Oregon continues to amaze me. Truly, it’s not just Portland hipsters and the sunny coast – it is long miles of uninterrupted forest roads, volcanic peaks, lava tubes, and the spectacular Crater Lake. Since we last updated, near Bend, we have climbed up three mountain passes, spent a night in a hotel (wow!), circumnavigated Crater Lake, reached 4000 miles, saw a river disappear underground into a lava tube, and descended into the heat of southern Oregon. We also saw another of my math friends from college, and said goodbye to Jason’s cousin Ray. Next up: a ride through the coastal mountains to the ocean, and then more miles south. Before then, some stories and lots of pictures!
Bend, OR is one of my all-time favorite towns. As I said in a previous post, it is jam packed with friendly folks. Also, delicious pizza. We left early to climb out of Bend and into the Cascade Lakes region: a high-altitude series of lakes jam-packed with campgrounds. Originally we had hoped to do a long day through this region, but we decided to stop early and enjoy the afternoon at Little Lava Lake.
The next day we got up early because Ray wanted to try for a super long day of 85 miles. The morning riding was wonderful in the cool of morning on roads with almost no traffic. We nearly had a mechanical disaster when we realized Ray’s rear rack was falling off. Finally, we got to use our supply of spare parts and tools! It only took a few minutes and a spare screw before we were back on the road. After about 60 miles of riding we arrived in the small highway town of Chemult and decided to call it a day.
The town was a riot, and because there was no campground we got a two-bedroom room in the local lodge. It was actually really nice, and the small-town grocery store had a decent selection of food along with some bizarre decoration. The travel center across the street had a horrifying pricing scheme for fountain soda drinks. See picture!
We climbed up and up and up into Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake is found in the collapsed cone of the ancient Mount Mazama. About 7,700 years ago the mountains cone collapsed and formed the deepest lake in the US. It fills only from rain and snow, and thus has some of the clearest, purest water in the world. We stayed two nights in the hiker-biker sites, and spent a day riding around the lake. The circumnavigation was amazing for two reasons: first, the scenery was truly stunning, and second, one of my best friends from college was there to ride with us. Thanks for meeting us Greg! Also, thanks to our cyclist friend Brian who we met in British Columbia and again in Crater Lake. I hope we see you again soon on the coast.
The hiker-biker site was an absolute riot. It was jam-packed with Pacific Crest Trail hikers. This scenic trail traverses 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada along the mountains. The thru-hikers form remarkable communities and are always super friendly. Ray had a blast talking with them both nights, and I think they really enjoyed hanging out with him. Jason and I both hit the sack early, exhausted from the 5,000 feet of climbing that riding around the lake required.
Ray’s mom came to get him from Crater Lake so that they could spend some time in the Redwoods. We certainly missed him on the loooong descent off the volcano. The descent lasted for nearly 30 miles! It was mostly up and down through small towns on tiny roads until today, when we rolled into Ashland. The most notable occurence was in a tiny town, where an old man told me (Daisy) that I am ‘starting to look like Justin Bieber.’ What?!
Ashland is this little town is known for its nearly year-round Shakespeare festival and a high concentration of dreamers, poets, and artists. In short, we are so happy to be here! We are being hosted by a wonderful couple on their farm. They gave us some great advice on our next few days of riding. Next, we will head a little north and straight west to reach the Oregon coast. Coming up: Coastal glory, more hiker-biker sites, and giant redwood trees.