Sunday, June 15, 2008

An Excellent Day

What a wonderful day. The challenges were all manageable and the blessings will take time to sort out. I rode 66 miles today. Knowing that it would be a short day, I decided to attend the 8:15 service with Mary. Then it was time to start. Highway 126 connects Florence to Eugene. It begins along the Siuslaw river, which is beautiful. Unfortunately, it was very congested with weekend travelers returning from the coast. That was a little unnerving. I had two fairly steep climbs and rode through a tunnel. There was no bike lane in the tunnel. You actually pushed a button by the tunnel. This activates a flashing sign warning there's a bicylist in the tunnel and that the maximum speed is 20 mph. Mary met me halfway at a the town of Walton, which has a Walton's Mountain General Store.

Until reaching the Eugene city limits, the second half of the ride was more challenging. The road ran through a marsh. The road narrowed and the traffic seemed to increase. No vehicles really came very close to me. There were just a lot of them. I decided I need to practice being in the moment.

Eugene is wonderful. It reminds me of Madison Wisconsin, full of alternative people. I knew it's described as one of the most bike friendly cities in the country and this is true. There were bike trails and bike paths everywhere. What a blessing after the narrow congest section of 126 that I had just completed.

We had been given the name of the Norkenzie Christian Church. Mary called and talked to an elder, Merlyn Hough. He gave us permission to camp in the church parking lot and then invited us for supper. We met his wife, Martha, her parents, her sister and sister's husband and three of their five children. What a wonderful family. Turns out Merlyn also bikes. Last year he rode in the week long Bike Oregon. He new of Pella and RAGBRAI. He and his brother in law, Bill helped me plan for tomorrow. It turns out the road to McKenzie pass is still closed due to snow and won't open until mid July. We'll be taking the alternate route which again is Highway 126. We're at about 400 feet right now. Tomorrow I climb to over 4,000 feet. There are no towns along the route, but plenty of camp grounds. The goal will be to climb as high as I can or even make it over the pass and then find a camp ground. They also told us we probably won't have cell phone coverage for the next day which means there won't be any updates.

What was the biggest blessing today? Meeting the Houghs.


Jeff Meuzelaar said...

snow huh?

Merlyn said...

Thank you, Cal, for the kind words. It was a blessing to meet you and Mary. May the Lord give you His strength and joy for the remainder of your adventure. --- Merlyn (and Martha) Hough