Cycle Oregon XVII

Sept. 11-18, 2004

Day One: Canyonville to Wolf Creek, 52 miles

Our adventure opens with a Grand Parade through the charm that is Main Street in Canyonville, then we turn to the south and the glory that is the land of the Rogue. Our path today, winding along scenic Cow Creek, involves little climbing – just enough for us to check out our gearing and our quads. Linger along the way to take in the beauty of big timber country and prepare for a spectacular journey. Our day ends in sylvan Wolf Creek, home of the legendary Wolf Creek Tavern. This whitewashed and weathered stagecoach stop is Oregon’s oldest operating inn.

Day Two: Wolf Creek to Lake Selmac, 61 miles

Today’s ride is breathtaking as we follow the course of Graves Creek as it winds its forested way to its junction with the Rogue. Towering trees arch over our path as we cruise toward a leisurely lunch in the beautiful park named for Indian Mary. The balance of the day leads us through the bucolic back roads of the Illinois Valley and the charming communities of Wonder and Selma. We toss our bedrolls on the shore of scenic Selmac Lake, a hidden jewel of Southern Oregon.

Day Three: Lake Selmac to Jacksonville, 64 miles

Enough already with this bucolic splendor. Saddle up, pardnur: It’s time to ride. Our first major climb of the tour is a spectacular ascent of the legendary Siskiyous, our portal to the pristine Applegate Valley, the Eden at the end of the southern branch of the Oregon Trail. The valley is known far and wide for its historic farmhouses and hippie hot spots. Don’t miss the general store in Williams, man. Turn on, tune in, and drop some dough on organic tofu jerky. Enjoy your well-deserved rest at lunch. It’s a comfy cruise from here to the beautifully preserved 1850s gold rush town of Jacksonville.

Day Four: LAYOVER DAY, 0 miles or 34 miles

Sleep in. Linger over that extra cup of coffee. Wander through downtown Jacksonville, where the more than 80 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places include a wide array of museums, restaurants, bookstores and boutiques. And don’t overlook the town’s network of nature trails. Feel like a little bike ride? It’s just 17 miles to Ashland, home of the world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. A cadre of Ashland’s most celebrated chefs will prepare lunch in Lithia Park after which – if you book early – seats will be available for both matinee and evening performances. It’s one of Oregon’s greatest cultural traditions to enjoy Shakespeare at the outdoor Elizabethan Theatre. It’s a lovely ride into Ashland, or shuttle buses will operate all day from camp.

Jacksonville, too, knows how to put on a show. The town is home of the famous Britt Festival, the Northwest’s leading summer arts festival. We’ll gather each evening in the spectacular setting of the Britt Amphitheater, set among majestic ponderosa pines and native madrones on the beautiful hillside estate right in the heart of town.

Day Five: Jacksonville to Lost Creek, 74 miles. Option: 110 miles

Tanned? Rested? Ready? It’s time to bid Jacksonville goodbye and make a decision. Those committed to a challenging Century Ride will plunge into the heart of the Rogue National Forest. This route includes the famous ascent of Dead Indian Road, one of the legendary climbs in the West. The alternate route winds through the Rogue Valley, passing the community of Gold Hill, home to the famous Oregon Vortex and its intriguing House of Mystery. All riders join again for a festive lunch in Butte Falls, a small town with a big personality. We’ll continue north through the forest to Joseph Stewart State Park where our hosts will be the nearby riverfront community of Shady Cove. Pick yourself a beautiful camp spot. We’re here for two nights.

Day Six: Lost Creek to Crater Lake, 84 miles

Today we rise to the promise of one of America’s most spectacular bicycle rides. After following the Rogue River through the picturesque communities of Prospect and Union Creek, we begin the climb to the rim of renowned Crater Lake National Park. Lunch waits at the spectacular overlook affording stunning views of Big Blue. Riders up for the challenge will enjoy the spectacular ride around the rim, a glorious roller coaster tour through the wilderness. Feel a cool breeze? Winter in these parts brings some of the heaviest snowfall in the country, averaging 533 inches per year. Best news of all? The return to camp is all downhill, the perfect end to a perfect day.

Day Seven: Lost Creek to Canyonville, 61 miles

Today we break camp for the last time and head back toward the place our adventure began. Today’s few climbs will be our final challenges and we’ll lunch in a shady grove near the community of Tiller. Then it’s on through Milo and Days Creek as we get set for our final glorious descent into Canyonville where Main Street becomes our Finish Line, and the perfect place to celebrate the end of this journey through a masterpiece.