Crow to Sharps Creek
Day 2 - Free beer
Woke up and got going at a reasonable hour. Days are not long as they were in mid summer, but I knew I'd have plenty of daylight to get in the distance I needed. Had a little breakfast but no tea and hoped I'd find a cafe in Lorane for a good second breakfast. I was not disappointed. The Lorane store had a nice little cafe and I had tea and a second breakfast of eggs, hashbrowns, and toast. I think second breakfast might be the most important meal for bicycle tourists.
From Lorane I took the road to Cottage Grove. Here I encountered the first real climbing of the trip, though nothing like what I would encounter later on. There is a nice divide between the Coast Range valley that Territorial goes through, and the Willamette. It was a short climb though and soon I was cruising down into Cottage Grove. This is a town I have passed through on the freeway hundreds of times, and even stopped for the night at a motel, but never actually saw the town. Such is the beauty of bicycle travel. I stopped for a snack and a rest in a nice little park on the Row River, and then rode right down Main street. Cottage Grove really is a nice town that I never appreciated before.
I missed the turn to the Row River rail-to-trail, but that turned out to be a good thing. At some point I had the thought that I should get a map. Google is always a little sketchy when it comes to forest roads. Not long after I thought about it I saw a sign for the ranger station. It was still a few miles down the road but I found it, got a huge map of the Umpqua district, and chatted with the ranger. Things continued to work out well.
The road had a good shoulder with little traffic. Once again I missed a chance to get on the bike path. The paved rail-to-trail went on the north side of Dorena Lake and for some reason I thought I should stay on the south side. It wouldn't have matter. The road I wanted was well past the lake. I passed the lake and what I thought was the town of Dorena, where there was nothing, and then came to an old store that looked like it was on its last legs. They told me this was actually Dorena. I got water and a few other things to get me through the next day as I knew I'd be in the deep woods all day.
Some days are likea bike tourists dream. The last town I passed though before heading up into the woods was Culp Creek, once again with no services. As I entered the town I heard someone call out so I stopped. A guy about my age and his son were working on their house. They had never seen a loaded touring bike before. We chatted and they offered me a bottle of home brew to take with me. Can't beat that! I got to the campground 5 miles later and it was closed. I love closed campgrounds! Free camping and I had the whole place to myself. I found a sunny spot on the edge of the woods, put up my tent and drank the beer, then relaxed in my hammock, just thinking what a great life this is.