“Field of Dreams” 22/49/74 miles
The overnight site in Monmouth is on the campus of Western Oregon University, with acres of green grass and shade trees. WOU is a liberal arts university established in 1856, with an enrollment of approximately 6,000, and incorporates both a College of Education and a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. As with all Cycle Oregon weekend rides, there are three options (short, mid and long), to choose from. All ride options are based on the long option.
All three routes travel together to the first rest stop at a county park on the banks of the Willamette River in Buena Vista. The roads used are generally lightly traveled, but everyone needs to use caution with crossing Highway 99W, two miles from the start. After the rest stop, the long and mid routes cross the river on the Buena Vista Ferry and travel on county roads to the community of Jefferson.
The Short Route leaves Buena Vista and makes a loop back to campus, again crossing Highway 99W, before traveling north on a county road and arriving at the university. This option has some hills that are short, and moderate in grade.
The Mid Route leaves the main route in Jefferson and travels two and a half miles on a county road to the lunch site in Marion. After lunch, the mid route and long route use the same roads to return to Monmouth.
The Long Route leaves Jefferson and travels east on county roads to the small community of Scio. Just before, and just after Scio, the route travels over a covered bridge (Gilkey and Shimanek). Up to this point, the roads have been fairly flat. After crossing the second covered bridge, the one big hill of the day will loom large. It is fairly steep near the top (about 9%), but only a half-mile long. Riders on this option will travel on county roads with very light traffic, making a loop almost back to Jefferson before making a turn to arrive in Marion for lunch, and join mid route riders.
After lunch, both long and mid route riders climb a mile-long hill before descending back into the Willamette Valley and crossing the interstate freeway before riding onto the Ankeny Wildlife Refuge (2,800 acres of land near the confluence of the Santiam and Willamette rivers protected for geese, ducks, raptors and other wildlife). After traveling through the refuge for about seven miles, the last rest stop of the day is at Ankeny Winery and Vineyard, with an option for tasting and purchasing. After leaving the winery, there are just less than ten miles left, with some rolling terrain and huge blueberry fields, before crossing the Willamette River again and riding through Independence before returning to Monmouth.