Just before leaving the Portland/Vancouver area, I had one last meeting before heading south to Eugene. Once again, it is just the way things have often worked for me on this trip. I kept getting pointed toward making sure that I meet up with Barb and Lance Rowland when I got down to the Oregon Dunes. As it turned out, when we talked on the phone, they weren't going to be in the area when I was going to be in the Oregon Dunes area because of a work related convention they had up north. But, that meant they were headed north right by where I was and we had the opportunity to meet up for coffee along the I-5 corridor on Monday afternoon (Oct 15) as they were passing through Vancouver. Awesome! More on what I learned from Barb and Lance in our discussions at that chance meeting in the next post about the Dunes.
The next day (Tuesday, Oct 16) I turned my way south for another fortuitously timed hook-up at the regular monthly meeting of the Emerald Trail Riders Association (ETRA) in Eugene, OR. It just happened to be that Tuesday night as I was coming through--imagine that. Joni Mogstad, president of the BlueRibbon Coalition and also from Eugene, had made the necessary arrangements/calls/emails so I wouldn't just be dropping in and crashing the party.
When I got to the meeting, I quickly discovered why the ETRA is such a vibrant club with lots of people turning out at their meetings. For one, they are fun. Aside from putting on some particularly great rides for both family and friends. They also are host to the renowned Funky Chicken which is a part of the AMA West National Hare Scramble Series. Even their meetings are fun with spot raffles, awesome pizza, and funny trail stories mixed in with the general business of the meeting. On the outreach side of things, they are very involved. For example, working with the Oregon Motorcycle Riders Association (OMRA) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), ETRA provides regular evaluations under the Youth Safety Evaluation Program (YSEP).
At the meeting, I was provided with lots of time to talk with the group about the Turn the Tide Tour, resulting in an array of questions and discussion. I came away with a lot of good input, feedback and a far better understanding of this club and what they are doing. No grass growing under their feet for sure. Check them out at http://www.etra.net/index.html.