(Written by Nancy)
We had a great time catching up with Anna yesterday, enjoyed a dinner out with her and her boyfriend Hayden and channelled our long-forgotten college days by sleeping on the floor of their little apartment.
Andy arrived around 9am this morning from Portland to join Dave and I and Anna for the next couple of days. We will ride south with them for three days and they will then loop around and make their way back to Corvallis. Anna and Andy’s bags are so empty that I don’t think both of their bikes and baggage together weigh more than one of our loaded bikes! We tried to convince them they should take some of our things to get the true touring experience – we weren’t successful today but will keep trying! The final packing was finished and after a few photos we hit the road about 9:30.
The route was not complicated today, really just a meander through farmlands. Not quite as many berry fields today, most wheat and grass fields, most of which were in the process of being plowed. Thankfully the temps were not too bad – when we left Corvallis it was only about 75F, very comfortable, and the smoke that had been so bad the last couple of days was almost gone.
We made our first stop at a farm store only 10 miles out. They had some great looking (and smelling) cantaloupes, so we bought one to have later on and convinced Andy that he could easily fit it in his bags. Actually, Dave and I decided that the faster Andy went, the more melons he would get to carry in his bags at each farm store.
We stopped at the next roadside rest area and cut up the cantaloupes into quarters for morning tea – very tasty and refreshing. We’ll certainly try that again, assuming we can convince Andy to fill his bag. Well, Anna has lots of room in her bags too… So far, both of them seem up to the “Sherpa test”, which is great!
To keep up with the food theme of the day, we made it to the little burg of Harrisburg, which is about 25 miles from Corvallis. We were looking for someplace to get a cool drink, but stumbled upon a little diner. It didn’t have any signage on it but we noticed an open sign in the window and there was a placard out front that said breakfast served 6am to 3pm. It was a great little diner, filled with lots of memorabilia and clearly a favourite of the locals. Since it was just about noon we decided to make it a real second brekkie/lunch stop.
We rolled out of Harrisburg full of more food than was necessary to get us the remaining 18 miles to Eugene. We made our way to the hostel we had booked and were surprised to see the road full of people and blocked off just beyond the hostel. Well, what a surprise – today is the Whiteacre block party. Hmm, and what a party it is… and the hostel is literally right in it. We got all checked in, found our rooms a separate house across the street, and got our bikes secured safely in a locked cage at the back of the hostel.
We got cleaned up, did a quick load of laundry and then headed out to make a stop at the nearby REI and then met up with our nephew Henry (Andy’s son and Anna’s brother) for a beer at a local brewery and then walked to another beer garden with some great food carts for dinner. It was a pleasant evening, at least until we made our way back to the hostel.
If you can imagine what a block party could be in an extremely liberal town, known for its free spirits, located in a state that has legalised marijuana, you probably wouldn’t imagine how crazy this neighbourhood is right now. We have a stage with a band playing right next to our house, competing with multiple bands playing in the neighbourhood.
We went for a walk around the area, just to see the craziness a bit. Pretty wild – Dave tried to capture some of it in pictures but you’d have to be here to really get the full effect. It doesn’t sound like it is anywhere near winding up, so I expect we will not get too much sleep tonight. Probably not the place we would have picked had we known that this was going on but not much we can do about it now other than hope for a bit of quiet eventually…
Tomorrow we’ll be up early to check out which buildings in the neighbourhood are still standing. We have about the same distance as today planned but also have some climbing to look forward to. The final destination is Rice Hill RV park which we all expect to be much less colourful than tonight has turned out to be. Here’s to sleep – and hoping that we get some. FWIW, the hostel owner said that the bands would stop at 9PM – it’s now 10:20 and they are going strong. Hmm….