Riding

Moyer House Brownsville, OR
Part III

Morning came quickly and I took another hot shower, got dressed, and went down for the continental breakfast. It wasn’t much, but it was filling and had lots of protein and carbohydrate type foods. I pushed off after taking care of the bill and talking to the desk clerk for a few minutes. I left Corvallis about 9:00 am.

This day was completely different from yesterday, blue skies, bright sunshine and pleasantly warm. Crossing the river and backtracking to the point where I would turn south I headed for Brownsville the next town on my way to the finish in Eugene. This part if the trip was easy, very level or slightly rolling. I was about half way to Brownsville and wouldn’t you know I took a wrong turn, rather didn’t turn, and then had to back track to get to the overpass to cross the freeway.

I reached Brownsville between 11:30 and noon. This time I wasn’t going to make the same mistake I had made the day before. I found a place to eat, it was a small café. A cup of soup and a sandwich made for a pleasant lunch. The café owner, an occasional cyclist, told me that he had lots of bikers stopping by as they travelled the byway. After leaving the café I headed for the most difficult part of the trip.

Leaving Brownsville I headed out on Gap Road heading for the one hill that would become a real challenge. In one mile I would climb over 300 feet. I made it just short of the summit, where I petered out and had to walk the final 300 feet.

Crossing the summit it was a heck of a ride, down the hill at breakneck speed. I was glad that I had replaced the original tires with Gatorskins, but I was still concerned that I would have a blowout while going over 30 miles an hour. I was happy to finally reach the bottom of the hill and be able to pedal again. Over another small hill and it was flat from there on to Eugene.

Upon reaching Armitage County Park, the official end, I stopped for a drink of water and to savor the accomplishment of completing the trip. I had envisioned doing a jig to celebrate this achievement, but it is not my style, so the jig remained a figment of my imagination, so on to the motel in Eugene.

Again after checking in, it was time for a hot shower and dinner. I had spotted a Mexican restaurant that looked good. Enchiladas, Chile Rellenos, beans and rice made for a very satisfying meal. I went back to the motel for a night of rest and then to head for the train station.

Reaching the train station I had an hour and a half wait for departure. It was unusual to sit calmly waiting for the train after the last two days. I was content and felt good that the journey was nearing completion. Getting back to Portland and seeing my wife and my dog was now my highest priority.

After loading my bike into the baggage car, I boarded the train and found a seat and began to plan my next adventure. I decided that the next big one was to sign up for the 200 mile STP (Seattle to Portland) ride the following summer. I had never ridden in a group ride and I thought it might make for another milestone to achieve.

While thinking of the next journey, I remembered that I had been reading the summer before a friend’s blog where he rode 4000 miles in 10 weeks which he called a Pedal Pilgrimage. He had travelled up the coast from San Francisco to Portland and people asked him why he was travelling north when the winds were flowing south. It was the direction he needed to go to get back to Portland and home.

I decided that I would also travel this route but I would go south and allow the wind to help me. This trip I have planned for September 2014, but something else was in store for me.

Riding

Part II

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At 4:30 in the morning I am on the bike heading for the light rail station, from there I went to a transfer point in Beaverton, then to Wilsonville, the end of the line.  From Wilsonville I can see the State Park across the river.  The only bridges across the river at Wilsonville are the Interstate Bridge or the railroad bridge.  I knew that it was forbidden to cross the railroad bridge and non-motorized vehicles are not allowed on the Interstate highway.  My only option was to go to the next bridge crossing the river at Newberg.  This added another 20 miles to my trip.  I later learned that some areas along the Interstate highway bicycles can have access; I could have crossed the river a Wilsonville.

At 6:00 am I travel towards Newberg to cross the river and doubled back to the park to officially start my journey.  Starting out is uneventful, until the road narrows down.  It is an old road with no shoulders and traffic is impatient with having a bike to contend with.

 

I follow the road along the curves and down a hill and around another curve to come face to face with a steep hill.  Half way up I shift down to the small chain ring and the chain comes off.  My momentum immediately goes to zero and I take my first and only tumble of the ride.  I picked myself up, brushed off the dirt, put the chain back on and pushed off again.

 

Arriving at the park I barely slow down but push on, there is no official starting point, just a concession stand without a sign pointing the way.  I find this is the rule rather than the exception; I’m glad that I printed out the maps.  I find it easy going, flat or at least gradual rolling farmland.  The sun has finally broken through the morning cloud cover.  This is Oregon and the marine cloud cover in the morning is very common.

 

I stopped at Willamette Mission State Park to rest and eat a snack.  Leaving the park I headed for Keizer/Salem, thankfully the internet site provided good maps that would guide me through the cities and byways.  In Salem I stopped and ate another snack, what a mistake, I should have stopped and ate lunch.  That is a mistake I will make again that day, eating is the most important activity needed to have the energy to keep cycling.

 

After leaving Salem the weather turned cool again with light misty showers, it was slightly hilly for about 10 miles, but keeping up the pace I found myself staying warm and quite pleasant.  Leaving the hills behind the road was flat.  Along the way I found nature preserves and historical markers, I love learning history this way and taking a few minutes to appreciate nature.

Jefferson was the next town, not a very interesting place. Again I should have stopped to eat but nothing in Jefferson seemed to be very appealing, I continued on to Albany.  Thinking that I was following my map and the signs I got lost, not by much, but enough to get me disoriented.  I did stop at a small grocery store to get help.  Finally got my bearings and got through Albany without any trouble.

 I stopped in a park on the west end of Albany and ate a snack, hoping that I was not that far from Corvallis, where I had a reservation.  Corvallis was not that far, what made it seem far was the head wind I was bucking.  As long as I was moving south I didn’t have to contend with the winds.

 Arriving in Corvallis I made my way to the motel and got checked in and proceeded to get a good hot shower and then went looking for a bike shop to get a new lock.  (I had forgotten mine back in Portland).  Now was the time I had been putting off all day – getting something to eat.  I headed for a Chinese restaurant I had passed on my way to the bike shop.  As long as the meal had fried shrimp I wasn’t going to be very picky.  After dinner I walked around Corvallis and then went back to the motel to get some rest.