Crater Lake To Stanley, Day 13 : Curiosity

Today I’m biking into mountains again, so it’s slow steady climbing all day. By mid-afternoon I have wrestled my way to a gas station next to a small produce market, outside the “town” of Horseshoe Bend. I buy a bell pepper and a banana, then I eat the bell pepper while standing around in the parking lot, and toss the seed pieces under a bush. I take a look around, and notice that since I’m surrounded by hills, I can no longer tell where the horizon is.

A few hours later I turn onto a highway that follows the bank of a churning river. My speed keeps dropping from the usual 10mph to 8mph or even 5mph, and I can’t tell if it’s because of the incline or because of fatigue. I keep seeing an optical illusion – the road, the river, and the train track on the opposite bank are all laid out on different slopes, and with no view of the horizon, I have no idea what sort of incline I’m really on. I know I’m at least going up hill because if I wasn’t, the river would be flowing with me instead of against me.

Such are the things a rider will obsess about, when he knows he will be riding for many hours.

I stop at a turnout for a bathroom break, and then sit on my bike for a while crunching a bag of corn chips. I notice my reflection in the rear-view mirror, and decide to take a picture of it. Since the camera is tilted up at the mirror, it looks like the roadway is sloping down.

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