Day 2: Tuesday, June 23, 1981
It was almost eleven last night by the time we completed assembling my bicycle. Before we picked it up at the airport, we ate at Steamers, the restaurant next to the motel. We went over in our bicycling T-shirts, and that caused the hostess at the restaurant a little consternation, as they had a rule that male guests had to wear shirts and collars. But Jack spoke out, and we got in. The meal was excellent - we had beef burgundy - and was made even better by the knowledge that the airline was picking up the tab.
Up at 6:00 - short night! - and we started the day with a repair of the first flat tire of the trip. One of mine had gone flat overnight. After repairs and final packing, we broke our fast - again at Steamers - and then headed off into the sunrise. Our destination was Dallas, the home of Jack's cousin Dick and his wife Karen.
|The first flat tire of the trip|
June in the Northwest has the reputation of being a cool, rainy month. Until we started riding, it lived up to its reputation. Then, miraculously, the clouds broke, the drizzle dried up, and blue skies were ours.
We took 82nd Avenue south from the motel. After five miles, we hit the suburbs. Yuck. It wasn't until we passed through Milwaukie and Oregon City that we finally got out into the country. The hill out of Oregon City (which was at one time Oregon's capital) was our first real hill - if we hadn't converted to 15-speed gearing, we never would have made it without walking.
|Finally out of the 'burbs and rarin' to go|
Logging trucks abounded on Route 213 south of Oregon City, but riding was no problem. Vehicles were cooperative, and there was a six-foot paved shoulder. The Willamette Valley is 30 miles wide, from the Coastal Range to the Cascades, and runs north from Eugene to the Columbia River. The fertile flood plain supports just about every crop imaginable - some of the more unusual ones are mint, hops, and grass seed. The scenery was great - riding up a little rise, we could see for miles. It wasn't until after Silverton, where we took a wrong turn, that we encountered any hills to speak of. And then it was a two-mile grade on which we just had to gear down and crank away.
|The flat Willamette Valley|
I hadn't been paying much attention to the road signs, but Jack noticed, about ten miles out of Silverton, that Salem wasn't getting any closer. We had been traveling south instead of west! A pleasant detour on a lightly-traveled road took us into Salem, Oregon's capital. We chugged right through town and on to Dallas on Route 22.
Route 22 west from Salem is a busy five-lane highway, but it has a nice bicycle path and a wide shoulder, both of which make for easy (but boring) riding. We arrived in Dallas at 5:00 pm, after 80 miles and 9 hours on the road. Dick met us at a local tavern, where we slaked our thirsts, and then took us home to a delicious home-cooked meal, thanks to Karen, and some comfortable beds. My first day on the road had produced sore muscles aplenty and a good case of biker's sunburn - back of neck and top sides of arms and legs. That bed felt good!