Coast to Coast for the FFB: THE ONLINE JOURNAL

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Check back here daily to read about our progress in our cross-country bicycle tour to benefit the FFB.
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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Day 85: Eugene, OR to Archie Knowles Campground, OR (42 miles, 4243 total)


Wow, the second to last day. I cannot believe the trip has almost come to an end. We purposely opted for a long day yesterday in order to make our last two days relaxing. So, 100 miles yesterday means a short day today and finishing the ride around lunchtime tomorrow. Wow, I just said "finishing the ride"; we are not in Virginia anymore.

Ok, so the biggest highlight of the day... Last night my mother (Charyl), AK's parents (Jean Alice and Joe), Rebus, AK and I all stayed in a hotel which happened to be right down the street from the Bike Friday factory and store. Rebus has been lusting after Bike Fridays for years (by the way, so have I), and for someone that doesn't drive anymore (because of the effects of RP), they are very practical. Fridays can quickly fold in seconds and be tossed into the trunk of a car, or they can be packed into a suitcase and flown anywhere with ease. Plus, they are way cool.

As a wedding/groomsmen present, all of us groomsmen in Rebus' wedding pitched in some money to help take the sting out of the cost of buying one. Unfortunately, we could not afford to buy it for him, but we did help put a dent in the bill. Anyway, shortly after the wedding, Rebus got to work ordering his new bike.

Bike Friday is a small opperation, and they build their bikes specifically for each customer. As a result, Rebus was able to pick out every component to suit his needs. The idea was to have the bike done in time for the last week of our ride, but this proved to be impossible. The manufacturing time was a bit longer than the time available.

Well, everything worked out perfectly as Rebus was able to borrow a bike from Nate for the first five days of riding, and he got to personally pick up his new bike from Bike Friday in Eugene.

So anyway, Rebus left Nate's bike in my mom's hotel room, and AK and I rode down the street to Bike Friday. Rebus got a ride with Joe, Jean Alice and my mother, and we were all at the factory when they opened at 9.

We had a great time watching Rebus get the quick run down about his new ride from Dave of Bike Friday. The bike looks awesome and I am jealous!

After a few test rides, Rebus loaded up his trailer (fashioned from the suitcase that the bike packs into) with his stuff, and we were on the road by 10:30.

We rode a bike specific trail for a few miles before we had to get back on the traffic infested Highway 126. A few miles out of town I scored my 6th flat of the trip (our 12th total). I heard the tire blow as I ran over some debris on the side of the busy road. We had to ride a bit further for a safe spot to fix the flat, but luckily the stopping point had plenty of roadside blackberries ripe for the scrutting.

The parentals rolled up while I finished working on the flat. After a few berries, we were rolling again. A few miles later, I felt a symptom of another flat, a shimmy in my rear wheel. We pulled over to check it out. Since it was not an instant flat, and we were only 9 miles from our lunch stop, I just pumped the tire up and we rolled again.

Nine miles later, we rolled into the tiny town of Walton to have lunch with the parental units in the Green House Cafe. The place served tastey gourmet sandwiches and awesome desserts. After lunch I returned to my bike to confirm my 7th flat of the trip (our 13th). I fixed the flat and we headed out on the traffic laden highway to finish the last 16 miles for the day.

A few miles from our campground we encountered what would be the most dangerous and scariest portion of the ride thus far. After winding up this nearly shoulderless road full of speeding cars, trucks and RV's, we arrived at a narrow tunnel with no shoulders. A sign above the tunnel pictured a bicycle and the words below it read, "Bicycles in tunnel when flashing, speed 30mph". Just before the entrance to the tunnel was a button for us to push to activate the flashing lights. The situation looked sketchy, so we surveyed it closely. There was a double sold yellow line running down the center of the tunnel (so motorists are not legally allowed to pass), and the tunnel sloped downhill in such a way that oncoming trafic could not be seen. Sketchy.

We decided to wait for a slight pause in the traffic and then go for it. We sent AK first, then Rebus and then me. We wanted to keep Rebus between us since we figured we were more visible than he was. Since there is no shoulder, we had to ride in the middle of the lane and hope the first motorist that came upon us would be a patient one.

Well, that was not the case. After we got about 50 yards into the tunnel (it is about 300 yards long) the first car came upon us. At that point we could still not see the oncoming traffic, but that didn't stop the jerk driving a huge pick-up truck from swerving into the other lane and stomping on the gas. At this point we were reaching speeds of 30mph in the downhill portion of the tunnel, and this guy must have passed us going 60. Angry at the fact that this jerk was risking killing all of us, I cursed loudly at the truck. Seconds later, I was completely shocked when a second pick-up of equal size did the exact same thing. I was too busy focusing on how to survive the situation to curse at the second car.
Miraculously, no cars were coming the other way, so the two jerks were able to pass the three of us that were now spread out over about 20 yards and going 35mph. The third driver was kind enough to follow the law and patiently follow us out of the tunnel as cars in the opposing lane zipped past. I wonder if the jerks were even aware that their actions were putting us at extreme risk.

With jangled nerves, we rode the last two miles with seemingly increasing traffic. We were happy to find Rebus' parents (Ellen and Bob) waiting for us at the campground. The campground was full, but the hosts made an exception for us.

Rebus and I took a quick dip in the river with the snakes and crawdads and then returned to the site to hang out with AK, Ellen, and Bob. Soon the second car load of parents arrived. We had a great time chatting before heading over to the tiny town of Mapleton for dinner. Bob and Ellen bought us all dinner at the cafe that featured fresh gingerbread and ice cream with every dinner.

By the way, the scenery today was beautiful, but with the heavy traffic it was nearly impossible to appreciate. We hope to get on the road early tomorrow to avoid it.

Oh, if you want to learn more about Bike Fridays, go to their website www.bikefriday.com. The bikes are pretty funny looking to those who are not used to them (Mac calls them "clown bikes"), but they are awesome.

Jeff

2 Comments:

At August 07, 2005 6:28 PM, Anonymous said...

Hey- It was a pleasure riding with you. And it's great to know you're on the verge of finsihing. Think you were just a couple days behind me in the end.

Send me an email if you're in Portland and want a beer.(amordelburro at hotmail dot com)

Shawn

 
At August 08, 2005 9:58 AM, Anonymous said...

Congrats on almost being done!

 

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