By Kert Emperado
I arrived in Portland yesterday and had a chance to reunite with 2014 riders, Nicole, Lindsey, and support intern, Kristina. And this was even before meeting with the official ride group. I am always reminded that the FCBA experience often builds lifelong relationships. We enjoyed reminiscing about our shared experiences biking and traveling throughout the country and catching up on our new life situations. Thank you to Nicole and Kristina for driving up to Portland, and for Lindsey for hosting us, and taking us to the nearby award-winning food trucks! I had a waffle sandwich called the Portlander, and it was very tasty.
Since I was joining the adventure one day later, I drove a rental car to catch up with the group in McMinnville, OR; about fifty miles away from Portland. It was a cold (50-degree) rainy day, which I was happy to be in a car rather than out in the element on the bicycle. I arrived at the First Presbyterian Church and met the new riders and reunited with the “old” ones. Many people tend to come back eventually, if not return every year. (Before I forget, thanks Scott for putting my bike together!) I’ve been riding with the Fuller Center every year since 2013 and I’ve always found the mission and adventure to be worthwhile. In addition, I’ve always been touched and impressed at how church members are very welcoming and generous to our group who up until now, were complete strangers. We shared a nice time in conversation during the spaghetti dinner provided by the church.
Today, I had a chance to catch up with returning rider, Mike (the Mechanic). Thanks for the conversation and advice Mike! This morning, our trip leader Connor, shared information about the Fuller Center and the mission to end poverty housing. I always find value in hearing about the great things and impact the organization is doing in many communities across the U.S. and abroad. After the church service at First Presbyterian, we headed to Salem, OR. I drove ahead to return my rental car at the Salem airport, which was a few miles walk in the sunny, 60-degree weather. The riders shortly arrived after the 26-mile route, with smiles and expressions of gratefulness for the beautiful riding conditions, especially after yesterday’s ride in the rain. I’m excited to finally ride tomorrow, and we are headed to the shore. OYEE!
View of the airport