Portland to Salem – 37 miles
Stayed out a little too late dancing the night before, so I got a late start, even had to pack the morning of. It was a lovely day, and I had a good idea of the direction I was going thanks to my map and some directions from my Salem host, Dave. He had also checked the weather and let me know it should start raining in the afternoon and that he had a truck if I needed a pickup. I figured if it really didn’t start raining until 3, I would only have to ride in the rain for an hour or so; no biggie. So I kept riding, and it started getting colder, and my body wasn’t used to riding anymore so I was going slowly even though I wanted to beat the rain. I definitely had moments of why am I doing this again? It was really frustrating.
Around 1pm, the rain started. I was a little excited because it was the first time I would get to use all my rain gear! I stopped to put on my rain pants, long fingered gloves, a fleece, and a raincoat, then set off again. It wasn’t too bad at first, just low visibility due to the rain on my glasses, but after a while I started to notice that my jacket and gloves weren’t waterproof. When the wind picked up as well, I felt very cold; seeing that I still had another 6 miles or so, I realized it was time to take my host up on his offer. I stopped outside an onion factory and gave him a call. We agreed that I’d continue on the road I was on another mile or so and he’d leave right away to come get me. As I pulled into the next tiny town (somewhere just north of Salem), I saw him and his warm truck. Dave helped me load my gear and I warmed up significantly on the ride to his place.
Dave and his wife Sharon are not new to hosting cyclists. They had a fire going, hot chocolate ready (with a little Bailey’s), a guest room, and dinner in the oven (accommodating of my food allergies of course). What a cozy place to end a long day in the saddle. We swapped stories over a delicious meal as they convinced me to stay another night to wait out the rain and meet the cyclist they’d be hosting the next night. It was especially fun hearing about all the different cyclists they’ve hosted over the last few years.
-5 hours riding, 8 hours traveling
-1 dog that didn’t bark at me
-1 ladybug almost crushed
Rest – 1 Day
It rained off and on the next day, so it was really relaxing to sleep in, get a little blogging done, ride to the post office, do some route planning, and ride a recumbent bicycle for the first time. Another cyclist showed up in time for dinner, and we swapped touring stories and tips (he’s cycled from China to England). Side note: apparently Facebook and Google are banned in China.
Salem to Corvallis – 34 miles
After a delicious breakfast and watching Nick (the other cyclist) try out the recumbent, Dave and I set out in the sunshine past trees, and fields of mint and grass seed.
-Let me just take a moment to emphasize the fact that there are fields dedicated to growing grass. I personally think that is a waste of potential food growing land. We can’t eat grass. We grow it for aesthetics. Humans are weird.
Back to the ride. It’s really great riding with someone who knows the area you’re riding in. Navigation is so much easier because you don’t have to stop every 5 minutes to make sure you’re going the right way. Dave rode with me about 20 miles, and even carried my panniers all that way on his bike! (He was still significantly faster than me.) After Dave left though, I started to wonder again why I was doing this. Why did I want to push myself hard for days on end when I could be sitting at home with no worries?
My Corvallis host got home earlier than expected, which was convenient because I got into town earlier than expected. Renee is a dancer, she offered to host me after a mutual friend put the word out that I needed a place to stay. I had a fun time eating and hanging out with her family and friends. Even got to see an episode of Game of Thrones!
-3.75 hours riding, 6 hours traveling
Corvallis to Eugene – 48 miles
With nearly 50 miles ahead of me, I woke up early, got packed up, and set off. It was simple to navigate Corvallis (pretty small town), rode through beautiful fields, took lots of pictures, and overall had a much better riding day than the previous two. I was excited about life, so glad to be back on my bicycle, happy that I was outside pushing myself instead of sitting in an office. I stopped at a park (which turned out to be a school) initially afraid to go in, but decided the worst thing that could happen is they ask me to leave (the gate was open). I went in and got to swing on a swing set for the first time in forever.
The best riding conditions followed, I had a tailwind, the sun was shining but it wasn’t too hot, plenty of shade to cool off in. I took my time even though I had 50 miles to do, stopping whenever I felt like it. There was a park with a path next to the river and I walked barefoot through the trees for a while.
Finding my way through Eugene turned out to be a little more complicated than I expected, but so beautiful. I finally made it to Desi’s just in time to take a 5 minute shower and get dressed for dancing with her and Matt. I met them on the Recess bus, so good to see them again! We went to an intermediate lesson about opposing movements and musicality, out for a beer, and on to the official dance and then some live music. After some more chatting with Desi, it was time for some sleep.
-5.5 hours riding, 9 hours traveling (lots of side trips)
-2 tire swings tried out, 1 set of monkey bars attempted to cross
You can find more pictures here!