Bicycling the TransAmerica Trail

Cycling Across the US, Coast to Coast

Bicycling Adventure #3

54 days, 3,783 miles, Jul-Aug 2010

Ray Jardine

2010-07-16Oregon page 2 of 54

Day 2, Oregon

From Florence to Eugene

Up before first light, I still had a lot to do to get the bike ready. That, and organizing my gear into the smallest possible bags. I set off from the motel and reached the junction of US 101 and SR 126 at 6:15 am. That is the start of the "Florence alternate."

The next 14 miles I rode in a dense fog. But it was very pretty nonetheless, and at that time of the morning there was very little traffic.

The fog is starting to break up.

While riding along, this sailboat caught my eye. Looks like a CT 47, or maybe a Formosa.

Colorful roadside flowers, mainly beach Pea.

The airline had damaged the bike so I had to get a new fork and front brake at a bicycle shop in Florence. The shop didn't have an aluminum fork that fits my bike, but fortunately they did have a carbon one. It was more expensive that I would have liked, but at least it got me on the road.

Following the 126 to Mapleton, enjoying the ride and the nice shoulder.

I reached the last of the fog at the little town of Mapleton. I went into a small gas station and picked out a few things from the shelves and was dismayed when the proprietor stepped outside and started helping two customers fill their tanks with gas. That seemed odd, that I was being ignored, but then it dawned on me that it is Oregon state law that drivers can't pump their own gas.

"Oregon and New Jersey," the proprietor said, stepping back inside.

"That is a strange law," I remarked.

"The older I get," he countered, "the more I think this is a f***ing strange country!"

That cracked me up, because I didn't expect an older, clean-cut gentleman to use such language. But admittedly I had to agree.

Next I stopped at the grocery store, and bought a couple of piping hot food items, then sat outside on the ground, eating breakfast like a hobo. These long trips do things like that to your mind. No place to sit? No problem. Just sit on the ground.

While enjoying the rest, I phoned Jenny to relate my progress. I joked to her that I had 14 miles down and over 4,000 yet to go, and already I felt tired.   Because of the events of the last week or so, it wasn't much of a joke. Two days before departure I had to get my stitches checked out early because I was due to leave on this bike trip. A week before that I was in the hospital with an emergency appendectomy. Four days later I was back on my bike, but had worked up to only 10 miles by the time I had to leave for Oregon.

I pedaled out of Mapelton on SR 36, and that's when my enjoyment skyrocketed. I was having a great ride until now, but I enjoyed this little country road to the max. It was lined with tall trees most of the way - Doug fir, maple, and cedar mostly. The greenness of it all was strikingly beautiful. And what's more, there was little traffic and what few cars that went by, gave me lots of room. It was a road meant to ride.

The road was generally uphill most of the way because it was following the Suislaw River, then the Lake creek. I enjoyed pedaling hard, hour after hour, because it felt liberating. And also because my legs were still strong after thru-hiking the A.T.

Lunch stop at Triangle Lake.

I stopped at Swisshome for more snacks, then at the store at Triangle Lake I ate lunch at a picnic table three feet from the lake. The day had grown quite warm, so the shade of the trees felt nice. I enjoyed looking out across the big lake for a long while. Before reaching Triangle Lake I had pedaled a long, steep hill, so I was now feeling tired.

At Triangle Lake, showing off the new front fork.

The 10 miles to Low Pass seemed to come easy, because the last two miles were downhill. I stopped at the store there for water and ice cream, and had a nice chat with the lady working there. She was surprised to hear that I had started from Florence - that morning - and exclaimed, "I would die!"

"Oh, but it's so beautiful" I replied.

"Yes it is, but not on a bike. I would die."

I didn't say it, but if I lived in Eugene I would like to bike this road once a week. It is so pretty, and a pretty good workout.

Start of the Fern Ridge bike path

The next 11 miles to the Fern Ridge Lake were also enjoyable, but the traffic had picked up, and by now I was feeling tired. But I was on an endorphin high and didn't want to stop for the day. So I kept on going another 9 miles to the Fern Ridge bike path.

The bike path was scenic, quiet and easy, and took me into the heart of bustling Eugene. And after an hour's riding along the sidewalks I found a nice motel.

Altogether it was a very fun day!

Miles pedaled today: 88

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