Cycle Oregon XXII
2009: A Different State of Mind
Day 1 – September 13: Medford to Yreka (66 or 85 miles)
“Ride for the Border” Map
Cycle Oregon makes its first foray across the southern border. But first we make our way through quintessential Southern Oregon orchards and valleys before climbing out of Ashland on the Old Siskiyou Highway past Emigrant Lake and to the summit. (Be sure to look back at the beauty and bounty of Oregon!) Then we roll down into our neighbor state, through open hills with Mt. Shasta in the distance, finally crossing the Klamath River and arriving in Yreka.
Day 2 – September 14: Yreka to Happy Camp (74 miles)
“Biking the Byway” Map
Today is a special ride, following the official State of Jefferson Scenic Byway along the Klamath River. Early on we cross over five Pioneer Bridges from the 1930s, and we spend the day spinning downhill alongside the Klamath, where herons observe us from atop logs and the river alternates between placid pools and roiling rapids. When we hit Happy Camp, you’ll know for sure you’re off the beaten path – you’re truly in the State of Jefferson.
Day 3 – September 15: Happy Camp to Lake Selmac (54 or 80 miles)
“Up and Over” Map
Delve deeper into Jefferson, continuing on the Scenic Byway. After a gradual warm-up through tranquil woods, we climb nine miles – very steep near the top – to a panoramic view over receding rows of treed ridges, including rare weeping Brewer’s spruce and Port Orford cedar. Then we’ll wind down 11 miles of great road with vistas to the north. Later we’ll have one very short, very steep climb, and a last up-and-over to Lake Selmac.
Day 4 – September 16: Lake Selmac to Glendale (70 miles)
“The Redwood and The Rogue” Map
Today we experience maybe the most spectacular of Oregon’s 48 Wild & Scenic Rivers. After tooling along the Redwood Highway from Selma, we begin a lively dance with the Rogue River. We’ll cross it three times in 20 miles of unmatched scenery, rising above the river and then dropping down beside it. Finally we leave it behind, riding first up Grave Creek and then Wolf Creek, past its historic town and wayside inn on our way to Glendale.
Day 5 – September 17: Glendale to Grants Pass (75 miles)
“Up the Creek(s)” Map
This day will have a soundtrack of running water – we spend the majority of the ride alongside one of five creeks. We’ll climb steadily for 30 miles (only the last five are serious), past Galesville Reservoir and under the gaze of bald eagles, before following Evans Creek for an incredible 40 miles of gentle descent through deep forest. At the bottom we break out into a lovely valley of covered bridges and vineyards, and finish the day following the Rogue River down into Grants Pass.
Day 6 – September 18: Grants Pass Option (43 miles)
“Layover Loop” Map
A day of choices: lounge around on the banks of the river, explore town, take a ride… or do it all. This moderate loop with a couple climbs (OK, one has a stretch of 10% grade) will keep your legs fresh and leave plenty of time in the day. Head out west, then north, and loop back as you pass through oddly but wonderfully named places like Merlin, Hugo and Winona, as well as along Jumpoff Joe and Louse creeks.
Day 7 – September 19: Grants Pass to Medford (41 or 51 miles)
“Along the Applegate” Map
How fitting to end the week with another historic and ruggedly beautiful ride. Today we head into the Applegate Valley, through which the famous Applegate Trail offered emigrants a safer route to Oregon. Start with a warm-up climb through oak, madrone and pine, then take on smooth rollers past vineyards and dairies in the valley. Choose the more- or less-hilly option into Jacksonville, and finish triumphantly in Medford. What a week.