifs.
Me : How much is the cheapest room?
She : $75
Me : I can't afford that
She : How much do you usually pay?
Me : $50
She : Where are you from?
Me : Scotland
She : Just a minute
She : (on the phone top her boss) I have a young man here and he only has $50.... Is that OK?... He's from Scotland... OK.
Me : Is it OK?
She : It's OK
The room was the blandest, brownest one I'd ever seen – everything in it was brown, including the curtains and lampshades. There was one brown picture and that was 8”x6” in a frame 24”x18”. The interior designer was either a chocoholic or had an inferiority complex. Across the lobby the sign on the door read “Joy of massage”. Out to the Oxbow Restaurant for a Prairie Burger & fries and Mill Pond Beer. The décor was straight out of the Wild West, with deer heads, bearskins and mirrors set in intricately carved, dark wood surrounds. The only up to date elements were the waitresses' hotpants (and they really shouldn't have) and American Football on TV. Always Football or baseball everywhere you go. A group of hunters came in, wearing virtually identical camouflage gear and baseball caps. They all had salads.