Cycle Oregon - The Weekend

- From Monmouth through Independence, Scio, Jefferson, Buena Vista = 78 miles
- From Monmouth through Dallas, Ellendale, Falls City, Burns Corner = 48 miles
- Total = 126 miles

- From Ft. Stevens through Astoria, Fort Clatsop, Youngs Bay, Seaside =
- From Ft. Stevens, over Astoria-Megler Bridge, to Chinook =
- Total =

- Champoeg Park to Monmouth, = 58 miles
- Monmouth to Coburg.  = 77 miles
- Total = 135 miles

- Vernonia through Mist, Birkenfeld, Clatskanie
- Vernonia to Stub Stewart State Park
- Total =


2010 - Monmouth Loops

Cycle Oregon “The Weekend” ride for 2010 returned to Monmouth and Western Oregon University. We missed last years ride, so it seemed fairly new to us this year. Even so, much of this years route was different from 2009 so, even those returning riders did not seem to mind coming back. We had ridden through and stayed here once before, on the first “The Weekend” ride, and have covered much of the miles in the area, but we were excited to ride it knowing that there were still good roads in the area we have not yet ridden, plus, the day 1 route takes us out to some of the covered bridges east of Scio, normally covered by the “Covered Bridge Ride” which has always been one of my very favorite rides.
So, we leave Portland mid afternoon on Friday, and despite heavy Friday traffic, we make it into Monmouth just prior to 5:00.

We immediately check in to get our dorm room assignments. This year we splurge and get a room for the two nights we will be here. This room is actually a living room, bedroom with 3 beds and its own bathroom. Honey liked the idea of having the bathroom, I like the idea of having enough room to keep the bikes, and all the stuff we may need, neatly organized in the room. Neither one of us particularly liked the fact that the room was on the third floor.
Pretty hot weather for the first day, and thanks to the helpful reminder from the riders handbook, we brought fans which really helped keep the cinderblock room cool. Then off to registration, and then dinner, cafeteria style in the dorm cafeteria. Pretty good food choices and portions. After wandering around camp, orienting ourselves, visiting with folks we knew an organizing our equipment, we walked the 5 blocks to the park in town where the main stage was set up. After announcements and some music from the Celtic rock band, we made our way back to the dorm.

Saturday, day 1 is the long day of the weekend. Route choices of 26, 56, 73, 87, 100 miles. The routes set up nicely so that you can make your choices for additional miles progressively, not forcing you to commit to a distance earlier than you are ready to.

Honey and I had tentatively decided on 73, forgoing some of the very steep work included in the two additional loops, and she remained determined to make that distance all day.

Leaving about 830 am, we headed east, under a thin cover of clouds, through Independence , across I-5 to our first food stop at Ankeny Hills Vineyards. Their wine tasting room was open, but since it was only 9:00 am, and with 69 more miles to ride, it seemed just a tad early so we skipped that.
It was in this area that we found some seriously steep ass climbs. Most of them pretty short, but some of them did get your attention. In fact, for both days we did come up against some steeper climbs than usual. Or, maybe we just werent as prepared for them as much this year.

Then, we continued east until we crossed the Shimanek Covered Bridge. The Shimanek bridge, located on Richardson Gap road east of Scio. The first documented covered bridge was built in 1891. This current bridge was actually built in 1966.

We then circled back into Scio for lunch, prior to crossing the Gilkey bridge as we made our way west back to Monmouth. The Gilkey bridge is located on Goar road east of Scio. The first documented covered bridge was built in 1939 and the last one built in 1998.

Then on to Jefferson, another food stop, and 8 windy miles roughly following the Santiam River, until we meet the Willamette River, at Buena Vista. We had a bit of a wait for the ferry. The organizers were letting 2 cars and then as many bikes as they felt comfortable on at one time. We road up as the ferry left for the far banks. Upon its return it took on the next group, which was cut off just as we were prepared to board, thus we were forced to wait again which put us first to board on the next trip. According to the organizer guy, about 12 minutes round trip. I roughly estimate our ferry trip held about 60 bike riders. It was then that I noticed the sign announcing that there are 30 life jackets. Hmmm.

Anyway, it was then a 10 mile last leg into Monmouth. We didn’t arrive until 430, which was about an hour after we had hoped, after signing up for a 345 Bus tour to the local vineyards. Oh well, that will be another trip some day.

Ride stats for the day:
9.5 miles – food stop
21.4 miles – water stop
38 miles – Shimanek bridge
41.2 miles –Lunch in Scio
44.9 miles – Gilkey bridge
54.9 miles – food stop
62.8 miles – Buena Vista Ferry and water stop
78 miles – Back to Monmouth Dorm.

Turned out to be a pretty hot day. After returning, we fell into the same routine. Shower, relax, dinner, wander, announcements with music by “The Dimes” a Portland band that writes a lot of songs with historically related lyrics. We enjoyed their music and ended up buying a CD of their first album, and a vinyl record album of their second. It come with a free download for those that really want the digital source, and as I came to find out, it was hand packaged and numbered. Ours is #242 of 250.

Day 2 was a much shorter ride, and with the cooler early morning weather, we dawdled after breakfast and got on the bikes about 930 am.
We took a route north, and then west out to the first food stop at Dallas. We enjoyed a very nice headwind early on, which does help you get a good start on the day, but the smooth, fast and easy sailing tends to make you a little overconfident on how you will feel throughout the day. Plus, as with most loops if you go out with a tailwind, you often come back in with the headwind.

We made it past the food stop and continued our trek west and decided to take a small shortcut, thereby cutting off a 7 mile loop that included some gravel sections as Honey isnt fond of riding on gravel. This put us into Ellendale and from there there were some substantial rollers on to, and past the first water stop in a farmers hayfield.

Then south, and west again out to Falls City for lunch in the park. By this time the gray cover had melted away with the sky changing to a stronger sun, covered by scattered clouds. After lunch the route was to take a different looping route back to the mail highway. This different loop also included more gravel, so we elected to backtrack the 4 miles back to the highway, then head south, connecting again with the main route about 2 miles down the road.

We worked our way through the farm country, stopping at Sarah Helmick state park which is about 6 miles south of Monmouth, for another food stop just prior to finishing the ride for the day.

Ride stats for the day:
9.4 miles – food stop
22.2 miles – water stop
31.1 miles –Lunch in Falls City
47.9 miles – food stop
58 miles – Back to Monmouth Dorm.

Bonus Points:
Restorative Chocolate milk with all the meals
Pretty good vegetarian choices
Two days on bike - Mostly low traffic road
78 Miles on Saturday - Independence, Scio, Jordan, Jefferson, Buena Vista
48 Miles on Sunday - Dallas, Ellendale, Falls City, Burns Corner
6 full meals - cafeteria style, but plenty of it.
4 food stops with wide range of fruits, drinks, and carbs
3 ice cream bars, because I like them.
4 State Police motorcycles, 2 ambulances
1 CD and 1 Vinyl album purchased - by “The Dimes” (New, local music on vinyl, how cool is that?)
1 Soy Latte to revive sleepy Honey
Two covered bridges.

2005 - Champoeg Park to Coburg

This is the second year for the Cycle Oregon weekend, but the first year that we have done it. Lisa wants more back to back training rides in preparation for the Cycle Oregon week long trip, so we decide this is a good one.
The logistics are easy to set up. Register on line. Request a dorm room at Western Oregon College in Monmouth, and sign up for bus transportation back from Coburg to Champoeg park on Sunday. No camping, don't have to carry our baggage, the route, and food are all set. Its a valley ride, seems like it should be easy. We drive to the park early Saturday am, parking is free. Pick up packets, take our bags to the truck to be transported to Monmouth, and get ready to ride. By this time its 900 am which is time for the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Willamette Scenic Bike way. This is a newly dedicated route connecting public lands from Portland, to Eugene. So, we listen to speeches from Jonathon Nicholas, Earl Blumnauer, and John Gray, head of State Parks. Then we are off. Skirting Dundee, then to a rest stop at the St Paul Rodeo grounds. Heading south to the lunch area back in Willamette Mission State Park
where the first mission for American Indians was founded in 1834. Plus it is home to the largest Cottonwood tree in the nation!  After lunch we wind our way through the paths of the park and emerge in a clearing by the banks of the Willamette river, where 48 bikers at a time board the ferry to travel to the west side of the Willamette river. It is somewhere about here, halfway to Salem that the course takes a sharp turn from the "all just flat valley ride", and heads up over the hills, at or near Eola Hill. The sun comes out, and our temperatures rise with the road. At least 5 steep climbs sprinkled in with the rollers surprise us and make the days ride much more difficult than many people expected. From there we ride through the farmlands west of Salem to our stop in the brand new amphitheater park by the banks of the river in Independence. Brand new means they just finished the park the day before we got there. It is very nice. After food and drinks in the shade on the new grass, it is on to Monmouth, where our dorm, showers and dinner await. Nice room with 2 beds, two desks, two closets and 2 square feet of floor space. OK for one night but Im sure I would really have to like my roommate to spend a year there. Walk downtown for the festival, announcements and music before dark.
Early the next morning, the womens rugby team is outside our doors waiting to take our bags back to the truck.(Having hauled them from the trucks, to the door of our dorm the night before.) We have a large breakfast and get on the bikes about 730, for this is to be a longer day than the one before. This day remains cloudy and cool throughout, with very little winds, making it a nice day to be out on the bike, despite the lingering effects of the yesterdays ride. The course today is almost directly south. We cross to the east side of Hwy 99 and go down Corvallis road, and then Springhill road, which takes us back to the east side of the Willamette again, and into Albany. We cross the bridge and spy a coffee shop on the corner. Its 900 am and a perfect time to stop for a latte on the sidewalk and watch the bikes go by. After our coffee stop and an extended visit with the other coffee addicts, its onward the next 1/2 mile to the real rest stop in Monteith Park, yet another very nice park. From here its through Tangent, down Peoria Road, then sharply east through Fayetteville. (who knew?)  and our lunch stop at Thompsans Mill. Thompsons Mill is 
Willamette Valley's first gristmill, originally built in 1858. State Parks purchased the Thompson's Mills property and the mill and mill owner's residence are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Another long lunch in the grass by the river,  and tour of the mill, listening to a 6 piece Mexican salsa band. Then in to Brownsville, to sit in rockers in the shade of downtown, before heading over the foothills south on Gap road for our only climb of the day.  With all the work done, we are able to cruise into Coburg about 4:00, where we enjoy a cold and overpriced veggie burger provided by the good folks of Coburg, then board the buses for the ride back to the cars and home by 9:00 pm.
135 miles. Plus a free t-shirt AND a water bottle!

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