Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, I got off work early, dashed home, packed up my bike, and rode south to my in-law’s house. I took the back roads following my usual route along the eastern edge of the Willamette Valley through a series of scenic and bucolic small towns. It was a sunny but chilly ride, with fog in some places, but fortunately I had very little traffic to contend with. That’s because everyone was taking I-5, the freeway a dozen miles west of my route.

My wife drove down separately in our car and got stuck in all that freeway traffic. Her journey took twice as long as normal because of it.

After the usual Thanksgiving Day dinner the next day, we headed home. Because we didn’t leave until mid-afternoon, I took the freeway as well. It had been misting and I had rain drops on my face shield for the first few miles as I headed north, but fortunately had dry pavement all the way to Salem. I had already been riding in the dark for at least an hour when I pulled off the freeway on the south side of town to gas up.

I filled my tank and got back on I-5. By the time I got to Aurora and pulled over at a rest area for a bio break, the rain had returned. Traffic was fairly thick but was traveling at regular speeds. To avoid back roads, instead of leaving the freeway at Woodburn and riding home through Molalla and Estacada, I continued north to the Clackamas exit and went home through Damascus and Boring. The combination of night riding and rain on my face shield made visibility an issue. I made it home safely, however.