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.
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.
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).