Adventure Cycling doesn't always have the best route.
September 3, 2011 5:47 PM   Subscribe

We're in Corvallis, OR, on bicycles. We're trying to get back to Davis, CA, (from Portland) but our pace has been 30mi/day rather than the 50mi we expected. How do we get home with our two recumbent bikes by September 13 and enjoy it too?

We prefer small, low traffic roads where we can ride side-by-side for long stretches. We would also like to take the route of least (vertical) resistance where possible.

Our current plan is to ride to Klamath Falls and take Amtrak the rest of the way. We are getting a little faster each day, so a longer trip may also be viable. We're aiming to get through Eugene tomorrow and then make a decision about how to proceed.

Do you have recommendations for routes to Klamath? What abouts other bike/train trips should we consider from here?

Also, we've been told by a couple friendly Oregonians that we have to lallygag while we're dilly-dallying, so do you know of awesome coffeeshops, U-picks, produce stands, or similarly nifty stops along the way?
posted by sibilatorix to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I can't speak specifically to your question but when I'm bike touring and need to know "the route of least (vertical) resistance" I stop in at a bike shop and ask around. As you probably know, asking random people can lead to information like "Oh, town x is right down the road. We go there all the time." And the road is either unimproved to the point of danger to cyclists or the Interstate, neither of which sometimes register to car drivers. IME, local bike people know the best info to give other bike people.
posted by thewestinggame at 6:07 PM on September 3, 2011

You've probably had dinner at this point, but if you're up for having breakfast out, head over to Sam's Station at 29th and Grant. Mmm, so good. If you are heading south early, that might be too much out if your way. In that case, try New Morning Bakery on 2nd, downtown.
posted by Knowyournuts at 7:10 PM on September 3, 2011

I live in Corvallis and went to Crater Lake (right near Klamath last week). Getting to Klamath from Corvallis will involve climbing over the Cascade Mountain range. I passed some bikers last week, but they were working hard, and are better bikers than I. I don't think you can avoid a lot of vertical work.

If you're not up for such a climb, I'd stick to heading south finding smaller roads that sort of parallel I-5. 99W would get you from Corvallis Eugene and is a fairly nice ride. There are some less direct routes with less traffic that might be a bit prettier, but I've never biked them.
posted by pseudonick at 7:18 PM on September 3, 2011

I just wanted to stop in and say hi to my fellow Davis bent rider!

As for getting home, greyhound/amtrak/plane and ship the bikes will probably be your cheapest bet.
posted by zug at 8:09 PM on September 3, 2011

Best answer: I would take Peoria Road from Corvallis to Eugene-much safer than 99W and about the same distance. Ask anyone for directions. Gorgeous road, well maintained, a farm stand or two, Mennonite Farms (though unfortunately the Mennonite bakery is closed tomorrow). When you get to Harrisburg, you can either head South through Junction City into Eugene-if you do this, I'd turn left at the end of town and get on River Road into Eugene-or turn East and head through Coburg-longer, but a prettier and less busy road.

Don't know anything about the rest of your questions, but best of luck!
posted by purenitrous at 8:39 PM on September 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: purenitrous speaks the truth about the Eugene-Corvallis route. I recommend taking a break at Macafee's Pizza and Ice Cream in Harrisburg. Heck, at 30 miles per day, maybe you want to sleep in Harrisburg? As far as going farther south, the nice flat floodplain canyon floor that is the Willamette Valley ends in Eugene. After that, it's hills and mountains. In your situation, I would probably take the train from Eugene and then get out somewhere south of Mt Shasta and bike from there to Davis.

I have no good advice about exactly where to get out of the train, though, as I have not toured in the Central Valley.
posted by pmb at 10:45 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Once in Eugene, Paul's Bicycle Way of Life is the chain of bike shops to go to. Paul is a super nice guy, and his attitude gas made those stores really nice and helpful places.
posted by pmb at 10:48 AM on September 4, 2011

You said u'd decide this morning; hope i'm not too late: there's a limited number of bikes checkable on the train, so call for reservations. Also, as i recall, Amtrak leaves K. Falls at 10pm and gets into Davis at 8ish, so you might want to get a sleeper, which ups your cost. YOu might consider renting a u-haul truck. One way to Davis is about $280 ( plus maybe $10 for ropes to stand ur 'bents in the back. OR...... One way to Vacaville knocks $80 off that, AND, you have 3 days ! So, you can get to Davis, then return the truck the next day.
posted by at at 9:10 PM on September 4, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, all! We're in Eugene now and will be taking the train to Klamath this evening. Anyone have recommendations for places to put up our tent when we get there at 10pm, or places we should check out while biking from there to Davis?
posted by sibilatorix at 11:27 AM on September 5, 2011

Response by poster: Oh, we took the Pretoria/Coburg route from Corvallis and found it to be a very nice ride. Thanks for recommending it!
posted by sibilatorix at 11:30 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just out of curiousity, what was your route from the Oregon border down to the valley floor?
posted by entropicamericana at 3:49 PM on October 19, 2011

Response by poster: For the record: After riding south to the border and discovering that the road we were supposed to take from there wasn't paved, we ended up taking State Line road west and getting stuck on a freeway for the few miles it took us to get to the town of Doris, which is just south of the border.

Some very friendly volunteers at the Doris library (and a call to the forestry service) got us a route through the national forests along Forest Route 15 and down to highway 89. That goes southeast, skirting Shasta National Forest, and 44 took us west again. If you're ever in that area, visit the general store in Manton - they were very friendly. (Beware of the roads from Shingletown to Manton, though!)

From there it's mostly downhill into Red Bluff. The weather was beautiful all the way down the valley, and we finally worked ourselves up to 50-60 miles/day.

I'll eventually post a proper ride log...
posted by sibilatorix at 8:13 PM on October 21, 2011

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