August 18, 2006
I woke early this morning – a man on a mission.
I packed my tent and gear in no time in the chill, dim light of dawn. I put on my hazmat/space-suit looking rain gear to ward off the cold. Within a mile or two I came to a gas station that was open, and started my day with two packs of Little Debbie Zingers and a 20oz Coke.
From there I settled in and proceeded to crank away the miles. There would be a lot to do this afternoon. The route was still gently descending from the mountains along The McKenzie River to Eugene, so the riding was smooth, steady, and enjoyable.
I plugged in the radio early, and soaked up the novelty of a pop hits station, hearing something like “California, city of Compton – come on take a ride with me, smoke in the back of the Benz – tryin’ catch me ridin’ dirty – we be yearnin’ we be turnin’ we be burnin’ – this is how we do – well maybe you’re crazy – with my mind on my money and my money on my mind – the rest is still unwritten.”
I stopped once more along the way for a ham and cheese Hot Pocket and more soda, and rolled into Springfield (A twin city of Eugene) sometime after noon.
I’ve been running out of money fast, and decided a few days ago that I would stop for a while in Eugene and find a job. So the first thing I did in town was find a cheap motel with a weekly rate. Checking in was a unique feeling – I’d be sleeping in the same bed for a whole week!
Now that I’d established a base of operations, the next thing to do of course was to find a job. I showered and set out immediately to do so, sometime around 2pm. The woman in the motel gave me directions to the local Outback Steakhouse. They were my employer in Allentown PA for the two years prior to my trip. I’d heard there was a location in Eugene – one of the motivating factors on my stopping here – so it made sense for me to go and check there first.
I got there before 3pm, during the normal hours I knew that management would have free time to do interviews and take applications. Unfortunately none of the managers were there, but I was told the proprietor would be back later in the day.
So I had two hours to kill. Most of that time was spent loitering at local businesses, fulfilling my lack of pancakes and coffee from earlier this morning, and playing with my recently revitalized cell phone.
I returned to Outback and met the proprietor, who’s basically the general manager/owner. I directly and honestly told him about how I rode my bike here, and am only interested in working for about a month. He seemed cool with it and told me to come back tomorrow morning to talk with the kitchen manager, and that it “Could very well work out for us.” Sounds good. Their busy season is coming up now with the University of Oregon Ducks football games on the weekends.
So let’s see – today I rode 60 miles, found a place to stay for a week, and applied for a job. Not bad. I spent the rest of the evening kicking back in my room with the phone and tv. Life is good.