Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on September 11th, 2006 at 7:05 am
Well I made it to Heppner; 70 miles down, 520 to go.
The ride was fantastic. Ideal weather, wide-open countryside, and wispy clouds set against a perfectly blue sky and empty roads. I rolled out of Umatilla and kept to myself for the first 20 miles or so. I just wanted to let the feeling of the pedals and the open vistas sink in. It’s been way too long since I’ve been on the open road and it felt great.
Here’s a few stories about the people I met on my way to Heppner.
Marilyn “Tweety” Hayward was a breath of fresh air. She was motoring along on a 22lb. carbon and titanium Bachetta recumbent. We chatted for several miles and when the road tilted just slightly upward I noticed she had trouble talking. It turns out that Marilyn is missing a lung due to cancer. Once she got her breath back and we figured out we had some mutual friends, she motored away, slicing through the wind and leaving me in the dust!
Whether you like high-tech carbon recumbents or old-school classics, this ride is full of eye candy for bike geeks. Check out this guy’s chromed 1970s Raleigh. I couldn’t help but comment on it. The rider’s name is Mike Swett he’s ridden five Cycle Oregon’s on it so far.
Our first cool town of the day was Echo. It really had the feel of a wild west frontier town. Wide main streets, old buildings. They had an original bank building where I could just picture grizzly men walking in and plunking a sack of gold coins on the counter.
I rode into Echo with a friend of mine named John Ripper. Turns out John’s grandparents owned a grocery store here at the turn of the century called Ripper’s Grocery. The building is still there so I snapped a photo of John and his brother in front of it.
Pedaling on from Echo, I shared a few miles with Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves and Cycle Oregon founder and Oregonian columnist Jonathan Nicholas. This event would not exist where it not for Jonathan’s love of rural Oregon and the people that make up these communities. Here’s a shot of Jay clowning around.
And speaking of the Cycle Oregon crew…how’s this for service? Out in the middle of nowhere was Cycle Oregon director Jerry Norquist fixing a flat and making a friend.
Speaking of which, I stopped and talked to this cool first-grader named Dylan. He was sitting on the fence outside his house watching us go by. He had a sweet stutter as he told me a story about how sometimes his daddy has to cut off the heads of their sheep and take them to the dump when they get sick. Nice kid. Strange story.
And then there was Suzi Lane from Eugene. I rode up beside her and couldn’t miss the leg boot she had strapped to her rear rack. Turns out she broke her foot just two weeks ago dancing in high-heels. She struggled along with dogged determination because she had been training for this ride for six months and wasn’t going to let anything stop her. Once we split I picked some flowers I intented to give her at the finish. The flowers wilted, but I saw Suzi in Heppner. She was still smiling, and still planning to ride on the next day.
Well I better log off and get some breakfast (it’s 5:30am right now). We’ve got 81 miles and some serious climbing today. I uploaded about 50 photos from Day 1, so go check them out in the gallery.
Hope all’s well in Portland.