Rick (liketoride) is a master of pulling together intriguing, challenging, highly varied trips on obscure roads from websites, recreational atlases, google maps, and other sources. One of the finest regions in which to practise this craft is southcentral Oregon, which is festooned with secondary highways, superbly paved rural roads, and a plethora of paved backcountry logging routes, all ‘off the beaten path’ and nearly devoid of traffic. Basing out of Eugene, one can easily access more roads than one can ride in a week (maybe even a lifetime?) and enjoy the comforts and pleasures of a relatively upscale university town in the evenings.
I had had to drop out of a chance to savour these joys last summer, so when LCPeter suggested a week early this summer, I was keen as hell. Rick had other plans, but Peter (who had been on the previous summer’s trip) had access to the ‘magic elixir’ – Rick’s GPS maps from 2010! The bits that he shared with me before the trip coincided with the ideas I had gleaned from oregonmotorcyclist.com and other sources, so it seemed the quality of the riding was going to be exceptional! By the way, we were using Rick’s route-maps ‘with permission’, so to respect the effort he put into pulling them together, I’m NOT going to post maps of the rides around Eugene – you’ll have to figure it out yourself from the roads and towns mentioned.
[ Five years later, cleaning up my maps over the New Years holidays, this seems like a non-issue, so here are the maps of day 2 - two parts cuz I couldn't get My Maps to take enough waypoints...:]
In the end, personal commitments meant I couldn’t leave town until dinner time on Saturday, but the blast down I-5 was quick and uneventful. I met LCPeter and dumped into the Clatskanie Inn about 11:30.
Morning! Highway 47 beckoned! The first 20 or 30km south of Clatskanie are ridiculously good, twisty as hell but banked, a real joy!
West of Vernonia we wandered off into more obscure roads, always interesting, always curvy. Somewhere, mid-morning, we stopped at a winery west of Forest Grove, but where we were and how exactly we got there, I would struggle to tell you, except to say it wasn’t on highways.
Further south, more secondary routes led thru the beautiful countryside of the Willamette valley to a lunch stop in Philomath. This interesting town-name led me to a bit of later investigation: “A philomath is a seeker of knowledge and facts, while a polymath is a possessor of knowledge in multiple fields.” Learn something new every day – even on a bike trip!
It was obvious we would be into Eugene early, so we broke from the schedule and coupled into the planned rides northeast of Eugene to finish our day. A pleasant ride took us to Alsea, then we headed south and west onto the Alsea-Deadwood road and the Lobster Valley road. Somewhere in there we diverged onto a logging road and crossed some mountains to drop into the upper Yachats valley, but I couldn’t tell you where or how, only that the road was ‘obscure’.
The intensity lightened on the coast, which was awesome, but there was too much traffic to be ideal.
We broke back east from Florence, and got off the main route to follow the very pleasant hwy 36 back across to Eugene. A solid day had been enjoyed before we checked in at our hotel (the Red Lion) and dinner at the rather upscale Sfizio restaurant across the road made a fine finish.