Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Goodbye, Oregon

Day 14: Corvallis, OR to Champoeg State Historic Site, St. Paul, OR: 60 miles

Today's ride flew by.  I felt as if I were getting a late start when, at 10 o'clock, I started cleaning my chain and gears after packing up in Corvallis.  I departed town on the 99W, a fairly substantial highway which runs straight north.  Soon, I turned off onto some side roads which parallel the 99, and found myself in the midst of corn and wheat fields.  I had no idea that Oregon grew so much corn and wheat. I would have sworn I was in the midwest at certain points except that there were mountains not to far in the distance.  Just outside of Salem, the state capital, I stopped at a fruit stand to take advantage of the plentiful berries and cherries available here this time of year.  The guy at the stand asked about my trip, and was so impressed with what I was diong that he sold me a pint of blueberries for one dollar, and threw in a pint of cherries for free!  He was a very nice man.  After that,  I passed by fields of blueberries and cherries, bursting off of the bushes and trees (they've had a late year, like everything else).  Then there were fields of ornamental trees, mostly conifers, of all different varieties.

Champoeg State Historic site, where I'm camping, is a place where many "firsts" for Oregon's European settlers took place.  It was also an important spot for the natives who lived in the area, thriving off of camas root, acorns and plentiful other plantfoods before the Europeans arrived.  Tomorrow morning, I plan to inspect the excavation of the historic town site, which was flooded and buried not too long ago, as well as the historic store, which serves all sorts of tasty treats to this day.

Yesterday was an incredibly nice day.  I woke up in a big, comfy bed at the house that my friend Thea is housesitting.  We had Chilaquiles for breakfast - a specialty she learned from time spent in Mexico.  I followed breakfast with an uploading session on the internet, and then smoothies which we made from bananas we had frozen the night before, and some strawberries and other berries which Thea had sitting in the freezer.  Luckily for me, Thea will be moving out of that house on Friday, and she was trying to "get rid of" most of the food so she won't have to transport it all.  My appetite has definitely increased noticably since the start of the trip.  I am now hungry at all times.  If I come to visit you, be prepared for me to accept any offer of food.

Later, we walked to the food co-op five blocks from the house, picked up some supplies, and I whipped up some granola to take on my trip.  Because I made a quadruple batch, it took much longer than expected to cook (I had it layered too thick), but came out very nice in the end.  In the evening, Dave Frost, a friend and co-worker from Redcliff Ascent where I worked in 06-07, came over with his girlfriend Katie, and we shared a pot-luck dinner of a fabulous salad and perhaps the best veggie lasagna I've ever eaten.  It was great to see old faces and catch up over great food.

Day 15: Champoeg State Park to Portland, OR: 51 Miles

Today started off with another beautiful ride through wet, fecund forrest.  Ferns and moss and big, green trees surrounded me as I passed families of bikers and retired couples walking down the Champoeg bike trail.  Heading back east across the valley from Champoeg, I joined up with a bike path about 20 miles south of Portland, and rode it all the way into town.  Once in the city, bike lanes and bike routes were plentiful, and I made it to the home of Rob and Cheryl Goria with little effort.  Rob is a cousin of my father, and found out about my trip from his sister Kathe, who is on my e-mail list, and a kindred spirit of outdoors love.

After dropping off most of my gear at their house, I quickly met 5 little kids whom Cheryl does daycare for, and then zoomed off on my bike again to try and get to the downtown post office before closing.  I had an extra taillight shipped to me via general delivery, and thankfully, it was waiting for me when I arrived just before 5 o'clock.  I jumped back on the bike, headed to Trader Joes to stock up for the day, and arrived back in time to enjoy a wonderful fish taco dinner.  I ate 5 tacos on 6" tortillas, stuffed to the spilling point.

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