June 20 - 29: Oregon

6/28 - Florence (75 miles 3976.5 total)
it was already in the mid 60's when we all made our final sandwiches & fixed our final breakfasts this morning in the parking lot of the ramada inn in eugene. as if we didn't provide enough of our own deterrents to a good night's sleep---the airconditioning in the motel didn't work last night. a few of us were lucky enough got ahold of one of the motel's supply of box fans, which at least stirred up the air but didn't cool much. those well-ventilated teepee accommodations were looking pretty good all of a sudden.
i meant to mention that sari's sister, karin, appeared last evening at our motel. you remember that she followed along with us for a few days in colorado. now she has driven to oregon to share our last day; we're overjoyed to see her. again this morning a big surprise awaited sari. at 4:45 her husband peter knocked on her motel room door. she thot she'd see him in florence, but he drove to eugene first. he drove from san diego to pick up sari; they'll vacation along the coast on their way home.
becky told us last night that we were to be at the meeting place in florence at 1:30. that was 69 miles from eugene. so those of us who like to smell the roses needed to bypass a few roses today.....& a few other stops, too. the route out of town included almost 5 miles on a very nice bike path. getting out of larger cities is always harrowing, but the bike path made it easier.
once we were into the countryside we seemed to pick up tailwinds. at about 25 miles sari & i found a little convenience store & went in to use the restroom. naturally being drawn to the ice cream freezers on her way to the restroom, sari noticed some haagen dazs chocolate ice cream bars....with dark chocolate coating. just the thing for an early-morning snack. but they were frozen so hard that we put them in our bike bags & biked on for a few miles. we stopped every once in a while to check if they were ready to eat. finally at about the 3rd stop they were, & we savored them while watching the sheep on a nearby slope stampeding down the hillside into a lower pasture. i didn't know sheep could move that fast.
we rode thru the town of noti. the town is pretty much huge piles (a couple of stories high) of logs. a lumber mill dominates the town. along our way today we saw many hillsides that had been shaved of their trees. it was sad to see.
the traffic on hwy 126 was bad. again with not much shoulder & often a littered shoulder at that, it was quite scary & stressful along some stretches. at mile 49 we had climbed for a few miles & neared a long tunnel. there was a button along the road that we were to push; then some lights above the tunnel would start flashing, which meant bikers were in the tunnel & vehicular traffic was limited to 30 mph. i'm not sure the trucks or campers knew the rule. we were overjoyed to find that claudine had waited for us so she could send us ahead of her through the tunnel & follow us, keeping traffic from behind from pushing at us. it would have been a very scary trip thru that narrow tunnel without claudine behind us. as it was, i could hear the huge truck behind her tapping on its air brakes. karin, sari's sister, helped a few other riders thru the tunnel today.
downhill about 4 miles from the tunnel was the gingerbread cafe in mapleton. it was a cute...& crowded...place. lots of bikers were there when we arrived. before long sarah & gerrie were enjoying belgian waffles heaped with fresh, sliced strawberries & topped with ice cream. sari & i inquired about the pies & found that some varieties were baked on the premises & others not. we selected a homemade variety...blackberry...& were tremendously pleased. this was sari's & my last pie stop on this ride. we don't know how many pies we've eaten as we crossed the country, but it's a high number. we plan to review our pie data when we get home & confer with each other via email to develop our list of the top transamerica pies.
but no time to waste...we needed to get back on the road headed west for the ocean. i'd like to give credit to bill for his efforts: as we neared florence we started seeing encouraging notes written in colored chalk in the road's shoulder. thanks to jackie's husband bill for adding such a neat touch to our arrival.
it was getting very warm as we pedalled in the bright sunshine, but as we neared the ocean we could see huge clouds of fog & the temps started dropping. for the last 10 miles we had strong headwinds. but of course we were inspired, so on we went 'til we reached the assigned rendezvous spot on the edge of florence. a police escort was ready to usher us through town.
when i arrived at the meeting spot i found not only our bikers but another biker....the bicycle magician & his dog cyclops. here you see a picture of their setup. he rides all over the country & has biked in france, too....always with cyclops aboard the little trailer.
it wasn't long 'til the police car turned on the flashing lights atop the car & had us get in line behind. then started our 6-mile ride through florence to the ocean. by then it was very cool. at intersections the policeman would run his siren for a few minutes. it was very exciting.
finally we came to our accommodations, the driftwood shores, & clambored down a narrow path amongst some driftwood to the open beach. it was so foggy that it was hard to see, but what a feeling! here you see the group making its way across the beach to the water.
my odometer read 4176 miles as i dipped my front tire into the pacific.* it was an emotional moment. here's a group of very happy bikers gladly braving the fog & cold ocean waters. from left are jackie, sari, gerrie, me, sarah, & patty fainer. i hope you can see the waves in the background.
* Webmaster's note: The difference in mileage between the figure listed here and that in the heading of this page can be attributed to miscellaneous side trips at various points along the way (mostly hunting for pies and chocolate ice cream, as you know).
once we'd dipped & congratulated each other & taken lots of pictures, we pushed our sand-laden bikes back up the beach & thru the driftwood to the motel parking lot. the motel let us use a high-powered spray to clean off the bikes. most of the bikes were then whisked away to a local bike shop for boxing & sending home UPS.
it was a great pleasure for many riders to have family & friends here to greet them on such a momentous occasion. several will vacation in the area before wending their way home.
our rooms here at the driftwood shores are beautiful. we're right on the beach; windows line our walls to provide an expansive view of the ocean.
tonight at 6 we gathered in gloria's suite for a cocktail party. all visiting friends & family joined us. then at 7 we had a bikers' last supper. the meal was delicious; the motel decorated a cake with a US map showing our route & the words "congratulations transamerica 2000 - 4140 miles."
here are gloria smith (left) & becky hawkins, business partners in operation of womantours & co-leaders of this ride.
as an invocation we all sang 'america the beautiful.' truly we had seen our country close-up from sea to shining sea & it IS beautiful. several riders & several staff had composed poems & other tributes to read. it was fun remembering all our personal quirks & how each of us has enriched this experience for the group. in fact, we'll spend a lifetime remembering this experience.
one last web site note: it's been a great joy for me to share this adventure with you web watchers. i am indebted to my son mark for making this possible. he knew i was anxious to keep in touch with family & friends on my trip, so he came up with the idea for the web site. he researched the equipment i needed, arranged all details for its purchase, then set it up so simply that even i could use it. then the hard part...the weekend before i left iowa he came to my house & taught me how to use my camera & ibook.
here's one of our trial pictures that he took of himself & me at my dining room table; that's my first attempt at a photo on the ibook screen...of mark's beagle maggie.
mark designed the web site, then for almost every day of the past 3 months, he has received my email messages with photos attached at his home in iowa city, then posted them to the web site. a few nights i had no way to send the reports, other times they seemed to travel quite slowly. but mark did an exceptional job maintaining the site. i'm very thankful for all he did to enhance this adventure for me & for others.
* Webmaster's note: I had the easy job! This has been the smoothest 4000 miles I've ever biked.
& another note: tomorrow i will be traveling up the oregon coast with friends linda thompson & her mother ollie andrews. mark tells me that my share of my ISP's server is pretty well used up, but i plan to take pictures (weather permitting) of the scenery along the way & send them to mark, who will--if there's room--post them to this site. so if you'd like to follow along a bit longer, feel free to join me.
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, or if you would like text-only versions of these daily reports e-mailed to you, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

This page, and all linked pages, were created on an Apple iMac DV SE running Mac OS 9, BBEdit Lite 4.6, Fetch 3.03, and Netscape 4.7.