Cottage Grove-Drain loop ride

June 1, 2003

I met Sue Wolling and Fred Felter (spending his birthday on his new bike) in the Cottage Grove Wal-Mart parking lot at 9 a.m. The sky was clear, the temperature cool—perfect for biking! We picked up the bike path, formerly Oregon Pacific and Eastern Railroad, and headed into town. At the end of the path we turned onto Main Street west, and soon left the Grove behind. Climbing the grade on Cottage Grove-Lorane Highway, we were greeted by purple iris, both blue and yellow lupine, and, our near constant companion, Scot’s broom. After a quick, fun descent to Lorane, we jogged left for a short distance on Territorial Highway, then right onto Siuslaw River Road. Two miles further we turned left onto the Carpenter Bypass, nicknamed “coronary bypass” for its steep grade. This road start out in a lush deciduous forest of big leaf maple and alder, but climbs quickly into a patchwork of second growth and clear-cuts. After 7 miles of ups and downs along the ridge is a two mile, unpaved stretch (mostly down) to Smith River Road. Left onto Smith River, and we were soon into climbing gears again. But the reward was a “forever” descent, with lots of nice curves, finally ending at Highway 99 along Pass Creek. A right turn and two miles later it was 12:30, and we were sitting on the grass in the Anna Drain Park enjoying lunch. From there we crossed Elk Creek on the footbridge, picked up 99 again and headed south a mile or so where we made another left onto Boswell Road. This took us seven miles through a quaint, green valley populated mostly by sheep and cattle. A right onto Anlauf Road, and a jog under I-5, and we were into Scotts Valley. Soon we were headed up. This was the last major climb of the day, and also the highest, and, naturally, the hottest too. At the top of the first step we turned left onto the Shoestring Road, and another 2½ miles of climbing. On this hill we saw white iris mixed in with the blues that we're used to down in the valley. After another glorious descent, we turned left onto London Road then, a few miles later, right onto Cottage Grove Reservoir Road for nice views of the full to the brim, deep blue lake. A short descent by the dam, then a right onto the Weyerhaeuser Road, right onto 6th Street, right at Hillside Drive, a quick jog under I-5 to pick up Gateway Blvd, right on Main, left on Thornton Lane, and we were back to the cars at 4:00 p.m., another perfect loop-ride completed. (In those seven hours, we managed to have 1½ hours off our bikes.)

—Wayne Deeter

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