Another restless night sleep as if my brain couldn’t stop pedaling through the night and then we attacked the third and final day of our Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway adventure. After two days of 40+ mile rides, my legs were no longer tired, my arms no longer sore, and my brain on overdrive – yet still excited to get in the saddle.
The morning started with the continental breakfast at The Grand Hotel in Salem, complimented by a gluten free P&J sandwich that I had pre-packed just in case earlier in the week and two cups of coffee. Caffeinated, we kicked off the day with a visit to the Travel Salem offices and the Salem Capitol building.
Then we put on feet back on the pedals.
The most difficult section of the bikeway for traffic and direction, we maneuvered our way through the busy mid-morning traffic in downtown Salem as we eased out into the suburbs and finally to the countryside.
Greeting us with fresh air and wide open fields, the roads weaved north through scattered beautiful flowering fields. From acres of acres of cauliflower and trimmed hop fields, this section of the scenic bikeway was by far my favorite. Taking the trail at a relaxed pace, we glided through the remaining valley and enjoyed the end of fall sun on our backs. Only missing one turn along the way, the day flew by.
Passing through Willamette Mission State Park, we goofed around in the park fields and wandered the hazelnut orchards. Here I also decided to take a bite out of the pavement with the only crash of the trip. In true Kelsey fashion, I tripped over my own pedal in slow-mo while trying to turn around from a dead stop. Luckily I came away with just a few skinned knees and a small break on my camera.
After dusting off my knees we checked out the biker and hiker camp at the park and test road the ferry crossing the Willamette River before embarking on the last ten miles of the ride.
With some flat fields and big sweeping curves, I road a good portion of the last leg alone. Thinking through each pedal… each mile, I kept just pushing myself further and further – another moment beyond what I imagined I could do and another moment setting expectations for what I could do in the future. So riding into Champoeg State Park was liking flying through the finish line ribbon for me. Only 7 months since having surgery for my Crohn’s disease and I finally felt like myself again – healthy, active, and alive.
More photos from Day three: