Friday, May 24, 2013

Eugene, OR

Day 6: Friday, May 24, 2013
Corvallis to Eugene: 58 miles

One nice thing about traveling alone is the freedom to set your own schedule. I went to bed at 9:00 pm, got up at 2:30 to do more blogging, then fell asleep again at 6:00 am. Then I overslept and didn't waken until 8:30. What decadence!

Enough of this lazing about in the luxury of a heated motel room. It's time to hit the road.

Well, it was dry today. But the wind, which had been so kind the first couple of days, had shifted around to the south as the front came through. And it was still blowing. Not until mid-afternoon did it shift to the west and ease up. But that, and a lifting of the overcast, did wonders to improve my pace. Still, the 40 miles to Eugene would have to suffice for the day.

As in 1981, the valley is filled with a wide variety of crops, many planted for research and to breed seeds that are better suited to the Willamette Valley climate. This research is carried out both by the state and by the state universities. I saw acres and acres of tall fescue and other grass crops that were grown both for forage and for seed for farmers and for homeowners. White clover was in abundance. There were seas of white - the flowers of a plant whose leaves resembled radish, but much larger in size. I stopped to talk with a scientist at a grass testing station. He explained that all the cross-breeding that is done is entirely Mendelian genetics - none of this gene-splicing to introduce traits such as herbicide resistance that has raised such a storm world-wide. He said that there are really very few institutions that are still sticking with the old-fashioned cross-breeding of crops. That's not where the money is.

Saint Philbert
Religious nuts

I stopped at the Harrisburg Diner for lunch: an enchilada omelette that I still have to polish off. Cheap supper!

Once in Eugene, I had no idea where to stay. The county campground charges $30 for everyone, whether you're driving an RV or pitching a tent. For the difference, I'd rather stay in a motel. So I continued on. Once in Eugene, I found the major east-west bike path and headed west. Doesn't make much sense, does it? Well, hold on.

The Bike Friday factory is right beside the path. I was surprised to find it there, and stopped to pay them a visit. (De has a Bike Friday.) One of the workers was leaving - he looked like a swami. (Eugene's a funky town.) Their showroom salesman came out to inspect my Co-Motion, with its S&S couplings that allow the frame to be disassembled. He was impressed with the welding handwork.

And then it was on to the Co-Motion factory, to show the Old Coot (my co-pilot) where our steed was born. But, its being 6:00 pm on the Friday of a holiday weekend, there was nobody to be found. So I sat down and ate some more omelette and checked my email. Then, - what do you know? - one of the owners pulled up on his bike. He had returned to pick up a few items. We had a nice conversation that concluded with his offering the grassy yard next to the plant as a campsite. "But," he said, "watch out for the automatic sprinklers in the morning!" He didn't know what time they came on. I'll probably find out.

tent under the canopy
I actually camped on the grass.

The Old Coot goes boating
The Old Coot goes boating

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