Prolog - Cycle Oregon Coast

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Prologue

It was April of ‘03 that my brother and I decided that we could not do Cycle Oregon XIV this year, and instead would do our own “credit card” ride down the Oregon coast.  We could not ride CO 14 because the first day of the ride was my brother’s daughters birthday, and conflicts with this date in the past have lead us to decide not to interfere with any planned activities on that date.

 So, instead of heading off on September 7th with 2000 other happy cyclists, we decided to wait till the 8th, and embark into the unorganized frontier of our first credit card ride.  Now the term “unorganized” may be a bit misleading.  We did have definite destinations for each days ride, and my brother, Keith, had researched hotels in each city so we knew we had a place to stay at each designated stop.  We made the conscience decision not to pre-reserve hotel room for two reasons.  The first was that most of the hotels had a 72 hour cancellation policy and that was just a bit to restrictive for us, and secondly we had the option of adjusting our destinations for each day depending on riding conditions or any other unforeseen reasons.  As I will convey later in this tale, this turned out to be a very wise decision.

Getting to PDX
My travel to Portland from Louisville was mercifully uneventful.  I got to the airport two hours early because I had never traveled by plane with a bike before, and I wanted plenty of time to get everything taken care of.  It was a tough decision whether to travel with my bike on the plane, or ship it ahead of me via UPS.  I decided to fly it with me since I needed it that last week to get in a few more training rides.  This also turned out to be a very good decision.  I had called United a month before my flight to ask about transport of bicycles and they said it was no problem, but that it would cost me $80 each way.  UPS would have been about $50 each way.  I rented a hard case for the bike and showed up at the airport expecting to whip out my credit card and get charged $80.  Well it did not happen.  They took my bike with no problem and charged me nothing extra.  In fact it went so well I found myself sitting at the airport with an hour and a half till my flight.

 The flight to Chicago was without incident and was even on time.  I killed some time in the C concourse Red Carpet Room and then went to my B concourse gate.  The flight was almost totally full, and all three seats in my row were occupied.  I noticed that one row behind me on the other side of the plane only had one person in the window seat, so, as the number of people getting on the plane died down to a trickle I moved over to that row saying to the gentlemen in the middle seat of my row “now we can all have more elbow room.”  Shortly after that the door closed and I thought to myself “SCORE”, I got an isle seat in one of only a handful of rows that did not have a middle seat filled.

 As it turns out the lady in the window seat was what I consider the perfect row mate.  She was friendly, but not overly chatty.  We took off right on time, and after a few minutes they announced that the movie for the flight was going to be Bruce Almighty.  I had seen this movie in the theatre with my wife and loved it.  It is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time.  So I got to kill most of the flight watching a good movie.

 We landed in PDX 25 minutes ahead of schedule, almost unheard of!  I got off the plane and strolled down to baggage claim and right outside the door was my Sister-In-Law Carla who was there to pick me up. She was just driving by the doors on her first pass, so I ran out, told her to loop around and park at the back of the arrivals pickup area.  At this point things had been going so smoothly with this trip that it was no surprise to me that the timing of Carla being there was perfect to my walking down to baggage claim. 

 As I was walking back to baggage claim I notice one of those little luggage carts sitting there by the door, so I snagged it.  I was going to pay the $2 for one, but here was one just waiting for me to use.

 I spent the rest of that day and the next just hanging out at Geoff and Carla’s who were putting me up in their spare room for that weekend, and then again after the ride for a day.

 Keith called me on Sunday afternoon and arranged to pick me up at Geoff and Carla’s Monday morning at 8am, and the ride would begin.

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