Saturday, August 31, 2013

Day 85 - August 27, 2013 - Eugene, OR to Florence, OR

Miles - 80
Total mileage - 2,310

We originally had talked about splitting this final portion of our trip into two days, stopping about 14 miles short of Florence, camping for the night, and having a short and enjoyable last day's ride to the coast.  As we left the hotel this morning, we were still undecided as to whether we would make a run for it all at once, or split it up - as you can see, we went for broke and made it in one day!

Our hotel was right on the river in Eugene, and also right on the awesome bike path that ran along the river.  We hopped on the path and headed north out of town.


After a quick stop at Mickey D's for breakfast (we were the only people there on a Tuesday morning who weren't pushing 90!), we were pedaling out of Eugene and past a dam.  


There were only 2 noticeable climbs left, and they were tackled before we were even 30 miles in.  Shortly after the first one, we came to our first Florence sign!

The last climb was rather sustained, which meant Mel went pedaling on past while I took about 10 breaks on my way to the summit!  It was nice at the top to know that we had tackled the last big challenge of this journey :)


We enjoyed the last big downhill to, and continued on past Triangle Lake, and through some beautiful Oregon countryside.


We stopped for drinks and a snack at a country store in the tiny hamlet of Deadwood, and took a little break outside on their picnic tables.  I (Erica) was pretty tired, and we still had almost 30 miles to go to Florence.  We were still undecided about our final destination for the day at this point.

We pedaled through a few more tiny towns, and finally got to our decision point for how far we would go - Mapleton.  This was the last camping option before Florence, and only 14 miles from the coast.  We stopped in to another convenience store for our last convenience store snack of the trip!


As we have done so many times this summer, we parked it on the sidewalk in front of the store and took in some fuel.  At this point, I had decided that I wanted to press on and get to the coast today, we were ready for the conclusion of the trip, and would rather not drag it out for another day.  We still had plenty of daylight, and only 14 miles of gradual downhill to go to Florence!

It was then that we met Jodi - she pulled up in her car to the market, asked where we were heading for the night, and when we said Florence, she asked if we had a place to stay.  We definitely didn't, and had been planning on camping, but Jodi graciously offered us her cabin she built behind her home, and also picked up dinner for us to enjoy once we arrived at her place!  With renewed enthusiasm, we pedaled down he river headed to the ocean!


Finally, we arrived it Florence!


We wanted to try to find a beach to dip our wheels in that night, but the best we could do was a boat ramp on the river.  People probably thought we were nuts, but oh well.  The picture is on the real camera, so it'll have to come later.  We planned to find the real beach tomorrow, after we find a suitable place to get our bikes out to the water.

We did that, then headed to Jodi's.  she welcomed us to the cabin, and invited us in for dinner after we got settled.  How nice!  Jodi is a retired folk singer, Milly still works in town, and they became friends when they were both correctional officers in Texas.  They have traveled all over together, and have such interesting lives!

We changed clothes and came inside, and met Jodi's friend Milly, who shares the house with her.  We enjoyed a lovely meal, followed by ice cream cones, yum! Jodi and Milly both ride recumbent trikes - these things look awesomely comfortable!



We had some good conversation, the  retired to the cabin.  Jodi made sure to leave the back door open for us in case we needed to use the bathroom during the night.  We are continually awed by the generosity and kindness of people!

We had a great night of much needed sleep in the cabin!


We had such an eventful day, and an emotional one knowing that our journey is officially complete, and that we would wake up tomorrow with nowhere to pedal.  The rest is welcome, but we will sincerely miss the adventure.

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