July 17, 2001

7/17/01 Coburg, OR

70 / 4812 miles

Went to bed last night under a cloudy sky, listening to the murmur of the McKinzie River lull me to sleep. I was hoping for more stars like the other night at the Evereds. That night I could make out the Milky Way, even without my glasses.

McKinzie River

Still overcast as I set out this morning. Just followed the river on it's way west towards Eugene. Traffic picked up as the morning went and I got closer to the city. Saw lots of riverside cabins for rent, along with a lot of waterfalls.

One of the most well known of Oregon's covered bridges, the Goodpasture Bridge, built in 1938, is near the town of Vida. Didn't really want breakfast, so I stopped for some fresh cookies at the McKenzie Tea Trader (now called McKenzie Tree House with new owners) just before Walterville.

From there, I decided to go off the TransAm route to keep following the highway to Eugene. As a two-lane with a marginal shoulder, it was a bit stressful, especially with the logging trucks whizzing by. But at the outskirts of Springfield, the road widened to a four-lane and traffic slowed down too.

Talked to the guys at Hutch's Bicycle Store in Springfield. I was given a bike route map of the area and my eyes popped out of my head. No wonder Eugene is ranked in the top ten cycling communities in the US. From there I also found the Springfield Library to check my email (and to lookup information about pop-up trailers ).

You could bike for days in this city and still not cover all the bike paths, let alone the bike lanes. No bike line - use the sidewalk. Here I saw more bikes on the sidewalks than pedestrians. And no one had a problem with it. Cool! Meandered along the Willamette River until I crossed over into downtown Eugene.

Now, that's a bike bridge!

Made stops at the Lane County Visitor Center, but also REI, Paul's Bicycle Way of Life, Collins Cycle Shop and Barnes & Noble. I just didn't feel comfortable in this town, the largest city on the TransAm Trail. But I'm still blown away with the bike trails. Some of the bike bridges are works of art. And instead of a generic concrete pipe tunnel to under a highway, they've created a very pleasing underpass. Lots has been spent on these projects, but they are used a lot.

I even had a bike lane the several miles from Eugene to Coburg. Once I got to the RV campground, I found more cyclists. I met a couple of kids who just graduated from high school in Denmark. And a father and son from Wisconsin rode it too.