Friday, September 12, 2008

To the ocean

Day 1
Tuesday morning, August 26th, I got up and ate a leisurely breakfast, packed the essentials in the saddle bags, and took off west out of Boise. I had my digital camera, cell phone and a gps in my handlebar bag….along with $300 and my license and credit card. I took my passport, you never know.

start in Boise

On the rear rack I had a one man tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, one change of clothes, minor toiletries, a nearly complete tool kit (just in case I was caught 90 miles from anywhere and had to make the bike work), a book, one meal of instant broccoli and noodles, an emergency reflective blanket, and a couple empty aquafina one liter water bottles. I also had some rain gear, enough that I would be able to survive, but not thrive, in the worst possible conditions. Luckily the only rain I was pelted with was on a 5 mile sight seeing trip during my stay in Eugene.
The first 50 miles were relatively uneventful. My butt started to hurt, my wrists were uncomfortable, and the back of my neck complained about holding my head up, but other than that it was just a bike ride. It took me several hours to get used to the extra weight on the back of the bike, when I stood up to pedal the rear end would flex and wobble. Only after a while did I figure out the smooth pedaling action required to stand up and ride with the added 20+ lbs of gear on the bike. I stopped for a lunch of grilled chicken and salad and fries in Parma, ID, and was looking forward to reaching Oregon. Riding west again I pulled out the GPS and found some small farm roads to take me to the Snake River (the state boundary in these parts). Crossing the bridge was cool. It took 4+ hours, but the trip finally felt “under way.”

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Whenever you cross a river, that means you’ve been going downhill for a while, and now you have to climb back out of the valley…so entering Oregon that’s just what I did. I made it up to the small town of Adrian, which although it was basically a Main Street and nothing else, ended up being one of the biggest settlements I saw for the next several days.
By 5pm I reached Vale, which actually had two main streets, and was the last sign of real civilization til Bend, more than 200 miles down the road. Vale was also where I got on Hwy 20, the road that would take me all the way through Bend, to Sisters, OR, before I climbed the Cascades.

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I had a big meal in a diner, and headed off. An hour and a half later I reached Harper, OR, where the only buildings are the County School (kindergarten through 12th grade) and Coleman Service Station. I had covered about 96 miles, and was just getting to the Malhuer river, which highway 20 follows for quite a ways. The sun was setting, and since I was riding west, it was right in my eyes, so when I entered the store I was happy to see that they sold baseball caps with the store name on them. A perfect utility souvenir! The guy running the place sold me a pepsi and some beef jerky, and I inquired about the local happenings of the day. He told me that the principal of the school stated that traveling cyclists were welcome to camp on the school grounds, and that there were no towns for quite a ways (68 miles to the west was the next store). Since I still had an hour and a half of light I was hesitant to end my day, especially since I hadn’t hit that magic number of 100 miles yet. I told him I’d probably just camp on down the road and ways, and he wished me luck. The hat I bought proudly displays the name and location of Coleman Service, and I told him and his welder buddy who was there that I would be going to the Ocean and beyond, to which his buddy replied, “oh, they’ll recognize that hat all the way to Portland, everyone in this state has taken out credit here at Coleman Service!” It was hilarious.
I rolled on down the road, climbing a couple of minor passes in the late afternoon heat. As the evening wore on, I entered the River Canyon and enjoyed the spectacular show of the sun setting in a mountainous place, where as the sun set the bottom of the canyon gets darker as the east canyon wall is still brightly illuminated.

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When the last of the direct sunlight was gone I noticed a cool low spot in the land, a couple hundred yards off the road, down by the river. Most of this country was just scrub brush, but there was a stand of taller bushes and trees down there, so I hopped a fence (between tiny “no trespassing” signs….come on! There had only been one house for the past 20 miles) and pushed the bike down to the spot. I set up my tent behind the trees both to shield myself from the occasional tractor trailer noise, and to keep from being seen from the road. Next, as it was getting really dark I walked over to check out my bathing options. I found the river to be about 2-3 feet deep near the edge, so I stripped down and waded in, dunking my body in the cool, but not too cold, water. I soaped up with my biodegradeable camp soap and rinsed off. Now, in the semi-arid desert of eastern Oregon, it gets quite hot in the day, but also quite cool at night, so I was glad I stayed a little warm from my exertion of the bike ride until I took my river bath. It’s tough to be cold and bathe in cold water, but when you are warm it’s really enjoyable.

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Since I was cooled off now, I bee-lined it back to the tent and crawled into my sleeping bag, looking up at the stars since I had the luxury of a clear night and no need for the rain-fly.
As I lay there, I wondered about what animals were spooked by this intruders presence in their little habitat, and whether rancher Bob was going to awaken me by shotgun clicks in the morning. I also just laid there in awe of the 50 billion stars and several shooting stars I was watching move across the sky. Life was good, even if the ground under my minimal sleeping pad was hard.
Day’s Mileage: 116, Cumulative Mileage: 116

Day2
After a somewhat restless night, I awoke to a chilly morning in the low 40’s and the sun creeping down the canyon wall. A new day! Time to get on the bike!
I put on my wet shoes, (big mistake, I had bathed with them on, and now my feet were going to be COLD) bicycling shorts, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, and rain jacket. I also put on my wind proof fleece gloves and my fleece hat. I kept the helmet off since the traffic was almost non-existent and my fleece hat made the straps not fit around my chin. Since I had ridden several hours after dinner the previous night, and just had a water bottle of apple juice to drink on the road for breakfast, I was looking forward to getting somewhere to buy food. I hoped that the next town, Juntura (a ways down the road yet), was bigger than Harper. Well, it wasn’t much bigger, but at least the single store in town was a diner/gas station. I ordered the two pork chop breakfast and proceeded to thaw out my extremities. After breakfast the sun was fully out and I started shedding clothes. With already some 28-30 miles in the bank for the day, life was good. The countryside was vast and gorgeous, and just as empty. Again mountainous sidewalls and scrub brush were the order of the day. Climbing out of Juntura I quickly became hot and no longer had to think about being cold. One of several 1000+ foot climbs made sure of that. After the climb came a descent and then a 20 mile crossing of a valley.

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Unfortunately this valley, from Buchanan to Burns, had a serious easterly wind. I pedaled hard on flat ground for over two hours to go 20 miles. I kept looking up and not feeling any closer to the mountains on the other side of the valley. When I finally made it, I cruised into Burns and went to subway, devouring a foot long sub and numerous glasses of coke, and then some cookies. Since it was again late afternoon, I pulled out the map and curiously searched for obvious camping spots I could shoot for. The Chickihominy Reservoir was far enough away that I thought it might take 4 hours to get there, and there was a gas station a couple miles before it, so I could stop and get my last calories for the day there. As I left Burns, the temperature was high, and I was going into the sun.

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I broke out my new hat, and the sunglasses in order to stay comfortable. After a couple climbs and a long flat section, I reached the gas station in Ripley. Yet another town that consisted of a gas station, and nothing else at all…I got another Gatorade, an apple juice, and an orange sherbet ice cream bar. Next I headed out, continuing on Hwy 20, looking forward to the state park and perhaps a shower a few miles down the road. Unfortunately when I reached Chickihominy there were signs posted prominently declaring that all camping in the park would require paying a fee, whether you used any facilities or not. All I wanted to do was jump in the lake and set up my tent, surely that should be a free proposition since there were no showers or bathrooms available, just a few picnic tables! Well, day use of the park was free, and since there were still probably 15 minutes of daylight left I went over to the small fish cleaning building and turned on the faucet. “oh good, freezing cold water,” I thought. So I got out my two 1 liter aquafina bottles and started filling them up and dousing myself with the icy water. It only takes a couple bottles of really cold water for this to get old….so I stripped down to my shorts and lathered up with my camp soap again. I’m sure the other campers were thinking, “hey good idea, why didn’t I think of that!” Anyway, after rinsing off as thoroughly as I could stand I dried off and put my shirt and shoes back on, and headed out. It was getting dark, but I was in the middle of nowhere, so surely I could find another place to camp that wouldn’t charge me…and sure enough, about a mile down the road there was a sign that said, “OPEN RANGE, NEXT 18 miles.” This is public land, where I believe farmers can range there cattle for free or reduced cost, in exchange for allowing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to research what goes on on the land and in the cattle. I turned down the next gravel ranch road, and started looking for a nice camouflaged spot. After a few minutes of scoping out the area, and finding the ODOT’s stash of salt rocks (for spreading on the road in the winter time) I settled on a nice little spot on some dirt behind a few trees. I had to peel some petrified cow dung off the ground with a stick, and remove a few dead limbs, but it was a good spot. I set up the tent and laid down just as the stars were getting bright. This was one of those spots, like the previous night, where there is no artificial light for many many miles, and there are a lot more visible stars that I am used to. It was a glorious place to sleep….I just hoped no herds of cattle moved in before I woke up?!!?
Day’s Mileage: 108, Cumulative Mileage: 224

Day 3
Waking up in the morning I packed up in the early dawn and narrowly avoided being seen by a dude in a huge F-350 who drove down the gravel road I’d used. I have no idea how he’d have felt about finding me there, but I didn’t really want to find out, so I ducked behind some bushes, and when he was safely out of sight I jetted for the main road. Once again I had a ways to go before I would get any breakfast, nearly 40 miles. Well, in fact, the town of Hampton, OR (shown on my map as existing) was actually just a ranch and a closed down gas station, out of business for some time as far as I could tell. Yikes, I was hungry and thirsty, so luckily I had my stove and that one broccoli noodle meal. I found a picnic table underneath the awning of the now defunct store, and using the last 8 or so ounces of my water, I cooked up a little 500 calorie breakfast.

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I had emptied one of my 1 liter bottles of water early that morning, looking to save weight, but I was regretting that now. I had enough water to cook the noodles (thank goodness) but none to drink. It would have been pretty uncomfortable to ride the next 20+ miles with no water or food, but luckily I had given in and carried the stove and food, just in case. Had I known the infrequency with which I would see reliable stores and facilities I would have carried more, but I’m glad it worked out the way it did. It was fun to do this trip with no idea about what would be over the next rise, or around the next bend.
20 miles further down the road I reached Brothers, OR. The story behind this town is that all the homesteaders who tried to work it’s land failed. Apparently it was usually a 5 year process of building a cabin, fencing in an area for cattle, trying to work the land, and then quitting and returning to live with relatives somewhere else. The high desert of eastern and central Oregon is really very hot in the daytime, the temperature was over 90 each of the first 3 days, until I reached the Cascades. Speaking of the Cascades, it was around this point in the trip when I started to notice some mountains on the horizon. Ironically, I was in the high desert and looking up at those mountains (which turned out to be the Three Sisters) I was thinking, “I guess that whitish stuff on the those mountains is sand, they must be huge mountains covered in sand.” Well, a day later I realized that in fact the whitish stuff was snow. It seemed so obvious once I was climbing up to 6,000 and 7,000 feet that it was snow, but earlier when I was out in the heat, it had just not occurred to me.

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So I stopped in Brothers and had a burger, and chatted with a couple that was motorcycle touring about where I was headed. Then I headed out again and on towards Bend. On the way to Bend I had a couple more medium grade climbs, and a monster descent, but then the valley stretched out and it took a couple more hours of pushing to get into civilization again. There was yet another defunct town where I had hoped to replenish my fluids, but was disappointed by the run down and closed old store. After being dry for a while and holding things together, I finally got to Bend, and promptly sweated a bunch of sunscreen into my eyes. I was looking for something good to eat, and luckily I held out for Main Street, where I quickly noticed the Deschutes Brewery.

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I walked in, and due to my solitude and dehydrated-eyes-watering look, I think the waiter was taken aback. I stared at him for a few seconds, and finally said, “I’m looking for some food, can I sit over there and watch my bike out the window?” to which he replied in the affirmative. I sat down, looked at the beer menu, and ordered a Shasta Golden Ale. When the waitress brought out my 22 ouncer I ordered a grilled chicken BLT, and started on the beer. Although the food was really quick, I was ready for another beer when it came out. God it was good! Surely Between the two large beers and the food I ate at least 2000 calories. The beer was glorious. When I was done I walked out and got on the bike immediately. I felt no effects from the beer, so I headed off down Hwy 126.
I was headed up into the mountains. I figured I would stop in Sisters, OR for a couple drinks to get me through the evening and the morning, and I would camp out somewhere in the Deschutes National Forest. That’s exactly what happened. Before I got to Sisters, however, I saw a flash of chrome in the dirt on the shoulder, and circled back to check it out. It turned out to be a sweet SOG multi-tool plier, and a few yards away was a little leather case for it. I stuffed it in a saddle bag…Score one for the road!
Another mile or two down the road a bridge crossed an irrigation canal. This small river was about 10 feet wide and two feet deep. Perfect cleaning station! I climbed down the embankment and jumped in. The water was freezing cold, so I soaped off as quickly as I could, and enjoyed the refreshment. Then I got back on the bike and headed towards Sisters.
I saw a sign for the public library, and decided I would go check my e-mail. Before the trip I had sent a note to an aquaintance from Brevard, NC, Scott Wolfe who had moved to Eugene, OR just over a year ago, to see whether he had any suggestions on what to see while I was in Western Oregon, and whether he might like to meet up while I was passing through. When I checked my e-mail in Sisters there was a note with several recommendations about what to see and where to stay, and an offer of a place to crash, if I desired. Bonus! With Scott’s phone number in hand, I had a tentative idea of where I would sleep the next night.
Crossing through town, I grabbed some odds and ends at the store and turned into the wilderness. As it go dark I was looking for a campground shown on my map, but it didn’t appear for several miles after I was looking. Again, no facilities and a camping fee, so I got back on the road and went another half mile and walked the bike back into the woods and set up camp.

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I was a little nervous about bears in these dense woods, but hadn’t seen any warning signs, so I figured life would be ok. Sleeping well through the night, I woke up to dawn and a chilly morning. I put all my clothes on and started riding.
Day’s Mileage: 125
Cumulative Mileage: 349

Day 4
Had I camped another mile down the road I’d have found the extra clothes unnecessary, because the 7-mile climb to McKenzie Pass started. This is a really cool place.

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Climbing for miles to the crest of the Cascades, you are enveloped in the very large trees that must be 150-200 ft tall. When you near the pass, you come around a bend and are present with an awe-inspiring view. A 20 square mile lava field stretches out in front of you. It is all crumbly black rock that formed millions of years ago, and pushed it’s way out at the top of this range.

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The CCC built an observation tower out of the stone that looks like a castle up at the top of this pass. It is really quite amazing. As I climbed the tower in the observatory, a voice from behind asked whether I was the cyclist they had seen yesterday. Indeed, it was the same motorcycling couple I’d seen out in the desert in Brothers. We talked about where they had been (to Portland and back, if I remember) and where we were headed. It was a cool coincidence.
Just past the observatory, I turned off the road and locked my bike to a tree in the woods. This was the intersection of hwy 242 and the Pacific Crest Trail that runs from Mexico to Canada. Knowing some folks who have hiked and run on this trail, I felt compelled to explore it a little bit.

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I took off north from the road and did a 7 mile round trip hike up past Little Belknap Mountain. Half of the hike was over the lava fields, and it afforded a great view of the North Sister, a 10,000 peak that I had seen from the high desert yesterday. There were a few snow patches in the shade, but it was again hot, even up at 7,000 feet. After the hike, I saddled up and headed down the extreme downhill that would last me basically the rest of the day. From the pass it is something like 20 miles down to hwy 126, which follows the McKenzie River all the way to Eugene.

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I again had just a bottle of Gatorade for breakfast on this day, and after the couple hour hike I was really getting hungry and thirsty. The long downhill really got my neck and wrists worn out, from leaning forward so far for so long. So I was really looking forward to getting some food and drink. Scott had recommended a Café in Vida as a great southern style diner to grab lunch from, but it was still a ways out, and I was famished, so the first gas station I got to on hwy 126 saw me spend about $12 on food and drinks. My usual stop (1-2 times per day) would entail 32 oz of gatorade, a 20 oz pepsi, a small bag of chips, an ice cream bar, a fill up of water bottles, and maybe a little debbie size pecan pie. Here I added a couple microwave Hot-Pockets and a banana to that equation. Whew! Satisfaction.
As I continued on down the river I took any small parallel roads that would keep me on the river banks, and even rode through a couple covered bridges, which are always fun. I wanted to eat at the Vida café, but it was within 90 minute’s ride of my huge snack fest, so luckily there was another Scott Wolfe recommendation in my path. I turned up the road to Blue River Reservoir, hoping to kill some time. Lucky me, the reservoir was absolutely gorgeous and I had the boat ramp area all to myself. There was a 18” diameter tree trunk, that had been notched and set on the shore to keep from rotating, sticking 50 feet out into the lake.

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It was the coolest diving board I have ever used I swam around and dove and did cannon balls for a while, enjoying the cool water. After a bit, I had had enough and climbed back on the bike.
Down, Down, Down, I arrived in Vida, and took a seat at the café, ordering a club sandwich and a root beer. The sandwich was huge, so I called each of my brothers and had a conversation as I ate. Tanked up again, I headed out.
As I continued down the McKenzie, I enjoyed the afternoon, and wondered how it might go with Scott. We had met just once in Brevard when I moved to Greenville a few years ago, and Scott had shown me some of the local trails.

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When I arrived in Springfield (the next door neighbor of Eugene, I called Scott and got his answering message, I was discouraged because I thought he might not be around and I’d have to find a hotel, since it was late afternoon and I was in the middle a city, with no idea about good camping options.
Luckily, as I pedaled down the road again, he called back. I told him where I was, he gave me an address, and welcomed me to stay at his place. I navigated by a large scale city map towards his house, and was lucky enough to serendipitously emerge right in the center of the U of O campus and run right in to Hayward Field.

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The history surrounding this place has a gravity to it that only we runners can appreciate, so it was really cool to just happen upon it. I snapped a picture and headed towards Scott’s. When I arrived, Scott’s longtime girlfriend Siiri answered the door and I introduced myself, and was invited in, since Scott was not yet home from work. Beer was offered and accepted, and then a grill was started and range fed steaks were cooked with some awesome salad.
Scott and I made a late night trip to the bike shop that he manages, and he hooked my up with a specific tool that my kit was lacking, just in case I had to replace a drive side rear spoke. On the post midnight ride back to the house, I missed paying attention to Scott’s arm turn signal, and I wiped out in the middle of the road when my front wheel clipped his rear wheel. As it was happening all I could think was, “oh man, this guy is showing you all kinds of hospitality, and you are about to knock him off his bike!” Luckily, Scott kept himself upright without too much trouble, and when I went over the handlebars I executed a near flawless parachute barrel roll landing. Unluckily, my wrist was hurting pretty bad and my front shifter/brake combo was misaligned and shredded. I got up out of the road and we made some quick repairs (we paid a little more attention to the adjustments once we got home) and managed to get home. Although the wrist and my knee were banged up, they were usable.
It was late, and I needed a plan for the morning. I hoped to ride to Pacific and back. By the shortest route, it was about 65 miles to the ocean, but Scott said that way was too trafficky, and he had a gorgeous route for me to try. By his directions, it looked like it was going to be 75+ miles to the ocean, so I kept the contingency in mind that I might ge a hotel at the ocean and ride back the following day. I also decided I would leave the bulk of my kit at Scott’s Place, just carrying some warm clothes and my tools, and leaving the tent and other over night necessities there.
With a plan set, I went to bed.
Day’s Mileage: 100 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 449 miles

Day 5:
Waking up early Saturday morning, I wanted to be out the door and on my way. Scott offered to make some oatmeal with blueberries for me, which sounded good, but I said I’d rather get on the road and just grab some stuff at a convenience store. Had I known that the first convenience store I would pass would be 80 miles away, I might have chosen differently, but alas, I was not aware of that fact…nor had it ever occurred to me that that was possible this far west, where towns are relatively close together again.

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As I pedaled out of town and into the country, I kept an eye out for stores, but when I was getting out in the boondocks, I realized that might not happen. I was a little perturbed, wishing I had not turned down the breakfast, and especially unenthused about the fact that I hadn’t packed anything except one bottle of water for this ride. After a monster climb on Wolf Creek Road, I stopped and filled up my extra water bottle with blackberries. I was still hopeful at this point (25 miles into the ride) that some store would appear before too long. No such luck, I continued further and further into the boonies, on old logging roads through some of the most beautiful countryside on the trip.

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Unfortunately after a few hours I was no longer excited about the scenery, I was begging for some freaking food and drink.
After several tough climbs, each seeming all the tougher because I was chilled in the shadowy forest, and exhausted from the long ride without much nourishment, I reached Smith River Road, a meandering path through rural lands, with some beautiful waterfalls and a slightly downhill slope.

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As dehydrated and hungry as I was becoming, I really didn’t appreciate this section too much. I even got off the bike a walked 40-50 yards a couple times. The flat ground pedaling was too much! I snapped a picture of Siuslaw Falls, and another one of myself in mid-bonk.

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Finally, after 78 miles, I reached the first sign of civilization….a small convenience store. Inside were several locals, kicking back beers in the mid afternoon. I had expected to be at the ocean for lunch, yet here I was 20 miles short of that goal, and it was already after 2 o’clock. I walked in and asked if they had any real food for sale, to which the reply was that they could start heating up the oil for some fried foods, but nothing was ready right now. I told the guy that time was something I had….and I wanted food. While I waited for my fried chicken and french fries I had a dr. pepper, a root beer, 2 mini pecan pies, and I believe a couple other small snacks. Once the chicken basket appeared, I set to work. A solid 25 minutes after I’d arrived, I pulled out with a gut full of fat, protein and sugar. Aside from being painfully behind my goal, I was fine again. I found out from the locals that Reedsport, the town 20 miles down on the beach, had several hotels, and I knew the LAST thing I wanted to do was ride 96 miles to the ocean over all those hills and then turn around to go back….into an evening and night of darkness. However, the second to last thing I wanted to do was wake up in the morning and have to go back over all those hills with the fresh memory of how difficult they were in my head. So I decided I would ride 25 miles north on the coast, and get to Florence. From there it would be just a 65 mile trip tomorrow to get back….and over roads I hadn’t seen yet. That sounded possible, unlike making a return trip over the same roads I had just negotiated.
Well, hwy 101 on the coast was a pretty tough cookie itself. Very hilly, with a southerly wind, I worked hard for more than 2 hours to get to Florence, where I found that I needed to go across town and still travel 4-5 extra miles to get out to the end of the jetty where the actual Pacific was. Through more tough wind I fought, and as far as it seemed I started to wonder if some higher power just didn’t want me to make it to the beach. Finally, I turned onto the road that went out to the beach, and cruised into the parking lot, only to find a solid 500 yard walk over sand dunes necessary to reach the water. When I finally arrived I called my family and Will and Diane to let them know that I was standing in the Pacific!

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Since it was around 6 o’clock, I hurried back to town, and went to a drug store, where I got some new sunscreen (I had emptied my first can in just 4+ days) and asked where I might find some good seafood. I headed to the recommended spot next, and quickly ordered the fish tacos and pepsi. Honestly I was disappointed by the meal, but it replaced the necessary calories, which was great. When I finished eating I asked the waitress if there might be a bus that ran from the coast to Eugene. I had been daydreaming ever since I reached the coast that I might still end up getting back to a comfortable bed tonight, and a bus or hitchhiking seemed like the only possible means to that end. When she offered to call and see, I had some slight hope, but alas, it was not to be. A nice couple who was eating next to me overheard our conversation and generously offered that they were camping 8 miles north at a campground who’s name I have forgotten in campsite 18, and said they had an extra tent and sleeping bag. I thanked them profusely, and said that if I couldn’t find a hotel close by (since it was labor day weekend) I might show up and take them up on it. I walked next door and inquired about a room, only to find that they wanted $100 for a single room. I nixed that idea, and rode another mile or two towards hwy 126. As I rode, the sun began to set, and I realized that I had several options: the offered campground spot, which was truly a generous offer from some quality folks, the hotel, which would be REALLY comfy right about now with 120 miles on the saddle so far, or I could just ride back now. I had a decent headlamp and blinky tail light, and just enough clothes to stay warm, I figured.
I considered putting a sign on my back that said “EUGENE” and starting to ride, hoping for a ride, but opted to just start riding and see how it went. The dinner had given me some energy to think that I could make it another 65 at night.
As the sun set I broke out the lights, only to find that they were relatively dim. This fact was disappointing, I thought I remembered that the batteries were fairly new, but they were barely adequate, and another 4-5 hours wasn’t going to be safe. I rode on a little farther, wanting to see if the next town might have an open shop. When I arrived, I thought all there was was a post office, but at the edge of town was one little store. I walked in and announced my thanks for their being open. They told me it was the last Saturday of the season when they would remain open past 7 o’clock. What luck! I got new batteries for both lights, a butterfinger and a snickers bar, and bottles of Gatorade and Mountain Dew (rocket fuel).
Heading out with new found confidence (due to the poor lights I was almost thinking I would have to stay the night back in the PO Box room at the post office) I pedaled on and up into the coastal mountain range, which was milder here than it had been on my way out to the ocean. I rode on and on, climbing a couple minor passes, and I stopped to call Scott and let him know my plans.
It was a beautiful night, although chilly, and I enjoyed the stars and dark sky. I also enjoyed the adrenaline shot from a couple tunnels that I went through. The sound of a car in the tunnel coming towards you is VERY loud.
I was “In the zone” for the last several hours of this ride. It was a great time. The focus was on enjoying the moment, utilizing all my senses and skills to remain safe in a hazardous environment, and reaching the end happy and healthy. I was almost sad to arrive back in Eugene after midnight, but when I hit the pillow, life was perfect.

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Day’s Mileage: 186 miles
Cumulative mileage: 635 miles

Days 6-8
If I go into too much detail about my stay with Scott and Siiri, I will undoubtedly start longing to return to Eugene, so suffice it to say that my stay was immensely enjoyable, and as an awesome added bonus, they were headed to Crater Lake on Monday (Labor Day) to participate in a customer appreciation ride around the lake with the bike shop folks that Scott works with. I got to go for the ride, and enjoyed a beautiful cold day up at 7,000 feet with some like minded crazies. I also spent a day wandering around Eugene, doing a 10 mile run on some locals trails up to the Butte south of town, and checking out Pre’s Rock.

1 comment:

cogito said...

Carl,

What a cool trip and adventure!

Thanks for the writeup and best of luck "out west".

Scott B