Sunset Ride, Corvallis, 27 miles
A late afternoon ride, the loop around Corvallis, just what I need to get in the mood. Starting at FireWorks, out the bike path which parallels Country Club Road, left on Plymouth. Winding past Sunbow Farm, another left on to Bellfountain Road.
The wind picks up, at my back. I’m sailing. South, down past Greta’s old place, the first strawbale house in Benton County, her hand planted diverse trees now an impressive small forest. Bellfountain curves slightly as I cross the Mary’s River, where the NOAA gauge will tell me flood stage in the wetter months.
A long straightaway, then climbing the steep hill to Airport. Passing Shamrock Lane, where Gary & Jenni host the best sauna-potlucks. Maybe I’ll make some this year, if I can take Sundays off again.
Sundays off? What a luxury would that be! I’ve worked more this past year than ever before. Some months every day. 7 days a week. Most months at least 6 days. Or actually evenings. On the floor at the restaurant, through the slim months, into the busy season, then back to the slim of late summer.
No I’m poised to launch another bicycle tour. Vintage Bicycle Odyssey is about to become reborn, another pedal powered quest. My seventh since I resumed touring in 2010. Itinerary is the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route. This time starting from Port Angeles, Washington State, around the Olympic Peninsula, then south down the western seaboard of the United States.
Right turn now on Airport, I look west, see the mighty mountain rising against the horizon: Mary’s Peak, the highest in the Oregon Coast Range. Our land is on the lower flanks, there on Franklin Ridge. I’ve been enjoying the serenity of the cob Kiva, a respite from excesses of work and management and the odd cranky customer.
I’ve settled into a happy place as host, entrepreneur, sole proprietor now of the restaurant I’d started with my ex-partner 15 years ago. Signing a 5-year renewal to the lease is now the obvious choice. Greeting regulars, directing employees as to how to best run the place while I’m gone. Gone, soon, 5 days to liftoff! Most customers now seem familiar, even if they are there for the first time.
A quick descent down Airport, then a right onto Fern Road, north back towards Philomath. Into a headwind, though lighter now than when I started out. Past Gathering Together Farm and their amazing farm stand restaurant. Chapel Road, left towards West Hills. Further north, more headwinds, but I’ve found my stride, I’m pumping strong into the wind. Daily rides of the Decker Loop in July have rebuilt my core cycling strength, calves and thighs grown taut and massive. My endurance is back. I just proved this on the Alsea Falls loop a few days ago, 3600 feet elevation gain over a 49 mile ride. I’m ready for the hills of the Pacific Coast.
A couple hills now, past the fairgrounds, up & over Witham, cruising on Walnut, out to the north end of Corvallis. Jog over to Conifer, then fly over to Highway 20. The afternoon sun is waning, closing in on dusk as I turn right, south, paralleling the mighty Willamette River. A sunset view of Mary’s Peak now a small hump against the orange sky. Waxing moon rises about the river, against the purple dusk to the east.
I pause for pictures. My heart is pumping strong, humming in anticipation. This tour will be my best ever. I know it. I feel it. I will make it so. So many details to complete before I leave. I’m breathing strong, rapid breaths as I come down from the rigor of the ride. A peace settles in to my core. The final miles, lazy along the Corvallis Waterfront bike path, back to the restaurant, back to the beginning.
I’m so excited. I’m gushing talking to Gwendolyn and Scott in the parking lot. They just had dinner at the shop. I’ll miss seeing them. I’ll missing seeing you all. And I can’t wait to go. The bittersweet nature of the quest, the preparation, the letting go. So very soon. My departure.