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Oregon Bicycle Ride, 1997

Background

Several of the Salem Bicycle Club members described to us how much they enjoyed the Oregon Bicycle Ride tour, organized by Bicycle Rides Northwest, a company based in Bend, Oregon. Lando and Mary, among others, have ridden this annual tour for several past years. This is a supported bicycle camping tour, where the company carries the bicyclists' camping gear from camp to camp, provides rest stops and SAG support along the route, and breakfast and dinner and showers at the camps. So in early 1997 we decided to join the OBR tour to see what they were experiencing. By the end of the trip we were hooked on supported bicycle camping tours.

Itinerary

Day Start Stop Mileage Elevation Gain
August 10 Denio Junction, NV Adel 83 4000
August 11 Adel Aspen Ridge Resort 77 3700
August 12 Aspen Ridge Resort Fort Klamath 88 830
August 13 Fort Klamath Prospect 40 1750
August 14 Prospect Myrtle Creek 84 2700
August 15 Myrtle Creek Bandon 84 2000
August 16 Bandon Gold Beach 56 1600
Totals
512 16580

Diary

First camp at Denio Junction
Shower Truck

9 August 1997 (Saturday) We ride a bus from Redmond, Oregon, to Denio Junction, Nevada, by way of Lakeview. The bicylists set up their tents in a small grassy park at Denio Junction. It thunderstorms in the afternoon, but dries out afterward. We try out the shower truck for the first time and enjoy a good dinner in the scenic desert environment. We are excited about starting the bicycle ride tomorrow.

First Day Rest Stop
Paul & Linda enter Oregon

10 August (Sunday) We ride our bikes west on highway 140 from Denio Junction to Adel, Oregon, our first day of riding on a supported tour. We adopt Lando's method of getting an early start to beat the breakfast crowd and the afternoon heat. It is a strenuous day for us, but the three well-spaced rest stops are well stocked with good snacks. The last rest stop is 16 miles east of Adel. From there we enjoy a fast ride down off the plateau toward Adel. We are hit with very strong headwinds from an aproaching thunderstorm the last few miles to Adel. Linda and I fight on to the camp at the school grounds where I retrieve our gear and we put up our tent in a downpour. But the sky clears and our camp dries out quickly in the dry air. We learn over dinner that some riders behind us at Warner Summit dove into ditches and into the back of the equipment truck at the rest stop to escape a severe thunderstorm. What an exciting and memorable first day of riding!

Aspen Ridge Resort corral

11 August (Monday) Linda and I decide to get an even earlier start today because we have a long climb from Adel through a narrow canyon up to Warner Summit west of Adel and we want to get it behind us before the traffic gets busy. From the summit we drop down to Lakeview and then climb to Quartz Mountain Pass where we turn onto a single lane road to Aspen Ridge Resort, our next camp. At least one rider does not make a sharp turn on this road where it is covered with pine needles and crashes. Otherwise, the weather was sunny, warm, and dry, without the thunderstorms we fought yesterday. Our campsite is in a pasture normally used by cows and we kick cow pies aside to put up our tent. The displaced cows are complaining in a nearby corral. We enjoy the shower truck and relax and hydrate in camp for the afternoon, then enjoy an excellent steak dinner prepared by the resort.

12 August (Tuesday) The early moring start is very cold. I am wearing tights, fingered gloves, and a cap under my helmet and still the cold air stings as we drop towards Bly on a winding and often shady forest road. Here we regain highway 140 and turn west. We travel through Beatty and stop at Sprague River. There is a lot of truck traffic today, and one rider looses his bike as he is forced off the road and his bike is run over by a truck. But we do not have any such mishaps. Linda is lagging a bit after our rest stop in Sprague River, so I promise to find her a nice camp in the shade along a creek and I push on ahead of her. I ride through Chiloquin and Fort Klamath and find our next camp at the Crater Lake RV Campground. Rather than camp with the other Salem Bicycle Club members in a field in the sunshine, I find a nice, shady tentsite beside a pond. Linda arrives later and enjoys a swim in the pond and is happy with the site. It was a long day.

Linda on the way to Prospect

13 August (Wednesday) Today's ride has four options, three involving rides up to the Crater Lake rim and partial or complete rides along the rim. After yesterday's long day we decide to make today a rest day, and ride directly to Prospect. The weather is very pleasant and the ride is scenic and relaxing. We stop along the way to enjoy a view of the Rogue River. We arrive early to Prospect and spend a relaxing afternoon and evening at the school.

14 August (Thursday) Linda and I feel rested and strong today. In previous days we would generally fall behind many of our SBC friends as the day wore on, but today is different. The weather is sunny and hot. We take highway 227 up a steep climb then drop down to the Umpqua River. The route continues on through Canyonville to Myrtle Creek. After the last rest stop we find our SBC friends trying to catch us, but we power on and don't let them catch up until Canyonville. The campsite is at Evergreen Park in Myrtle Creek. It is a hot afternoon so we enjoy a milk shake in town and the shady trees at camp. We are very happy with today's ride.

Bandon Beach

15 August (Friday) Today is a long ride from Myrtle Creek to Bandon, much of it along highway 42. There are some hazardous railroad track crossings getting to the highway and some construction and a lot of traffic on the highway, but the highway has a good shoulder. At Myrtle Point we leave the highway for a scenic backroad route. We try to fight up a half-mile 13% grade but eventually surrender and walk our bikes up it. We enter Bandon and enjoy the ocean views and find our camp at the Bandon City Park. We have ridden our bikes from the desert of northern Nevada across the Cascades and Coast Ranges to Oregon's Coast.

Gold Beach

16 August (Saturday) Today is the tour's last bicycling day, a graduation day for Linda and I. We follow highway 101 south to Gold Beach. It is a short unhurried day, except near Humbug Mountain where Linda and I race Lando. Linda rides ahead of me across the Gold Beach Bridge at the mouth of the Rogue River. Near the far end of the bridge an RV passes her with its passenger side steps down and nearly clips Linda as it passes. Linda decides to take the full lane the rest of the way across the bridge to protect herself from other vehicles. We safely ride the rest of the way to our camp at the Fairgrounds, and complete the OBR 1997.

17 August (Sunday) Several SBC riders have arranged to be picked up at Gold Beach, but we and many other riders take the OBR-arranged bus transportation from Gold Beach back to Redmond where our vehicle waits for us. We are very happy with our experience and decide to join the OBR 1998 tour next August.

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