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.