Day 1 – Back in the Saddle Again


Despite two days of false hopes, we were finally, definitely ready to leave on Sunday morning, which happens to be exactly two years to the day that Dallas had initially left Portland before ending up in New Orleans.  Still, it was almost noon when we finally rolled away from the house we were staying at in Portland.  My loaded bike seemed incredibly heavy, and my legs felt sensitive to even the slightest incline.  We were both out of practice after not having toured in so long, so it took a few miles to gain our balance and momentum.  That momentum was killed as we followed fallen lifesavers and other pieces of crushed candy up the steep hill to Dallas’s mom’s house in Oregon City.


Riding the Champoeg bike path

After a brief stop in Oregon City, Dallas and I continued to Champoeg (pronounced ‘Shampooey’) State Park – the start of the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, which would take us south to Eugene.  At the park, while we shared an apple with almond butter, a park ranger approached and asked if we were camping there.  We still had about two hours of daylight, so he pointed us in the direction towards the next campground, about 20 miles down the scenic bikeway.


It seemed like a lot of people were burning things outside today, and the wind kept blowing smoke to our senses before we could see the source of all the fires.  We rode through miles of farmland rich with fall crops like apple and hazelnut trees, corn, and pumpkins.  We still had just under ten miles to go when the sun touched the horizon. 


As we pulled over to put our lights on, a truck pulled over to ask us about our bike tour.  Back on the road, just a short distance beyond this and around a corner, the truck was pulled over again.  A guy got out as we approached and offered us his parent’s apartment behind their house for us to spend the night.  It was half as far away as the campground and included a bed and shower.  We eagerly accepted the offer, and they gave us directions to their home.


This is MUCH more luxurious than our tent - thanks, Peggy and Graham!

Graham and Peggy were waiting for us when we pulled up to the garage, where their beautiful apartment is attached.  They showed us around and told us to eat or drink whatever we found in the fridge.  We are so grateful for such generous people who open their homes up to us, and we both hope to return the favor some day.

Distance covered today was just under 50 miles (not bad for starting at noon).

About Sarah

Sarah grew up in Cranston - just south of Providence, Rhode Island - and developed a love for travel, music, and outdoor sports at an early age. She had started bicycling long distances at age 12, as a participant of the MS150 bike tours to raise money for the MS Society. She didn't use her bike regularly until she built her own while studying in Montreal and found it an excellent way to get around the city. After graduating from McGill and moving back to Providence, Sarah started working at Brown University's office of Environmental Health & Safety as the Biological Safety Specialist. She was living 4 miles away at the time, and for the first few weeks was driving to work. She made the switch from driving to bicycling when she realized that she could get to work faster, avoid parking tickets, and integrate a few miles of training into her day. Bicycling was better for the environment and better for her own health and mood. She found that she had more energy and felt much happier once she started biking to work. When her car broke down several months later, she never bothered replacing it. After 4 years of working in Biosafety (and on her master's in Environmental Studies), Sarah left her job to pursue her passion. She has been working various jobs in the bicycle industry since June of 2011, including pedicab driver, bicycle tour guide, bike mechanic and traveling bicycle advocate. In between seasonal jobs, she has done a few long-distance bike tours, which is the main reason for this blog. Her dream is to eventually ride around the world and sail across the oceans.

Posted on 7 October 2013, in Bicycle Touring, Portland to San Francisco and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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