Latest update on my purpose-driven cycling journey around the American perimeter.
80 miles – Total so far: 2,976 miles
Everything had to fall in line perfectly today. I had planned the inland route between Florence and Eugene OR, knowing it would be long, but made longer due to the safer, but higher mileage route via Highway 36.
I left Florence at 5am sharp, roughly two-hours before sunrise. I had fully charged every illuminating device in my arsenal, and probably looked more like a Christmas tree than a cyclist as I departed Florence heading East. About an hour into the ride, a motorcyclist passed me going Westbound, and as he passed, he slowed down dramatically, probably trying to figure out who I was and what I was doing at such an ungodly hour. At that very moment, as I looked back to see what he was doing, Surly Pearl drifted right, and when I turned back around, I was headed straight for the guard rail. Being too late to correct, and traveling 8-10 mph, I ran headlong into the guard rail. I must admit that I am fairly adept at laying a bike down, which I promptly and involuntarily did. Sprawled out on the shoulder’s pavement, I was reminded that this was all for adventure and for fun. I popped up, no worse for the wear, with the exception of a little road rash on the contact points (elbow, hip, knee). I will not ride in the dark again unless I am forced to do so.
The unique aspect of today’s ride was that it was completely unique from all the other rides on this particular tour. I estimate that 50 of the 80 miles were ridden in parallel with the Siuslaw River and the beautiful valley it has formed. Apparently, this valley is one of the most productive timber regions in Oregon. I was surrounded by mountains of timber (literally) through the vast majority of the ride, going in an out of breathtaking canyons. The river is also a spawning ground for Chinook and Coho Salmon, but unfortunately I didn’t spot any. Interestingly, today is World Rivers Day, so it was quite àpropos that I spent most of the day on one!
As the long ride began to come to a close, and as I approached the outskirts of Eugene, I jumped on Eugene’s Fern Ridge Bike Path, a wonderful urban dedicated bikeway, and it deposited me downtown where I am staying for the night. I’ll end the tour tomorrow morning by riding a short distance to Pre’s Rock, to pay my respects to one of the truly great athletes of our time.
It’s All Good.