Day 2: Eugene, OR to Rainbow, OR (57 miles)
Today's ride was different than any other bike ride I think I have ever done. Most of the time I ride loops, starting and ending from a specific place: my house or a parking lot. But on a tour, the rides go from point to point. Today's point-to-point ride was almost entirely uphill. But gently so. There were no dramatic climbs and no terrifying descents. Instead we graded up all day but rarely at more than 3%: just enough to let us know we were going up. I found it rather fun.
And it was beautiful. Again we were by a river most of the day. Others saw rafts go by, but I did not. Sadly, one of the things that made it beautiful was the smoke in the air from the wildfires. It was like a light fog making the tall trees look spectacular above the river. The smoke became noticeable about 20 miles into the ride. It got heavier at times and it eased at others. Some wore buffs or masks, but I did not. I didn't feel it in my lungs as much as my eyes and my mouth.
The road was sometimes beautifully paved and others not-so-much. Sometimes there was a deep shoulder and other times there was just a white line. Sometimes there were very steep drop-offs on the side of the road and at other times there were homes and businesses. One of the few places we passed where we could stop and eat was the Vida Café. I think only 3 of us stopped there and it was quite a place. It was in Vida, OR. I think they have a post office. There was not much else beside the café and a gas station. The café was filled with people. The wait was very long for our simple orders, and the people watching made that time quite enjoyable (not to mention we were sitting on chairs not bicycle seats!). A woman at a table next to us said she had taken her mother to Eugene for a doctor's appointment and so she had seen many of us on her way back. She noted we were all women. She expressed awe at our undertaking and was glad to hear we were not returning to Florence after getting to Yellowstone. We are also glad about that! Another woman said how athletic we looked and how jealous she was of us. I think we all felt uncomfortable and not as athletic as she thought. It is sometimes hard to see ourselves as others see us.
There weren't many vegan options on the menu, so I ordered the "special" oatmeal: coconut and raisins. It was fine, but I had had oatmeal in the hotel for breakfast, so I wasn't really that interested in more. I asked about fruit hoping that maybe I could get the triple berries that were in the triple-berry pie without the pie part, but alas, the fruit today was melon and banana. I do not eat bananas. Ever. Under any circumstances. So a little bit of oatmeal it was.
After Vida there was not much to see until the hotel, which is quite a place. The brown shag carpeting is not only on the floor. I'll leave it at that. The people are nice and there are grassy places to sit and relax while enjoying being off the bike, so it is all good. Really good.