Williams, Oregon

9/20/21

Today I checked out of my hotel, biked along the pathway back to the train station, and caught the bus to Medford. I had a wonderful lunch of Thai yellow vegetable curry at an all-vegan restaurant, and then headed out for the 35 miles to Williams, where I’ll spend tonight and tomorrow night.

(View from the bus)

Google Maps described the terrain as “mostly flat,” but I beg to differ. I encountered another stop-3-or-4-times-on-the-way-up hill (where I found a marker denoting the elevation and felt vindicated) and then seemed to glide downhill significantly more than I had climbed. (This happened from Eugene to Deadwood as well. It’s a curious phenomenon, but I guess I’ll take it…?) This was mostly an exhilarating reward after the slog, but it did give me pause when thinking about making the return trip in a few days. I may look into some alternative routes.

One really cool thing: shortly after I left Medford, I got to pass through the small town of Jacksonville, Oregon, which I recognized as one of the then-three (apparently there are now more) towns I heard about in my childhood in which the entire town is designated a National Historic Landmark. This was significant to me, since I grew up just outside one of the other two: Waterford, Virginia. (The third was Historic Deerfield, Massachusetts, which I visited with my historian mother in 1988.)

I didn’t linger long in Jacksonville, but I made a note of the architecture and a few historic plaques as I rolled through.

Jacksonville did also have the sole public park I could see along my whole route today—which has been unusual on my journey thus far, since there are usually at least three or four—so I took the opportunity to use the restroom, reapply sunscreen, and pause to enjoy the chocolate whoopie pie I had purchased at Sundance in Eugene yesterday.

While I ate, a mother supervised her two young boys nearby on the playground equipment. The older one (6 or so, I estimated by his Jack-o’-lantern teeth) was very curious about my bike and trailer, investigating up close and asking me several questions. He was also eager to show off his toy airplanes. After he had exhausted these topics and I was enjoying my confection, he approached once again with another question: “Excuse me… um, do you have any kids?”

“No,” I said with a smile and a shake of the head.

He looked dismayed, and his voice was soft: “Oh no…” 

I chuckled to myself as his mother intervened: “Stop bothering her!”

The park was a pleasant, shady spot to stop. After that, the roads were mostly sunny, and the temp hit 81, which was a bit higher than I’ve been used to thus far. I suspect that contributed to my unexpected level of fatigue by the time I crawled into Williams and met my welcoming host, another friend of a friend.

One highlight of the journey: another plum tree! It was a variety I didn’t recognize (sort of a translucent yellow/blush on the tree, then turning a pale blue after falling to the ground) but they were delicious, and I feasted on at least 8 or 9 from the bike lane before continuing on my way.

The Williams General Store, about four miles from my host’s place, looked very quaint. If I have the energy tomorrow, I may head back up there without the trailer and take a peek inside.

My internet is weak in this lovely outbuilding guest room I’m staying in, so I probably will publish this in the morning. Now, I think an early sleep is in order!

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