Cycle Oregon 2011 Ride Report: Day 0

Loaded up and ready to roll!Ride Date: 10 September 2011

Starting City: Sammamish, WA

Ending City: Sutherlin, OR

Miles ridden driven: approx. 360 miles (no GPS track)

With over 6 hours of driving and an early start time (7am in this case) leaving for Cycle Oregon a day in advance was absolutely necessary. It didn't take long to load everything into the car: I packed over a period of approximately 8 days and avoided the entire 50-MPH-grabbing-stuff-thowing-it-into-the-bag that I usually do before a big trip. This time I was actually calm and relaxed.

...and my parking permit was securely stowed in the driver-side door. (I forgot it last time).

Upon arrival I was directed by traffic monitors into what can only be described as a hay field. I bottomed-out my car a couple of times while trudging along at a brisk 5 MPH.

Long Term Parking in Sutherlin, OR.

The baggage porters picked up my bag and from here they directed us on a series of paths, bridges, and gravel roads covering well over a mile, walking my bike the entire way. If it had been paved I would have ridden. What made it worse was my decision to do the entire walk in flip-flops. Whoops.

Walking our bikes to the registration area in Sutherlin, OR. Photo copyright Greg Loghouse on Flickr.

Check-in was in the cafeteria of Sutherlin High School. After a brief mix-up with my ride jersey I was back outside setting up my tent.

Check-in at the Sutherlin HIgh School Cafeteria

Tent City at the Sutherlin High School sports fields

The camping area was quite full by the time I was setting up (6pm). I found myself in shallow left field in the baseball field.

Dinner was a fun reunion with my some old friends from my days in Roseburg. Phil, Rosanne, and Christina Hall picked me up and took me to dinner at a wonderful little Italian family restaurant called Pedotti's. If you ever find yourself in southern Oregon and are looking for good Italian food, I HIGHLY recommend Pedotti's restaurant. The owner, Mark Pedotti, personally went around to every table to make sure that everything was perfect, which it was. The chicken alfredo lasagna was indeed "to die for," as Christina so eloquently put it. Good food, good friends, very fond memories of times past. The only mis-step of the evening was that I forgot to take any pictures of the Halls or the restaurant! I felt awful when I realized this on Day 2.

Setting up my new cot was an interesting experience. I've never setup a backpacking cot before although I did do a couple of dry runs at home the week before. This particular cot is a remarkable piece of engineering. More on that later...

Highlights:

  1. Pedotti's. Fabulous food.
  2. Great volunteers to help me find my way to registration and the camping site.

Lowlights:

  1. VERY warm: 95F on my arrival. The heat didn't die down until well after 11pm, which contributed to...
  2. Didn't get to sleep until midnight or later. The heat and excitement of the week kept me awake.

Overall it was a great day. Wonderful way to start out the week.

}B^)

 

Cycle Oregon 2011 Ride Report: Day 1

Ride Date: 11 September 2011

Starting City: Sutherlin, OR

Ending City: Cottage Grove, OR

Ride Stats: 43.96 miles, 3,071' of climbing, 3:04:02

I got an early start on the first day. My goal was to be on the road by 7 am so I could make it to church in the afternoon in Cottage Grove. This is the best photo I was able to take of the "start line" if you can call it that. There were a lot of people trying to leave around the same time.

After a quick breakfast I was on my way! Not more than a few minutes later I passed one of the best signs of the week: "1 mile down, 498 to go!" I was in a hurry and didn't stop, although I should have. The weather was amazing!

The glorious sunrise over beautiful southern Oregon.

The hills that day were not that hard at all. Some of the hills were made even more challenging by the gravel sections. Some folks just gave up and walked. The gravel made yearn for something less bumpy, like maybe chip-seal? }B^)

The second gravel section on the biggest climb of day 1.

After all the climbing we were treated to a very fast downhill section. To give you an idea of how fun it was, take a look at this climbing shot. The other side was just as steep and winding.

The scenery was rural and amazing...

Looking down on the twisting road through the valley near Elkhead, OR, on the way to Cottage Grove.

With my early start I made it to Cottage Grove by 11 am.

Chocolate Milk at the finish line on Day 1 in Cottage Grove, OR.

The 30-mile optional loop was very tempting but I had promised myself (and my wife) that I would make every effort to go to church this Sunday. Which I fully intended to do. I even had my pick of the tent sites 1 block away from the LDS church.

LDS Church in Cottage Grove, OR

Several other folks finished early too. And then we waited. And waited. I had beaten the luggage trucks by at least an hour. My bags did not off the truck until 12:30.  The local High School provided us with lots of football and volleyball players to unload and porter our bags for us. They did a great job dealing with 2000+ bags, each weighing upwards of 70 pounds!

Waiting for the baggage trucks to unload in Cottage Grove, OR.

After a quick shower I was off to church, making it there in the middle of Sacrament Meeting at 1pm. I sneaked into the back of the chapel and found a seat. What a gorgeous building! There aren't many LDS chapels with paintings behind the pulpit. 

LDS Church in Cottage Grove, OR, 1 block away from my campsite! I even made it to church that day.

It was really cool to have my tent, the shower, and a chapel within a 100 yard radius! It made it really easy to go to church. 

I met another LDS family that was doing Cycle Oregon, a father and son who were riding and a support vehicle with mother and daughter. They tried something that I will have to do next time: Father and son rode the Day 1 course on Saturday using Mother and daughter as a support vehicle. The did the entire 70-mile ride with only that support and then went back to Sutherlin to camp with the rest of the group (i.e. no hotel cost). The next day, Sunday, they all drove up to Cottage Grove, attended church, and did some sight-seeing and relaxing. Wow, that would have been really nice. 

That afternoon I walked down to Safeway and Walgreens to buy some items that I inevitably forgot to bring (zip ties, antacid, and deodorant). 

By the time I got to dinner there was quite a line...

The dinner line on Cycle Oregon Day 1, Cottage Grove, OR.

After dinner I went over and listened to a cool local band called JSB Jazz. After their little sound check Jonathan Nicholas got up and gave a stirring recount of what happened on Cycle Oregon on September 11, 2001, exactly 10 years previously. 

Sunset on the main stage, Cottage Grove, OR. Jonathan Nicholas gives a stirring history of Cycle Oregon on Sept. 11, 2001. On that fateful day the Cycle Oregon group was in a very small town in Southeastern Oregon near the Steens Mountains. The town is so small and the area so rural that the local school is one of the last public boarding schools in the US. 

When news of the attacks reached the group on that Tuesday morning many people were trying to make plans to leave the ride to return home. Then the news came that all US air traffic was grounded. At this point most everyone decided to stay with the ride and keep going.

On the route that day local farmers drove out onto the course and parked along the road in the pick-ups and turned on their radios so that riders could hear the latest updates on the events of the day. That night they stayed at an equally small town, Diamond, OR.

After that incredible story Jonathan asked for a moment of silence followed by an incredible rendition of "America the Beautiful" sung by the JSB Jazz vocalist and guitarist. It was an amazing night. What a great way to start the week!

Sunset on the main stage, Cottage Grove, OR.

Highlights:

  1. Beautiful and almost easy day.
  2. I made it to church!
  3. Great music from JSB Jazz!
  4. Amazing 9/11 tribute.

Lowlights:

  1. Not enough sleep!
  2. Gravel is tough to ride on with 700x23 tires.

}B^)

Cycle Oregon 2011 Ride Report: Day 2

Ride Date: 12 September 2011

Starting City: Cottage Grove, OR

Ending City: Reedsport, OR

Ride Stats: 92.17 miles, 3,526' of climbing, 6:12:57

My new cot working FABULOUSLY. I found the LuxuryLite cot on the Cycle Oregon forum. I was a little skeptical at first but they offered a money-back guarantee and rate their cots up to 325 lbs, which covers my weight very well. I was able to sleep soundly and in several different positions, but...

The shower trucks woke me up at 4:30am. Wow, those diesel generators are really loud. I won't camp anywhere near them in the future.

My goal each morning was to be on the road by 7 am which would give me a good shot at being done by 4pm. This day I wasn't out until 7:30. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

All day long I had stuck in my head the song "Spinning Wheel" by Blood, Sweat, and Tears. 

The rollers started early, leading to a decent incline by mile 4. The short summit at mile 8 offered a wonderful downhill where I hit 35 MPH several times. My average speed at mile 11 was 1:54.7, which puts my average speed for that mile at 31.39 MPH. That was a HOOT.

Climbing up the very winding South Sister Road, somewhere between Cottage Grove and Reedsport, OR.

Unfortunately the chip seal started at mile 22 and lasted until mile 90 when we turned onto 101. The backroads we traveled today were very scenic, very twisty, and nearly deserted. It is really fun riding on a road with no median line for 60 miles. Calling this road windy does not do it justice. Zooming in on the GPS profile around mile 55 should give you a good idea of what we experienced.

The big uphill section was quite steep, 7% for several miles, approaching 11% near the top. going down the other side was incredible.

Climbing up the very winding South Sister Road, somewhere between Cottage Grove and Reedsport, OR.

On one of the sharp turns paramedics were working on a girl on the road shoulder. That particular turn had lots of signs on it saying "Slow Down" and "Sharp Turn Ahead". My guess is she didn't slow down enough. That turn was near 90 degrees and at the bottom of a very steep section. Later that day I saw another ambulance rolling code 3 around mile 70 going back up the course. 

Following the first 40 miles the rest of the day was all downhill, following the Smith River. The views that day were some of the best of the week.

View of the Smith River along Lower Smith River Road, somewhere between Cottage Grove and Reedsport, OR. Along the river we found an old fish ladder at Smith River Falls and even an old suspension bridge. The old fish ladder was in deep disrepair and appeared to not have functioned in a very long time. The falls itself was pretty cool.

View of Smith Falls on the Smith River along Lower Smith River Road, somewhere between Cottage Grove and Reedsport, OR.

View Smith Falls on the Smith River along Lower Smith River Road, somewhere between Cottage Grove and Reedsport, OR. The old fish ladder is visible on the left.Suspension bridge on the Smith River along Lower Smith River Road, somewhere between Cottage Grove and Reedsport, OR.

At the rest and lunch stops for the day were very sparce. They were literally wide spots in the road with almost no places to sit. Our lunch stop was a gravel dump and a turn-out. 

Lunch stop, Day 2 of Cycle Oregon 2011. Lower Smith River Road, somewhere between Cottage Grove and Reedsport, OR. The lunch stop was literally a wide spot in the road used to stage gravel for road construction and repair.

After lunch the road leveled out to a 1-2% downhill for virtually the entire second half of the day (50+ miles) through what the locals call the "Cathedral of the Forest". And for good reason...

Cathedral of the Forest, Lower Smith River Road, somewhere between Cottage Grove and Reedsport, OR.

View of the Smith River valley along Lower Smith River Road, somewhere between Cottage Grove and Reedsport, OR.

Toward the end of the day we came upon the Smith River Grocery and Tavern, a small little store with snacks and gas. I picked up some food and a Mt. Dew and went outside to relax. I was met by a young boy and his dog named Dude. They were both very friendly. The dog tried to eat my camera and even Pooh.

The Smith River Store along Lower Smith River Road, near Franz, OR.

Pooh meets a dog named "Dude" at the Smith River Store along Lower Smith River Road, near Franz, OR.

This was a very long day with over 9 hours of time on the road. To ease the pain in my seat I came up with a new riding technique I call "10x10s". It involves 10 standing pedal strokes followed by a 10-count of coasting while standing. Doing about 3-4 of these every 30 minutes or so really increased the time I could stay on the road.

There weren't many scenic views today but there were very few cars and lots of picturesque views of the river.

Bike art just outside the second rest stop of Day 2, Cycle Oregon 2011.View of the Smith River along Lower Smith River Road, just before it empties into the Umpqua River ourside Reedsport, OR. I feel sorry for the towns we stay in after a long day in the saddle: I showered, ate, and went to bed early. It doesn't give us a lot of time to do any eating, shopping, or otherwise spend money in the towns.

On the way to dinner, where I had the most incredible triple chocolate cake, I found out that Reedsport is the "Chainsaw carving capital of Oregon", or at least that's what they claim...

Chainsaw carving just outside the food tent, Reedsport, OR.

The evening's entertainment featured a great blues band, Peter Giri & Friends. They also played at the afternoon rest stop. The sax player did an interesting bit where he would play 2 saxes at the same time.

 

Peter Giri & Company playing the blues at the last rest stop of Day 2, Cycle Oregon 2011. Peter Giri & Company pleasing the crowd after a long day on the road.

That night the coastal mist rolling in a soaked EVERYTHING.

The ocean mist soaks everything.

Highlights:

  1. BIG downhills.
  2. Great views of the Smith River.
  3. Great food.

Lowlights:

  1. Not enough sleep! (again) Thanks to the shower trucks.
  2. Very long day in the saddle.
  3. Not enough time to go explore Reedsport.

}B^)

Cycle Oregon 2011 Ride Report: Day 3

Ride Date: 13 September 2011

Starting City: Reedsport, OR

Ending City: Bandon, OR

Ride Stats: 78.41 miles, 3,581' of climbing, 5:24:16

The coastal mist soaked anything outside. Good thing I remembered to put a bag over my seat overnight.

Ruppe Field, Reedsport High School, site of tent city for the Tent and Porter service.

The route today started with 21 miles of riding on US-101, the main north/south route along the Oregon coast. It doesn't get much busier than that unless you are riding on an actual freeway or interstate (which is fun, by the way). riding on a 2 lane road with a 55 speed limit and lots of traffic can be difficult but the shoulder was wide enough. The RVs and semi-trucks have quite the tail wind action. 

We had out first view of the coast from the highway just before our first rest stop of the day.

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, our first view of the Pacific Ocean.

First rest stop outside Hause, OR, and the Oregon Dunes recreation area. Fittingly the site of the rest stop was an ORV rental shop. Just before we reached the Winchester Bridge we came upon a beautiful Veteran's Memorial and a fabulous view of Haynes Inlet.

Veterans Memorial along Highway 101 at the Haynes Inlet, Coos Bay, OR

Panorama of the Haynes Inlet along Highway 101, Coos Bay, OR

Riding along US 101 was difficult enough but how do you get 2000+ cyclists across one of the busiest highways in the state? You take over an intersection, turn off the stop light and set up a flagger (with the cooperation of the State Troopers, of course). They did this because the (huge) Winchester bridge has very limited shoulders and is under construction. 


Traffic control just north of the Sherman Ave. Bridge over Coos Bay. We turned left and went around the bay instead of fighting traffic and construction over the bridge.

Once we descended from the bridge area we rode around Winchester Bay, as close as you can get to the coastal wetlands without actually setting foot in them.

Tidal wetlands and a view of the Sherman Ave. Bridge, Coos Bay, OR.

The riding was incredibly flat for a few miles as we road around the tidal marshes and flats. 

Tidal wetlands and a view of the Sherman Ave. Bridge, Coos Bay, OR.

Tidal wetlands and a view of the Sherman Ave. Bridge, Coos Bay, OR.At the next rest stop of the day we saw the contrast between today and the previous day: today's break is between a Safeway and the Fred Meyer in Coos Bay, as opposed to a gravel pit and a BLM campground the day before.

At lunch I met a rider of a very cool bike: Manuel from Germany with his low-rider, carbon fiber 'bent. He said he picked it up from the Troytec factory in Germany and rode it home. They make low-profile racing bikes that go really fast. It was incredibly cool.

Manuel from Germany with his ultra-cool Troytec Revolution carbon fiber recumbent. This is an insanely cool looking bike. And the "whoosh" sound it makes when it goes by was something to behold. The lunch stop of the day was at one of the most picturesque spots in all of Oregon, Cape Arago at Sunset State Park. 

Lunch stop at Cape Arago State Park. Good food and great views.

Notice the dirt lines? The dust, dirt, and grime of the road was caked on me as if I had applied it like lotion. 

Lunch stop at Cape Arago State Park. Good food and great views.The rocks and cliffs provided a great backdrop for lunch. Even Pooh Bear approves.

Lunch stop at Cape Arago State Park. Good food and great views.

I actually visited this State Park as a Boy Scout back in my youth. We hiked down to the tide pools and played the "3 test of bravery" with sea anemones. 

As I left the lunch stop I made a last minute decision to check out a botanical garden. Wow, and I glad that I did.

Simpson Garden at Shore Acres State Park on Cape Arago, Oregon. We ate lunch near here on Day 3 of Cycle Oregon 2011.

Simpson Garden at Shore Acres State Park on Cape Arago, Oregon. We ate lunch near here on Day 3 of Cycle Oregon 2011.

The route after leaving the State Park took us over a road named "Seven Devils Road." They weren't kidding. 

View from the top of one of the Seven Devils along Seven Devils Road on the way to Bandon, Cycle Oregon 2011 Day 3.

View from the top of one of the Seven Devils along Seven Devils Road on the way to Bandon, Cycle Oregon 2011 Day 3.

A better name for that road would have been "Zone 4 interval training, hill repeats x 7". The eighth devil was the climb up from the water stop. Who puts a water stop in the middle of a set of difficult interval repeats and have it over 100' below the road? Ouch.  

As a cool down they sent us through Bandon Dunes Resort, one of the coolest golf courses in the US. 

Entering Bandon Dunes Resort, Cycle Oregon 2011 Day 3.

View of the 9th hole at Bandon Dunes Resort, Cycle Oregon 2011 Day 3.

I arrived in Bandon very tired and sore. Good thing the band for the night wasn't that great, it gave me an early bedtime tonight. That night was very cold. I nearly froze in my tent with temps in the low 40s.

Sunset in Bandon on Cycle Oregon 2011 Day 3.

Highlights:

  1. Incredible tidal marshes/flatlands.
  2. Views at Cape Arago.
  3. The gardens at Sunset State Park.
  4. Speeding down the Seven Devils on the drops after climbing up each one.

Lowlights:

  1. Climbing UP the Seven Devils.
  2. LOTS of road grime on me and my bike.
  3. BRRRR!!

}B^)

Cycle Oregon 2011 Ride Report: Day 4

Ride Date: 14 September 2011

Starting City: Bandon, OR

Ending City: Bandon, OR (Optional Loop)

Ride Stats: 69.66 miles, 3,158' of climbing, 4:59:07

Day 4 was an optional "layover day," which meant that we were to spend 2 nights in Bandon. You have the choice of either spending a lazy day in the layover town or going on on an optional out-and-back ride. Today I decided to ride. Why? Well, I couldn't pass up views like this...

View of Cape Blanco State Park from the the Cape Blanco lighthouse, Cycle Oregon 2011 Day 4.

Even with a "easy" 70-mile ride ahead of me, I slept in a bit and was on the road by 8:15, my latest start of the week. Today's ride was all rollers with lots of good views along the way. For the day my riding time was just under 5 hours but I spent more than 7 hours doing the entire route mostly because I stopped to take pictures like this-

View of the tide flats at Cape Blanco State Park.Today we rode on 101 nearly all day, with the short exception of into and out of Cape Blanco State Park. The shoulder on Hwy 101 was rough quite for 6 miles south of Bandon but from there to the turnaround in Port Orford it was smooth.

Along the way I found a mother and her girls selling lemonade and hot, fresh baked chocolate chip and snicker doodle cookies, just 5 miles past rest stop. I was not quite ready for another food stop but I noted mile marker on the highway and promised to stop on the return trip.

The ride out to Cape Blanco was wonderful. The views of the coast and the tidal flats was incredible. the weather, which had to rain the night before, cleared up and kept us sunny and cool all day. At the end of the Cape Blanco State Park spur we were treated to wonderful views and clear skies. The park rangers were nice enough to give tours of the lighthouse, if you were willing to wait in line for upwards of 2 hours (hint: I wasn't). 

View of the Cape Blanco lighthouse, Cape Blanco State Park, Cycle Oregon 2011 Day 4.

The surf was somewhat average but the views from the lighthouse bluff were still spectacular.

Me at the Cape Blanco lighthouse, Cape Blanco State Park, Cycle Oregon 2011 Day 4.At a snack stop earlier in the day Pooh Bear found his new favorite snack! I have to agree: they were fabulous.

Pooh Bear found his new favorite cycling snack: HONEY Stinger Waffles!

As we rode along today there were countless cranberry bogs lining the roads. Cranberries have become one of the big new cash crops of the Oregon coast.

Cranberry bog near Cape Blanco State Park , Cycle Oregon 2011 Day 4.

We had lunch lunch while watching the surfers at Battle Rock in Port Orford.

Lunch stop at Battle Rock City Park, Port Orford, OR, Cycle Oregon 2011 Day 4.

Lunch stop at Battle Rock City Park, Port Orford, OR, Cycle Oregon 2011 Day 4.The ride back to Bandon was a very slow-go: we hig a big headwind coming from the N-NW at 10 MPH with gusts up to 25. It turned simple 3% grades into real thigh burners. And there were a lot of them.

I found the cookie and lemonade stand and was glad to make another stop. Those warm cookies were just what the doctor ordered.

On the way back I met up with some folks that I went to church with the previous Sunday and they invited me to ride in their pace line. I was thankful for the relief from the wind but this simple act of kindness nearly became a trip-ending mistake. I broke one of my own personal rules about paceline riding: don't ride in a paceline with people who you don't know. Despite their good intentions we had a little incident. A rider hit their brakes too hard which caused a little accordion-action to happen. I had very little time to react. Thankfully I was able to unclip and do a couple of little left-foot-skips to keep myself vertical and moving along. I stayed out of the ditch and managed not to hit the asphalt. 

I rode (alone) back into Bandon and decided to take it easy. A walk on the beach was in order-

 

The beach at Kronenberg County Park, Bandon, ORWaves crashing on the rocks at Kronenberg County Park, Bandon, OR

Panorama of the beach at Kronenberg County Park, Bandon, OR

For dinner that night I went down to dinner at a seafood place in old town Bandon but all the restaurants were packed with cyclists. The town itself is only a couple thousand people so when 2500+ Cycle Oregon folks roll into town the local establishments get a little crowded. I finally found a little fish fry stand on the waterfront that would serve me and had a great fish and chips platter. 

That night I met up with an old friend from my days at Roseburg High, Nathaniel Hall. He and I sat and chatted for a long time and then watched the bike rodeo. It's a fun little competition put on by the bike mechanics featuring such challenging events as foot down, limbo, jousting, track stand, and the fan-favorite figure 8 race. Unfortunately none of my pictures of the event turned out very well due to the limited lighting and fast action. 

The best part of the evening was the sunset. I wish I was down on the beach but through the trees would have to do...

Sunset on Day 4 in Bandon, Oregon, Cycle Oregon 2011.

The band that night was not very good. When they started into a Black-Eyed-Peas song I called it a night. Another early bedtime to (hopefully) get on the road by 7am. We'll see how that actually panned out...

Highlights:

  1. Cape Blanco Lighthouse
  2. Tidal Flats and cranberry bogs
  3. Surfers at lunch!

Lowlights:

  1. Reminded why I hate pacelines.
  2. Headwinds!

}B^)

Cycle Oregon 2011 Ride Report: Day 5

Ride Date: 15 September 2011

Starting City: Bandon, OR

Ending City: Powers, OR

Ride Stats: 64.91 miles, 2,171' of climbing, 4:20:13

After my experience the previous night (local harbor fog horn kept waking me up every hour or so) I bought a couple sets of ear plugs to try out. It turns out the ones with the flat ends form up nicely in your ears and allow you to sleep on your side, my preferred position. I was warm and toasty, thanks to several more layers, and got my first good nights sleep in quite some time. I slept so good that I didn't want to get up in the morning, which made for a later start at 7:30 than I had hoped for. 

Riding down 11th Street in Bandon, Oregon, as we begin Day 5.

For today's ride I planned to take it easy and save up my legs for the big climb on day 6. That meant slow speeds and lots of photo ops.

Flower garden along North Bank Lane just west of Bandon, Oregon, on our way to Powers.

Flower garden along North Bank Lane just west of Bandon, Oregon, on our way to Powers. Pooh Bear is asking directions to the nearest bee hive. Hmmmm. Is honey on his mind?

The Coquille River wound it's way toward the ocean and we got to see it at a leisurely pace.

The Coquille River Valley on the way to Powers, Oregon.

A break at Sturdivant Park in Coquille along the Coquille River.

At the first food stop I ran into what I called the "Family Tandem". It was a family of 4 riding Cycle Oregon together. There was a Dad up front, Mom in the stoker position, the older child (5 years old?) in the back seat, and a young child (3 years old?) in the Burley bike trailer. The cool part was how they entertained the kids: an iPad with a solar charger on top of the trailer. 

"The family tandem" at the Day 5 lunch at Sturdivant Park in Coquille along the Coquille River. This family was a dad and mom, 5 year old son on the back, and 3 year old son in the burly trailer. There are solar panels in the top of the trailer that charged an iPad used to entertain the kids.

At the Lunch stop in Myrtle Point I found what would turn out to be one of the highlights of the entire week: a logging museum. OK, you are probably thinking I've lost it, until you see the shape of the logging museum. Does it look familiar?

The Myrtle Point Logging Museum, modeled after the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.

This particular building was originally constructed by Mormon settlers around 1910 to look like the Salt Lake Tabernacle in Utah, only on a much smaller scale. It was used as a church for several years but it was abandoned for the exact opposite reason that people flock to its Salt Lake counterpart: the acoustics were absolutely horrible. Speakers at the pulpit could barely be heard by the first few rows while the people in the rear would ask the speaker to lower their voice. The rounded shape of the ceiling caused voices to echo and carry in weird patterns. After only a few years it was no longer used as a church.

Model of the Myrtle Point Logging Museum, patterned after the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.

After years of various uses, including as a church, private residence, and an American Legion Hall. In 1987 it was given to the city of Myrtle Point and remodeled to become the Coos County Logging Museum.

With my Dad's history in the logging industry I found the exhibits inside to be fascinating and spent quite a bit of time looking around. The acoustics were really weird. You could be standing on one side of the room and hear a conversation going on on the other as if they were standing next to you. 

Rigging, tools, and pictures at the Myrtle Point Logging Museum, Myrtle Point, OR.

They had a large collection of wooden relief carvings, logging artifacts, and a wide selection of old photographs from around the area and of the museum building itself. With its rich logging heritage there is a lot to tell. 

Relief carvings, traps, pictures, and toolsThe Coos County Logging Museum, Myrtle Point, OR.The photo collection was elaborate and well documented: I could have spend all day on that alone but i still had 20 miles to go. Just east of Mytle Creek a spotted a Cycle Oregon sign that said, "Photo Op Ahead!" Since I was already late for the day, at least according to my goals, I stopped for a quickie. Boy, was I glad i did. The photo op was one of the last wigwam burners in Oregon. As recently as 25 years ago these were part of every mill in Oregon. As efficiency and recycling reduced the waste in the lumber production process mills tore down their wigwam burners. These icons of classic lumber towns are very hard to find. 

Wigwam burner at a lumber mill just east of Myrtle Point, OR.

After the lunch stop of the day I came across an accident: they rider on a back board being loaded into an ambulance. Later on I heard that the rider had suffered a heart attack while riding but I don't know if that is true or not.

Accident on the Powers Highway between Myrtle Point and Powers, OR.

Our campsite for the night was Powers County Park, the site of a rather large lumber mill that built the town. When the mill shut down most of the jobs went with it and the town nearly died. Now, as with most former mill towns in southern Oregon, they rely heavily on tourism. This is the main reason that Cycle Oregon was created. 

Site of Day 5, Cycle Oregon 2011 in Powers, OR. Old mill pond at Powers City Park.Old mill equipment at Powers City Park. This appears to be a steam powered yarder.

As I was riding into camp I saw an opportunity for another great shot. All lined up were 6 SAG wagons!

SAG Wagon parking in Powers, OR.

Once settled in camp I dropped my bike off to get cleaned up and took the shuttle bus into town. I stopped at a country store for some ice cream: coconut cream and strawberry cheesecake.

Ice Cream from the Power General Store, Powers, OR. Coconut cream and strawberry cheesecake. YUMM!

Ice cream in hand I walked around town, which didn't take very long. It was obvious that the locals were glad to see Cycle Oregon. Everywhere you looked was a bike painted a single color with a sign on it. 

The town of Powers was very excited to see Cycle Oregon.

The local bar had more bikes in the parking lot than cars.

Local saloon in the town of Powers was very excited to see Cycle Oregon. Notice the bikes on the right side of the building? I'm sure this place was hopping well into the night.

I found the Powers Railroad Museum, if you call it that (yet). It is very much a work-in-progress. Its two curators were very happy to greet all the visits. I have never met a museum tour guide with this much enthusiasm. They had more info to share than breath in their lungs. 

Powers Railroad Museum, Powers, Oregon.

Powers Railroad Museum, Powers, Oregon.

Old mill pond at Powers City Park with a view of our camp.
That night at the evening's entertainment almost the entire town turned out to greet us. The Mayor gave us a great (i.e. short) history of Powers and talked to us about the ride ahead of us: "Look for black bears, cougars, and big foot tomorrow."

Highlights:

  1. Easy ride with only rolling hills.
  2. Great views of the Coquille River.
  3. Incredibly friendly people in Powers.
  4. Powers Railroad Museum

Lowlights:

  1. Should have gone swimming in the Coquille River (I asked some local kids where to swim and they clued me into a sweet swimming hole, which I found the next day).
  2. Not much else!

}B^)

Cycle Oregon 2011 Ride Report: Day 6

Ride Date: 16 September 2011

Starting City: Power, OR

Ending City: Riddle, OR

Ride Stats: 80.98 miles, 5200' of climbing, 6:27:42

Beginning the "Stairway to Heaven" from Powers to Riddle.

Beginning the "Stairway to Heaven" from Powers to Riddle.

The morning started out very cold with lots of thick fog. Leaving Powers there were a lot of signs and painted bikes reminding us to come back, to be safe, have a nice day, etc. Powers really liked having Cycle Oregon in town. The local tavern reported that they received nearly 4x their normal daily sales for the day. I must say that they ice cream was yummy! 

Even the local road construction crews got into the act...

Construction site along the Powers Highway at the beginning of Day 6.

I was well on my way to be on the road by 7:30, still not as early as I hoped, but I had to stop by the mechanics tent to get my mirror fixed. The cleaning crew appears to have lost a tiny nut that holds the tension bolt which keeps the mirror lodged in my drop bar end. The Bike Gallery mechanic did a fabulous job fabricating a replacement from a plastic reflector clamp. It is still holding today!

As we headed down the road we came upon a great little water fall, just a short hike off the trail. Only a few people stopped to look but it was worth the walk in bike cleats.

Elk Creek Falls along the Powers Highway from Powers to Riddle.

The route today follows much of the same route covered by the Tour de Fronds ride from Glendale to Powers.

The mountains around us were tall and scenic. The riding was incredible along US Forest Service roads through steep, winding river canyons. The climb started gradually and stayed pretty consistent until mile 20.

Riding up the mountains between Powers and Riddle, OR.

Right around mile 18 the grade went from 3-5% to 7-10% for about 4 miles before switching back to a manageable 2-4%. 

No sightings of wildlife, but we did see painted on the road, "bigfoot crossing" followed by painted footprints.


Riding up the mountains between Powers and Riddle, OR.

As we climbed higher into the sky the views opened up. Several bare sections showed evidence of wildfires in recent years. The last 5 miles of the climb pitched up to 9% again, which made for slow going.

 

Riding up the mountains between Powers and Riddle, OR.

Finally we reached the summit, the intersection of 2 roads at Mount Bolivar. 

 

Mount Bolivar at the summit of Day 6 between Powers and Riddle, OR.At the summit of Day 6 between Powers and Riddle, OR.Even after 40 miles of climbing, this is where the hardest part of the day started: mile after mile of incredibly steep downhill sections, some approaching 15%, but with the added difficulty of very winding roads. Oh, and it was almost ALL chipseal for the entire day on switch back after switch back...

Riding down the mountain into Riddle, OR. All bike and vehicle traffic was stopped at this point while crews worked on a bike accident.

While riding today I saw 3 ambulances today working on riders, 2 of which did not appear to be in dangerous situations. The one in the picture above blocked the road for some time. Cycle Oregon is really big on privacy so I never was able to find out what happened to these riders.

Heard on the ride today: "Chip seal = Oregon's cobblestones."


Riding down the mountain into Riddle, OR.

At mile 55 the grade lessened to a very easy 1-2%. The last 21 miles were slightly downhill following Cow Creek into Riddle. I did quite a few of my "standing 10 counts" again trying to keep my legs from seizing up with cramps. 

Looking back at the rest stop across Cow Creek.As we came into Riddle we passed a large lumber mill that was actually working!

Log deck at Billboard Lumber Products, a lumber mill outside Riddle, OR.

With the late start and long day I didn't make it to camp until 5:30. Wow, was I beat. That long climb really sucked the energy out of me. I showered, changed, and wandered my way over to find dinner.

Sunset over Cycle Oregon tent city in Riddle, OR.

As with Reedsport, where I also arrived late and was out of gas, I did not venture out into the town. As the sun went down I could tell that I was in need of an early bed time.

At the closing evening of Cycle Oregon Jonathan gave us his traditional hint for next year. This is not exact but it is what I wrote down on my phone at the time-

"A seed of a clue. That hill we climbed today was too short. One day next year we are going to climb higher, longer, without backtracking, than we ever have." - Jonathan Nicholas

Let the speculation begin! I made my own prediction on the Cycle Oregon Forum.

Jonathan also spoke about walking the Oregon trail, the Oregon promise and the purpose of Cycle Oregon (supporting these struggling communities). 

He referred to dams being removed in Oregon, which got me looking for other dam removal projects. I found information about the Condit Dam in Washington state, including a cool time lapse of the water going out from the dam and the lake receding. 

When the band started playing I didn't even wait to see if they were any good: I went straight to bed.

Highlights:

  1. Great scenery.
  2. Incredible climbs.

Lowlights:

  1. VERY difficult desent.
  2. Somehow left my Garmin running all night, impacted my battery life on Day 7.

}B^)