Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 57: Day in fog/belly on fire

Day #57) August 8, 2011. McKenzie Bridge, OR to Eugene, OR: 49 miles in 3:29 hrs.

Wow, what an anticlimactic day compared to yesterday. Just not a lot to say. But I’ll give it a shot just for entertainment value!

Got a large pizza last night from the café across the street – the Hawaiian pizza with Canadian bacon, pineapples and onions. It was great. Trouble was that my eyes were bigger than my stomach – as usual – and having deliberated on getting the 12-inch medium, and then at the last minute switching to the large 16-inch instead, well, it was just a beast of a pizza. I was a stuffed pig half way through. Top that off with a big 24 oz bottle of that Ninkasi Oatmeal Stout and I was looking like a human piñata. I did manage to eat a bit more of the za a couple hrs later, but I still have like 4 slices left. That I figured I’d put in the micro fridg and same for breakfast.

Got up at 5 am, and didn’t plan on leaving until at least 8 am, what with Eugene being under 50 miles away, and the temp being about 45 degrees this morning. Wish I could have slept longer but having been getting up between 3 and 4 am for so long, my internal clock is just set right now. No need to hurry out, though, so I just worked a bit on the computer and waited for the little grocery to open so I could buy a cup of coffee. No complimentary coffee in this motel room. Eventually, against better judgment (remember the last time I had pizza for breakfast? Acid reflux ball of fire in my gut for 2 hours of cycling!) I ate those 4 slices. Now I’m no Eisenstein by any means, but you’d think I learned my lesson on that ride from Walden to Steamboat Springs. NOPE! No, I kind of justified that the Walden “pizza for breakfast” debacle was with a barbecued chicken pizza. “This is a Hawaiian pizza,” I reasoned, “and I shouldn’t have an issue with this kind.” Yea right, it’s the red sauce stupid! It’s the red sauce!!!!!

Once that store opened and I got some coffee down in the gut to mix with that cold pizza, I could just feel the fireworks beginning. So I got 2 danishes to throw down there to help neutralize the acid buildup. Right then and there I knew I’d done it again, and if my leg could kick backwards hard and high enough I’d of kicked myself in the arse several times for doing that stupid stunt for the second time. Pardon me, but what a dipshit I can be!!

So I just kind of waited for the sun to come up a bit more for warmth, and then got on the road at right around 8 am sharp. Still pretty chilly out though, as I was still at about 2000 feet in elevation in the Cascades. The forecast was calling for clear blue, sunny skies for the day – except for the fact that a sea fog normally rolls in and up to the Cascades each morning, and then burns off in the afternoon. And once I got rolling I could see the fog bank down the road. Only took like 30 min of riding and I was right inside of it. Now right from the start I was burping up that freaking pizza-coffee mix, and it was just pure misery. Felt as though I was trying to eviscerate my innards about every 10 min.

Rt 126 from McKenzie Bridge to Eugene is right along the McKenzie River, so that was nice as something scenic. But by and large what with the fog bank overhead, I just couldn’t see the mts. Now the road started out with a fairly nice berm, but eventually it just dwindled down to this 2-3 foot strip, or nothing at all. And the traffic on 126 was moving! Add some logging trucks to the mix and it was a bit dicey at times. And this was the first time in the trip where I really had any trouble with cars honking. I mean the one time I had to cross over this stream that feeds into the McKenzie, so there was no berm on the bridge section, and I’m over as far as I can go and this arsewipe starts honking at me from about 500 meters back on the road. Like where the hell am I supposed to go? Ditch the bike and jump into the stream? So as he went by I gave him the one-fingered salute, motioning my hand up and down in the air. And this happened a second time when I was doing this little roller climb where there was zero berm. Dude starts honking at me like I have to move, and once again I gave a nice up and down salute!

I mean I do my very best to NOT be out in the middle of the road, and oftentimes I’m just inches from the gravel on the side of the road, literally riding this razor thin line of asphalt berm. So it’s not as if I’m not paying attention here. I’m totally dialed into keeping it safe – on both the left and right sides of me. Now had I been in the boonies somewhere with a thousand miles to go, I’d have probably just not done anything. But at this point, with this much mileage under my belt and with the end in sight – I’m just not in the mood to take any *^&%^#@.

Back to the acid reflux, which was just making me completely miserable. I could just feel the small explosions in the stomach, which would then vent upwards into my esophagus like lava coming up through a lava tube. Couple of times I was within an inch away from stopping at a mini market to buy some Tums. But I continued on Tum-less.

So as I said, with that fog bank overhead, it was just like riding on a crappy, cloudy day. There were even points where I was getting spritzed on by the fog, and the temp stayed super cool, to the point to where I removed only my vest today, but kept the polypro on for the entire ride. Generally this was a net descent ride, what with Eugene situated at just 431 feet in elevation, but there were a few rollers here and there. But I never shifted out of the big ring for anything. My biggest issue today was just the damned busy traffic on Rt 126 and the lack of, or meager berm to ride on. And funny thing was that I was playing hop-scotch with the ACA (Adventure Cycling Ass.) van and riders. So the ACA had it’s riders doing the same busy stretch. No other way really.

Only one of their riders past me, so I kind of felt pretty good about that seeing that they are riding totally supported and have no gear on their bikes other than maybe a handlebar bag. As I got closer to Eugene the fog got thicker, colder, and there was more drizzle going on. Matter of fact it’s now 4:15 pm out as I’m writing here and the fog is still completely covering the area. No burning off going on at this point! By the time I got to Springfield I got a very nice, wide berm and rode it all the way into Eugene, another 4-5 miles down the road. Got a place here on the east side of the city – near two Chinese restaurants, a Subway, a gourmet grocery store, and my life is complete. I quickly showered and then made it to the chinese buffet for a 4-plater lunch! Went to the gourmet grocery after than and got another bottle of the masterful Ninkasi Oatmeal Stout for later this eve.

Oh yea, the acid reflux went away in about two hrs. So this was a pretty nondescript kind of day – short ride, not too much in the way of stellar scenery, and my gut was on fire for 2/3 of the ride. Hell, my kit didn’t even pick up one drop of sweat. I mean it was just a quickie ride and it was over. Didn’t even really stop to take but a few pictures due to the heavy fog and dreary scenery.

So tomorrow my friend Pete (Pete and his wife Jane just moved to the Seattle area) is going to park down in Florence, OR and ride his mt bike up into the coastal mts to meet up with me. Then we’ll ride back to the west to the Pacific Ocean where I’ll finish. Right now as I’m writing Pete is driving from Seattle to Florence, where he’ll camp tonight. I think after tomorrow’s ride we’ll camp or motel it on the coast and then drive up the Oregon coast on highway 101 and check out the sights. Then I’ll hang in Seattle for several days and then fly and train it on back to Ohio.

So that’s about it for today. Sorry it wasn’t a “barn burner” of a day. I am hoping though that tomorrow’s ride through the coaster mts will be a really scenic ride. I’d hate to have the fog bank again just blotting out the mts and sky. So I’ll leave no earlier than 8 am and see how the weather looks. I’d told Pete that I’m phone him if it’s really socked in up here tomorrow morning, and then we could plan accordingly.

Talk to you tomorrow – I think. If we camp I may not be able to put anything up on the net. So if you get no new blog on Wed, you’ll know that we camped and I had no internet service. All the best……pete

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