The Best Bike Ride in America

2005 Weekend Ride

June 25-26, 2005 - Champoeg to Coburg

Day 1: Champoeg State Park to Monmouth (60 miles) From the shaded groves of Champoeg State Park, we head first toward the historic community of St. Paul, then on to Willamette Mission State Park. This is a great place for history buffs. The site of the Willamette Mission, established in 1834, is also home to the largest black cottonwood tree in the nation. From the park, we pedal into Oregon wine country as we wind over the vine-studded Eola Hills. Our final rest stop of the day will be in the charming town of Independence, where you can relax at the riverfront park or enjoy a treat at the town’s famous Fab Fifties ice cream shop. Closing out our Saturday ride, we travel to Monmouth, home of scenic Western Oregon University and our home for the evening. Day 2: Monmouth to Coburg (75 miles) After bidding adieu to the university, we continue south toward Albany, site of the first rest stop of the day. Albany boasts the most varied collection of historic buildings in Oregon, including signature styles from the 1840s through the 1920s. Don’t even think about trying to count the colorful Queen Annes and classic Craftsman bungalows.  Albany boasts more than 700 historic buildings in all. Back in the saddle, we cruise toward the Thompson’s Mills State Historic Site. Here lunch waits among the history. This site, once known as Boston Mills, features a five-story structure on the banks of the Calapooia River. The intricate system of water-powered grist mills once comprised the oldest continuously operating business in Oregon, where foot-pedaled sewing machines stitched up sacks of “Valley Rose” flour. After lunch we head to the town of Brownsville, the community that – with its beautifully maintained historic downtown – takes great pride in being “short on bustle and long on charm.” The afternoon leg through some of the richest farmland in the country takes us by the oldest oak savannah in Oregon, a remnant of the valley’s native ecosystem. An exciting finish-line party, the State Scenic Bikeway Bash, greets us in Coburg.