Oregon Tour 1997
Part 3 – July 9-13, 1997
Day 1: Friday, June 27
Wednesday, July 9 – Start of Willamette Valley
We left Diamond Lake at 7:20 am for Springfield. Four cyclists stayed back to break camp and pack the van in the pouring rain. Nine headed off for the Willamette Valley Summit – elevation 5,200 feet. We started down the Summit at 9:30am in the rain and head wind. Our fearless leader Ernie lost control and swerved and fell as he collided with a passing van and trailer. Poor guy separated his shoulder and badly bruised his hand. Shock was setting in so we arranged a ride for him and Sue to the Eugene hospital.
We were very cold when we hit Oakridge so we stopped at McDonalds. Brian was so cold he had a triple cheese burger. We dried our gloves under the hand dryers.
The rain stopped shortly after and we proceeded to Springfield. Ernie was OK, thank God. Diana bought a get well card which we all signed. We had a good nights’ sleep in the Pacific 9 Motel.
Thursday, July 10
After eating breakfast we were ready to greet the day of cycling. We fixed Ellen’s flat and headed North in overcast weather on a basically flat course through a very rich farming and market gardening area. After passing by two beautiful fields of poppies and pansies, we stopped at Junction City. Carole bought espresso from a quaint old boxcar restaurant conversion. Lunch was at a pullover site at a water reservoir. It was raining a bit but not enough to spoil lunch.
Our next stop was the Finley Bird Sanctuary. Not too many birds, but a nice walk down and back.
Our dedicated Ernie is now running the show from the van. There are three cyclists in the van at this point, Richard, David and Ernie.
Our next rest stop was at Corvallis Art Park. A few minutes later we were off to two bike shops in the city of Corvallis. Carole’s gift was a new bright red “Giro” helmet. It’s a beauty.
Next stop was the campsite at Albany KOA. Showers and supper were the highlights of the evening. Sheep bleating mournfully in the pasture nearby, except for the ewe that stumbled into John’s tent. Hmmmmm!
Friday, July 11
We left the KOA at 8:30am after a briefing from our leaders Ernie and Neil. Ten kilometres down the road heading for Albany, Carole’s rear tire blows; she screams, but is not hurt. David’s poor bike is robbed of a tire and tube and off she goes. Today is bridge day. “The Bridges of Oregon County”… The first covered bridge is the Hoffman Bridge. Very interesting. Lunch was at the Larwood Bridge – which has an old mill wheel adjacent. A beautiful spot located at the confluence of two rivers. These are known as kissing bridges. Not much satisfaction kissing in a bridge however.
After our idyllic rest stop, we were greeted by a very steep climb – probably 12 – 15% grade. About two hours later, we arrive in Salem, the capital of Oregon and our campground is along I-5. Ear plugs ere the order of the night. Salmon steak and Tiramisu for supper followed by good conversation ended our day. As we headed into our respective tents, we look forward to another glorious day in the Willamette Valley.
Saturday, July 12
This was our final cycling day – into Portland. The intention was to break into two groups to assist in getting across Salem in morning traffic. Group two had an abandonment syndrome and kept catching up. First rest stop was at Willamette State park which has the largest Black Cottonwood tree in Oregon. Not too impressive, bigger and uglier in Alberta. The highway was very busy into Dundee/Newberg. Carole and Ellen made an unscheduled stop at a fruit stand for half an hour and the rest of the group waited. Worry! Worry! Worry!! Fabian, Sue and Brian stopped at a winery. We had lunch in Newburg. Richard bought a special cake with a picture of a bike and the words “Who needs this S…” iced on it. Balloons and flowers adorned the table.
After lunch, we climbed a steep grade and down to the Hillsboro Junction. Brian and I headed off to Hillboro to pick up our vehicles and the rest headed off to Portland (the saga continues). Neil and the guys are in one group and the Pres., John Sisson, heads off with the women. No one is familiar with Portland streets but with maps in hand, both groups are off to find the hostel on Hawthorne Blvd.
Neil’s group it seems arrives with no real problems. John’s group however became fractioned and disoriented. At one point, our usually placid easy going’ Pres. was heard to exclaim at a particularly busy intersection; “Get off your (go forth and multiply) bikes and park them over here”. John was particularly kind and helpful throughout the trip acting as sweep most days.
Everyone finally arrived at the hostel in one piece and after our last dinner together, topped off by Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, we said goodnight.
The next morning we said our good-byes and headed off in our respective directions. We had an absolutely wonderful cycling holiday. It was a real team effort that resulted in many lasting friendships.