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Cycle Exploregon: Winding through the Coquille River Valley

Posted by on August 14th, 2016 at 12:47 am

Lampa Lane is a road to remember.

Lampa Lane gives you a perfect perch to take in the bucolic beauty of the Coquille River Valley.(Photos: J.Maus BikePortland)

Today’s ride was short but oh so sweet.

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Before I get started, I just want to clarify what the heck I’m doing. This is not Cycle Oregon. Their big Week Ride is September 10-17th. I’m out here to explore the backroads around the official route and share more about the communities they go through. Cycle Oregon is a nonprofit with a mission to breathe new life into rural communities. My hope is that these posts will inspire you to not just do Cycle Oregon, but to return and savor the small towns along the route.

Today I savored several places I’m already looking forward to coming back to. There’s so much riding out here! The Coquille River Valley is surrounded by mountains and canyons full of smooth and winding roads — and there’s lots of gravel.

Before I got dirty in some of it I spent the morning in Myrtle Point. The manager of the motel I stayed in (Myrtle Trees, highly recommended) shared stories about how it used to be a boomtown in the 1950s. That was when it was still a logging town. It’s much smaller now, and quieter; but if you want a taste of the role lumber mills played in this area’s history, look no further than the Coos Bay Logging Museum.

Check out photos from the museum and more notes from today’s adventure below the jump…

The wonderful Myrtle Trees Motel overlooks the Coquille River Registered wetlands which are home to many bird species and other wildlife.

The wonderful Myrtle Trees Motel overlooks the Coquille River Registered wetlands which are home to many bird species and other wildlife.

Jill Dillon, her husband Steve, and their two children run the Myrtle Trees Motel. The Dillons have been proprietors for 28 years.

Jill Dillon, her husband Steve, and their two children run the Myrtle Trees Motel. The Dillons have been proprietors for 28 years.

Victorian home in Myrtle Point.

Victorian home in Myrtle Point.

The Coos County Logging Museum was built in 1910 as a replica of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.

The Coos County Logging Museum was built in 1910 as a replica of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.

Carved doors of the Logging Museum.

Carved doors of the Logging Museum.

I love logging history, but as a bike rider, images like this will give me nightmares.

I love logging history, but as a bike rider, images like this will give me nightmares.

More logging truck pride on this mural in Myrtle Point.

More logging truck pride on this mural in Myrtle Point.

Downtown Myrtle Point is unfortunately not as vibrant as it once was.

Downtown Myrtle Point is unfortunately not as vibrant as it once was; but its main street still retains some of its old charm.

Lampa Lane west of Myrtle Point is your ticket to soak in the beautiful Coquille River Valley.

Lampa Lane west of Myrtle Point is your ticket to soak in the beautiful Coquille River Valley.

Almost ran into this little guy.

Almost ran into this little guy.

Filled a large water bottle in about 10 minutes of picking.

Filled a large water bottle in about 10 minutes of picking.

Not a bad place to live.

Not a bad place to live.

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Only a few cars passed me all day.

Only a few cars passed me all day.

This old house is precariously close to the road.

This old house is precariously close to the road.

Found this hay field off of Parkersburg Road.

Found this hay field off of Parkersburg Road.

The Coquille River just a mile or two from where it spills into the Pacific.

The Coquille River just a mile or two from where it spills into the Pacific.

They say that as if it's a bad thing.

They say that as if it’s a bad thing.

The mighty Coquille River. The Cycle Oregon route is over on that side of the river.

The mighty Coquille River. The Cycle Oregon route is over on that side of the river.

Parkersburg Road turns to gravel. It's a great little loop you could do from Bandon and a nice way to stay off the main highway.

Parkersburg Road turns to gravel. It’s a great little loop you could do from Bandon and a nice way to stay off the main highway.

I have no idea.

I have no idea.

Coquille River with the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in the background.

Coquille River with the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in the background.

Made it to the coast!

Made it to the coast!

Check out the details of my route from Myrtle Point to Bandon at RideWithGPS.com.

I’ve got to get some rest. Tomorrow I’ve mapped out a daunting route: 85 miles and nearly 8,000 feet of climbing. I need to get from Bandon to Gold Beach and I’m determined to avoid Highway 101 as much as possible. Hope to see you on the other side.

These stories are made possible through a partnership with Cycle Oregon. If you’re going on their Week Ride (registration still open), you’ll get to sample a paved section of the the Coos Bay Wagon Road (please note: I’m only loosely basing my routes on the Cycle Oregon route). Also thanks to Western Bikeworks for supporting this trip with some great gear.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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6 Comments
  • Avatar
    Joseph E August 14, 2016 at 3:31 am

    This is almost exactly the same as the route we took to the coast on our bike tour 3 years ago! Lampa lane has one very steep hill, but it’s short and paved, and no traffic.
    The gravel section on Parkersburg Rd was a surprise to me, but it was a nice detour off the highway.

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    rick August 14, 2016 at 10:32 am

    There is much less car traffic on 101 south of Coos Bay than north of it. Try riding on both Coy Creek Road and Cedar Valley Drive when on the north side of Gold Beach. Make a stop at Rachel’s Coffee Shop on the northbound side of 101 when in downtown Gold Beach. It has books, too.

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    JeffS(egundo) August 15, 2016 at 9:10 am

    The logging museum is a gem – thanks for reminding me of that!

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    Doug August 15, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I’ve been here a few times. Cycle Oregon 2011, then another tour in 2013, so I’ve done it both directions. Lots of peonies everywhere, here they are featured in the front of the picture of the white house. I bet they catch a few steelhead in the Coquille River, I saw a big chinook taken when I was riding over the bridge in Bandon, what a treat. I also saw wild turkeys too.

    I know people have an affection for the east side of the state, the outback, but I like it green and can’t tolerate the save view for very long. Give me the southwest. I’ve been to Bandon 5 times and I’ve never been there In a car, but that’s true for the whole coast 5x. A little further north is Shore Acres State Park (Cape Arago and Sunset Beach), don’t miss it.

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    Oliver August 15, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    There was quite an uproar a few years back about an explosion in the mosquito population when the BLM or Fish and Wildlife converted/reclaimed a bunch of former marsh to wetlands near Bandon.

    That trailer could be some kind of protest piece.

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    Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 22, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Had you known about the logging museum in advance? It was a highlight of that area for me.

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