I can’t quite say that I lost my heart to the State of Oregon just yet, but I might have lost my breath a couple of times on the ride to Eugene from Florence. The descent down from 1000 feet and the fact that I, finally, enjoyed some tailwind, made me definitely feel ecstatic.

Mat Kearney, one of my favorite musicians these days and native to Eugene, published a song about his birthplace a few years ago.

Rolling into Eugene, elated after a long day of riding, I rode through the downtown area, to my motel on Broadway. I noticed plenty of bike lanes, independent non-chain stores and, in general, a certain character to at least that part of the city. And, obviously, the Ducks “O”, on display everywhere.

I feel I was only able to get a little glimpse into what Eugene is about, from what I have seen, there is a strong sense for community fostering and building (Eugene Sunday Streets festival), for green methods of transportation (plenty of bicycle lanes across the city) and natural/organic stores abound. Only scratching the surface this time, Eugene is definitely a place to come back to.

For now, however, I have to head east. The Cascades are waiting.