Do Groundhogs ride bikes?  New Meadows to Cambridge

Shortly after leaving Zims we crossed the 45th Parallel

I woke in my tent at Zims Campground this morning with Paul McCartney’s ‘Silly Love Songs’ ringing in my ears. I couldn’t get it out of my head all day. It’s all Al’s fault. The owner of the campground had told us last night how had felt trapped in his own personal ‘Groundhog Day’ except that every morning he awakes to the McCartney song rather than Sonny and Cher’s ‘I’ve a Got You Babe’ which features in the Bill Murray film.

Cycling the TransAmerica  cam feel like Groundhog Day. Here I attempt to break the 'cycle' by riding  with no hands.

Cycling the TransAmerica can feel like Groundhog Day. Here I attempt to break the ‘cycle’ by riding with no hands.

Now he’d passed his Groundhog Day onto me, except rather than running a campsite with hot springs, I wake every morning, climb onto a bike and cycle. It doesn’t matter how you feel, what the weather is like, indeed whether you want to ride or not, you have no choice. The TransAmerican is all consuming – if you want to bicycle across the States there’s no other option but to get in the saddle. I’ve got a ticket to ride but all I’m getting are these silly love songs. Thanks for that Al!

It’s a strange consequence of cycling virtually everyday for two months that a 50 mile ride feels like a rest day. With time in hand, we’ve been able to split the next three days into half centuries which will get us into Baker City on Friday. From then it’s (just) 400 miles to the Pacific – and our final destination: Florence.


Breakfast in New Meadows turned into a bike servicing session

A four mile ride this morning took us into New Meadows for breakfast and soon after Jerry and Jonathan arrived. They’ve adopted a different strategy to the heat. Whereas we crash out in the middle of the day, they head out extra early getting up around five am. But as often happens the more time you have the more opportunity there is for faffing, so it was almost 10am before we all left the diner.


Giant lumber yard just outside Tamarack

Fortunately today was much cooler than the past few days with even a few spots of rain and the five of us headed out in convoy. Just outside Tamarack there’s an alternative bike path that takes you off the 95 which we’ve been riding for several days now. Any relief from the trucks sounded good to us, but after just a short stretch it proved far too uneven for touring bikes, although it would have been ideal for mountain bikers.


Sugar blast for lunch

Sticking to the road took us past a giant lumber yard where all the trees we’d seen being trucked over the mountains were being transformed into wooden planks – an extraordinary sight, but we could done with seeing a few less lorries. After breaking for lunch in Council (coffee and carrot cake) we raced through the final few miles to Cambridge checking into the Bucky Cafe and Motel just after four.


After more than 3,500 miles a clean-up on the Surly was well overdue

Arriving early was great – even giving me time to clean the Surly after Terry changed my rear pads. Then we sat outside drinking beer and eating pasta. This is how we had imagined spending our afternoons on the trail, but only now, with the finish getting closer and being able to cut down the miles a little, have we got any free time off the bikes.

Terry has described our lives for the past two months as an endless cycle of breakfast, bike, beer (occasionally) blog and bed. There has been no down time at all. Now, with less than two weeks to go, we may be able to ease off – just a little. Tomorrow Oregon beckons so we crash out for an early start to beat the heat. 104 degrees in Hell’s Canyon sounds ominous.

(Oh – and if you are wondering about today’s featured image – this sign was outside a motel in Cambridge and I couldn’t resist)


Today’s Miles: 52

Miles since First Landing: 3747

Written by Paul


  1. Surely that sunny chap pictured alongside the sign can’t be the grouch??

  2. The blog & pictures have been brilliant.
    On returning home a normal bed
    and a cup of good british tea will be

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