I had talked with Doug and Annie about a possible ride this Saturday, November 26. I had checked the weather forecast several days before and this day kept coming up as the only dry day of the holiday or even the week. I drove back from Portland yesterday (Friday), after spending a very nice Thanksgiving holiday with Sierk, Jennifer and little Atticus and other few good friends. And this morning Ken called after talking with Doug and Annie. We had a plan.
Whenever I’m out for a ride I know not everything in the ride will necessarily go according to plan. I always hope for good things, of course. I know that at a minimum I will be at some point on a nice road and I will have a great time behind the handlebars. No matter what. The plan was to ride to Marcola and meet Ken at the Tipi Village. We would watch the Football game (the civil war) for a while, have lunch with Ken, and from there Ken would join us for a short ride in the area close to the Tipi Village.
We took the long way to Ken’s house to avoid the Football traffic and to add some fun miles to the mix.
When you ride with Doug you have to get used to frequent stops to check maps. And very frequently you will need to turn around because he has made a wrong turn at some point.
You know, it is part of the fun, and sometimes those wrong turns take us to great roads we would have never ridden if it weren’t for that wrong turn. That was the case for this short hop on the wrong turn that is depicted on the video below. If you are patient to watch this video to the last minutes, you will be able to see, on record, how things happen. And how Annie and I had fun in the process.
After the unplanned detour Annie takes over the lead position and eventually we made it to the Tipi Village without any further problems. I like crossing the creek on that bridge (last minute of this two-minute video).
Great place to park the bike (picture below). Last year (2010) this creek was teeming with Salmon, a rare occurrence these days in such a small creek this far from the Ocean.
This place is quiet in the winter, with the Tipis sans canvas and trees without leaves. During the summer almost every weekend this place is busy with tourists spending the night at the retreat, or wedding celebrations, retreats, parties. Sometimes we luck out and there is one weekend free during the summer for us regular folk to enjoy as well. Check their site: The Tipi Village Retreat.
We watched the Football Game and ate great food and talked about rides. Overall, a very nice and mellow gathering.
Once it was clear there was only one possible outcome for that game, the Ducks easily proving their point, we decided to go for a ride. Ken was talking about Brownsville and this Café, called the Corner Café, that he was recently thinking it would be a great point for us to ride to and use as a meeting point during the summer. However, he added, the Café had burned, as of a couple of weeks past. We all thought it would be a great idea to ride to Brownsville and check it out. In a few minutes we were riding. I enjoy following Ken, he rides on a speed that matches what I can comfortably ride without having to push. And he is good about keeping the speeds down on the straights.
My idea of a great riding pace is the one that is just fast enough to have fun at curves, without necessarily needing to excessively use the brakes to set the bike up for the corner. A slow corner entry allows for beginning acceleration before the apex to set the chassis up and then you can hear the nice engine notes along the way (slow in, fast out, SIFO). That is, once I feel the corner is under control, I can turn the wick a bit and have the most fun at it. Once coming out of the corner, still leaning, I may need to get on more power for the next gear up, or two, but keeping a steady, reasonable, and safe speed on the straights until the next curve when the process is repeated: slow down, downshift once or twice if needed and be ready to be on the gas before the apex if possible, or when the corner is under control. Far from the limit, I know, but it sure is fun where it counts on my bank. And safe. Now, when I follow Doug is another story. That guy is fast and smooth at it! I don’t keep up with him, that guy is too fast. But I will catch up with him when he stops to check his map.
We made it to Brownsville and to the burned Corner Café, right next door to the Blue Point diner. More on the Blue Point diner later.
We parked the bikes and went for a walk around town for a bit. Ken at some point mentioned that this town was the Castle Rock of “Stand by Me.” I confess I was a bit skeptical about this story. It has been a long time since I saw this movie a last time. Funny that I was saying this right here, with this view for a background.
We went to an antique store just across the street, always an interesting adventure. Check this Sinclair Motor oil advertisement and their marketing theme: “mellowed 100 million years.” I have a feeling no oil company would approach their marketing with this angle today.
Outside views are great when framed by the items for sale on window shelves.
I asked Ken once again about Stand by Me. I had seen this movie several times. It is a classic for one thing. For another, it was a story I had known from the book “The Body” of Stephen King as well. The book and the movie had touched me on my understanding of friendship, what I know of friendship. Ken confirms the story again and points out some of the areas of the city that are scenes of the movie.
The picture below is the first scene at street level, when Richard Dreyfus is narrating: “I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being. It happened in the summer of 1959 – a long time ago, but only if you measure in terms of years. I was living in a small town in Oregon called Castle Rock; there were only twelve hundred and eighty-one people, but to me it was the whole world.”
Then the camera pans clockwise and shows the street exactly where we had parked the bikes, as the camera follows Gordie Lachance on his walk through town to meet his friends.
At the side of the burned Café is the Blue Point Diner I mentioned earlier. It is where, in the alley on the back of the diner, Chris Chambers showed Gordie Lachance the gun, saying it was discharged. And you know the story, Gordie fires the gun and it happened that it was loaded.
There, on the other side of town, is the green bridge they crossed on foot when returning from their adventure and they arrive back in “Castle Rock.”
The story is supposed to have happened on labor day weekend, September 1959. It was filmed in 1984 or 1985 (film is dated as 1986). So they were filming here about 26 years ago. I was surprised about how everything is mostly as it were on the film.They must have a strong sense of community here, preserving their town, I think. There is a wake planned for the Corner Café. I wish there was a way to bring it back. Ken described it as a great place for a Sunday brunch. And now that I’ve gotten to know this town and its connection to “Castle Rock”, I think coming here once or twice a year would be a nice idea.
As we were walking back to the bikes, these two cute girls performed for us. And then they wished us “good luck.” I guess it worked as we all got back to our homes safely. If that was what they meant. It was another nice touch to this ride.
It was getting dark quickly. We said our good-byes to Ken and found our way back to Eugene.
It was dark when I got home. We said our good-byes and we all commented on how nice a ride it was. I would add that this was a great day!
When I set out for this ride, I was not expecting to see such a nice town as Brownsville is, nor to know about its connection to Stand by Me. At the end of the film, Richard Dreyfus character, remembering his old friends and his time in Castle Rock, writes this final sentence: “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?”
I guess this statement above could be an old maxim. What I know is that I had heard it before from the father of my friends João and Luís Müller. When their grandfather died, me and a couple of other close friends of theirs, packed in a car with João and Luís and went to the funeral that was 30km away, two towns up from Porto Alegre on Hwy 116. We packed a bottle of whiskey and a deck of cards. At night, we sneaked out of the funeral room, went to the room next door, still in the funeral home compound, settled around a coffin table and played cards while enjoying the whiskey. At some point his father, the late Dr. Oswaldo Müller, came in to this room and saw us huddled under the dim light around the improvised table. I thought we were going to get scolded. Instead he mentioned something I will never forget. He said how nice it was that we were all together, and that friends and friendship like the one we had would be hard to find later on in our lives. And he was right. And we knew he was right then. And we haven’t forgotten those words, as we still talk about that moment every now and then. I felt proud to be part of that moment. And not because of that, or not only because of that, João and Luís are still great friends of mine today, despite that we live thousands of miles apart.
Bottom line, I’m very appreciative of all my friends, new and old, never taking them for granted. Perhaps I don’t have too many friends, but I’m extremely lucky for having the few great friends I have. And I’m also lucky that I can keep close contact with these very friends I’ve made from the time when I was twelve and even before that time. Even if I don’t see them as often as I would like to, I often think about them. In the last couple of years, and especially this year, I have been fortunate enough to have had a chance to spend quality time with almost all of them, be them in Brazil or Italy or the United States. This year, as in other times in the past, I felt a need to see them, spend time with them, and let them know how important it was for me to be with them during those rare times when we have a chance to be together. And I do the same to the friends that live closer to me here in Oregon.
And now, this short ride brought all of them close to me on a very special way. Once I parked the bike and settled back home from the ride, I wanted to see the movie again. I checked Netflix and they did not have this movie on instant view. For what exactly do I pay $7.99 a month? I checked Amazon.com and they had the movie for instant viewing. I paid $2.99 for an instant view of the film, expensive as it could be, the moment was there for me to see this movie again. It was great to view the scenes and hear the stories once again and know I had just been on the area it was filmed.
A special moment it was. All in all, a great day. The ride was great, the surprise was phenomenal, and the opportunity it gave me to see that film again on an appropriate context was more than what I could had possibly bargained. It served to remind me of how fortunate I am for I have what matters most in life and to let you know here that I’m thankful for that.