Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tom Joad - Day One, mile 210...

Departure day! I loaded up the machine, kissed my significant other goodbye, and headed out into the void with Led Zeppelin's 'Boogie With Stu' blaring in my ear buds under the helmet.

Keeping up with tradition in most of my long rides... I departed Beaverton, Oregon at 8:00am on Wednesday morning, Feb. 11th, to an overcast, cold, foggy morning riding in 38-degree temperatures. As expected, I got stuck riding at a crawl trying to escape the rush hour Portland traffic I had participated in for the past year or so while commuting between Beaverton, OR and Vancouver, WA for work. I always hated that commute, but this morning I was somewhat envious of those 9 to 5 stiffs going to their mundane jobs. Could be something about a regular paycheck.

I pushed through the crawling traffic on Interstate 5 just south of Tualatin, OR, and opened the bike up to 70mph, a cruising speed I hoped to maintain throughout this whole trip. The weather cooperated until I crossed through Salem, OR, where I encountered a perpetual light drizzle. The drizzle was tolerable, but enough to soak the outsides of my riding suit enough where I could feel the cold fabric against my skin, even under the layer of Gore-Tex protecting me from the wetness.

I pushed southward and was rewarded by cloud breaks and sunshine passing through Eugene, OR. The temperature warmed up to the high 40's, and I blissfully cruised towards Riddle, OR and the home of my old mountain-climbing buddy, Randy Bohm and his lovely wife Shannon.
Randy is a kindred spirit, a diesel mechanic and welder by trade, also unemployed over the past 5 months from an 11-year job, but recently employed again. Randy is the perpetual optimist. Life's been tough for both of us at times, but Randy always had the strength to see the positive opportunities in adverse situations. In many ways, I've always tried to approach life's little surprises with the 'Randy Bohm' way of thinking. I highly doubt neither Randy nor I will ever die of stress-related illnesses following this simple recipe. I highly recommend it.

Although I only met Shannon a year ago, I liked her immediately. She's a big-city transplantee who recognized a long time ago that shedding the big-city life style for the simpler things in life in much more rewarding, both physically and mentally. Shannon is generous, caring, and very sensitive to the needs of people around her. Yet another good role model for me to improve my social skills with friends and neighbors. And the cherry on top is that she's an incredible cook. Her spaghetti sauce in wonderful, and she make the best Crepe-Suzette I have ever tasted! Yes, I'm going back for breakfast on my return trip home.

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