This time, though, I DID have to do a bit of a pre-ride -- since I woke up Friday morning in Oceanside, needing to ride RUSA permanent #1586 (or, alternately, take the Tillamook bus service) to get back to my SE PDX home.
No bus ride for me; the 130K ride went quite well -- minimal traffic heading away from coast destinations on a Friday afternoon, and, one giant pizza later, I was all packed and asleep at a reasonable hour and as ready as I could possibly hope to be for a 5am start time.
From the Woodstock Park startpoint, David and myself quickly fell off the back -- and would stay together for the next 38 hours, more or less, never gapping each other by more than, say, 200 yards.
The first 70 or so miles covered familiar turf but in slightly new ways -- I had never used, for example, Beavercreek or Wildcat roads, or traveled through Scotts Mills. We kept up a pretty mild pace, staying well above the brevet minimum pace but hardly overexerting ourselves. The first snack stop was in Aumsville, then we turned straight west.
Over some lumpy rural rolling hills, we went crossed over the Willamette in Independence then headed over to the Kings Valley Highway.
Highway 34 into Alsea brought the first 1000-foot elevation point of the day. At that town's market, we bumped into Shun from eastern Washington, who was just leaving to travel onwards, and Jim from California, who had had enough and was calling it a day.
We had a slow lunch of fried food and ice cream, then left town on the completely awesome Fork Road which pointed us (windingly) towards Harrisburg.
After Harrisburg was sunset, then the well-traveled Diamond Hill / Gap Road into Brownsville. The lovely little café there had shut down sometime in the last year or two, so I settled for a big Mountain Dew from a mini-mart instead of hot soup.
We took backroads into Sweet Home in the dark; Shun had a hotel reservation somewhere in town, around mile 200. David and I pressed on, though.
It was 11:30 when we left Sweet Home... and past 7am by the time we reached the 4100-foot peak of NF-11, meaning we traveled about fifty miles in eight hours. That did include, at least, two little naps -- half an hour by a dam, forty-five more minutes at another roadside spot that was neither near a cliff nor under an eroding rock face.
Most of the way up, we ran into Theo taking a ditch nap of his own. He stirred as we pedaled up, then got "packed" (i.e., folded up a mylar blanket) and joined us for the last little ways upwards.
The best part about being up at 4100 feet of elevation means you have a long way to go down -- we did it first on the backside of NF-11, then on a great gradual drop into Detroit on Highway 22.
We finished a nice greasy diner breakfast in Detroit at around 10:00, feeling like we were almost home with a mere 100 miles of riding remaining. Unfortunately, that last century include another climb back up to 3700 feet on NF-46 (from Detroit's 1600ish).
I slogged upwards, a good ways behind David and Theo, and was appropriately rewarded with a great descent practically all the way into Estacada.
Theo -- who had fit in about twice as much sleep -- pulled ahead after Ripplebrook, riding strongly into the finish while David and myself did the opposite. We took stops on Faraday, in Estacada, on Amisigger and at the Springwater restrooms before wrapping everything up at a little past 7pm.
I loved the idea of a unsupported / no-hotel 600K -- a mylar blanket and some remote roads provided more than enough sleeping accommodations. Now I'm tempted to register a 600K permanent or two, so I can grab a riding companion or two (I'm not yet crazy enough to do one solo) and go off on a similar adventure while we still have some nice fall weather.