The first day of Cycle Oregon’s Week Ride will cover 52 miles (54 with an option) between Myrtle Creek and Camas Valley. The most direct route is to use Interstate 5 and State Highway 42. However, as veteran Cycle Oregon riders know, the most direct route is not the Cycle Oregon way.
Instead, the Day 1 route travels north of town on a lightly used county road—luckily, the first “little” hill is really short—to arrive at the first rest stop, at an Umpqua Community College facility used to teach commercial truck driving. After some vittles, it’s under the freeway on another county road with light traffic. You’ll hit the first climb of the week, of a couple of miles, before a nice downhill leading to Roberts Creek. The route follows the creek, traveling under I-5 and crossing Highway 42, to the unincorporated area of Green (population 7,500), south of Roseburg, for the second stop of the day.
After over 10 miles of flat riding, you will arrive in Lookingglass for lunch. This small, unincorporated community was once the beginning of the Coos Bay Wagon Road that connected Douglas County to Coos Bay in the late 1800s. A historical claim to fame for Lookinglass is that David Brinkley anchored a segment of NBC Nightly News from the steps of the Lookingglass Store in 1970. Chet Huntley, David Brinkley’s co-anchor of the Huntley-Brinkley Report, was the great grandson of the Lookingglass area’s first settler, Daniel Huntley, who arrived in 1851.
The now-paved road leaving Lookingglass is still named the Coos Bay Wagon Road, and the route uses this county road traveling west for about five miles before the second minor climb of the day. After summiting this hill, and traveling downhill for about a mile and a half, it is decision time—stay on the main route or challenge yourself with an option that contains a major, gut-grinding hill?
The main route leaves the Coos Bay Wagon Road near the former community of Reston and travels to Tenmile, at the junction of State Highway 42. This state highway has good shoulders but moderate traffic, with a mix of cars and commercial trucks, so riding on the shoulder—and single file—is a must. A three-and-a-half-mile hill is all that is left before a great two-mile descent ending at Camas Valley and the overnight site at the Camas Valley School.
The option is only about 2.5 miles longer than the main route, but did I mention the hills? At Reston, the option route travels for approximately two miles and then begins an uphill climb of about four and a half miles. The gradient is mainly in excess of 11%, with sections of 13-14%, but only 7-8% in the flatter sections. Once summiting the first hill, another of about a mile and half awaits. This hill is a piece of cake compared to the first one, with grades of a mere 11-12%. The last eight miles is mostly downhill, and follows in reverse the roads to be used the next day when leaving Camas Valley.
Learn about the geologic landscapes you’ll be traversing on day one of the Week Ride in our Geology Rocks series.