Saturday 6 June
The first of a string of late starts as I linger over an excellent motel breakfast and several cups of excellent coffee. I secret away two bananas and a muffin for later and sneak back to my room where I pack up and head out to the bike shop – I forgot to buy a tool bag.
The weather is dark and heavy, there is no rain but that is not for want of trying. The clouds are dark and forbidding. The weather holds out though and Huey only guides a small misty fall my way durning the whole day.
Getting out of Eugene is a challenge because north is still south and west is not where it should be but I finally get out the instructions, aka map, and turn it around the right way. I reach the Willamette River and onto a superb bike path through green parkland with huge Oak and Ash trees. I startle several squirrels and a chipmunk and get attacked by a mothering duck with her brood. After several kilometres of this I am back on the road out of town and headed towards the town of Century City. It seems that any collection of two or more habitable buildings is called a city in the US. There are no towns and every town has a sign beginning with The biggest…. the tallest … , the smallest … in the world etc etc.
I see a sign advertising a pest control business where the bug of the month is the flea. Just up the road there is a cafe where the milkshake of the month is the peanut butter and maple syrup shake (truly), followed by the phone of the month at a mobile phone shop. Not far along I came across Mister Rooter … ! Apparently Mr Rooter is a mobile service for removing subterranean vegetable matter from ones plumbing and I can tell you that I am relieved that he has no monthly special.
Soon I exit the industrial area and hit the open road to and into a rural landscape straight out of a children’s story book. Row upon row of strawberry plants placed in mathematical array. Corn, nut trees, wheat, barley and oats. All a million shades of green. Huge irrigation plants give me a water show like no other. Speaking of which the clouds are getting darker, heavier and more menacing but the rain is holding out. There is little wind so riding is a breeze, so to speak.
Junction City arrives in time for lunch so I strike out for a decent restaurant and come across Arby’s. Arby’s is Fonz Chic. Chrome, old car seats and plenty of checked laminex with aluminium edging. The food is cheap and surprisingly good. The young fellow that served me was on his L’s, very shy and was giggling at my funny accent. We had a bit a chat and parted the best of friends. Perhaps the $5 tip helped. Century city is a bit like Yass on a bad hair day so there is not much to look at but Trailers in various stages of decay.
Fortified by food and my very first, draught Dr Pepper I hit the road for Harrisburg where I turn north again on a lovely quiet country road that could be designated as a bicycle path, the traffic was almost zilch. The Willamette River sidles up to me and we ride together for about 20ks past Peoria where the Gents could only be described as rustic. The river bids goodbye and heads off to the west as I pedal happily on to Corvallis.
Corvallis is a direct contrast to Century City, it is stunningly beautiful, laid out in a grid with alternating one way streets and very little traffic. The town nestles beside the Willamette River which dominates the eastern side of the town. Buildings are many and varied but mostly date from the 19th Century and early 20th Century. There are bicycles everywhere and from within 200 metres of the place that I had dinner, there are no less than 7 good sized bicycle shops. This is also a university town so is quiet at this time of the year due to Summer holidays.
My Odometer shows that I have done 84.5ks but the distance from Eugene is only 65 (42miles) so there was some deviating from the course and some touring in Corvallis and a bit of touring in Eugene (read getting lost). The bike is a dream to ride but I feel as if I will have to surgically remove the bicycle interface if I ride it the way the seat is currently set up.
Bikeley Map for today’s route – http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/315748