Getting out of the Dalles was a trip. The counter person at the motel gave me some confusing directions to the Interstate and I wind up on a local road that keeps getting higher and higher and starts heading south instead of east. At the top of a rise I see I'm headed in the wrong direction and turn around. It's a good thing I went this way because I get to see Mount Hood for one last time. Taking a break at a gas station, this woman gets out of her car and takes my picture. She tells me she's from Utah. I never asked.
Back on Interstate 84, the riding is easy. Long gentle hills. The rides uphill aren't that bad and the downhill runs are a mile or two of 20 mph cruising. The tailwinds pick up giving me an unbelievably fast average speed of 15 mph. It's like riding on a moving sidewalk. I make it to my goal of Boardman OR way too early and far from tired so I decide to extend my ride by another 15-20 miles and stay in Umatilla. The Columbia River has broken out of its gorge and the terrain opens up. It's pretty flat and dry. Lot's of brown grass. Not many trees in the last 150 miles. Riding on US Highway 730. After Boardman there's a sign that reads, "Dust Storms Next 40 Miles". More agriculture here than elsewhere in the state (with the exception of the dairy farms at Tillamook). It's all central-pivot irrigation and looks more like agribusiness than farming. Saw a dump truck loaded with spuds. Also saw a small orchard of apricot trees.
It was raining when I left and threatening for the first half of the trip. With the vistas out here you can see the storms from quite a distance. Saw a few lightning strikes in the hills. Then the clouds disappeared and the sun came out with a vengeance. I'm burned along the skin just above the sock line. Also burned in the indented areas of my knees. I can see exactly where I missed with the sunscreen this morning.
Umatilla is a "truck stop town" just as the Chamber of Commerce in the Dalles said it would be. Flat as a pancake, baking hot, dusty, no trees and it looks like no money. On the way out of the local diner I spot a rack of literature on prominent display near the exit. "Earth's Final Warning. A New World Order is Coming." Apparently, the Pope is going to reconstruct the Roman Empire on a global scale and rule the world. The group publishing this rag call themselves the "Heralds of Truth". Also saw a bill on the toxic effects of the DOE Hanford site in Washington.