Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Will There Be Enough Room?

One day until departure (to Manning Park anyway)! Connor will finish tomorrow night in Manning. Derik and I, with our driver, Brent, are leaving tomorrow morning at 8:30 sharp from the bike shop (Derik will pick me up a little before 8:00).

I've moved everything (except the bikes) to the living room. 
It's a lot of stuff! However, not all of it will actually go on the ride. Because I don't know exactly what Connor wants, there are some extra things. For example, I can't remember, way back to April, what Connor decided about whether or not he wanted to carry a backpack. So, I am taking three options. My Platypus Origin 9 (the heaviest), my REI Flash (lighter), and a simple string backpack (the lightest). Since he has carried a backpack for the last 4 months, he might feel naked without one! Also, he doesn't have any long pants (he has long underwear), so I am taking him some options. He may decide he doesn't need them. Whatever he doesn't want can just stay in the truck. His buddy dropped off a bunch of extra food this morning (he resupplied him at Steven's Pass). If Connor wants that food, he'll definitely need one of the backpack options; at least to start with (which makes the string backpack an attractive option).

Otherwise, the rest of the stuff is going. The white piece of paper on the pannier is a reminder to myself to not forget the cheese that is in the refrigerator. The only other thing left to add is a charge cord for my phone/iPad (oh, and the phone and iPad). I'm sure glad Derik has a truck!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Countdown to The Great Divide

Tomorrow we'll be one week from our departure for Canada and the beginning of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Here's a little info (okay, a lot of info) as I don't think I have mentioned this in a post. There are three of us doing the ride. Originally, it was just going to be my son, Connor, and I. Connor is currently thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. We'll pick him up at Manning Park, then head straight to Banff. Then, my friend, Derik (one of the owners of Joy Ride Bicycles, and the guy who built Tilmann), expressed interest in going. Honestly, at first, I didn't put too much stock in him actually going, even when he asked if I had any ideas of how he would get him and his stuff to Banff (my oldest son, daughter-in-law, and grandson were going to take Connor and I to Banff--there wasn't room for another person). But then, he started telling other people he was going to do The Divide! That sounded like a commitment to me! In the meantime, my oldest son accepted a post doc in Minneapolis. They would be moving the beginning of September. Although they were still committed to taking us to Banff, I wanted to find another way to make it easier for them. 

What we needed was a truck that could haul three bikes, us, and all our gear. I looked into U-Haul. That was going to be prohibitively expensive. Flying was not an option because of having to pick up Connor. Hmmm...I thought, doesn't Derik have a pickup? And doesn't that pickup have an extended cab? Why, yes it does (although, Derik was a bit dubious about the truck making it to Banff and back). We had a vehicle, now we just needed a driver. At the end of a ride one day, I pulled into the parking lot at Joy Ride and saw Derik standing by a shiny black pickup talking to Luke (former co-owner of Joy Ride). Turns out the shiny black Toyota Tacoma was Derik's new pickup! I turned to Luke and asked him what he was doing the end of August. He said he had nothing until he was leaving for Europe on Sept. 5th. He had never been to Banff, and would like to go. 

Meanwhile, on the PCT, Connor was making his way north. His projected finish at the beginning was Aug 29th, but he thought he could finish around the 27th. However, as these things often happen, he was falling behind schedule. Various reasons, but I think the main reason was because he had hooked up with a group that was not doing quite as many miles. He was having a great time with them, but eventually had to start doing more miles to make it to the end in time. I felt bad for him having to leave the group. At one point, he was about 8 days behind (like I said, various reasons, including a fire). If he continued at that pace, we would need a different driver (for awhile, Connor thought he might not finish until Sept 5th). But, he still seemed to think he could make up some time in Oregon, and finish around the 31st of August. Still, I thought I'd better line up a backup driver.

I was talking to the guy painting our house. Brent is also a cyclist, and has done some touring. He was interested in how the plans were progressing for The Divide. He even knew Derik, as he had painted the bike shop a few years back. I was telling him how Connor was possibly not going to finish in time for Luke to drive us. Brent casually says, "I could drive you."  I couldn't believe it! The sense of relief was tremendous! Now I didn't have to worry about Connor finishing in time for Luke to drive.

However, Connor did, indeed, make up time in Oregon. He hiked all of Oregon in just two weeks! That was with several 40+ mile days, and even a 55.45 mile day! I was really amazed that anyone could hike that many miles in one day! Now he was projecting to finish Aug 30th, 31st, or Sept 1st. Plenty of time for Luke to drive us.

I was about to send Brent a text and tell him we wouldn't need him, when I thought I'd better have Derik check with Luke first to make sure he was still on board. Turns out Luke is not available, so Brent is going to drive us afterall. Connor is now saying he will finish the evening of the 31st. Brent, Derik, and I will make our way to Manning Park in British Columbia the morning of the 31st. I want to be at Manning when Connor finishes (it's a 5 1/2 hour drive from Olympia). Then, the next morning, we'll head to Banff (an almost 8 hour drive). 

The bikes are ready to go. We will all be riding Surlys, but all different models. I will be riding Mama Cass, my Surly ECR. Connor will be riding his Surly Ogre (which I have named "Mike", even though Connor says it doesn't have a name). Derik will be riding his Surly Disc Trucker. Derik and I will be using panniers. Connor will be using frame bags from Revelate. I've tried really hard to minimize my gear, but MC is still pretty heavy. I did cut down on some clothing. I wasn't even going to take an extra pair of shoes besides my Crocs, but Derik said, "What if we want to do some hiking or something?" Okay, I'll take the shoes. One luxury item I refuse to leave behind is my chair. Derik is taking one too. Here's a few gear photos. All this will be packed into my Ortlieb XL Pro panniers (rear), and Sportpacker Classics (front).
Clothes--only two t-shirts, two pairs of socks, no swimsuit, two bike shorts, and one bike short "underwear"
Rain gear--did swap out waterproof long finger gloves for warmer, waterproof gloves. Waterproof socks will double as warm socks.
Cook set including Ursack bear proof food bag.
Bike repair including extra chain which Derik says we'll need. Also a spare set of pannier hooks. Of course I also have tubes, patch kit, and a spare tire.

This is not all of the gear, of course. There's the usual stuff, sleeping bag, pad, liner, tent...etc. I loaded everything onto MC (including 5 water bottles) and took her for a spin around the neighborhood. She feels pretty heavy, but no worse, and maybe even a bit better, than last summer with the BOB trailer. I'll get used to it. 

Derik texted me about getting nervous. I thought about it. I'm not really nervous about the ride. I'm, perhaps, a little nervous about being able to cook enough food for the three of us, but Derik is also bringing a stove, so that should be okay. Mostly, I would say I am more nervous...but that's not really the right word...about getting Connor. Once I have that boy in my sight, I will relax...I think.

I think the three of us will be the perfect team. Derik has the bike mechanic experience, Connor has the backcountry experience, and I...well, I have lots of touring experience (including off-road), and if nothing else, Derik and Connor will get to stop and admire the views while they are waiting for me to catch up!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Boston Harbor--A Wee Bit Ironic

It's been 5 months since my last race (hmmm...that kind of sounds like something from a 12-step program). Coming into today's race, I was nowhere near race fit, but it is one of the OOA races, so it was free. I figured, why not? It'll just be a bike ride. Jean felt the same way. Oh, and the course was reversed for this year. Yikes! That meant 5 times up all those hills we previously got to go down! 

Due to the low numbers of women racing, the Cat 4s were combined with the Pro,1,2,3s. Like I said, just another bike ride. Ironically, early in the season, Julian was hoping I would upgrade to Cat 3 (I have enough points) with Jasmine. When I pretty much poo pooed that idea, he suggested asking the WSBA person if I could just try Boston Harbor as a Cat 3. If I did really bad (which I would have), then I could go back to the 4s. Yeah, I didn't do that, but it didn't matter because I ended up having to race with them anyway...ironic, yes?

Anyway, Debbie drove me to the race, but wasn't racing. It was just Jean and I for OOA women. There ended up being 8 of the 1,2,3s, and 7 of us 4s. Probably could have had separate races, but I don't get to make those decisions. Plus, at the close of online registration, there weren't that many 1,2,3s (it's all their fault).

We lined up to race 5 laps around the 6 mile course. Just prior to our race, I asked Chip, the official, when the 1,2,3s left us lowly 4s in the dust, would we no longer have a follow car? He said yes, but later came back and said he gave us a follow car. I'm glad I asked!

We rolled out. At the top of the first hill (Boston Harbor to Woodard Bay), both Jean and I were wheezing like donkeys, but we were still with the whole group. Fortunately, the leaders eased up, and we were able to catch our breath. 

The first time up 81st (steep little sucker!), still wheezing, but still with the group. They got away from us going up the popper on Zangle. It was just Jean and I bringing up the rear. As we made the second turn up onto Woodard Bay, we caught up to Nikki from Group Health. Then we caught Linda from Spokeswoman. I really thought Linda was a Cat 3 who had dropped. I didn't find out until after the race that she was a 4. 

The four of us worked together. Nikki really seemed to think we could catch the group. Ahhh...no. 
Jean and I on lap...whatever (not 5).

We kept up the speed as much as we could. Going up Boston Harbor the third time, I had to chase back on. Jean had the same problem on the fourth lap. We both managed to get back with the other two. 

Finally, we had just one lap to go. At the top of Boston Harbor, Linda got ahead of us. But, remember, I thought she was a 3. Not that I could have caught her, but I might have tried if I'd known. 

After 81st, we lost Nikki. Jean said she was gone, so at least we wouldn't be last! I pushed as hard as I could up the last hill on Zangle, and tried to keep going. I didn't know if Nikki might catch me because she had done that on all the other laps. Well, she didn't, and neither did Jean. So, I came in 5th (same as last year), and Jean got 6th. Woo Hoo! Top 10 finishes (yeah yeah, there was only 7)!
Done at last!

The results. See? That whole idea of trying Cat 3? Not a good idea!

After waiting around for the afternoon races to start, Debbie and I made our way to Corner 1 (with Greg as our spotter) for our volunteer jobs as Corner Marshalls. Debbie took the south bound lane, and I took the north. There was only one race for the first afternoon wave, so we had lots of time between laps. I'm glad I brought a chair. After that race finished, I just stayed at the corner while Debbie took Greg back. Roy would be our spotter for the final two races. While they were gone, I picked a few blackberries. 

I was enjoying picking the berries until I saw a snake. That was the end of my blackberry picking. 

So, today's race was my last road race. Due to my tours next year, I will not be road racing. Maybe some cyclocross, but that is unsanctioned. I'll still join the team as a fan, so when I am around, I can still ride with my posse. It's been a good 4 years of road racing. This was my best year. Now back to that which is my favorite type of riding--touring!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Zippity Do Dah!

Last year we wanted to do the Leavenworth Ziplines, but they only had one reservation available, so we couldn't do it. This year, I was more proactive, and made the reservation before we even got over to the cabin. Ironically, there are still many slots available this week....go figure. Unfortunately, Lorraine was not medically cleared to go on the zipline, so just Annette and I did it. 

Even though the company is called Leavenworth Ziplines, it's really located just outside of Plain (which is 13 miles up the Chumstick Hwy from Leavenworth), and only about a mile and a half from the cabin at a Resort called Mountain Springs Lodge. Our 10:45 reservation required us to be there at 10:25 to sign the waiver. There were 7 of us doing the full 3 hour tour (just sit right back and you'll hear a tale...). Three were kids (you have to be at least 70 lbs, and no more than 270). 

First they took us up in ATVs. Annette and I sat in the back.
We climbed up a dirt road up behind the lodge.

Our zipline guide dudes for the tour were James (aka Waterboi) and Nate (aka Nate Dog). Both were young guys who were quite entertaining. We each had to step on a scale that just made sure we were within the weight restriction. The smallest kid was barely 70 lbs. We were given harnesses appropriate for our size (blue handled ones for the adults, red for the kids). We also had helmets. Each helmet had a name on it (this way, the guides don't have to remember our real names, they just called us by our "zip names"). Annette was "Tinkerbell", I was "Shredder". The youngest boy was "Trouble". That would turn out to be the perfect name for him. Some of the other names were "Tater Tot", "Went Pro" (a helmet with a GoPro mount on it), and "Turbo". Turbo was very nervous, and you could tell the dad ("Went Pro") of one of the other kids was also a little nervous. 

After getting us all harnessed up, they showed us how to do the zipline. They had two of the people demonstrate on a short line.
Annette ready to go.

We had to hike up some switchbacks to get to the first line. Trouble wanted to go first on the first line. Turbo's grandma went, and I asked her if she wanted to go next after her grandma. She said no (remember, she was a little nervous), so I went next. The first one was fairly short--just getting the hang of it.
Nate Dog giving us the low down for the first zipline.
Annette, last to go, zipping on over.

The second one was a little longer. For the third one, Nate and James encouraged us to get out of our comfort zone, and do this one with a "trust fall" at the beginning. That meant falling backwards, and closing your eyes. Some of our group were not quite up for that yet. I did it, but forgot to close my eyes. It was fun! Annette did a video of me, but for some reason all the videos are in slow motion (I guess I still have to figure out some settings on my camera).

For the fourth line, we had to climb up a ladder from the end of the third line. This was the highest point.
The fourth platform

 The view from the platform. The center peak is Dirty Face (not really a very big mountain). Barely visible in the distance is Galcier Peak.
Entiat Ridge (and Waterboi).
The long swoop of #4.

On #4, I enjoyed spinning around in a few 360s. Nate said most people don't like the spinning around. Because this was a much longer line, we were now using a "capture" brake. So, as you came in toward the platform, the trolley was captured by the brake. In the previous lines, the brake was a rubber block that slid on the cable, but slowed us down.
The "trolley" on the cable.

To get to the 5th platform, we had to walk across a bridge. Of course our harnesses were clipped to a rope above the bridge. The 5th zipline was kind of a narrow one through the trees. They called this the Cannonball, as we (if you wanted) pushed off from the tree with our feet (most of the lines we just stepped off the platform), then remained in a cannonball position through the trees. 

For the 6th zip, we took a "weighted" step off the platform, and James bounced the cable as we rode across. You could increase the bounce by dropping your legs, then pulling up your knees. The timing was tricky (like bouncing on a trampoline). It was very fun!

On the 7th line, we were zipping over a pond that had a target in it.
See the target?
The object of this zip was to launch a duck toward the target as you were flying over it.
Bucket of ducks.
If you hit the center of the target, you would win a Leavenworth Zipline t-shirt. If you hit the outer circle, you would get a hug or a high-five (your choice). At this point, I was going last. I chose my duck.
Clearly a U of O duck!

I took off. As I zipped over the bushes just in front of the target, I let ducky go. I watched as he seemed to be headed right for the target. Then, at the last minute he must have opened his wings, because he suddenly went sideways, and missed the target entirely! Stupid duck! Oh well, no one else managed to hit the target either. Nate said he had only hit the center 3 times out of 40.

The 8th zipline was the last one we could do any tricks on. Since I had forgotten to close my eyes on the trust fall, I decided I would close my eyes as I fell off the platform on this one. It was awesome! 

We had to do another little hike to get to the final zipline. For this one, since Annette and I had gone last, or nearly last the whole day, we went first and second. The 9th zipline was 1409 feet long. It was about a 45 second ride.
Ready for the last ride!

I just took stills on the last ride.

Now going under the duck drop zip line.
Can't even see the platform.
Coming in for a landing.
Annette finishing.

Annette and I got to go sit in the shade to wait for the others. Nate had told me how he wanted us to go first because Trouble had gone first most of the day, and he was a handful (maybe 9 or 10 years old, and absolutely fearless). When Trouble came in, Nate told him the ladies (us) were now in charge of him. I told him to sit his butt down on the bench and don't move. He did as he was told.

When everyone finished, we went into a building and got out of our harnesses, and walked back to the lodge (so we could leave a tip for Nate and James).

This was an awesome adventure. I would recommend it, and will likely do it again! I felt completely safe the entire time.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Today We Conquered the Mountain!

It's been 11 years since I last rode my bike up to Johnston Ridge at Mt. St. Helens (2005 Tour d Blast). I guess it was time to do it again. Karen has never done it, and Melody has done it many times.

The three of us set off from the junction of Hwy 505 and Spirit Lake Hwy at about 9:15. We left Karen's car parked in the gravel lot (that was filled with huge piles of...gravel). The ride is pretty easy to start with; just a gentle grade. It kicks up a bit a half dozen or so miles in with a mile of a 6% climb, then eases up some, but steady climbing. 
The mountain comes into view for the first time.

There are a couple of short downhills (that seem like long uphills on the way back!), with a pretty good one coming down to "the bridge" (Hoffstadt).
Going across the Hoffstadt Bridge

We hadn't stopped at Hoffstadt Bluff viewpoint, but did pull into the Forest Science place. Melody and Karen got there before me. They were inside when I got there, getting water. I was good on water, so took the opportunity to stretch my back (it was giving me fits, feeling okay while riding, but not so okay when I tried to walk or stand up straight--it does this sometimes). I layed on my stomach on a bench that was quite toasty warm. In fact, one would probably say it was quite hot. I stretched, then got up when I started to feel like an egg frying. At least I could stand up straight after that.

We continued climbing. Melody, because she is a phenomenal climber got ahead of Karen, who was ahead of me. When I got to Elk Rock, Karen was taking a photo. I pulled over, and we took a few more.
Melody was already gone when we got to Elk Rock (the flies were a little annoying if one stopped too long).

From Elk Rock, we enjoyed the descent down to Coldwater Creek. At the junction, I looked back and couldn't see Karen. I stopped and waited to make sure she made the right turn. I was getting a little concerned when she didn't show up for awhile. Just as I was about to turn back to see if she had a flat, she came into view. When she caught up, she said one of her water bottles had flown out of its cage. She had to go retrieve it, and had a little trouble finding it.

At the junction to the old Coldwater Visitors Center (closed) is where the descent gets steeper to get down to Coldwater Creek. We lost about 1000 ft of elevation. Even though we knew we would have to come back up on the way back, and that we would have to regain the lost elevation, and then some, to get to Johnston Ridge, it was still a fun ride down.

In my opinion (and most others too, I'd wager), the last 5 miles from Coldwater Creek to Johnston Ridge are the hardest of the ride. It was hot, and the going was slow (although, I think I was faster this time than 11 years ago when I could count the spokes as they went slowly around). We took one bit of a break a little more than half way. 

We finally reached the top, and found Melody at the Visitors Center. There was a guy from London who actually rode his loaded touring bike up to the top. Kudos to him! I would not want to do that! I refilled my bottles, and used the restroom. I was a slight bit lightheaded, so grabbed a bar and water, and sat down on the wall outside. After I finished, I felt better. Karen took this photo of me at the top.
Woo Hoo! Made it! (Strangely, we forgot to take a picture of the three of us at the top. I guess we'll have to go back...)

Now for the downhill! I managed a maximum of 43.6 mph coming back down to Coldwater Creek. There was a headwind (Mother Nature's brakes). At times, I could feel a little shimmy, but just hung on, knowing it was the wind. Melody passed Karen and I as we were heading back up to Elk Rock. We had agreed to meet there for the rest of the ride down. As usual, I was the last to arrive. This time, I took a photo of Melody and Karen.

We made a brief stop at the Forest place for water. From there it was 16 miles of mostly downhill back to the car. We pulled into the gravel lot at about 3:45. We had done 74 miles with 7,129 ft of elevation gain, and we conquered the mountain!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

So Close to Quitting...

Last night I looked at the forecast for today. It said 70% chance of rain. So, it was going to be raining...and windy. How exciting! I prepared as much as I could the night before. I brought my rain gear into my tent, and scoped out the park as to where I could cook my breakfast. There is a big shelter (seats 250). That would do nicely.

Sure enough, it was raining when I got up. I took my tent down under the rainfly. I'm getting pretty good at that now! I moved Tilmann close to the tent, and loaded everything quickly. Once everything was packed up (I was in full rain gear), I rode over to the shelter and commenced with cooking breakfast.
I talked to the camp hosts while I was eating breakfast. Apparently, Ride Oregon was coming in today for a lunch stop. They were bringing in potty shacks, big tents, and all that stuff. The powers that be neglected to tell the camp hosts that this huge supported bike event was coming to the park. They were a little...surprised.

I finished up, and headed out at my usual time of 8:00. It was still raining. The wind wasn't too bad, but I was also heading up over Gap Rd, the highest point of the route. As soon as I got over the second hump, the wind was up to its old tricks.
At first I thought it was water running, but it was the wind blowing the trees. Great!

I resigned myself to slow going. It wasn't too bad until I turned onto Coburg Rd. Now I was heading directly south on a 10 mile long straight road with nothing but fields on each side. At times I was racing along at 8 mph. Mostly, however, I was doing good to go 7 mph. The wind was also driving the rain directly into my face. Mostly, I looked at the road a few feet in front of me.

As I was going down this endless road, I started to think this was no fun. Then I thought, I know...when I get to Coburg (the town), I'll call Kyle and have him come pick me up. Yes, that's what I'll do! I've already done this section of the route a few years ago when Kyle first moved to Eugene. There's no need for me to do it again.

Finally, I could see the end of this miserable road. It did get a little better as I got closer to Coburg because there were some trees and houses that seemed to help block some of the wind. Okay, and it had stopped raining. I stopped in the town at a Dairy Mart and got some chocolate milk and some of those little donuts. I sat in the store eating, and decided I would just go on to Armitage County Park, the official end of the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. From there I would call Kyle. At least I would finish the route. It was, maybe 3 more miles to the park. I got there and took a couple of photos.
With Tilmann
Without Tilmann.

I had finished! Although the wind was still blowing, it wasn't as bad because of the trees. If I just kept riding, there would soon be buildings and traffic to break up the wind. And, it was not too much further...okay, I'll just ride the rest of the way. Actually, it was the easiest part of the ride! I pulled into the driveway just a hair before noon. I had ridden 31+ miles. Not very far, but with the awful headwind and rain, it seemed like more.

In hindsight (which is always 20/20), I should have taken the train to Eugene, stayed with the kids, then ridden from Eugene to Portland. It would have been a much more pleasant ride. Except for the wind, the route was a good route--well signed, and not terribly difficult. I would recommend it for a first tour (from Eugene to Champoeg, or Portland). 

Now I'll be in Eugene for a week, then riding up to Olympia in the car with Kyle , Mallory, and Grayson.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

It's Always a Rainbow For Someone

A little update from last night. I had a delicious burger and fries for $5 at the park where they were going to be playing music. Later, I watched a little of the concert (it wasn't the best--think 70s music not done well). It didn't really matter if I watched or not as I could hear it just fine from my campsite. I retired to my tent about 8:30. Okay, really it was closer to 8:00, I just didn't have anything else to do. I did read for awhile in my tent. The music was still playing until the rain came at about 10:00. That put an end to the concert. I must admit, I wasn't disappointed.

It rained for a good chunk of the night. I woke up briefly at 4:15. The rain had stopped. I got up at 6:45 and was on the road by 8:00. The camp host had unlocked the park bathrooms, which was a good thing because the sani-cans were disgusting (a negative 10 on my potty shack rating scale). 

There wasn't much wind. I was very grateful. I went back through the town to cross the river, and get back on the route. Today's main crop seemed to be blueberries. The route was flat for a bit, but then I had a few rollers. The clouds were mighty low in the foothills.
Fortunately, there was no rain.

Things were going well for the first 10 miles or so. Then, my nemesis, the headwind, returned. I pulled into Jefferson at mid-morning snack time. I was looking for a bakery (of course I was!). All I could find was a cafe (called Jefferson Station Cafe), so I had second breakfast. I also took the time to write down the turn-by-turn directions for today as I had come to an intersection that had no sign. Usually, one would assume go straight, but there was no road straight. I pulled out my iPad and looked up the route I had saved on iBooks. It's a good thing I did, because I was sure I should go left, when, in fact, I was supposed to go right. I really didn't want to go the wrong way today because I already had 66 miles to do. At the next turn the sign was there, but I still wrote down the directions.

After Jefferson, it was more headwind. If the road curved or turned, it just meant I had strong cross winds. I was either getting blown into the road, or toward the shoulder. Fun fun...

For entertainment, I snuck up on a group (flock? gaggle? no, I know...a gobble!) of turkey vultures partying over a dead skunk. The smell was horrific, but I got this photo just before they saw me.
"Hey guys, let's all sing a chorus of Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road! Wait, there's someone coming! Better fly!"
Sorry to interrupt your party!

Anyway, where was I...oh yeah, wind, wind, and more wind. The only respite was when the route strangely headed north through Albany. I was glad for the break. As I was rolling along, I looked ahead and could see the flashing lights of police and fire vehicles. It looked like all the traffic was having to turn. I still needed to go further north. At the light just before the mess, I went left and got up on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the road. As I got to the fire trucks, I could see that the Burger King restaurant was a smoldering ruin. There was still a fat fire hose across the sidewalk I was on, so I had to lift Tilmann over it. I said to a spectator, "I guess that's no longer the home of the Whopper." 
Just after, I was able to cross back to the other side of the road.

The route turned west. I stopped at a park for some lunch, then continued on. Soon I was back to strong headwinds. I started seeing Ride Oregon route signs, but no riders. I came out to Hwy 34 near Corvallis. There is a nice new bike path next to the hwy. Once again, was going north for a bit. Yay!

At Peoria Rd, I remembered reading that if I didn't want to cross the busy hwy, I could go up to the light, and rejoin the route later. I'm thinking the traffic light at Peoria Rd is new. Sure, I wasn't about to try to get into the turn lane, but I could just cross at the crosswalk. Strangely, there was no route sign there either. Perhaps they have changed it to the other way, but this way worked fine. Again, I was seeing Ride Oregon signs. 

The wind was still brutal, but it was nice along the river for awhile.

Finally, I got to get out of the wind! In fact, it was now behind me when I turned onto Fayetteville Rd. It was absolute heaven! I was flying along at 15 mph! What a difference in morale! Of course, I knew I'd have to still go more south, but for the moment, I was enjoying the ride! In addition to the Ride Oregon route signs, I also saw two support vehicles. Yet, I never saw a single rider. I did see one guy going the other direction (when I was enjoying the tailwind...poor guy), but that couldn't have been a Ride Oregon rider.

I was headed to Brownsville, which is on the east side of I-5. So, for the third time today, I crossed I-5. Just a few more headwindy sections, and I was rolling into Brownsville. I saw a gal out in her yard, so I stopped and asked where Pioneer City Park was. As I rolled into the park, I saw that it was a lunch stop for Ride Oregon. I asked the camp host, but she said no riders had been here today. Maybe they come tomorrow???

So, why is this post titled "It's Always a Rainbow for Someone"? The camp host said that to me when we were talking about the rain. When I told her the rain stopped the concert early so I could go to sleep last night, she said, "It's always a rainbow for someone." I thought that was perfect for today. The guy I saw struggling in the headwind, while I was finally enjoying a tailwind...well, that was also my rainbow. 

Here are the two pages of today's route. All the roads heading south or west, or a combination were headwinds. Only the bits of north, and the easterly directions were tailwinds. On the second one, you'll see I don't have too far to go tomorrow.

Finally, an answer to the age old question of why did the chicken cross the road? 
To lay in the sun, of course!