The trail today took me on an incredibly indirect route into Eugene. It followed the highway for the first 40 miles but then turned off onto backroads — turning the last 15 miles into 25 miles. I had been planning on just following the highway into Eugene but at the last second decided that it was a beautiful day and that I would take the scenic route.
The scenic route ended up being a great decision! It followed the McKenzie river for much of the ride and, more importantly, involved almost no cars. The majority of people I saw were others on bikes.
About 10 miles into the off-highway section, Bob pulled up next to me and asked me about my tour. We started chatting and he told me that he worked at Co-Motion Cycles in Eugene – a design focused bike manufacturer. He loved the job because it allowed him to be around bikes, ride everyday after work and had allowed him to tour down the Pacific Coast a few years ago.
After chatting for a while he asked if I was planning on camping in Eugene because if so, he had an extra room in his house and would be happy to host. When I told him that I was staying with a friend from college, he said the least he could do was give me a tour of the town — which I was more than happy to take him up on!
He took me into Eugene following a route only a local would know. We ducked in and out of alleys and rode through neighborhoods, the whole time with him pointing out the interesting stuff we were passing. At one point I was so busy listening to him that I stopped paying attention and accidentally ran into him! For a fraction of a second, I had a moment of panic as I thought my tour was going to be cut short less than a week from the finish. But it was a slow speed crash so there were no injuries or bike damage and we laughed it off.
We made our way through Eugene and onto the University of Oregon campus where we followed more bike paths and he showed me the football and basketball stadiums. As a high school cross country runner, we had heard a lot about Pre and Hayward Field (Oregon’s track) so I asked Bob if we could head that way. We excitedly pulled up to where Hayward Field had been and just saw rubble. Apparently it is being completely rebuilt and had been torn down just a few weeks before.
Before he sent me on my way to Reese’s (my friend from college), Bob gave me a bag of fresh blueberries he had just picked. If everyone here is like Bob, I think I’m really going to like Eugene!
Elevation gained: 1,200 ft
Shortcuts taken: 0