I made it to Corvallis yesterday after a nearly 47 mile ‘jaunt’ from Grand Ronde and taking a rest day. Needless to say, it has been an interesting first week. The Oregon coast was grueling. A couple of days I was battered about like a rag doll by 50+MPH winds on the coast highway. Someone told me there were gusts of 80MPH that day. The rain was unceasing and I wondered sometimes if it would ever stop. 101 was built in the 20’s and as such built on top of the mountains instead of the cut and fill approach of today. This means lots of hills and steep grades which were physically demanding. I’ve done 182+ miles so far since leaving Astoria last week. Not as far as I’d like but given my age and physical fitness level I’ll take it. Once I get to Eugene tomorrow I’ll head over the Santiam Pass into Central Oregon. And be done with Map 1 of 12 of the TransAmerica Trail.
I’ve already met some wonderful people along the way. And been the recipient of some terrific hospitality. Last Wednesday when I was being blasted by high winds several people stopped to ask if I needed assistance which I politely declined. On Saturday I left Tillamook very early to Pacific City and arrived at midday, well before check-in time. The innkeepers at the Inn of the Pacific, Prudence and David, not only expedited getting my room ready so I could dry out but gave me a 50% discount knowing that I was doing this for Share. Several people have said they’d be following my blog and donating to Share.
I’m finding myself getting more fit by the day. To be honest, I wasn’t in the best shape of my life when I left last week. I’d never ridden my bike over about 15 miles or so and never with my trailer fully loaded. That I did 47 miles yesterday felt great. Parts of my body are sore – my left knee, my legs and yes, that part that sits in the saddle for 6+ hours. But I’m gaining confidence as the days go by. Believe it or not the part that is the scariest, aside from the log trucks that come within a few feet at breakneck speeds, is descending down hills. My trailer doesn’t wobble very much but I have to stay on the brakes to keep my rig under 30MPH. Scientifically we call that converting potential energy to kinetic energy. When I see these world class riders doing descents at 60MPH it makes me question their sanity. Highway 18 from the Oregon Coast to Grand Ronde was really, REALLY narrow with almost no shoulder in places. I did that section on Sunday when everyone was driving back from Lincoln City and the beaches. Yikes! I had my lights on and wearing neon and everything to be visible to traffic, cars and trucks passing every couple of seconds for nearly twenty miles.
Thanks to everyone who has written. Believe me when I tell you, it warms my heart to hear from people. I thought when I started out that I’d be listening to music all day but haven’t had my ear buds in one time. I spend my days praying and being grateful for the life I have, my friends and family. And that five years ago I found Share and how it has enriched my life.