Day 4: Lake Selmac, OR to Glendale, OR – With the big hills out of the way, they ratcheted up the distance. But by now, I was feeling pretty good. I got to wondering how much better I’d feel if I did a ride like this at the beginning of the season instead of the end…
- The route. This is why you take the roundabout way! By mid-morning, we were following the Rogue River near Galice-Hellgate.
During my layover day in Grants Pass, I kayaked just west of here.
- Seeing these ladies “moo” at the cows and giggling.
They had pulled over to talk when they noticed the cows moving away from them en masse. So they started mooing. Something was lost in translation, as the cows looked to be accelerating away. As far as we could tell, they were just trying to make it back to the barn to catch the latest House episode.
- Listening to EMTs and physicians exchange job stories at the camp. Having to sit through a three-hour process meeting is nothing compared to what they’ve seen.
- Another stint along I-5. Because Oregon DOT was involved, this one wasn’t too bad. I’ve done worse on I-90 eastbound.
Day 5: Glendale, OR to Grants Pass, OR – Looking at the map, this would be a 25-mile ride, but we would have missed out on scenery. Besides, we’re here to ride.
- Best. Rest. Stop. Ever.
Heaven On Earth bakery, located along exit 86 on I-5 in Oregon, welcomed us with their amazing arsenal of fresh-baked goodies. Although their cinnamon rolls receive the top billing, their Apple and Marionberry crisps were even better. On the way back to Seattle, several of us returned the love by stopping in for goodies to take home. My take-out meat loaf with garlic mashed potatoes was excellent. The goodies — pumpkin bread pudding, marionberry pie, apple crisp — did make it all the way back to my family, but would have been best enjoyed fresh.
- Galesville Dam, shrouded in morning fog, was eerie.
- Karaoke from Hell. They saved the great Led Zeppelin tunes for the encore, when I was already back in the tent. As the riff for Whole Lotta Love started, a collective “dang” came from the tents nearby.
- None, really. Had I known Heaven on Earth Bakery was there, I would have skipped breakfast and eaten a real one there, instead. The CO food gets a little monotonous because I can’t eat the heavier stuff (eggs, bacon) before riding. Mixing Froot Loops into my oatmeal helped a little bit.
Day 6: Lounging around Grants Pass – This was our rest day. I spent the morning picking up geocaches along the way … until I got careless and tripped into some poison oak, imagining Poison Oak Cooties everywhere. I washed my calves and ankles at the rest stop. Later, when I was wandering around downtown Grants Pass, I found a pharmacy selling the magic poison oak removal cream.
Grants Pass had pulled out the stops for our visit, including passing a waiver for tent camping in Riverside Park, offering shuttles into town, and arranging for a bike corral. The Evergreen Bank Bear Hotel had ornate displays lining the sidewall to the park:
Grants Pass is the sister city of Rubtsovsk, Russia:
Downtown featured a lot of local art. Bottles, Beaches and Banana Slugs epitomizes the spirit of the people here. (Note: she’s still not happy.)
In the late afternoon, I took a rafting trip with Rogue Wilderness Adventures. It was originally a shared-raft trip, but since I was traveling solo, I had the opportunity to take a kayak instead. One problem with being the last group of the day is we inherited everyone else’s lateness and disorganization.
- That feeling when there’s an opportunity for a side trip and you just do it without any consideration of the mileage. One of the geocaches was a couple of miles off the main loop. As I was fetching it from its hiding place, a lady walking her dog struck up a conversation with me.
- I didn’t fall out of my kayak. Apparently I’ve learned a lot about fluid dynamics of rivers in the last few years.
- The Laughing Clam tavern was completely unprepared for the onslaught of customers.
- … as was Rogue Wilderness Adventures. As the last group, we had everything running late. We got back to camp around 8:30, completely missing dinner.
Day 7: Grants Pass, OR to Medford, OR – I chose to do the shorter, 42-mile loop in hopes of getting back on the road and home that same day. I was on the road very early, happy to catch this great sunrise in Murphy, OR. The sky is on fire:
Further along, there was … um… nevermind.
And finally, the finish line:
Overall, this was an enjoyable week! If I changed anything, I’d have preferred the two layover days like we had on last year’s route. Not having to deal with administrative things means more time to explore and play!
Route support was excellent. I especially appreciated Chuck playing classic rock tunes on the long climbs. Jeff and Vitaliy were awesome in looking after us!