Day 44: Springfield to Corvallis OR: 48 miles very little climbing
This is a really a half day ride and, without the headwind which was blowing all day yesterday, a very easy one. Springfield is immediately east of Eugene and Corvallis is about forty five miles north of Eugene down the Willamette Valley. This is a very gentle, almost flat, valley and the route I took, which is part of an ACA route, follows the Willamette River.
This morning my front tire was soft, so, using my mini-pump, I pumped it up (hard work with that pump) and hoped for the best. I prepared for the worst by figuring out a good way to brace the pump against the ground so I could pump to a reasonable pressure without removing the wheel from the bike. This involved my jar Chamois Fat and a piece of rubber that once was part of a mouse pad. I put both of these, along with the pump, into my handlebar bag.
After finishing my ride report and posting it, I rode over to Eugene for a second breakfast. That was quite nostalgic since it took me over the route I last rode in '96 just after I had sold the car I used to get to Eugene to a junkyard in Springfield. That was truly the beginning of my first cross country ride and it was both exciting and scary to give up the security of the car and commit fully to riding about 4000 miles. Now it was just nostalgic, but nice.
I did the biggest hill of the day getting over the railroad tracks between Springfield and Eugene - this is a flat valley! - and, a mile or two later, stopped for breakfast at a place where I had eaten in '96. It was OK, but I had to sit in the smoking section to keep an eye on my bike, and three older men in the booth next to me were chain smoking which had some impact on my enjoyment of breakfast. Then I rode and walked my bike through the U of Oregon campus, revisiting places I remembered. School wasn't in session, so it was peaceful and pretty. Finally, I rode downtown and then rode north to get on Coburg Rd, my route out of Eugene in '96.
Coburg Rd is a busy road in Eugene, but there is a fancy bike path along the first part of it and later a bike lane, so it isn't bad riding.
Once it gets out of town, it was (past tense), very nice, but right now, there are several miles of construction mess which made for less than great riding.
Finally, out in the country, we settle down to easy riding. Well, it would have been easy without the ten mph headwind.
This and the bike path segment are what I remember from '96. In '96 I had no wind and it was very easy riding.
I rode to Harrisburg and stopped for lunch. It was not a great lunch at The Vault restaurant, but good enough. Then I took Peoria Rd toward Corvallis.
More easy - or it would have been without the wind - and sometimes boring riding through an agricultural area. Harvest was in full swing and combines were throwing up massive clouds of chaff as they harvested grass seed, a major crop in this part of the valley. I had only ridden a few miles when I had to stop and pump up my front tire. I pulled over into a turnoff in a freshly harvested field and put my bike on its side in the dust. My pumping scheme worked well, and a few minutes later I was on my way again with two dusty panniers and a tired right arm.
Some of Peoria Road runs right along the river, and I stopped once again at Peoria Park, which is on the river, to use the bathroom and have a snack. Pleasant. Then I rode on to where Peoria Rd ends at OR 34, a mile east of Corvallis. This is another place I remember from '96 because I met some other bicyclists at the interstection on that trip.
OR 34 is a busy road with a good shoulder which enters Corvallis on a bridge over the Willamette. As I rode that bridge I realized that my front tire was very soft again and I needed to stop. Right on the other side was a Super-8 motel, so I pulled in and got a, rather expensive, room. This worked out well since I called friends of a friend as soon as I got to my room and just caught them as they were getting ready to go out to a concert at a local winery. I was invited along and shared a delightful evening with them. I guess I should feel thankful for this fifth flat tire, but, thankful or not, the Pasela I've been using as my front tire is going in the trash and my Conti TT spare, with my remaining spare tube, is replacing it! Enough of this flat business, I'd rather just ride my bike.