(Written by Dave)
Rice Hill RV park was quiet overnight and it actually got a little bit chilly. We slept with the rain-fly off the tent and had a wet sleeping bag in the morning. We won’t try that again… Senior editor didn’t think it was a good idea in the first place – lesson learned…
We had a short ride into Rice Hill proper for brekkie. We were going to try going to a diner called Peggy’s for a bite to eat – my parents went there on one of their trips to Oregon in the 1990s. Well, Peggy’s is no more – we learned that it shut down about three years ago. We instead settled for Thee Ranch Cafe and Lounge. Food was actually pretty good with Anna, Nancy and I all going for the pancake special, which turned out great. Andy managed to get them to leave the sausage out of the breakfast burrito so he was happy with his breakfast as well.
With full stomachs we headed out and up Rice Hill, the biggest climb of the day. It was nice and cool and there was zero traffic but we were all feeling our brekkie as we climbed. In the “hardly seems fair” category, Anna somehow managed to get her front panniers and all their contents into her back bags – her bike wasn’t any lighter but it looked lighter and she flew up the hill – ah, young legs. She couldn’t be convinced to take Nancy’s front bags on her now very empty front racks despite some concerted effort on Nancy’s part.
We had a great downhill off the other side of Rice Hill with impressive views out to the east. Anna’s bike performed better without the front bags and all of us zipped the downhill with confidence. I was a bit tardy taking photos as there were lots of things to look at. All too soon we were going back up again, now on Metz Hill. This climb was shorter but pretty steep – this really was the theme of the day as we had over 2,000 feet of climbing for the day. Off the back side of the climb we came across a nice covered bridge at Rochester and some nice vineyard photo ops.
We rolled into Sutherlin and found “Henry’s Bakery” for morning tea. They did nice toasted bagels and apple fritters. We don’t think that we got into Sutherlin proper, or at least Sutherlin oldtown – all up it was really just a freeway interchange and a whole bunch of the normal fast food joints.
We turned south out of Sutherlin, riding along the freeway on a frontage road for about 10k. There was not much to see except we found an interesting billboard noting Oregon’s new liberalized view on marijuana. We are all having so much fun riding that it is really hard to believe that Eugene was only a day ago. Out here in the middle of the state, it seems odd to see such a prominent display.
We turned east on North Bank Road – a cut off that saved us 10 miles riding to Roseburg. The road was fairly lightly travelled but it wasn’t exactly the flat meander along the north bank of the Umpqua river that we were expecting. The hills were very brown and dry, and the road rarely got near the river. It was scenic and a nice ride, just not what we were expecting. Both Nancy and I read over 100 on our thermometers.
We were all pretty happy to pull into Glide at the “Colliding Rivers” information centre. The Small River and the North Umpqua Rivers collide there and can be quite a site in the spring. Right now, they were merely a nice swimming hole – we didn’t get in but it was tempting.
We stopped at the Forest Service centre for road information and got the skinny for both Andy and Anna and ourselves. We split up tomorrow and their route is a little less well-known. They’ve settled on a route that has some potential gravel and hills. Our route is just hills. We’ll get a text out to them tomorrow night to see how they went.
On the way through Glide we stopped at Munchies for a snack. Anna and Nancy couldn’t go past the milkshakes. I settled for the blueberry/strawberry buckle and Andy had a sandwich and fries (which he had to share with the rest of us!). Everyone left satisfied. From there it was only 2 miles up the road to Elk Haven RV park. The owners here are great – they are cyclists and have been very helpful with information about the route ahead. They’ve given Andy and Anna some route tweaks and us the story on water and snacks on our route.
It’s been great having companions for three days. They are super easy to travel with, and “fell” for the Sherpa trip just enough. Good luck them heading back to Corvallis.