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From Monmouth to Corvallis, OR

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5/30/12 (part 2)

Took my time in Monmouth since only 20 mile ride today to Corvallis. Left around 10:30 am. Approximately 1/2 of the way, I caught up, nice again with the woman I had passed twice the day before – the one loaded to the gills. Since it was becoming more apparent that she and I were using the same maps and likely on similar trips, I came alongside and said hello – she nearly jumped off her bike because I scared her. We rode the rest of the way together to Corvallis. Her name was McKinley, 25 year old printmaker from Nashville. Our journeys were strikingly similar. She had asked 2-3 others if they wanted to do the ride, but no takers. She had moved out of her apartment and put everything in storage for the summer – simplified everything as part of the prep. Her parents were fearful for her safety, and trying to be brave about it, but didn’t like the idea of her being out there on her own. They were tracking her on “find my friend,” and would call during the day with questions like, “what is that forest it looks like you are riding through?”

That especially cracked me up because my sister is constantly questioning me about what appears to be aimless wanderings or wrong turns as she tracks me, or fields where I stop to take pictures, or whatever. Both of us had told our families and loved ones that we just knew there would be other bikers out there on this well-known and traveled road. We gloated somewhat at the opportunity we had to tell everyone during our nightly report – see, we were right. We also laughed at how friends and family will call and email during the day to chat, not quite understanding that we are on a bicycle, often pumping along sweatily in the middle of nowhere just trying to make it up the next hill or to the next little gas station or convenience store for water or drink or snacks. Ice cream has become a constant craving.

We rolled into Corvallis and started looking for a lunch place. Corvallis is a beautiful town with lots of bike lanes, and a gorgeous river running along the side of town. Many little cafes and restaurants. A local sent us to The Laughing Planet for lunch. Organic and very healthy selection of bowls of pasta and veggies, salads, etc. of course we e starving – you are pretty much hungry all the time. Lunch was fabulous and we immediately sought out the nearest gelato joint. We got 2 different kinds of gelato. Mine was strawberry cream and Mexican chocolate something. Fabulous.

Several locals on the street stopped to chat and talk about the trip and ask questions. All were very friendly and looked pretty normal – no serial killers there. One nice lady even asked if we needed a place to stay.

I accompanied McKinley to the Super 8 – her home for the night, and called Kathy – Pam T’s friend that I was staying with. Perhaps at some point along the way, Mckinley and I will catch up with each other again – perhaps not. Just like the stories in the books I read about others. I kept thinking how Mom would love this.

Kathy took me to her lovely house and set me up while she returned to finish work at Oregon State. When she got home, we hopped on the bikes and she gave me a tour of Oregon State. The campus was beautiful, as all of Oregon has been. The flowers are amazing. Apparently, I hit it just right for high rhododendron season. When we got back to the house, Kathy showed me her various musical instruments and played a couple of tunes on the dulcimer. She plays with a couple of bands on a regular basis, and takes great joy in that and mentoring children of her friends. Kathy is a delightful person and I enjoyed talking with her about families, what’s important and life in general.

Kathy took me to dinner at the place in the country that grows organic vegetables called the Gathering Fork. They serve dinner on Thursday’s and Friday’s. WOW – it was fabulous. A very special culinary experience. I had hanger steak with veggies and for dessert apple rhubarb something with ice cream.

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