Day 4 – Corvallis to Siuslaw Forest

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One of the many grassy fields full of sheep (we also rode by cows, horses, llamas, pigs, goats, ponies, chickens...)

Even though I don’t know if it was totally necessary due to stormy weather, Dallas and I were able to take advantage of our time off the bikes on Tuesday.  That evening it was so nice, we went for a 4 mile run to get our legs moving (and to compensate for eating a cinnamon roll, donut, and pizza earlier in the day). 

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A field of pumpkins

The next morning our bodies were feeling refreshed, and we finally had a tail wind!  In order to make up for lost time and get to San Francisco as soon as possible, we decided to abandon the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway and head to the coast straight from where we were.  We made it through 23 miles of flat farmland with the wind at our backs in less than 2 hours.  In Harrisburg, we filled our bellies with breakfast food at Jake’s Cafe and split a slice of bumbleberry pie.  The next few miles went by quickly as well, then we stopped to stock up on groceries at Safeway in Junction City.  It’s god that we stopped, because we didn’t ride by any other food for the rest of the day.

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Winding up Wolf Creek Road

Eventually, we turned onto Wolf Creek Road, which led us into the Siuslaw National Forest.  Wolf Creek Road also made me wish I had done a few more rides up to the summit of the White Pass when we were living in Skagway.  The first two and a half miles of this road basically winded up a mountain.  It was only a third the elevation of the White Pass, and I’m sure it wasn’t as steep, but it felt a lot harder with all the weight of our panniers and steel bike frames.  We also started riding uphill after already having ridden 50 miles that day.  We had been making great time all day, riding 16-17 miles per hour for some stretches.  Before we turned onto Wolf Creek Road, I thought we would be able to cover 70 miles easily.  Now I was having my doubts.

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The forest provides a stark contrast to the farmland we had ridden through to this point

Fortunately, the 4 miles of downhill made up for the treacherous climb, and the next uphill didn’t seem quite as bad.  This was probably the most beautiful part of our ride, and I really wanted to stop to take photos but was going too fast downhill.  The sun was at the perfect angle to illuminate the tall trees on one side of the road as we descended for the second time.  We had covered 64 miles by the time we found a good place to pitch our tent for the night.  We have a few more climbs awaiting us tomorrow as we make our way over the coastal mountain range and to the coast. 

As we lay in our tent, silence is broken by a strange, loud half-howl.  There is movement outside, not far from where we lay.  Maybe the spot we chose to sleep tonight is less than ideal?  There’s no phone service or wifi for miles around us, so if this post gets published, then we made it out of the forest!

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

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