Sunday, June 26, 2011

On the road to Albany

Outside of Salem we had rolling hills, to Matt's delight and my annoyance. He found the flat farmland of the previous day bor-ring while I enjoyed the many different crops we saw. I found the constant up and down more of an annoyance than entertaining, but then I had my fill of rolling hills while riding my bike in Western Massachusetts.

Partway up one such rolling hill, Matt came to an abrupt stop. He was switching gears and the grip shifter on the big gear side came off. We attempted to fix it, failed and resolved to ride eight more miles (with him in the granny gear) to Independence/Monmouth to see if there was a bike shop open. However! Matt then unpacked his entire gear to get his sunglasses out and while I was waiting for that unpack and pack experience to end I somehow managed to fix the shifter! Yay me! I'm glad it didn't break again, because I think that was a lightning strikes sort of a situation.

More farmland. After the initial rolling hill section, we were back to flat farmland.

A stop at Johnston Street.

One of the "fun" things about the trip was riding for a seemingly long time and then seeing a sign that said that where you came from was not really that far away. At least by car 13 miles isn't that far.

We stopped for more sunscreen at Talbot (more a crossroads than a town) and I observed that people hadn't stayed long at the Talbot Community Church. Services started at 11:00, we were there at 12:30 and there was no one about.
This is the first field of peppermint I saw on the trip. The Willamette Valley is known for peppermint production, but we saw a lot more hops in production than peppermint.

Outside of Jefferson, we were to take Scravel Hill Road, our big climb of the day. Before we even got to the interchange we saw signs that there would be a detour. The detour was quite well marked, and if I had carefully looked at the website before we left, I would have known about it ahead of time, as there is a link on the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway website describing the scope of the work and the suggested detour. The good news is that we avoided our big climb of the day by taking the detour.

We ended up on Kamph Road, after heading through the Murder Creek interchange. Here you can find out how Murder Creek got its name. You can see the very vivid bike detour signs that guided us on our way.

At the intersection of Kamph and Scravel Hill Road a motorcyclist stopped to chat. He had come from Brownsville, leaving after church and was having a good time riding about. We told him we were headed to Albany today and would be in Brownsville tomorrow.

Also, at this intersection--I believe we were adding more sunscreen to our bodies and that's why we were there so long--a car pulled up and a young man got out, holding some sort of device. I immediately suspected them of geocaching and I was proved correct when he shouted to his companion that he had found it.

Arriving in Albany, we had to wait a bit to check into our room at the Quality Inn. They were nice enough to let us park our bikes in the meeting room while we waited and there was a computer in the lobby so Matt could check his Facebook and retrieve his many "Happy Birthday" wishes, as today was his birthday. We checked the movie times of the theater near us and walked to the theater to celebrate by watching X-Men: First Class which we both enjoyed.

Walking back, we stopped at Sweetwater's Family Restaurant which is one of my favorite types of establishments. I call them "old people restaurants" and the criteria includes: a full menu of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner offerings encompassing all the "normal" American food such as grilled cheese, ham and cheese 3-egg omelet, Chef's Salad etc. If you are lucky, they will still have listed a "diet plate" consisting of a hamburger patty, a side of cottage cheese and a cup of fruit. A good portion of the menu should be given over to the "senior menu." It was in this place. "I can't order most of the stuff on here," Matt complained, "because it's all senior menu." The food is usually not fabulous, consisting of unfancy bread, iceberg lettuce salads with a few carrot shavings, entrees that come with sides of vegetables that have been sitting in the steam tray for hours. But if you choose wisely, (grilled cheese and fries) it tastes delicious and is pretty darn cheap too. They also always have a rotating pie case and when pie is ordered, cut generous slices. In my opinion, the best menu choice is the soup, salad and slice of pie meal. This is what I partook of. The beef vegetable (another classic of such restaurants) was salty and more broth than anything, the salad came with ranch on the salad, not ranch on the side as I had requested, but the pie was a delicious peanut butter chocolate concoction with more calories in the whipped cream than the salad and soup combined. I suspect the main demographic for such restaurants has an average age of about 75 by now, and with the passing of their patrons, these restaurants will slowly shutter. That's why I take advantage of them in the here and now. That and the pie.

The restaurants also tend to have out-of-this-decade decor that warms the cockles of my heart, such as these chairs.

Matt had the apple stuffed chicken which came with delicious sides as well as the aforementioned limp vegetables in the form of green beans. He ate everything but the green beans.

Back at the hotel we got ready for a soak in the hot tub, but first posed with our mileage today: 44 miles.
To see the photographic record of our trip Matt posted on Facebook go here:
Don't worry, it's public, you don't have to be a member of Facebook to see it.

1 comment:

Sara K. said...

I enjoy a grandparent restaurant now and then, too. The rotating pie fridge is my favorite. If they have egg salad sandwiches, even better! Truly a murder at murder creek. Well done you, shifter fixer extraordinaire!