I have had so many wonderful people come into my life in the past couple days that I thought I would share. Obviously, I am going to list the wondrous beings, because lists are what I do best.
1) Jess and Matt: These incredibly generous humans decided to allow Ale and me to stay at their house for 2 days and eat all of their food. Jess was a senior when Ale and I were freshmen on the field hockey team. So at least Jess had a bit of foresight as to how much Ale and I are capable of eating (because she knew us at a time of tremendous food consumption and heavy weight gain). However, she probably didn’t realize that we would still be eating that way 5 years later, but surprise, we are eating even more! Anyways, we had a wonderful time at their beautiful house. We laughed until we cried about almost nothing, went to Jess’s soccer game (cheered obnoxiously), had a gorgeous home cooked hamburger dinner, watched a movie, went out to dinner, got froyo, ect.
I am going to be honest here, there were some slight set backs that coupled these magic moments. One of which was biking to Jess’s house. She texted us saying it was 1,000 ft of elevation in under 2 miles. I remembered Jess being one of the funnier teammates, and thought, “o yay she is still funny!” I was right, Jess is still funny, but this was a serious matter. The house was indeed on top of a 1,000 ft hill. I think it may have been the hardest climb yet, and it was after a day of riding. I was pouring sweat by the time I got to her house and had a lot of trouble going up and down stairs the next couple days. The second set back was Jess’s cat named Ace. My relationship with Ace started off great and then things went pretty sour when Jess and Matt were not home. Long story short, Ale and I managed to end up locked in the garage because Ace was guarding the door and would hiss and growl at us every time we cracked it. We were in there for about 2 hours strategizing how to get our shoes and phones, which were inside the house (and we needed them for bike accessory shopping in Eugene). Ace makes a wonderful guard cat. Well done Jess and Matt.
O ya, Jess and Matt also convinced us to go to Portland and so thank you for that too! Because this place is fricken unreal and I love it here!
2) Kay and Kathleen: As Ale and I set off towards Portland, we made a lunch stop in a place called Brownsville. It was a small little town with lots of farms and with a LOT of people. I guess Ale and I came on the busiest day of the year (garage / yard sale day). People had come from all over Oregon to get great deals on anything they could find. Aparently, it’s usually pretty quiet and the restaurant owner where we ate, said he had never seen his place so busy. Ale and I ended up sitting outside near our bikes next to two really nice ladies that looked like they were in their twenties. We struck up a conversation and after about 10 minutes they invited us to stay at either of their farms. I just could not believe they offered that, what I nice gesture! We almost stayed in Brownsville that night, but thought we should probably get some more miles seeing that we had just eaten huge quantities of food to prepare for the afternoon ride. (can’t let anything go to waste) Anyways, we exchanged numbers with Kay and Kathleen and Kathleen had said she had a place in Portland as well, so if we were passing through we could pitch a tent in her backyard. Little did she know that is exactly what we would do. More to come on that one.
3) Jo and Ace (not the cat): As we continued biking north we began to get very tired and dehydrated near Williamette Valley. We still had about 15 more miles until we would reach Salem (where we planned to stay), so we were starting to get a little worried. We stopped at a market place and each drank about a liter in 15 minutes. About 15 minutes after we got back on our bikes a car pulled over in front of us and an older man jumped out waving us down. I was a litte ahead and didn’t know what was going on, so he ended up catching Ale’s attention. I stopped and saw Ale talking to this guy for awhile and then I saw the Ale look saying, “umm, this could be awesome, should we risk it?” (its the one eyebrow up look), which of course I responded with my one eyebrow up look, like, “what is even going on here?”
Once we established that Ace (the waving man) and his wife, Jo (who was waiting in the car) were awesome and safe and we wanted in on the situation, we got directions to their house and met them there. They ended up taking us to town to go grocery shopping and then letting us shower and do laundry at their place. Turns out Ace and Jo are world’s coolest great grandparents and they have been on about 6 cross country touring trips. They had a huge map in their hallway marking all the routes they had been on and the one they were planning for next summer. They gave lots of tips and told stories about all their adventures until about 11pm (at this point I was getting a bit light-headed and dizzy from the lack of food). We thanked them and headed out to our tent to eat the enormous amount of food we bought at the store. As I was falling asleep, I just kept think, “what are the fricken odds, we would run into these wonderful people at such a perfect time. life is soooo good sometimes!”
In the morning we had a huge breakfast with Jo and Ace and they told us all about their family and their life style. To be honest, it seemed pretty wonderful and made me reevaluate the urban life style I have been brought up in. All of their family is just a cow bell ring away and they all lead such happy lives in their small rural town.
4) Coby from Salem bike shop: After leaving Jo and Ace’s home, we road to Salem and stopped at a bike shop to fix Ale’s noisy chain. A guy called Coby worked on her bike for about an hour while we went across the street and ate pizza. He fixed her up big time and then ended up helping her buy another saddle that fit her butt way better. (sidenote, Ale had stopped at a bike shop in Florence and was convinced she got a waaaaay better saddle. She told me all about measuring her sit bones, and how much better this new one was. Then about 15 minutes into the ride she was like, “oooo nooooo!!! This one is worse!!!!”) Turns out she got the wrong size and this guy Coby traded her for the right size. So Ale got a new saddle and a bike tune up for free. Awesome!
5) Doug from bike shop in Portland: As Ale and I biked into Portland we were absolutely amazed at how beautiful and cool Portland seemed. We biked down the streets trying to take it all in and almost didn’t notice a man chasing us. Again, Ale was caught and I turned around to see what the commotion was about. This guy worked at a online cycling retail company that had a store a block away. He had chased us to see if we wanted any free samples or any supplies. He gave us each a free T-shirt, a free tube of butt butter and then sold me a wool jersey for half price. win.
6) Kathleen (again this time in Portland), Calla, and Pete: We arrived at Kathleen’s place last night and met her amazing roommates, Pete and Calla. They were all so nice and just had a very cool vibe. Kathleen made a delicious dinner with vegetables from her farm in Brownsville and fresh eggs. Dinner convo was great and I was just so amazed and surprised at how much I could have in common with complete strangers. I hope I end up living in a house like theirs at some point in my life. They had a beautiful garden full of medicinal plants and chickens and ducks and all things cool.
7) Mike: Mike Dillon gets another shout out because he sent Ale and I info about Voodoo donuts. It was soooo good and definitely a cool place to see in Portland. We each downed a maple bacon donut in seconds and then ate a few more huge creative donuts before feeling sick and attempting to bike to Kathleen’s. It’s pretty funny to think back a couple of months ago when I would see donuts like that at work and think, “o gross! who would actually consider eating that!” haha o how bike touring as changed me.