September 10, 2015 – Sun, 85 degrees
Miles Today: 84
Miles to Date: 6,685
States to Date: 23
The next time I am having a tough day I’ll try to remember this one – a perfect day of cycling in every way.
My warmshowers hosts filled me with a great breakfast and hot coffee. The morning was cool and clear. Dave rode me out of Salem and along River Road for 12 miles to Buena Vista. There was so little traffic we rode side by side and talked most of the way. He gave me a detailed direction sheet for the best route to Eugene. I only got turned around when I detoured to explore Corvallis, which has the most unusual corner sculptures of any city I’ve visited. I found my way back easily and enjoyed the OSU experimental farms along Peoria Road. I took a roadside lunch break in the shade of giant oaks beside a creek.
At Harrisburg I stopped for an ice cream. Jennifer makes the largest single scoop cones on earth. I snapped a quick pic of the astonishing pile of sea salt caramel and then ate it all up before it melted.
My last twenty miles were the fastest of my trip. Fueled by ice cream and pushed by tailwinds, Eugene came at me before I expected. Almost two hundred years ago Pioneers weathered all sorts of torment to cross the plains and mountains to reach this valley. I got here with less trauma, but also appreciate the Willamette Valley’s bountiful rewards.
I spent my first evening in Eugene with my good friend Kirk, who’s visited us in Cambridge several times, along with his longtime friend Kurt. Kirk is a noteworthy cook whose house has a deck with sunset views. I know this from years of Facebook posts and pictures. It seemed a fantastic dream to be on the deck in person, enjoy a sumptuous meal, and share stories.