The Portland-Corvallis cultural exchange:)

Back when I was in Glacier National Park, camping out in the Many Glacier hiker/biker site, I met a super awesome fellow–we’ll call him Jason–from Corvallis.

Jason was on the tail end of a four-week bike trip that took him from Corvallis through Oregon, the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, a bunch of other rad places, and finally to Glacier, where he was going to catch the train back to Oregon. He’s one of those people who immediately feels like a friend, so when we were both back at camp from our various adventures we spent a lot of time chatting. And when James showed up to meet me but had forgotten his waterproof layer, Jason lent him his jacket for the rest of our trip.

james-jasons jacket(sadly, I have no pictures of Jason, but his jacket sure looks good on James! :)

Fast forward a bit. James and I have mailed Jason his jacket back (plus some vegan cookies for good measure:) ; we’ve emailed a few times. Since I have a three-day weekend coming up, I get it in my head that I could have a mini bike adventure: on Friday, I could bike down to Corvallis and Jason could show me around the cool parts of it. Saturday morning, we’d go to the Corvallis farmers market (there are few things better than a farmers market:), then I could bike back to Portland, with Jason if he’s into it, and show him some of the cool things here. Then, he could bike home to Corvallis on Sunday.

The Portland-Corvallis cultural exchange, I start calling it in my head.

Generally, I scheme these little schemes and end up doing them by myself, since most people are so busy and planned out all the time that there’s little room for spontaneous adventure. But amazingly enough, Jason was also into the Portland-Corvallis cultural exchange–not only the my coming down part, but also the him biking up part. And to add even more spontaneous amazingness, another friend of mine was not only excited to bike partway down to Corvallis with me, but also created an excellent cue sheet for us to follow.

Thus it was that I found myself biking the approximately 100 miles to Jason’s house last Friday on a grey but entirely pleasant day. I got there around 5, just in time for us to hit up some awesome parks, cruise through downtown Corvallis a bit, and eat an amazing vegan dinner at a place called Nearly Normal’s Gonzo Cuisine (I have no idea what Gonzo Cuisine is, but it seems like it means a shit-ton of delicious options;)

Corvallis seems pretty cool, full of separated bike paths that go all sorts of places and with a buzzing college-town bustle. The farmers market was as awesome as I’d hoped, and we stocked up on a bunch of fresh goodies for our ride back to Portland. And since it’s never as fun to go the same way home as you came, we altered the route a little so that we could take a different ferry over the Willamette River (the Buena Vista Ferry instead of the Wheatland one) and go through Salem. Just for the heck of it.

life is an adventure(heck yeah it is! A sign seen from Buena Vista Road)

After a lovely ride–more sunny on Saturday than Friday–we got to Portland in time for an evening jaunt around the waterfront and a ginormous dinner with James. I hadn’t really thought about it much, but I was pretty ravenous for most of Saturday. I guess in retrospect that the 100 miles back-to-back will do that, but at the time I was just sort of bemused that I was almost immediately hungry again even after I ate what seemed like an adequate amount of food.

Anyway. We toured around Portland Sunday morning and bought Jason a new front bike light for his ride home, then I escorted him as far as Milwaukie where there was yet another farmers market to provide some fresh biking goodies for the rest of his ride. And thus the cultural exchange came to an end. He biked south back to Corvallis; I biked north maybe 10 miles back to my house and an evening full of Portland friends.

But man! It was so super awesome to fit an adventure like that into a three-day weekend! Those days felt full to the brim, crammed with activity and exploration and spontaneity, a great use of three consecutive days off. And I’m super thankful to Jason and my biking buddy David for being game for anything, even at the total last minute. I started this week feeling happy and full, a lovely beginning:)

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