Day 2: Grants Pass to Rogue River, detour to Wimer - Going Rogue 2020 - CycleBlaze

May 29, 2020

Day 2: Grants Pass to Rogue River, detour to Wimer

I was in no hurry to get away this morning. Today will be a short easy day. The original plan was to go another 8 miles to Gold Hill, but they quit renting rooms. Instead I will stay in the town of Rogue River which is more charming and interesting.

Riverside Inn's room service breakfast was pretty good. I didn't expect the bagel to be served warm. The boiled eggs were served cold.

Riverside Inn room service breakfast. Boiled eggs in left foil. Warm everything bagel in right foil.
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On the way out of Grants Pass I turned into Riverside park to have a final look at the Caveman bridge. Built in 1931, a good example of the Gothic revival style championed in the 1920's and 1930's by Conde McCullough, the state's lead bridge designer. His most famous bridges are on the coast but they can be found throughout Oregon. The concrete is brilliant white thanks to a rehabilitation completed in 2018.

Final view of Caveman bridge from Riverside Park. Riverside Inn across the river.
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I pedaled east out of Grants Pass on old highway 99 which was known as Pacific Highway in the 1920's. It was the main west coast highway before I-5 and the coastal highway (US 101) existed.

I-5 is across the river so it's fairly quiet. Traffic seems heavier than I remember when I pedaled it in 2011. It doesn't look much different. Still mostly old buildings. Little redevelopment even though there is much attractive riverfront.

Count the fingers...
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I stopped to look at Weasku Inn. The name means We Ask You. It was a prominent resort in the days before I-5. One of the more famous guests was actor Clark Gable who mostly stayed in his cabin for weeks after his (third) wife Carole Lombard died. Other guests include Zane Gray (frequently), Walt Disney, and president Herbert Hoover.

Old school elegance. This was a major destination before I-5 bypassed highway 99.
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I will spend 6 nights in Jackson county. I'm not traveling far!
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Today I noticed several pioneer era 1850's farm houses. I didn't notice that before.

Highway 99 has many historic farm houses.
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I passed many rustic abandoned buildings. The typical stuff you see on an old highway that was bypassed by the Interstate 60 years ago.

Probably a thriving bait and tackle shop in 1950.
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In Grants Pass highway 99 is far from the river. The highway gets closer to the Rogue river as I approach the town of Rogue River.

Rogue river and highway 99.
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I stopped for an early lunch at the Cottage Cafe in downtown Rogue River. They had dine-in indoor seating which I appreciated because it was hot and annoyingly humid outside.

Lunch stop in the town of Rogue River. Open for eat-in dining!
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After lunch I pedaled the Evans creek loop north of the town of Rogue River. I left town on West Evans Creek road which is on the west side of the creek. On the north edge of town I turned into a big park and found a very long suspension foot bridge across Evans creek. That was a great discovery, not visible from the road.

Very long foot bridge across Evans creek in the town of Rogue River.
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The Evans creek valley is mostly rural residential. I was never far from a house. Traffic was moderate. More traffic than I expected.

West Evans Creek road.
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I pedaled as far north as I could on paved roads in the Evans creek valley. Traffic was finally light for about 5 miles north of Wimer.

North of the village of Wimer.
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Wimer is 3/4 mile east of East Evans Creek road. The only town in the valley is not on the valley's main 20 mile loop road! Wimer seems to have only a hundred or so people in town but the surrounding rural area has several hundred more people.

Grange hall in Wimer. Still active.
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Wimer has a small store and gas station. It was nice to get something cold to drink on a humid 90F afternoon. Today is a bit cooler than yesterday but MUCH more humid.

The only store in Wimer.
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The covered bridge is adjacent to the store. A small waterfront park is across the creek. I walked all around, including under the bridge.

This new bridge replaces a 1927 covered bridge that collapsed in 2003.
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Evans creek below the covered bridge.
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Wikipedia: In 2008, with the help of federal funds and local labor, the bridge was replaced with a look-alike using trusses reinforced with metal braces, laminated beams that look like timber, concrete approaches, and industrial roofing made to resemble wooden shakes. The one-way bridge, still 17 feet (5.2 m) wide, as was the original, has a load limit of 10 tons. This version of the bridge opened to traffic in February 2008.
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I returned to the town of Rogue River on East Evans Creek road. The last few miles have a shoulder. Traffic was moderate, not exactly tranquil.

Evans creek.
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East Evans Creek road.
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I didn't spend much time looking around downtown Rogue River. It's kind of spread out and doesn't have a concentrated downtown strip.
I spent much more time wandering around the Depot Street bridge. The bridge is very fascinating. Across from my motel is a riverfront county park adjacent to the bridge.

Tonight's home is a standard room at the Best Western which cost $134. I booked it only recently, but for that price I would expect a riverfront hotel instead of merely being across highway 99 from a riverfront county park. I did appreciate that it's a very short walk to the river and the bridge.

Downtown Rogue River.
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The new Depot Street bridge was completed in 2006. I remember seeing it under construction.

Rogue river and Depot Street bridge.
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Depot Street bridge is very user friendly. The main roadway has bicycle lanes. The wide walkway is attractive and well separated from the roadway. Right now it's still decorated for Memorial Day.

Giant bolts, clamps, and cables on the new Depot Street bridge.
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Going Rogue on the Depot Street bridge walkway.
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Dinner was takeout from the Mexican restaurant a block away. That restaurant wasn't doing dine in business. Between the motel and restaurant is a building that houses a gas station/convenience store and a cannabis shop.

Everything you need is next door to the motel. View from the motel parking lot.
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Today was a very easy cycling day. No big hills. No strong winds.

It never rained today but it was mostly overcast and high humidity made it seem like it might rain any minute. More than an inch of rain is predicted tomorrow...

Distance: 32.8 mi. (52.5 km)
Ascent/Descent: +914/-754 ft. (+279/-230 m)
Average Speed: 8.7 mph (14 km/h)

Today's ride: 33 miles (53 km)
Total: 80 miles (129 km)

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