In Myrtle Creek, the town where Cycle Oregon’s week-long ride starts and finishes, everyone knows your name.
“It’s a very quaint place with a lot of community pride,” says Dave Ehrhardt, vice principal/athletic director of the town’s South Umpqua High School, where many current students’ parents and grandparents also attended. “Myrtle Creek is a multi-generational town where everyone knows each other. It has the feeling of going back 30 or 40 years in time.”
This southwestern Oregon community (pop. 4,000) is part of Douglas County and historically known as a timber town. It’s full of logging lore, covered bridges and, increasingly, wine enthusiasts. “We have a flourishing wine industry in the area,” says Ehrhardt. “Within a bike ride away, there are several unique vineyards and wineries.”
Pyrenees Vineyard & Cellars is a family-owned, 30-acre vineyard on Myrtle Creek’s Old Highway 99. It was founded by a former government affairs executive from Washington, DC, who was lured to Oregon’s Umpqua Valley for its unique soil and climate conditions for wine making. (Other wineries close to Myrtle Creek include Wild Rose Vineyard and Freed Estate Vineyard, both in Winston, Oregon. The Roseburg area, about 20 miles north of Myrtle Creek, is also flush with wineries.)
A walk down Myrtle Creek’s picturesque main street will take you by numerous historic downtown homes and the town’s one coffee shop. “We don’t have Starbucks or Dutch Brothers,” says Ehrhardt. “We have SOCO Coffee Company, which stands for South County. We are proud of being part of southern Douglas Country.”
Visitors looking for a little activity might enjoy Myrtle Creek’s disc-golf course, fishing in the Umpqua River, or gold mining on China Creek.
Ehrhardt says he and the people of Myrtle Creek are looking forward to rolling out the welcome mat for Cycle Oregon’s riders. “Wherever people are in their lives right now, Myrtle Creek will give them a chance to step back in time and slow down a bit,” says Ehrhardt.
Although Myrtle Creek is rife with pride for its history, the town will bring a lot of youthful energy to Cycle Oregon’s signature event.
“We will be putting lots of ‘kid power’ behind Cycle Oregon,” says Ehrhardt. “Kids will be helping with serving and cleaning up meals, carrying luggage, and working at the start and finish lines. Riders will definitely get to know the staff and students of South Umpqua High School, where campsites are being set up.”
This year’s Cycle Oregon Week Ride takes place September 10-17. Cycle Oregon participants have an open invitation to South Umpqua High School’s football game on Friday, the night before the Go for Gold adventure begins.