Alternate title: "you never forget your first..."
Steve B put out a feeler for company on Ken's Willamette Valley Dog and Pony Show 200k perm. He just joined RUSA maybe a month ago. Like me, he's available to ride during the week. So we settled on Monday at 7:30, and I suggested he park in the Newberg public parking lot, which is only a couple of blocks from the Thriftway grocery.
I spent Sunday updating my bike's luggage system, so this would be the test ride. And there I was, at 7:15, in the Thriftway, buying a banana to get the receipt. Steve appeared shortly thereafter, and we headed out of town.
He lives in Vancouver, WA, so this area mostly unknown territory for him. For me, it was total autopilot the first 44 miles to Stayton. The temperature was perfect (60's), and it was overcast. We had a headwind all the way south, but it has been worse.
We pulled into the Roth's and explored the wonders of the refrigerated case. I found deviled eggs, a V-8, and some more Gatorade (new favorite flavor - Strawberry Lemonade). They did have sandwiches, but they looked kind of big. I had a couple half sandwiches in my bag, so didn't buy any.
From there we proceeded south to Cole School Road, home of the fabled and legendary "rollers". Roller number 2 got me again - made it 3/4 of the way up, though. We stopped to take pictures at the Shimanek covered bridge, then went off in search of the Gilkey covered bridge.
On the way to Jefferson, just before the Green Bridge, I heard a semi behind me. I didn't hear it slowing down (two lane road, traffic, no shoulder to speak of), So I pulled over, just as a semi towing a very full load of haybales flew past me. The wind shock was impressive. Crossed the bridge, and then I heard a second one, blowing its horn. Again, not slowing down for anything. I dove for the gravel shoulder just in time. It flew by, forcing the oncoming vehicle over to the side of the road as well. A third one drove by shortly thereafter. I tried to get the company name, but it was going much too fast. So, for any of you who might know, medium light blue (kind of Gitane blue), maybe starting with "G" in script. NOT improving the haytruck image. Not one bit.
When we got to the intersection in Jefferson, a police car was waiting next to us. So I told him what happened, maybe he'll do something about it. One can hope.
Off then to find the Buena Vista ferry. I had only been on it once, way back in 2004. Not that it was too hard to find - follow Talbot Rd to the end! Nobody but us on this crossing.
Excavated ourselves up at the ferry landing in Buena Vista, and proceeded onward. Except there was a cue with no matching street sign, so we were off by one, and the next turn had the previous cue's description (not a cue sheet error, I might add, both streets had the same name(s)). So we turned left.
After we came upon the intersection where Prather Rd came in, and went down Buena Vista, I started getting JUST a little suspicious. Called a halt, and brought up the route on my phone. Yes, we were in the wrong place, although I was not sure how we got there. Steve was all for going on, and I pointed out that we'd end up in Albany, and we weren't going there today. So, we rode back up what had been a lovely descent (sigh), and got ourselves back where we were supposed to be, on the road to Independence.
The route did not call for us to go into Independence, but we needed some things, so we went to the north end of town, by the c-store and public park. I picked up a Payday bar, a Red Bull and more Gatorade, and drank the Red Bull on the spot. We then proceeded toward Salem, and I will say, I did have wings. Flew up all the little rises all the way to Salem. Most fun I've had on that 10 miles, ever.
While Salem was supposed to be a bit challenging during rush hour, we didn't find it so. Got through downtown, and all the way to the Keizer town line, where we turned left into the quiet neighborhoods which are so familiar from the Monster Cookie Ride and just about every other ride that includes Salem. So, I was again back on autopilot, all the way to the Wheatland Ferry. Steve was a little suspicious as we cut through on paths in parks and the street changed names. "Trust me here..."
(cycling gear sidebar) I had switched back to my winter riding shoes, since every other pair of cycling shoes I own are currently making my feet hurt and giving me hotfoot. These, while not perfect, were MUCH better. But I'd still like shoes that just fit and I wouldn't even notice them.
There was a long line of cars at the ferry (who knew?). But, as the bikes fit in the spaces on the sides, we just filtered up to the front and got right on the ferry.
We then headed toward roads which would take us to Webfoot Rd. I had ridden on it maybe twice before in the past 20 years, but knew that the north terminus was in Dayton. Passed by Hauer of the Dauen Winery (Hour of the Dawn :-) ) and many farms. Finally, I could see the Center Market up ahead in Dayton.
We didn't stop. I had described the route out of Dayton to Steve, and we proceeded all the way to the other end of Ferry St, off-pavement, over the bridge, down, and left onto the gravel road. And then we joined up with OR-233, entirely missing the whole loopy, traffic-y, narrow bridge part.
From there we merged onto Hwy 99W, never a pleasant experience. But wait! New pavement! Totally new asphalt! Not yet striped, but wide enough that I wasn't feeling stressed. By now, darkness was definitely falling (we'd stopped for Steve to light up on Webfoot Rd; I have a light switch on my handlebar), and traffic was, oh, not light. But I enjoyed that wonderful smooth pavement all the way to the Dundee town line, where it reverted, with additional bits of gravel from the construction.
There was to be a turn off Hwy 99W onto a secondary road, rather than riding all the way into town on 99W. I applauded that, but we pulled over to check the map, because I wasn't entirely sure we'd be able to find it. The map said it was just past the Arco station, just after the road became the divided highway/one way couplet through Newberg. I saw the gas station up ahead, and also saw an immense amount of road construction. Fortuitously, our turn was right there. Note: while the cue sheet calls for "Fox Farm Rd", it is signed "Dayton Rd".
Peace. Quiet. Very low traffic. Also very dark, and it does roll up and down a bit. On one dip, I thought I noticed some movement up ahead in the dark - whoops, about 8 people and 2 dogs all walking on the wrong side of the road in dark clothing! Ninjas! Avoidance maneuvers were successful.
Spotted traffic lights ahead... and there was the Thriftway! Done!
Aftermath: We adjourned to Burgerville, because that's what you do when a ride finishes in Newberg.
Steve said it was the furthest he'd ridden in a single day EVER. It was also his first 200k. Many more to come, I am sure!