Sunday, March 30, 2008
Lincoln City to Salem, Oregon
Last night we went to sleep in Lincoln City, Oregon with dreams of sunny and warm weather. Instead, we awoke to snow...on the Oregon Coast!
An hour later, as we dipped our back wheels in the Pacific (and the forlorn front wheels pining for the Atlantic), the sun was out, the weather was beautiful, and we were on our way. Until...
Twenty minutes later and a few miles down the road, it started pouring and hailing. We donned all the rain gear we had and headed out again.
As we approached Otis (home of the famous Otis Cafe), the snow was coming down hard. We pulled over and took shelter in a small covered area behind the Otis post office.
At this point, we decided to call in our help -- Jim and Elaine Kirby, Alison's parents, graciously offered to be our support on this trip. We reached Elaine on her cell and ten minutes later they arrived. Crazily, however, the sun came out EIGHT minutes after we called. They believed us, though, because they drove through the snow on their way to meet us. Anyone else wandering down the road would have thought us insane if we told them about snow!
We now decided it would be wise to meet up every 15 miles or so just to see how the ride was going. And in fact, it was beautiful all the way to our late lunch stop in Grande Ronde, Oregon. We ate at the Fort Hill restaurant. I was so hungry that I wolfed down my grilled chicken sandwich. We all fueled up and were back on the road by 4:15. At this point we were averaging about 15 mph and if we could keep that pace up we would make it to our motel in Salem before it got dark.
We encountered some hard hills -- although near the end of this week we are hoping that the hills seem easier as we get our bike legs. We got to the top of the Murphy Hill summit, stopped, ate some snacks, took some pictures, and were back on the bikes. On the downhill we reached about 42 mph (Alison and Gus were going even faster on the recumbent)! None of us had ever gone that fast on a bike! It was exhilarating.
The traffic was fairly heavy until we got to the split of Routes 18 and 22 (we took 22 toward Salem).
At about mile 55 we stopped to check in with Jim and Elaine. A gentleman who knew the area gave us directions. As if on cue, the sky turned dark and it started to hail! We quickly got on the bikes and were on our way. We found out, however, that our hotel, was on the far east side of Salem (farther than it looked on the internet map when I checked last night!). Fortunately, however, we made it just as it was getting pretty dark.
The rain gear was essential today. Putting on the booties earlier would have helped keep feet drier. We were all covered with road grime, especially me since my bike doesn't have fenders. It probably would have been a smart move to put those on!
After getting our land-legs again at the hotel, we decided on pizza for dinner. Our room is like a little apartment (at the Residence Inn, Salem), so we decided to eat in. The hotel staff suggested Geppetto's pizza, a local favorite. It was very good, and went very quickly!
There is still a lot of snow at Detroit Lake and Santiam Pass is completely snow covered, so we will have to sag over to Sisters/Redmond tomorrow. I don't think anyone will complain about that!
The kids did GREAT today. Once we were on the bike, they were singing old commercials ("My bologna has a first name..."; Gus, who rode with Alison, sang his entire school spring choir concert), looking at the flora and fauna (we saw a lot of skunk cabbage blooming, flocks of geese circling over head, what appeared to be a few vultures tracking our progress -- disappointed I'm happy to say!), and keeping a generally positive attitude. It also helped that our hotel had a swimming pool to keep them going.
Both Alison and I were amazingly impressed with how the kids did. I just don't understand why they didn't have cramping legs when we got to the hotel!
Lincoln City to Salem, Oregon
Time on Bike: 5:35
Average Speed: 11.3 mph
Fastest Speed: 41.53 mph
Total Miles: 63.29