We said good-bye to Dat while riding out of town. We finally left Portland around 3pm. The ride itself was relatively uneventful. I hate hills. There was one time when this guy was turning right onto 99W, the street we were riding, and I guess he didn’t even see us until the last minute and had to hit his brakes. People just don’t expect bicycles sometimes, which is why this ride and all bicycle advocacy is so important. A friend of mine once asked me why I complained about biking in Portland since it is so much nicer than some other cities. My answer is that bicycle advocacy will always have a place until bikes are treated as equally as cars. When everyone who drives looks for bikes as well as cars before turning that’s when we are equal.
We stayed at McMinnville Friday night, July 18, at the Paragon Motel which had an outdoor swimming pool. The Best Western right next door had an in-door one *and* a hot tub, but it would’ve been way more expensive… Check in time: 7:30. Turns out Don is flat-out broke, but we discussed this before the trip and I offered to pay for the motel room the first night. I assumed since I was paying for the lodging, it would free up Don to be able to spend a little more on food, but we found out that day that Don is really, really, flat-out broke. This was a little disappointing since George and I wanted to go to this diner next to our motel, but after a quick dip, we ended up going to Taco Bell Express.
Day 1: 48 miles from Bike Gallery, 3 hours 40 minutes in the saddle, about 4 hours 30 minutes from start to finish, 13 mph ave, 35 mph max. George snores.
Saturday, July 19, we woke up late (I think we slept 11 hours!) and didn’t leave McMinnville until 11 or so after some quick continental breakfast and some nasty fake Dole orange juice from the Texaco mini-mart. Don educated us about fruit juice. If the first two ingredients are water and high fructose corn syrup, it sucks. The ride down today was really nice. Not *too* much traffic, mostly wide shoulders. George and Don stopped a lot for berries which grow everywhere in Oregon. I tend to stay away from car-exhaust berries, so I kept riding saying I’d meet them at the next shaded area. Little did I know the next shaded area would be a couple miles away! The shade was provided by a nice tall oak tree or something (Robin can tell you that I suck at identifying flora) which was the prominent object in someone’s front yard. Most houses along 99W are farm houses and are quite a ways from the road, but not this one. So, I stopped, and noticed that I was out of water. I walked over to the front door and rang the doorbell. While I was waiting for an answer, I noticed the faucet out of the front of the house just 10 feet away, but I thought it might look really, really bad if I just used it willy-nilly without permission. Since no one answered, I turned around and headed back for my bike when I saw a Jeep pull into the driveway. I walked over to the Jeep as the driver rolled down the window and slowed to talk. Ron turned out to be a really nice guy and we talked a bit… the usual questions: “Where are you from? Where are you going?” with the added “You’re gonna need, a lot of water!”
I was feeling good, so I got back on my bike and took off without waiting for the guys. I biked really slowly though, taking in all the views and sounds. You know “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” where the author describes how cool it is to be so close to nature and the road? Well, I’ve always thought that we bicyclists have an even greater experience in that we get a myriad aural sensations while motorcyclists just get engine noise. So, I listened to the birds chirping, the rustling of grass as some lizard, or whatever I imagine, runs away from me, and the lovely sound of me belting out a great rendition of “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” Anyway, by the time I get to Rickreal, I figure the guys must surely have caught up to me by now and that they must have passed me while I was talking to Ron, getting water. There is a really nice bike path from Rickreal to Monmouth (funny link) and I followed that going pretty fast. By the way, I quickly shot the evil eye at the RV campground in Rickreal which wouldn’t let my brother and I camp there 3 years ago during our ride to DC for NBG because we were on bikes and not in an RV!
So while riding to Monmouth I pass two teenage girls who are also enjoying the bike path. This NBG idea is a really good idea; have I mentioned that? I tell them that I’m looking for two other guys and ask if they’ve seen them. They say no, so I tell them they are probably behind me and ask if they see them to let them know that I’m just up ahead. Nice girls said yes.
When I get into Monmouth, and the bike path ended, I see a Burgerville. Good a stopping point as any. I sip on a strawberry-banana smoothie as I wait for the guys. And they did show up! It turns out they stopped like 3 or 4 times for berries! We headed on down to A&W and had some lunch. A nice worker there told us how her dad does weekend rides a bit and how it’s incredible that we could go three days. Don and I didn’t tell her that he’s biked to SF and I’ve biked to DC. Honestly, I have to say that biking for days on end is not *that* hard, so long as you pace yourself and you take the time to enjoy life. If you can do a week, you can do a whole summer. But don’t let anyone know I told you that, cuz like I said, I need to milk this thing for all it’s worth. My problem is that I’m lazy by nature, but once I’m out there, meeting new people, almost all of them friendly, man, it’s awe-inspiring.
So after lunch, we realize we only have about 20 miles to Corvallis, maybe one and a half hours. So we book it on down, get tired after 30 min, rest, and then take off again. We rest a lot. I think it’s good for us; keeps us hydrated and sane, and is the key to lasting a long time on the road for people who are out of shape like me.
When we get into Corvallis, we stop at a Rite-Aid, call Erik Haluzak to get directions, and have some nasty but not so nasty as this morning orange juice. It turns out that the annual daVinci Days festival in Corvallis is happening this weekend, so we biked through the festivities to get to Erik’s place. Actually, we stopped and took a bunch of photos and met up with one of Don’s friends by happenstance. Sam is a journalist and took a bunch of photos of us and we all chatted and whatnot.
When we finally made it to Erik’s place, he introduced us to his uncle, Charles, and his dad who’s visiting from CA. And yes, Erik is the guy whose dad makes recumbent frames! Small world. George and Don left to check out daVinci Days some more and Erik and relatives went for a bike ride. I’m done typing, for now anyway, and think I’ll take a little nap before George and Don get back and we go eat some din din.