Location: East of Blue River, OR (Cougar Reservoir)
I woke early this morning to find Dave watering his vegetable garden in his boxers. Dawn was just breaking, and we had a lot to get done today. Despite our workload and Dave’s nine A.M. deadline for a blackboard submission, he insisted we eat a hearty breakfast. Brian and I accompanied him to a market which was just a few blocks down the street. The small store, nestled in a residential area, was called the New Frontier Market. It was a small hippie store that sold organic and natural foods. I enjoyed getting a chance to see it. The foods weren’t too unfamiliar, but the people shopping there were. Eugene is an extremely liberal town, and many of its residents are very proactive about being environmentally conscious and being connected to the earth. Many of the shoppers I saw, including Dave, carried their own mesh shopping bags. The clutter of bikes out front of the store told me that the people didn’t hop in their cars to head to the market, a habit I regularly practice. The people didn’t seem like me at all, but I could appreciate their commitment to an alternative lifestyle that requires work to remain true to.
Dave cooked us an outstanding omelet this morning using vegetables and spices from his garden, and then we rushed out the door to follow him to the U of O campus on bicycle. Dave flew through the streets on his bike, blowing through stop signs with just a glance each way. Eugene is full of cyclists, and the city infrastructure is as progressive as any I have seen in its inclusion of bike lanes and bike racks. Dave led us to campus safely and logged us onto computers in the library. Brian and I completed our work on the website and for our Topsail Voice article.
We parted ways with Dave who had to go to class. Before he left, he pointed us on a route through campus which would take us to the Oregon football stadium. Unfortunately, we just missed the Olympic time trials, but Brian wanted to see the stadium so we made our way across campus to see it.
After a quick pit stop at the grocery store, Brian and I headed out on the road again, bound for the Cascades. We had only planned to complete about twenty-five miles since we didn’t leave town until noon, but the road through the foothills of the Cascades hugged the McKenzie River, so the road was flat or gently rolling. We were churning out the miles, and we stopped for a break around three o’clock at the riverside, where we realized we had already come thirty miles or so. On the way down to the river’s edge by way of a narrow paved road in the woods, I hit a patch of pine straw and busted. I more toppled over than crashed, but I fell with enough force to eject my feet from my clip-in pedals. I sustained only minor cuts and bruises, but the fall certainly scared me and tested the quality of my helmet.
After the river, Brian and I cranked out an additional twenty miles, bringing our total for the afternoon to around fifty. I felt pretty good after the long miles, but I was thankful when we pulled into the Cougar Reservoir campground. Brian and I found a nice shaded campsite and did our usual cooking and cleaning. We arrived with several hours of daylight to spare. I’m of the opinion that we need to start pulling more hours on the bike each day so we can start logging more miles. But our bodies just aren’t having it. Anyway, we have planned to be out of Oregon by next Monday night. I hope we’ll stick to our schedule because time is an issue. October 18th at Topsail will not wait. We’ve set a deadline we have to meet.