Portland Day 7: Corvallis to Lewis and Clark College
Length 91 miles
Duration 8 hours
Riding time: 6.5 hoursFlat tires: 1
How far to ride today, or the real question could I make Portland in one day? I had been musing the tagline ‘more Pinot, less pain,’ for my tr
ip through the Willamette valley. I had thought I would ride the valley, covering about 45 miles a day and doing a bit of a zig zag on my way north. Once I got to Eugene, two things conspired against this plan. One, the weather was threatening to be crummy, col
d and rainy. Did I want to deal with wet riding, and soaked saddlebags? Two, sightseeing options are minimal, towns were small, and since I was alone, I might as well ride.
A little on the scenery. The Willamette valley was another new ecosystem. I call this ecosystem Lush Green. The southern Willam
ette below Salem is America’s Lawn. Right now, the grass is two feet high and collapsing on itself, fields to the horizon of it, a future billion bales of hay. Green, lush, boring. Nice to ride through, but why linger? I am also experiencing a second spring here. Flowering fruit trees, Lilac, azaleas… beautiful. New leaves and still budding leaves on the the deciduous trees. I noticed that the aspen over on the other side of the Cascades above Klamath Falls were still bare. Spring really had not reached that part of the land yet.
I left Corvallis at 8 am with a fog hanging over the land. I had a ridewithgps route to follow, but it started on those evil digit twins – 99W – that had so tormented me on Day. 2 of
my ride with semi truck traffic. Wearing my bifocals, I was able to read the tiny map screen and pick country roads that paralleled 99W. Nice, quiet roads. Into Salem, more traffic, then bike paths (thanks to ridewithgps), over the river and along the east side. No siteseeing the state capital, I was racing the afternoon thunderstorms forecast. Briefly caught by the evil digit twins, this time 99E, the harpy road that tried to steer me onto the beast I-5, but a bike path again appeared on my ride app and I was steered back into the countryside. I got a 5 minute sprinkle, but for the most part I had sunshine around Salem. Newberg was my bail out town – 65 miles from Corvallis – if the rain came, but it was holding off. There was a nasty dark grey mass to the southwest of me, so I knew it was
coming. I followed the river on its north bank to Wilsonville, an upscale looking suburbia, and then straight north to Lake Oswego and L&C. I was going to make it! Rain did come with only an hour to go, but it was not too bad. Rolled up to Jordan’s dorm room about 4:00, big hug and DONE!
PS – rain came down in buckets around 7:30. Writing this the day after in the coffee room of Powell’s book store. I made Portland 3 days ahead of schedule.