"Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain.
It's not something you learn in school.
But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship,
you really haven't learned anything.
"
- Muhammad Ali

TODAYíS ROUTE:
Portland, OR to Eugene, OR: I-5 South to SR-99W South through Newberg to SR-18 past Sheridan to Rose Lodge to US-101 South through Lincoln City to Newport to Yachats to Florence, East on SR-126 through Tiernan to Walton to Eugene. (
MAP)

THE DETAILS:
Scott and Toms tried their best to keep me from making it to Eugene today, and they came pretty close. But what are old friends for anyway? Especially high school buddies. I didnít get on the road until 2:00 PM. Thatís so late that I had to alter my planned route, but just by a few miles.

With a lingering hangover, I ride through downtown Portland and then head southwest to the coast. Everyoneís been telling me how beautiful the Oregon coast is, and I have to go see it. Iím so tired from last night that I could easily just have taken the interstate to Eugene and been there in a couple of hours. But the coast is calling me.

Hours later I reach the ocean at Lincoln City and Iím instantly disappointed. Sure the beaches look nice, but the coastal road here is like a strip mall, fast food and motels for miles. This is miserable. What were all those people talking about?

Oh, they were talking about this. When I reach Yachats (pronounced yah-HOTS) things start to change. I enter the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and the Burger Kings give way to pounding surf crashing against the rocky shore. Cape Perpetua Overlook, the highest point on the Oregon coast, provides a breathtaking view of the ocean sweeping up towards the Coast Range. Down the road a bit, the picturesque Heceta Head Lighthouse sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Fog sifts out of the trees and rolls into the water. The sun strains through the low cloud cover.

Further along the coast are the magnificent Oregon Dunes, but itís getting late and I have to turn east at Florence. But the route towards Eugene is a pleasant surprise. Highway 126 winds up the Siuslaw River, climbing over the Coastal Range and into a deeply wooded valley. Iím racing the light as I swing back and forth, sweeping through turns. Itís the time of day filmmakers call "magic hour" and everything is glowing: the road, the trees, the sky, the bike.  Everything is so beautiful I feel like I'm in a film.  Or at least a commercial.

My stop for the evening, and the next day and night, is the home of Monica Shovlin and Chris Baxley. I went to college with Monica at NYU and I havenít seen her since she and Chris got married a couple of summers ago. Monica moved out here years ago for graduate school at the University of Oregon and then a great job fell right in her lap. Iíve been really lame about staying in touch but true friendships remain strong. When I pull down Monicaís driveway itís just like we saw each other last week. Iím looking forward to spending some quality time with an old friend.

THE DAILY TAKE:
Miles Today: 230
Total Miles: 15,617
Time on Motorcycle: 4 Hours 35 Minutes
Average Speed: 50.2 MPH
States Visited today: 1 (OR)
Total States Visited: 31
National Park Service Passport Stamps: 0
NPS Stamp Totals: 115 Stamps, 28 States
Weather: Cloudy, foggy along shoreline
Number of beers I had last night: ???

SEEN ON THE ROAD:
"Every day is a little life. Live it to its fullest" Ė sign on Seventh Day Adventist Church on Route 18 near Willamina, Oregon.

RANDOM PASSINGS:
If you're looking for some interesting ceramic tile tables, check out the work of DYOA Studios, the ceramic studio of my high school classmate, Toms Royal. Toms has been creating ceramic pottery and furniture in Portland for a few years now, but his recent focus is specifically on tables. And the ones heís created are quite impressive. The ultimate idea of DYOA (Do Your Own Art) is to let you create your own piece, and Toms has set up a template where customers can order specific patterns and colors. Heís not on the web yet (come on Toms!) but you can see his creations at ABC Home in New York and other fine stores throughout the country.

 


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