Day 2 – Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway – Salem to Albany

After our breakfast at Century House, we left Salem behind for what would be our longest riding day, 43 miles. We started by crossing Salem to Riverfront Park and made our way toward the Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge. Just before crossing the bridge, we passed the Giant Globe.

Clearly a lot of money and effort went into designing and building the globe and I am glad there is an ongoing preservation effort.

The bridge links Salem Riverfront Park with Minto Island, a 1200 acre wilderness and conservation area with over 29 miles of multi-use trails. It’s close proximity and ease of access makes it a favorite for locals wanting outdoor recreation.

We rode on quiet country roads about 12 miles and the bike trail headed south along the river. Everyone we talked to suggested taking the bridge at that point across the river and visit the small town of Independence and afterwards come back across the river to continue the ride.

We headed into Independence and were greeted by a group kayaking the river at that point.

In the background, so can see the new Trace Hotel, which is scheduled to open this fall. We happened to run into the General Manager at our stop at Jubilee Champagne and Dessert Bar. At that time of day, we opted for coffee and a couple of their delicious pastries.

The Trace Hotel GM was very pleased to tell us the new hotel would have secure storage for bikes, a full bike service station and a hot tub and spa to relax those sore muscles. Who knows, we might come back and check it out.

Since we knew we were going to have quite a few miles until the next town, we bought sandwiches to take with us as we headed back across the river to continue our ride. We did find a nice shady place near the Buena Vista Ferry to enjoy our lunch.

Our lunch stop
Bill resting after lunch

After lunch, we rode a short distance to check out Ankeny Winery, where we tasted but did not purchase any more wines. (No room on the bikes.) And, we could have had lunch at the winery, if we had known beforehand .

On our way out, I noticed a sign on a pear tree.

Can you imagine this tree is still producing pears and has been doing so for something like 170 years. Thomas Cox purchased the land on Ankeny Hill in 1849. The seed for this tree along with apple and peach trees he planted were brought to Oregon in his journey along the Oregon Trail in 1846-47.

Those, who know me, know that I love finding little pieces of history like this.

We made our way to Albany, where my brother, Keith, and I had planned a surprise for Joanette on their 31st anniversary. They drove up from Armitage County Park and met us at Sybaris Bistro. The surprise was lost when Joanette noticed a sign indicating the distance to Albany. She said to Keith, ” we are going to meet John and Bill.”

Dinner was fantastic. The chef is a James Beard Award winner, and his dishes reflected his skill. I particularly liked using a corn chowder as a base for cornflake encrusted Halibut.

After dinner, Keith and Joanette headed back to camp and we headed to bed, because we had 36 miles planned for the today.

2 thoughts on “Day 2 – Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway – Salem to Albany

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