Day 2 – Eugene to Belknap Springs

June 10, 2008

Peter writes: If yesterday was cold, rainy and windy, today was colder, rainier, and windier. In fact, the words “cold”, “rainy”, and “windy” don’t do justice to the conditions today. Perhaps there’s a hidden superlative out there that can do justice to the conditions, but I have no idea what that might be.

Our day started out reasonably enough, with a nice meander through Eugene. The first 7 miles were through the city and the attached suburb of Springfied. All of which was dry, I might add. And we had a huge tailwind. And there was an absoutely beautiful bicycle lane leading us due east out Highway 126. We were stoked! This was going to be an easy ride, a mere 65 miles with only a slight uphill grade.

Oh, how things change. Our beautiful lane ended abruptly at town’s edge, replaced within a few meters by the measliest shoulder in the history of road-building. I think the Romans might have built more impressive shoulders. Now, a 6-inch shoulder normally isn’t a big deal for a cyclist, save for two problems: one, there’s an inordinate amount of gravel in Oregon, the great majority of which appears to end up on 6-inch-wide road shoulders, and, two, there was a lot of traffic, including many large trucks. So the first few miles outside of Springfield were terrifying, to put it mildly. I’m not joking, we were all considering abandoning this particular route. Fortunately, after “only” about 4 or 5 miles of this, the shoulder improved to 2 feet in width. Frankly, that doesn’t sound like much, but to a cyclist the difference is enormous. On top of this, the amount of traffic subsided, for some reason.

The shoulder problem solved, we moved on to the rain-and-brutal-cold problem, one which started around mile 10 of the ride and continued, unabated, to mile 54. Frankly, if there is a cycling misery index somewhere, we found ourselves quickly at the top end. Yesterday’s physical pain was replaced by today’s extreme discomfort, as we slogged our way through many miles of the absolute worst, coldest rain you can imagine. Since we were trying to draft one another to save energy, we had the additional joy of having water spit off the wheel in front of you and onto your bike, face, jacket, shoes, pants and everything else. We were quickly plastered in muck and road grime, from head to toe.

There were, to be fair, three very good things that happened today. First, the tailwind stayed with us, which boosted our average and pushed us to an early end to the day. Second, the landscape here continues to be extraordinarily beautiful (trees, mountains and rivers). Third, we lucked into a wonderful little family motel, which gave us the chance to shower and get dry. We’d been fearing camping tonight, which would have been a mess.

Tomorrow we climb up to Bend, which is around 65 miles from here, most of which is uphill. As in, 30 miles of uphill. The locals here have all said we’re in for a long, hard day. At least the forecast is for sun and no rain. Of course, that’s what it said yesterday for today. We’ll see!

Jean writes – As Peter said, it was a cold, rainy day which, of course, didn’t affect me at all driving the bubmobile. However, I was concerned about the riders in this kind of weather so I would find an excuse to work my way back to see if they wanted a lift. Must be the mother hen in me but they always refused.

We were to camp this evening and use those tables and chairs we brought! And I was ready with the right kinds of food that I shopped for the day before. Secretly, (I learned later that everyone else had the same idea), I really wanted to find a motel and forget that tent thing in this cold weather. Luckily, about 7 some miles from the campground, I located a very nice place, relatively cheap where we bunked for the night. To save money, (this trip could possibly break the bank), I got a room with two beds so that the 4 of us could be together. (Brian, our friend, had the luxury of having his own place). Ian, being still 17 and without too much of a voice in the matter, was elected to sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag. He continues to say he had a good night but I’m not so sure, looking at his face this morning. But it worked, so we probably will do this same sleeping arrangement across the country. Maybe Peter will offer to sleep in the bag some of the nights?

We are all so glad that Peter’s friend, Brian, joined us for this part of the trip. What a trooper he is! And what a great biker. Never complains, sense of humor, and willing to do whatever. Thanks for deciding to ride Oregon, Brian, and we’ll make sure you get to Boise on time!

All for now. Tomorrow is the big day with big mountains to climb and I’ve been advised to stay close. Maybe today I can get to reading some of those National Geographics I promised to read this summer. Talk to you from Bend.

  1. Karen Said,

    I love reading the trip log, you guys are amazing!!! I’m with you Jean, nothing about this trip makes me want to try it, but I do think someone should write a book and screenplay!! We are thinking about you and praying for your safety throughout this journey. Can’t wait to see you in the midwest. Peter, Cameron loves the bobble head you sent, Thanks so much!!

  2. zach Said,

    yo…looks like you guys have had a couple of rough but rewarding rides…see you when you get to the midwest…hope the climbs go well…don’t forget…there’s a flat plain with a tailwind waving grain like water just on the otherside of those mountains…good providence!

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