July 12th 2003
So much for an early start! The previous nights celebration and
the need for a good sleep had us making breakfast at 9am. By
10:30 we had everything packed up. Here is a photo of the bike
fully loaded. We actually unloaded for the trek to the ocean.
Soon the caravan of supporters were rolling out to the South Jetty for
our ceremonious visit to the ocean. The day was beautiful with a
light sea breeze pushing the puffy clouds around. The Oregon
coast is one of those magical places that somehow injects peace into
your heart. I needed it. Despite all the preparation I was
still barely able to contain my fright at what I had committd to.
It was about a quarter-mile walk over sand to get to the water.
Of course I couldn't get the bike sandy so it had to be carried:
Here I am with the rear wheel in the Pacific. When I get to the
other side there'll be another picture with the front wheel in the
The next picture has the entire group who came out to be with me.
Back row (L-R) Sharree, Candace, Kym, Mark, Ross, Robert
Middle row (L-R) Helen, Jon, Jeanette, Art
Front row (L-R) Marius, your smiling author
Finally the riding started at 11:24. It was seven miles to get
from the end of the Sourth Jetty to Florence proper where the route
begins. As I was riding out my friends passed me on their way to
resume their lives, each cheering me on. From there the pace
settled into the regular long distance rides that I'd been training
on. The only exception is that this was mostly flat (something
foreign to Hood River). A little tail wind had the speeds holding
in the low 20s as I rode up the Suislaw river. Climbing the coast
range turned out to be pretty easy with the worst grade only 6%.
Don't know the elevation, but it couldn't have been more than 1200', it
was pretty easy.
The miles rolled by underneath me and I settled into a content feeling
that I was finally doing it. Climbing into the coast range I
watched a hawk soar, hunting, riding the sea breeze as it blew up a
ridge. He was absolutely still and steady as I rode by. I
wonder: was he looking at me? Did he wonder about my strange
contraption and all the stuff strappd to the back of it? I'm sure
some of the cars going by did. I even saw some cyclists going the
other way. One pair looked loaded down by huge panniers.
They were grinding their way out of Eugene, bucking the wind that
was giving me a nice boost. They were so focused on the work they
didn't even see me, though I waved. I wondered if they were just
cross country trek. Whatever they were doing it must have been
hard that day because they sure seemed dispirited.
Coming out of the coast range I passed by the fair again (I stayed on
126 the whole way rather than detouring through Noti loop road like the
TA does). The last stretch into Eugene was nice because I got to
follow the Fern ridge bike path into downtown. The day ended with
me rolling up to where I would stay. The parents of a good friend
of mine had offered me their home for the evening. Chuck and
Doris put on a tour de force of hospitality as they went out of their
way to feed me and make me comfortable. Relaxation and good
coversation have whiled away the evening and it is 11:30 as I write
this. Time to go to bed. McKenzie Bridge tommorow.
Chuck and Doris