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Coastal Contemplations day 15

Monday, June 20th, 2016
Amtrak Cascade train captured on a stop in Portland

Amtrak Cascade train captured on a stop in Portland

in beads of dew
one by one
my home village


all things must pass
I made one last stop in The Whit at the New Day Bakery – which was great – before I made my way to the Amtrak Station. This being the beginning of the Amtrak Cascades route the train was ready and waiting for me. I pulled off my bicycle bags and helped the porter left it into the baggage car. I found a seat with a table where I would spend the next seven hours.

amidst blue skies
clouds obscure The Mountain —
traveling northwards
It was a fine day with cloud strewn skies and plenty to watch as the train made its way north: Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount Saint Helens and finally Mount Rainier.  When I finally got off the train and reattached my bags it was late afternoon. It felt good to do even the short ride home after seven hours on the train.  Back home I unloaded the bicycle, put everything way, cleaned up and cooked some dinner. As the sun set over the city long spine-like clouds lit up with dark purples, reds and oranges. Tomorrow is the first day of summer.
the sinking sun
lights clouds on fire —
last day of spring

Photos on Flickr: todayall days

Coastal Contemplations day 14

Sunday, June 19th, 2016
Crossing the rocky stream

Crossing the rocky stream

in summer cool
ambling down my
road to hell


a step east
On this day I would leave 101 for the first time since joining it in SW Washington.  I was riding to Eugene which was a fair piece and since I desired to spend some time in the city I left early. It was partially blue skids when I left camp but it clouded up as I made my way north (still on 101 for the time being) to Florence.  I began to hear thunder in the distance.  Big, threatening clouds rolled in and fat drops of rain began to fall. I quickly made my way to Natural Market and Cafe, where I had more coffee and a second breakfast. While I was here the storm passed right overhead – lightning flashes followed by thunder almost right away, which would shake the glass of the windows. It poured rain which was whipped around by the winds.  Pretty Dramatic.

Siuslaw River

Siuslaw River

But soon enough it had roared by and the blue skies were back and things began to dry out. I had put my bicycle under an overhang and had missed the bulk of the rain so I was nice and dry.  But I’d lost that early start.  So I hit the road and quickly turned onto Hwy 126 which I’d be following all the way to Eugene.  It began with a flat fifteen miles or so right along the Siuslaw River. The shoulder was good, the road flat but lots of traffic., more heading west than east, but still pretty busy.  But in the main this was good riding.

outlined against
green trees —
a white bird

At the tiny burg of Mapleton hwy 36 split off and the road headed into the, well not quite mountains, hills maybe?  The shoulder faded away and it had the feel of a paved forest road.  If it wasn’t for the traffic, which didn’t really let up, this would be my kind of riding. I still enjoyed being right in the trees and the many little rocky brooks that the road croused over and often followed along. There was a good long ascent, not to any really epic elegation but it went on for a long time.  And then there was a tunnel.  The hill actually crested right at the end of the tunnel.  This of course was followed by a descent into a forest valley.

under fluffy clouds
a profusion of pink roses

I’d almost caught up with the thunderstorm and the roads were wet and ahead I could see the storm clouds ahead and to the north.  But it outpaced me, or moved north and I was riding under blue skies with these big cotton ball like clouds.  The winds were out of the west as usual and helped push me along.  There was another long climb out of the forest valley this one actually had an elevation sign at the top: 756 feet. Made me smile.  This was followed by a long descent into the Wilamette Valley which I’d be riding in the rest of the way to Eugene.

Fern Ridge Wildlife area South Marsh

Fern Ridge Wildlife area South Marsh

The valley was farmland at first and then wineries showed up as I came into Veneta. From that point on it was fast traffic and lots of it and the road both deteriorated in quality and the shoulder bexams rather minimal.  I went through this vast wetland of the  Fern Ridge Wildlife Area which once I exited I was in the edge city portion of Eugene. A sign pointed me toward the Fern Ridge Trail which I was able to ride most of the way to my hotel.  Leaving the trail I rode through residential streets filled with funky little houses and streets with lots of life.

Sunset in The Whit

Sunset in The Whit

My hotel turned out to be right on the edge of the Whiteaker Neighborhood (“The Whit”) of Eugene, which is clearly a funky, happening area. Art, tons of foodie type restaurants,  coffee houses with character, breweries, all in the midst of those unique houses and a lively neighborhood. Nice.  I’d arrived late afternoon and I was able to spend about five hours walking around this area, checking out various places and enjoying the vibe.  As I walked back to my hotel, the sun was setting, lighting up the lingering clouds.  I crossed a set of tracks and as I did the Amtrack Cascades went by. Tomorrow morning I’d be on that train.

fiery sun set over train tracks —
no real road home

Photos on Flickr: todayall days