Day 5: Friday, June 26, 1981
At 7:30, after breakfast, we said goodbye to Dick and Karen, and set off for points south. The trail follows the Willamette River to Eugene before turning east to cross the Cascades. The valley was almost perfectly flat, and made for a day of easy riding.
|Wandering among the weeds
Most of the valley from Dallas to Eugene is used for raising various grasses to produce seed, but other crops included mint and beets. Oregon State University is an agricultural college, and much of the land along our route was apparently farmed by OSU for research.
|Biking by the blackberries
Coburg is a small town about five miles north of Eugene. It's a little larger than Coburg, Indiana (where my grandfather ran the general store), having half a dozen or so stores. It doesn't have a railroad, though - it used to, but it was torn up recently.
Our route was supposed to take us to the north and east of Eugene and Springfield, but a bridge under repair forced us to detour through Springfield and ride busy Route 126 out of town. By this time, the day was starting to seem pretty long. A grove of fir trees beckoned us, and we set up camp in a meadow just beyond the trees, overlooking the McKenzie River valley.
|Hidden meadow campsite
In stark contrast to our meals of the past few days, our supper consisted of more of what we had had for lunch at Harrisburg: baloney and cheese sandwiches. There's just enough left over for us to have a sandwich for breakfast - yum! (Note from the future: Little did we know at this time that baloney and cheese were to become staples of our noonday meals...)
We met quite a few bikers on the road today. Most of them were headed north. Some were college students from Eugene, going to Portland; others were doing the TransAmerica Trail like us. It would be nice to meet someone going our direction, and traveling at our pace. Trouble is, if they're going at our pace, we probably won't meet them.
A thick cloud cover had moved in, and stayed with us most of the day. But evening brought back the blue skies and a nice sunset to enjoy from our perch over the valley.
|View from the campsite