NBG Mayors’ Ride, Part 3: Eugene

Din din was at American Dream, a pizza place that Erik claimed was the best pizza in Corvallis. We walked past the daVinci Days happenings (a concert in a park by that time) and found a place that offered free sno-cones as a promotional thing. Don was extremely skeptical, but George insisted we cross a couple of streets to check it out. Yes, they were free, no strings attached.

American Dream’s sign from far away looks like the gay/lesbian pink upside-down triangle except it’s yellow. At the time I told G that Jews in Nazi Germany had to wear arm-bands with the triangle and that gays and lesbians reappropriated the symbol, turned it upside-down and colored it pink. I was close. Actually, the Jews wore a Star of David while gays and lesbians had to wear that pink upside-down triangle. So the gay and lesbian community just reclaimed the symbol they were given by the Nazis. Kinda like how blacks reclaimed the word “nigger”.

We passed by a Chinese restaurant on the way to American Dream which G and I really wanted to go to, but we couldn’t since Don couldn’t afford it. So, we arrived at American Dream right around 8:30 which is lucky since they have a late-night special for a 1-topping large pizza and one soda for $10. The sauce, cheese, and pepperoni were good but the crust was tough and bland. Don liked it, but George and I thought it was overall mediocre. Don’s quote: “The pizza is good; just don’t eat the crust.” To which George and I replied: “The pizza *is* the crust!” In hindsight, I think maybe Don thinks of the outer crust as crust while George and I thought of the whole bread part, including the middle with toppings, as the crust. Given G and my definition, you can’t have good pizza without good crust. But G grew up in New York and I live with a pizza gourmand, so our standards are higher. Try, for example, Escape from New York or Pizza Roma.

Anyway, I got the soda that came with the meal, G got water, and Don got a beer, making his share of the meal the highest cost. Admittedly, I felt kind of cheated since I think Don spent as much as we would have if we had gone Chinese. I guess he needs his beer.

We got back to Erik’s place and went to sleep. The place is a duplex, 2 floors of a house that’ve been converted to 2 flats, with an additional small place out in the back yard. The landlords just got the place like 2 months ago and so were still fixing up the back place which is the place they said we could stay in. We were also offered the lawn and Erik’s floor. Since we got back before Erik, we figured his floor wasn’t a good idea since he might wake us up or something when he got back. The house out back was extremely hot and stuffy; only 2 windows opened and it had been a hot day. So we all opted to sleep in the backyard.

Four funny/cool things…

1. Don’s new ride was both a blessing and a curse and it started to manifest itself fully this night. He could’ve stuck it in the garage where Erik keeps some of his bikes, but I guess Don didn’t think it was secure enough since Erik and his landlords don’t lock it. He could’ve stuck it in the house, but again, it wasn’t locked. So instead he bungie corded it to his sleeping bag so that if anyone tried to make off with it, he’d wake up. Later he told us that he had another measure of security which he didn’t tell us about, cuz I guess he was afraid we’d make off with it… ? Anyway, George and I were starting to think Don was a little paranoid.

2. While we were lying there and looking up, we counted many, many satellites. That was cool. I told them about the time in college when my roommate and I were walking very late at night… around 2 AM.. to the pool hall when we saw a very bright shooting start type of thing, only much slower than a shooting star and much faster than a plane. It was maybe an inch long if you hold an inch out an arm’s length and basically going across the Western sky from North to South. Some drugged out hippies nearby were freaking out like it was a missile, but it just didn’t seem right. I found out a few weeks later that it was the space shuttle making an emergency landing!

3. So a few hours pass, and I think all of us are sleeping horribly. I keep waking up and alternating between hot and cold by covering and uncovering myself with my really well insulated sleeping bag. George starts laughing so I look over. Funny thing about George is that he is often woefully unprepared. For this trip, he deliberated didn’t bring a sleeping bag because he thought it would be warm enough outside to just sleep on the ground! Anyway, he got cold since it was kinda windy, so he put on pretty much all of his clothing. He had like 3 T-shirts on regularly and another around his arms. He had 3 pairs of shorts on, one regular, one pulled up to just his knees, and one just around his ankles. To top it off, he had a pair of blue-green plaid boxers around his head! So I started laughing too and told him I was definitely going to take a photo of him in the morning. After about 20 minutes he finally went inside to the house out back, but about 20 minutes after that the wind died down and the rest of the night was actually quite nice.

4. I guess it must have been around 2 or 3 AM… Don and I woke up but didn’t do anything when we heard 2 or 3 guys crash into the backyard from hopping a fence into it and then try to find their way out on the other side, all the while laughing and saying stuff like, “Holy crap, there’s people sleeping here!”

Day 2: 46 miles, 3 hours 20 minutes actual riding, 14 mph average.

We woke up early, around 7 or so. I went inside the little house and took a photo of George! πŸ™‚ We ate breakfast at the same cafe that my brother and I met Brian on his house-bike 3 years ago! Breakfast was with Erik and we chatted about Portland places to live since he and his wife are moving up in August. We then said good-bye and headed to Eugene. We took Peoria Road down and then from Junction City we took River Road. I think this is the exact same way my brother and I did it the first time, so in the end, we followed the same route we did 3 years ago!

The ride down was really nice. At Junction City we called Barbara Gleason, graphic designer for Burley, who would be our hostess for our stay in Eugene. She rode out on River Road to meet us and escort us into town. Actually, another Burley employee, Russell, who was still recovering from a minivan hitting him in February, lived closer to downtown and we were able to crash at his place. He wasn’t home yet when we arrived, but his cat Hunter was home. We freshened up and made plans for Barbara to give us a tour of the city (in her nice A/Ced car). The heat was more oppressive than the previous days; I’m glad we left and finished our riding relatively early compared to our other days. While waiting for Barbara, Russell came back with his girlfriend, Tina, I think. Russell then showed us the cool beaded tapestry that he had/has been working on for the last 4.5 years.

The tour of the city was cool…:) and we saw a lot of Eugene from a butte in the center of town. After our tour, we met up with Dan, Barbara’s husband, who is a prof at U of O, specializing in birds, and went to Tasty Thai. Oh man, I love Thai food and this place was no disappointment. We were very hungry by this time since we had skipped lunch. George ate much rice.

After dinner we just chatted for a while back at their place. Hummingbirds really like Don’s bright red hair! We then went back to Russell’s and crashed. George and Don slept outside since the house’ ventilation wasn’t the greatest; it retained heat pretty well. But I slept inside since I didn’t want mosquitoes bugging me the whole night.

Day 3: 48 miles, about 3 hours 30 minutes, about 14mph ave.

We got up and met Barbara for breakfast. She then went off to work while we just hung out chatting for a couple hours at the market waiting for the big meeting at the Mayor’s Office a few blocks down. At one point we watched people getting newspapers out of one of those metal stand things. It got stuck but then one guy came and tugged on it hard and then left it slightly ajar for other people. We took the opportunity to borrow one which we replaced after we had finished reading the day’s news. πŸ™‚

When the time came, we headed on over to the Mayor’s Office. It’s the corner office in a building housing other city offices including the police department. Even so, Don didn’t feel comfortable locking and leaving the bike out in the courtyard. At one point, I mentioned that it was funny how Don was being very protective of this bike because it cost so much while at the same time George and I were being relatively lax about our bikes even though our bikes weren’t cheap either. Don’s reasoning was that I could afford to get them replaced while he couldn’t. I don’t think that was it, actually. I mean I *could* get them replaced if they were stolen, but it’s not like I want that to happen, and I don’t think I actually would get them replaced since I am not exactly flowing in cash right now. In other words, it would still be a big blow to me if I had my bikes stolen. The difference is that I don’t let fear run my life or hold me back. With proper precaution, I feel that I should be able to do what I want to do. It’s not like I was suggesting we leave the bike unlocked out on the street.

Anyway, we met up with someone at the Mayor’s Office who let us know the mayor wasn’t in quite yet (we were early) and that Don could stick his bike inside the office. We then waited around and met Barbara. Then Diana Bishop showed up with her granddaughter and the whole office swarmed around for the baby. πŸ™‚ Finally Mayor Jim Torrey showed up and we all shook hands and chatted. We got some photos of him handing the proclomation over and we were given some really good chocolate and pins of the city as gifts. It was very nice and low-key. No speeches or anything fancy-schmantzy this time around. Afterwords, Jim left the way he came, just walking down the street! By way of comparison, I think Portland’s mayor, Vera Katz, would have had a police escort or an entourage of some sort as security.

After we said good-bye to everyone we headed off to McMenamin’s on High Street and called Robin who was meeting her mom for lunch in Eugene to come pick us up for Portland. Turns out that she didn’t have lunch with her mom so we all ate at the McMenamin’s.

The car ride home was hot; no A/C in our little Honda Civic. The bike rack worked great! We dropped Don off who presumably returned the Trek the next day… George ended up staying until like Thursday or something; we kept going over to Scott’s to play Gran Turismo 3. Fun. All in all a great bike ride, limited only by my poor athleticism, Don’s poor money resources, and George’s poor packing foresight.

Addendum: In a weird twist of irony, my bike was stolen about a week later… πŸ™ Maybe Don has cause to be cautious?

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