Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on September 18th, 2006 at 9:06 am
The 3,000 or so riders, volunteer and crew that make up Cycle Oregon have descended on this sleepy little farming town (population 2,000) and the community has responded by working hard to keep us fed, entertained and happy.
Some riders chose to do an optional 91 mile loop up through the idyllic farming valleys around Catherine Creek State Park and returning through Baker City, but most opted to just veg out downtown and partake in the local hospitality.
Everyone, that is except the volunteers at the Community Cycling Center. There’s no rest for them because their bike detailing promotion has proven to be very popular this year. At $35 per bike ($50 if it’s “extra cruddy”), the CCC figured they’d make about $15,000 dollars and I’m sure they exceeded their expectations. Their crew deserves big props for their dedication and hard work in raising money for their programs the entire week.
But for everyone else, this rest day was the climax of their “active vacation”. Choices for activities abound from a trip out to some hot springs, tours of local museums, wine tasting, and of course sampling the local cuisine.
Speaking of food, Augusto and Jason from Nossa Famila Coffee treated me to lunch (thanks guys!) but finding a place without at least a one-hour wait was impossible. Gravy Dave’s Diner — where I had this beautiful burger yesterday — was mobbed with hungry cyclists. The employees even (begrudgingly) dressed up in ’50s poodle skirts just for us.
The people of Union did a great job taking advantage of the economic potential of the day. These sweet older ladies sold hundreds of slices of pie (see photo) and gallons and gallons of ice cream. I noticed some folks going back for seconds.
On a more somber note, the family of the late Mike Wilberding came to camp to lead a memorial ride with some of Mike’s friends from Intel. I ran into Dayn Wildberding (Mike’s son) and he showed me these special jerseys they had made and said about 20 of Mike’s friends would ride into the hills and have a ceremony to remember his dad.
I spent the morning trying to find some wireless web access and ended up underneath an apple tree is some guy’s front yard (yes I had had his permission). When my battery died, I worked from a desk at the old Union High School. Then, when my work was done I returned to the yard and uploaded a few stories. On the way to my front-yard wi-fi spot, I couldn’t help but snap this photo of some local boys in front of an old house. Is this classic Americana or what?
I’ll always remember my time in Union. They gave us a great welcome, treated us with care and sent us on our way with warm memories…which we’ll need for tomorrow’s ride.