Saturday, December 13, 2008

the big ride and the BFF in PDX

Finally, pictures of the ride from Eugene to Portland.

I made it on the road Thursday, around 11:30 a.m. Took Chambers north as it turned into River Road, intending to wind my way North on country roads with wide shoulders and light traffic.

Not far from Eugene, a somber warning:

Hard to tell whether it's a memorial for somebody who died on the side of the road or something less specific; just, "Help," in general.

Then, another sign:

Oregon's farms need saving.

And another sign:

"Country Coach, The World's Finest Motorcoaches." In Junction City, Oregon. Stopped to consider my fine non-motor-coach and call Liam, who used to work there and had a birthday that day.

Yet another sign:

Own a piece of Kaufman Sheet Metal history, in truck form. It's "Four Sail." Ha.

What do all these signs end up telling us?

Ride a bike, like this guy:

Passing through Albany, I stopped three twenty-somethings — well-dressed, professional-looking — for directions. They admitted they were somewhat lost themselves, and couldn't tell me how to get on the right track. The next person I saw was this guy with the bikeE. He told me exactly how to get where I wanted to be.

"You're already going the right way. Just follow this road over the bridge."

[pause for dramatic effect]

He also told me a little about himself. He's from the area and used to work on a cherry farm. He has three bikes, but rides this one the most. He also pointed out the full moon.

It tempted me to ride through the night, but reason and weakness prevailed over passion and by seven or so I arrived at my mother's friend's house in Salem.

Salem's most fashionable address and home to Anne and Jim, librarians both. This photo is from the morning after. Martin's bike stayed the night in the garage, and it even had two hosts of its own.

I imagined they might have some sort of little bikey tea party in there or something.

Setting out Friday morning, I checked the odometer.

Seventy-eight-point-seven miles. Eight hours. Less than 10 mph. Sigh.

I made Newberg by noon, and it was raining cold and heavy. I ducked into a coffee shop to warm myself and see if the precipitation would lighten. It did, but I was still very cold. Here's me and the bike in full rain mode:

Martin will be pleased to see I did indeed cover his Brooks saddle with a plastic bag.

At this point, I wanted to get to Portland, tout de suite. I gave up on pretty, peaceful side roads and jumped on 99W. It wasn't the flattest way:

But it was straight and simple, and I didn't have to check the map once. Despite the rain, I had a strong tailwind and fierce determination, and I averaged about 23 mph, officially entering Portland before 1:30.

Felt strange riding in traffic, stopping for lights after so many miles of nonstop spinning. It was almost two when I arrived at Powell's books on 10th and Oak. One has not truly arrived in Portland until one sees Powell's.

Bryan, my friend and official photographer, works at Half & Half, a coffee shop not a block away. He came out to snap the photo for me. Afterward, I followed him inside for a tea and paganini.

I examined my gear. Everything was fine, but after 136 miles strapped to the front rack, the back of my messenger bag was covered in road grime.

After regrouping, we hustled over to Cinema 21 for the big event!

This fella knew how to show up in style:

He makes all that lumi-wear himself. Check out his page for more pictures and info.

Bryan took some pictures for me. They'll be up soon.

After the show, Michelle met us next door at Muu Muu for beers.

Marcus met us at Michelle's afterward to keep the party going with some sweet tunes.
This was around two or three in the morning.

This a.m., we crossed the river to catch a bite at the Screen Door. They make great Bloody Marys.

Leaving breakfast, we happened across this custom fabrication.

It appears to be a sun-and-human-powered urban anti-hunger vehicle.

The rear features viewable battery access, a trailer, and, bittersweetly, a for sale sign.

The same craftsman seems to have fashioned the fender for this commuter, parked nearby.

Impressive DIY stuff. Now back to Cinema 21 for day two of the BFF!

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