• Brian Rawson

The Great Oregon Backtrack - U.S. 360 Day 58 from Eugene OR to Florence OR

My cycling journey around the American perimeter

63 miles – Total so far: 3039 miles

Well, I’m finally on the bike after three days in a sick-bed in Eugene, Oregon. I had bend-over cramps so bad I felt a certain kinship with the hunchback of Notre Dame. You haven’t experienced joy until you’re stranded in a strange land, sicker than a dog replete with dry heaves, on your own, with the only mode of transportation available to you a machine which necessitates your own power to move. But, as they say, this too shall pass. Onward.

So, anyone who knows me knows how much I hate backtracking (right, Jim Hinkel) on a bike! Something about doubling back on a bicycle, especially in a challenging area, just irks me. I knew going in this would be one of those backtracking days. In fact, this is the mother of all backtracks since technically it was fully a 143-mile backtrack (80 miles from Florence OR to Eugene from my last tour, and 63 miles back to Florence OR via a shorter route back out to the Pacific Coast Highway this trip).

The good news? Well, I am back in the awesomeness that is Oregon. And how do I know this? How about the fact that salmon are sloshing around in the Siuslaw River, flocks of geese are honking overhead, and cranes are effortlessly gliding over the numerous inland marshes. Today’s 63-mile ride was not overly taxing, but given the punishment my body has been through over the last few days, the lack of energy and almost certain dehydration I’ve experienced made it probably a more difficult ride than it otherwise would have been. My equipment did feel a bit heavy, and I couldn’t push the gears I’m normally accustomed to pushing, especially on the hills. Still, it was a good day and one that I’m pleased to have met my goal.

The most exhilarating part of the day was a tunnel on Oregon SH126. I had to press a button located on the highway’s shoulder so the big sign above the tunnel would notify drivers I was in “the black hole”. The tunnel, almost a mile long, very dark, and with a monster downhill grade, resulted in me rocketing out of the other end like a bullet exiting a Winchester rifle! My tummy, still recovering from the previous week’s illness, was not amused.

A very rural ride for the most part, with only one town of any significance, Mapleton, a quaint little village right on the Suislaw River. I understand the town was settled by pioneers in 1886, who gave it the name Mapleton, why else, because of the abundance of Bigleaf Maple trees in the area.

Today I learned that certain backtracking (especially in Oregon) is not always a bad thing, but lower GI issues always are.

It’s All Good.

Photo of the Day: Pearl and me taking a break on the majestic Siuslaw River in OR.

Click Here to read my daily tour journal entry on crazyguyonabike.com

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