Return to Eugene - "An Impressively Meandering Route" - CycleBlaze

June 24, 2022

Return to Eugene

Cottage Grove to Eugene

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I barely slept last night. My thrashing around disturbed Jim and so he slept poorly as well. So we got up quite early and were packed up before the set breakfast hour for our group. 

Breakfast was fair at best. The eggs were watery, there was no pancake making robot, no yogurt and marginal other foods. But enough to get us down the road. 

Today Jim and I are riding straight to Eugene with minimal meandering-just enough to keep us off Hwy 99 for the most part. In Eugene we will go straight to a bike shop to see what’s up with my clicking noise. It’s a 25 mile ride for us. Meanwhile, Amber, Rich and Cheryl will take the original meandering route, visit the 3 bridges in Cottage Grove that we saw yesterday plus the Coyote Creek Bridge, and end up riding a universally perfect 42 miles. 

So Jim and I started with reverse of what we did yesterday; we rode 10 miles back to Creswell. The weather was sunny and nice-60’s- and a bit breezy. We skirted the southern edge of Creswell which appears to be a very upscale area with newer, gated communities and a golf club. 

Then we entered an area of ranches and farms. I saw several Alpaca farms today but no visible alpacas. We did have a short stint on Hwy 99 but fairly quickly got off of it by turning onto Dillard Rd. Jim chose this road because he was trying to avoid the highway traffic but the trade off was that Dillard Rd. goes over a ridge instead of around it like the highway. 

This turned out to be a stiff, but fairly short climb with steady grades of 6-7% but also some 9-10% at the top. The ridge we climbed was populated with nice country homes. We were then rewarded with a nice technical descent including several hairpin turns as we dropped down into the southern outskirts of Eugene. 

From there it was just increasingly urban riding until we got downtown.
using Google maps we navigated to Hutch’s Bicycles. A mechanic there looked at my bike immediately and suspected that the loose cranks were the issue. He didn’t have the right preload cap to tighten them but spent 45 minutes trying others and was able to get them tight. He wasn’t sure if it would stay tight and he didn’t charge me anything. While he was working he gave us a brief history of the shop. It is apparently one of the oldest bicycle shops in Oregon and when it’s original owner, Mr. Hutchison, was ready to retire, he sold the shop to his senior employees, who are still the owners. 

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When we left, my bike was quiet for the first time in 3 days. Since it was still too early to check into our motel, we found a brewpub and ordered some beers and lunch.

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After lunch it was still too early to check in so we decided to ride out to Bike Friday to do some test rides. It was a few miles from downtown and as we rode out there, I started to hear a little bit of noise again; much better than it was but still not normal. Jim and I suspect there may be some internal bearings damage or something but I think the bike will be OK to ride home from the train station on Sunday. 

When we arrived at Bike Friday the lights were out and there were no cars in the parking lot. 

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This was on the door:

No test rides for us today☹️
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Blame it on Covid, supply chain issues, the Great Resignation or whatever, but I guess they just can’t staff the showroom full time. 

So we rode back downtown and checked in to our motel, the Campus Inn. It is clean and functional but not fancy. Cheryl, on the other hand, booked herself at a posh B&B that is really nice, includes breakfast and is closer to the train station. 

Our cohort group had a good time meandering but fought a headwind for much of the day. They had a mishap when Rich’s thru-axle loosened  and almost caused him to crash. Fortunately he managed to stay upright. Cheryl also had a mechanical issue when part of her seat broke. But they also had a Bald Eagle fly right in front of them. 

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And they saw the Coyote Creek Bridge. 

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The Coyote Creek Bridge was built in 1922. It was bypassed later when truck traffic became too heavy and a more direct highway route was constructed. 

And they stopped for chocolate. 

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Tonight we all dined together for the last time since tomorrow we will all be catching trains and heading home. Amber, Rich, Jim and I will board the Coast Starlight for Martinez and ride back to Napa from there. Cheryl will catch the commuter train back to Albany, where she left her car, and she will drive back to Napa. So our tour is almost done. 

After we left the restaurant,  we joined a public demonstration against the SCOTUS decision overturning Roe v. Wade. We marched around the downtown chanting and blocking traffic. Even though it saddens me that this has become necessary, seeing all the young people fired up and participating in a protest helps me stay hopeful for the future. 

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Today's ride: 32 miles (51 km)
Total: 411 miles (661 km)

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