Day 26 (June 26, 2019)
Mt. Shasta to McArthur Burney Falls State Park (near Burney, CA) – 62 Miles
Total miles: 1,087
Weather: 60’s, sunny, light wind
What is it with our Warm Showers hosts lately, Michael and Jane in Mt. Shasta have an espresso maker too. Michael made Peter a Cappuccino, and then another, and we were off to the races.
Our next stop was the city of McCloud (pop. 1,101) on Hwy 89, and our last guaranteed services for the day. Our only issue was the 1,000 ft. climb between us and it.
The climb was hard, but not as hard as some in recent days. Part way up we ease into a pullout for a short break and Tracy yells, “Stop, a wallet!” What? We pull to the side of road and, sure enough, there lay a big, fat, brown and black leather wallet. Tracy opened it up. Inside there was no money but lots of credit cards and receipts.
In McCloud we headed right to the local coffee shop for a drink and a snack. Peter had a latte, if you can believe it (How many shots of espresso is that before 10:00 a.m.?) and a pecan roll. Tracy had a latte and a raspberry popover. While we ate, Tracy tried to identify and call the owner of the wallet.
In the wallet Tracy found the owner’s driver’s license, an emergency contact number for the owner’s brother, a deputy sheriff. Tracy tried the number but the brother no longer worked for the department. The dispatcher said she would try and reach him. Next Tracy found the wallet owner’s AAA card. She called AAA and they connected her to the owner’s wife who, needless to say, was very relieved to hear that the wallet had been found. Apparently, the owner of the wallet had stopped by the side of the road to relieve himself late at night several days ago and lost the wallet then. Tracy agreed to drop the wallet off at the McCloud Community Services District office so that the owner could eventually pick it up.
There is something in bicycle touring we refer to as Karma debt. What that means is that so many people do so many nice things for us while we are on tour that it will be almost impossible for us to ever repay the debt. Today we made a little dent in our account.
South of McCloud, two-lane Hwy 89 did not have a shoulder for the next twenty miles to the Shasta County line. This was bad! There was barely enough room on the road for two logging trucks to pass each other, let along two logging trucks and a fully-loaded tandem bicycle. This was compounded by the fact that the road was trending upwards, making us a slow moving target, there were many twists and turns, and the posted speed limit was 55-65 mph. Knowing we would likely get hit if two trucks tried to pass while next to us, Peter would watch the road ahead for approaching vehicles and call out to Tracy, “Car up!” Tracy would quickly look behind us and call out, “Clear.” or, “Car back.” or, Truck back!!!” If there was a car back, or a truck, Tracy would extend her left arm straight out to the side, into the lane, and make the “Slow down, stay back gesture.” Simultaneously, with no way to get out of the way, Peter would edge the bike towards the center part of the lane in hopes that the following vehicle would yield the right of way to us, as the law requires. Only twice did vehicles pass when we did this. One was a large pickup truck, and the other was an eighteen wheeler! Both times the passing vehicles scared the hell out of us, but we survived. Half way through this ordeal we were able to get off the Hwy. for about six miles on McCloud River Loop Rd., but then it was back to the hell that was Hwy. 89. We will never bike that piece of road again. We truly do not know what some people think about!
When we, finally, reached Shasta County, a beautiful ten-foot-wide smooth paved shoulder appeared and life was good again. We survived.
Fifty-one miles into the ride we were nearing the end of our day and a campsite at McArthur Burney Falls State Park. We turned off Hwy 89 and onto Clark Creek Road, per our map’s instructions, for the last few miles. The road immediately got very narrow, started to twist and turn and drop precipitously toward a lake. The lake seemed right, but the narrow road with no signage didn’t remind us of any state park entrance we had ever been on. After several miles, we came to a five-way intersection and stopped. This was a classic “I’m lost” scenario. We ultimately made the right choice of roads and, after asking for directions three times, made it back to Hwy. 89. The campground we were looking for was only 1.5 miles north. Then we saw the sign. “No shoulder 1.5 miles.” No!
At the campground we got a hiker/biker camp site for $5, a snack, and two $3 showers. Ha, the showers cost more than the camp site.
There was no picnic table at our campsite so Tracy asked our neighbors if we could use theirs. They said that would be fine and offered Tracy a bottle of wine to go with our dinner. She said, “Beer?” and two beers instantly materialized. Trail magic. For dinner we had an instant rice dish spiced up with some Spam we had bought at the campground store. Not elegant, but it filled our empty bellies. The beers helped wash it all down.
After dinner we took a nap. We were woken by a park ranger who informed us that we had set up our tent in the wrong place and would have to move. We moved the tent, and all our crap, as instructed about 100 yards further into the woods. Really! Will this day never end?
Tomorrow we will camp in Lassen Volcanic National Park. God willing.
Day 25 (June 25, 2019)
Yreka, CA to Mt. Shasta, CA – 43 miles
Total miles: 1,025
Weather: 68-70 degrees, sunny, light tailwind
We got up early and headed over to the hotel lobby for breakfast. Breakfast was good; waffles, eggs, bacon, and potatoes filled us up for the ride. We had some climbing today and not a lot of services, so we took a couple of bagels (we put peanut butter and jelly on them) and an orange for the road as well.
Luckily our Warm Shower hosts, Michael and Jane told us about bridge construction on old Hwy 99, so we were able to take an alternate route to get through. We also ran into a gentleman at the gas station in the little town of Grenada who told us they were resurfacing the road we were planning to take out of town. He directed us around the construction and explained we would be back on route five miles later. It is great to have the local help; it makes are days much easier.
About twenty miles into our ride we were finally back on route on old Hwy 99. It was a great road with little or no traffic, everyone was over on Interstate 5. We climbed steadily from Grenada and knew we would have steeper and more intense climbs about fifteen miles from Mt. Shasta, what the locals call the Three Bears. The Three Bears were definitely intense, we came around the corner and the road went straight up, leveled out, then up again, leveled out a bit, and up again. We made it up all three but definitely had to work for it. Tracy was out of breath and was amazed we made the climbs. Thank goodness that after the climbs it was pretty much downhill into Mt. Shasta.
We expected a long day of climbing and left early, but we made good time and got into Mt. Shasta about noon. The bike had been making strange noises from the rear wheel all day and we wanted to get to a bicycle shop to have them take a look at it. Peter found a loose spoke or two in the rear wheel earlier. He tightened them and the noise went away, but we still needed to get it to a bicycle shop. Michael suggested a shop in town and we headed that way. The mechanic looked at the bike and said the rear wheel had some loose spokes and needed to be trued.
We left the bike and headed to lunch at the Yaks Mt. Shasta Koffee and Eatery. The woman working the cash register was so excited about our trip, she took our picture and said she was going to tell our story on their Facebook page. She even announced to the whole restaurant what we were doing. It was very funny. We then headed over to the printer to see if they could print some new business cards for us, we were almost out. The young lady behind the desk said absolutely and printed us out 50 more in no time. About the time the cards were done the bicycle shop called and said the bike was ready.
So back to the bicycle shop and then to our Warm Showers stay, they lived only two miles down the road. We had a great dinner and even better conversation. Another nice end to our day.
Day 24 (June 24, 2019)
Ashland, OR to Yreka, CA – 54 miles
Total miles: 977
Weather: 60-83 degrees, sunny, occasional headwinds at 8-10 mph
After two days in Ashland, Oregon with our wonderful Warm Showers host, Leona, we were ready to get back on the road. We hoped. We were excited to get to our third state, California, and have our first views of Mt. Shasta. We were not excited about the climb out of Ashland.
Breakfast with Leona was a pleasure, as all of our meals with her have been. Peter also appreciated that she has a professional quality espresso machine and made him a latte. Every day should start like this.
We rolled out of Ashland and almost immediately started to climb. Hell of a way to start the day. Fortunately, the grade was relatively consistent. Unfortunately, we were consistently climbing at 6 mph.
Riding the loaded tandem in the mountains is ironic. One minute we can be climbing at 5-6 mph, and the next we can be descending and Peter is doing everything he can to hold the bike back at 40 mph so we can make the tight corners. Ironic.
For the next two and a half hours we climbed up Old Siskiyou Hwy., about 12 miles, to Siskiyou, which is right off of I-5. There isn’t much in Siskiyou, probably because there isn’t much flat space on the side of the mountain for a town, but there is a lodge. We were desperately in need of a rest so we stopped at Callahan’s Siskiyou Lodge for a second breakfast. Pancakes, yum.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses the road, now Old Hwy. 99, just up the hill from the lodge. A lot of hikers must stop at the lodge because there are signs on the bathroom doors asking hikers not to wash in the bathroom and to instead ask at the front desk because the lodge has showers for the hikers. As we pulled out of the lodge parking lot and continued riding up the hill towards the pass, we saw two hikers heading toward the lodge. We hope they find the showers. We crossed the PCT a short time later.
At the top of the pass we stopped to put on our jackets and check our brakes for the descent. We are still a bit gun shy after some of our recent experiences. We had five miles to go on Old Hwy. 99 before we merged onto I-5 for our entrance into the great state of California.
The descent wasn’t bad and the bike performed flawlessly.
The ride on I-5 was only six miles long and all downhill. At 30 plus mph and with a fifteen foot, clean, shoulder, it was a breeze and only took about twenty minutes to complete. We exited onto Hornbrook Rd. and headed into town. On our ride into town, such as it was, we got our first views of Mt. Shasta. Now that we were out of the pines on the other side of the pass and were surrounded mostly by low brush, the mountain looked bigger and more impressive than any we have seen thus far.
We were ready for a break but the only place we could find to stop was the Mt. Shasta Meat Market. Beef sticks and a coke it was. The beef sticks were really good but we weren’t sure how our stomachs would handle them. Tracy was fine, Peter probably won’t try that particular snack combination again anytime soon.
We headed towards Montague after our break. Our map showed another large climb into Montague. but luckily, we read the map’s elevation scale incorrectly and the climb wasn’t bad at all. Montague is where we would have preferred to spend the night as it is on route. Unfortunately, there are no services in town so we headed to the small town of Yreka, six miles off-route.
The ride on Hwy. 3 into Yreka was relatively flat, which was good, but we managed to find the only headwind of the day, which was bad. We arrived in Yreka thirty minutes later, hot and tired. The Holiday Inn Express, up on the hill above town, wanted $135 for the night and wasn’t near anything, so we rode into downtown, such as it is and checked into the Best Western Miner’s Inn. Much less expensive, comfortable and closer to everything. It’s not like we want to get back on the bike and ride somewhere at the end of the day.
Looking forward to a good night’s rest and more wonderful views of Mt. Shasta as we head to the town of the same name tomorrow.
Day 22 (June 22, 2019)
Willow Lake County Campground (Near Butte Falls) to Ashland, OR – 46 miles
Total miles: 923
Weather: 49-60 degrees, sunny, light wind, chilly
After a good night’s sleep, we complete our usual morning routine. Peter made breakfast and Tracy emptied the tent and began packing up. Peter realized yesterday he used his last Starbucks Via instant coffee, but no worries. Our campground neighbors, Matt and Lacey from Medford, Oregon, stepped in. Matt got up early to make coffee for Peter. Another small, but very important, act of kindness.
After goodbyes, we left for our fourteen-mile uphill climb to Dead Indian Mountain Pass, a climb from 2,800 to 5,200 feet which took us about four hours. The climb was generally steady and gradual with several steep sections. We made it to the top, stopped, and put on our jackets to prepare for a cool, and intense, downhill ride to Ashland.
We were excited for our reward of a downhill ride after the tough climb. Unfortunately, the downhill was technical with several hairpin turns, cross wind, cattle grates, and steep slopes. Cattle grates are an interesting challenge, they require us to stop, dismount, push the bike over the grate, remount, and away we go. The grates are used in Open Range areas to keep the animals from wondering too far from home.
We successfully made it down the hill, rode into Ashland with a sigh of relief and a need for food. We had a Warm Showers stay planned for the evening. We called Leona and Charlie to confirm our stay and gave them our estimated time of arrival. After a high-protein snack at a Chevron gas station along I-5, we rode the last two miles to our Warm Showers stay. Leona met us at the door and we knew immediately we were in for a great visit.
After showers, Leona asked if we wanted to explore the city. Of course we did. Leona called her friend, Joanie (who was more familiar with the local breweries, Leona is a wine drinker) to join us. We headed out to pick up Joanie for a tour of town and a visit to a local bicycle shop/brewery for a beer (its a thing here we would like to take home with us). The evening was fun and ended with a Stone Soup type dinner at Leona’s home. We went to bed totally shot from our day but with full tummies and two new friends.
Day 23 (June 23, 2019)
Ashland, OR to Ashland, OR – 0 miles
Total Miles: 923
Weather: 70- 80 degrees, sunny, and windy
Our Warm Showers hostess, Leona invited us to stay a second day and we decided to take her up on it. We spent the day exploring the area with her. She took us to several adjacent communities and then to a favorite restaurant for lunch. We also hit the grocery store for supplies and the book store for a book for Tracy. It is a beautiful area with lots to do and see. Leona told us there are great hiking and mountain biking trails that bring in lots of visitors. We believe it.
We spent the end of the day getting ready to hit the road again tomorrow. Special thanks to Leona for being such a great hostess and allowing us to get our feet back under us for the next couple of weeks, still in the mountains!!
Day 21 (June 21, 2019)
Prospect, OR to Willow Lake County Campground (Near Butte Falls) – 36 miles
Total miles: 877
Weather: 48-52 degrees, sunny, light wind, chilly
We decided to ride short again today, 36 miles to Willow Lake County Campground (seven miles east of Butte Falls, pop. 423), because the 72 miles to the City of Ashland (pop. 20,078) seemed a bit too far given the climbs we have been doing recently. Better to live to fight another day.
The morning broke cold again, 44 degrees, but the temperature in our comfy room at the Historic Prospect Hotel and B &B was exactly 68 degrees. It did feel a bit like cheating after camping in temperatures in the low 30s last night.
Since we only had about four hours of biking to do, we decided to sleep in, eat breakfast in our room, and stop at the post office, which opened at 9:30, to mail home used maps, receipts, and a refrigerator magnet from Crater Lake National Park. Hell of a climb for a $3.99 refrigerator magnet, but the memories will live on.
We climbed a little for the first five miles out of Prospect then dropped down to the Middle Fork of the Rogue River. From there the profile was a sharp set of climbs from 2,500 ft. to 3,200 ft. The climbs were hard, but shorter than what we have done the past several days. The cool temperature overall helped us, although we struggled to get our clothing right. Tights, a jacket, and glove liners were too hot on the slow steep climbs in the sun, but they were perfect on the five-mile, 700 ft. descent to the turn-off for Butte Falls.
We decided to go off route 1.5 miles into the little town of Butte Falls for lunch. Ultimately, it was a good idea, although we could have done without the climb into town. The café we ate at was great though, so it was all worth it.
Seven miles more and we arrived at the Willow Lake County campground on, you guessed it, Willow Lake. The campground hosts, in their little electric golf cart, welcomed us and informed us that they only had one campsite left for the night and asked if we would like it. There are other campgrounds in the area, but this one has FREE showers. $20 later site #31 was ours.
This is a very large, and obviously, very popular, family campground. It has a great beach and incredible views of Mt. McLoughlin (9,495 ft.). We had been getting glimpses of the mountain all day, but this one was the best. Our campsite is nice, nestled between second, or third, growth pine and cedar, but it is close to our neighbor’s sites. Right next to us is a couple, Matt and Lacey, about our age, from Medford with a teardrop trailer. They are very friendly and gave us a tour of the trailer. This may be something for us to consider in the future.
Another neighbor has a Trail Series MTN TRX behemoth fifth wheel camper. It must be 35 ft. long with a slide out rear deck. We do not see one of these in our future.
The campground is noisy, but is the happy noise of families and friends enjoying each other and the great outdoors. Our guess is that by the time the sun goes down and the children are all snug in their beds we will be able to get a good night’s sleep.
Tomorrow we are heading to Ashland about 45 miles away and another Warm Showers stay.
Day 20 (June 20, 2019)
Mazama Village to Prospect, OR – 29 miles
Total Miles: 841
Weather: Low 30’s to start day, climbed to 62 degrees, sunny, slight tailwind
We climbed out of the tent at about 8:00. We were not worried about the late start as we had a short ride ahead of us and it was all downhill. We were, however, worried about staying warm on the downhill ride. It was in the low 30s.
We were the first ones up at the campsite, so we quietly made breakfast and packed up. Julie and Justin, our campsite angles (see yesterday’s blog), were the next ones up and headed to the shower building for a nice warm shower. Their boys were still sleeping. By the time Julie and Justin returned we were finishing up breakfast and packing.
Julie got out her iron skillet and fried some bacon and sausage, and then began making blueberry pancakes. This was enough to get the boys up. Before we left they offered us pancakes, which we heartily accepted. They were delicious and gave us a few more carbs to start the day.
We thanked the family, exchanged contact information, and told them to keep in touch. We were on the road by 10:00. The temperature was now in the low 50s.
We loaded up the bike and head to the bathrooms. Peter struck up a conversation with a thru hiker from Germany. He was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). We have crossed the PCT several times on our ride. He told us it has been a hard couple of days. There is still a lot of snow in the mountains which makes it very difficult to find and cross the trail. We wished him luck and headed out.
The first 17 miles of our ride was downhill to Union City. We averaged 30 mph for the entire descent. The first two switch backs were a little tight and Peter needed to break on entry, but after that we just let the bike roll and hung on for the ride. It was amazing, but cold. We were very glad we did not have to climb up to Crater Lake this way (west side).
We arrived in Union City by 10:45 and stopped at Beckie’s Cafe for our second breakfast/early lunch. We met a couple at the top of the climb yesterday who told us to be sure to stop here, so we did. Good choice.
On to Prospect, about ten miles away, all downhill. We got there about a half hour later. We didn’t know where we were staying tonight, so decided to check out the Prospect Historic Hotel and B & B. Tracy went in to see if they had any rooms available, and they did, so we decided to take a room in the hotel.
Karen the owner told us they typically get busy starting in early July. Many of their guests are in the area to visit Crater Lake National Park which is about 28 miles away. The hotel, B & B and the property grounds are all beautiful and provide a relaxing place to stay. Karen and her husband are very welcoming and make you feel right at home. We would highly recommend you check out the Prospect Hotel and B & B if you are in the area, you will not be disappointed.
Day 19 (June 19, 2019)
Chemult, OR to Crater Lake National Park and Mazama Village- 49 miles
Total Miles: 812
Weather: 56-60 degrees, colder as we got closer to Crater Lake, sunny, tailwind
When we woke up this morning at 6:30 at the Dawson Hotel in Chemult, Oregon it was 48 degrees outside. Needless to say, we were not in a big hurry to get going. But, by the time we ate breakfast in the room, oatmeal again, and packed, it was almost 60 degrees outside and not bad riding weather in biking shorts with our jackets on. We were on the road by 8:45.
The first ten miles of the ride were south on Hwy 97. The road was flat and we had a 10-15 mph tailwind. It only took us 30 minutes to reach the intersection with Hwy 138. We stopped for coffee/tea and a muffin at a small diner. Luckily, the waitress asked if we checked if the north entrance was open, we did not even think about it. She told us she would hate to see us bicycle all the way up and just have to turn around and come back down. Tracy very quickly called Crater National Park to check on road closures. The east entrance was still closed but north was open. So glad the waitress told us to check. We then headed east on Hwy 138 towards Crater Lake National Park.
The north entrance to the park was about fifteen miles away, and Rim Village, our destination for lunch and the end of our climbing for the day, was another fifteen miles beyond that. We were both excited to see Crater Lake, but also more than a little concerned about the 30 mile climb ahead. We were about to attempt a climb from 4,900 ft. to 7,100 ft. on a fully-loaded tandem.
The climb was definitely hard, but beautiful. We started out climbing for 45 minutes and then took a five-minute break. After that we did 30-minute pulls with five minute breaks until we neared the top and had to cut back to fifteen-minute pulls. We reached Rim Village around 2:00. We climbed for right around three hours and thirty minutes.
The highlights of the climb were reaching the park entrance, the 45 mph speed limit and no trucks on the park roads, and our first glimpse of Crater Lake and Wizard Island. The color blue of the water is something we will never forget.
At Rim Village, we grabbed a sandwich with the rest of the tourists and checked out the lodge. On a whim we checked to see if they had any rooms available, but they didn’t.
With no lodging or camping available we headed seven miles down the crater to Mazama Village. The descent was step and narrow and we were more than a little concerned about our drag brake holding after our experience descending into Detroit. The bike performed flawlessly, even in the gusty winds that buffeted us as we slipped in and out of the mountain peaks.
Mazama Village is nothing special but it does have a “Motor Lodge” consisting of old school cabins, a campground, restaurant, a small convenience store, and showers (.75 for four minutes). As we were getting ready to go into the store, a couple in their fifties asked if we were planning to camp. When we said that we were, they told us that the campground was full. Oh, oh! After an awkward silence while we were figuring out what to do, they offered to let us stay at their campsite with them, A-8. Yes, please. With very few other options, we gratefully accepted their offer.
Justin and Julie are from the wine country in southern California. They are camping with their fifteen-year-old son, Jared and his friend, Matt. When we offered to pay them for staying in their campsite they would hear nothing of it. Such nice people. They told us they would be gone for 2- 3 hours, they were going out on a hike.
We set up camp, took showers and then headed over to the restaurant for dinner. The restaurant was a disaster, but they did have Wi-Fi. Evidently the restaurant just opened yesterday for the season, they were definitely still working out the bugs. After pulled pork and chicken sandwiches, we put out a quick post and headed back to our campsite. Julie, Justin and the boys had a fire going and told us about the great dinner Julie cooked for them, Chicken Stew. Julie loves to cook and by all accounts she is very good at it.
We spent some time getting to know the family that saved us, and then climbed in for the night. The temperature tonight is predicted to drop into the low 30s, which is right at the lower limits of the camping gear we are carrying with us. Assuming we aren’t too cold tonight, we will probably sleep in to allow the temperature to rise before we make breakfast, break camp, and hit the road for another day of adventure.
Day 18 (June 18, 2019)
Rock Creek Campground (on Crane Prairie Reservoir) to Chemult, OR – 54 miles
Total Miles: 763
Weather: 65-72 degrees, sunny, 10-15 mph tailwind for last half of ride
We were up early, partly because we camped next to the boat launch parking lot and those darn fishermen like to get started early. Evidently, Crane Prairie Reservoir has been stocked with a highbred rainbow trout (“Cranebow”) which are doing very well. They can grow up to 2” per month and have been known to grow to 19”, a trophy for any fisherman.
Breakfast consisted of oatmeal with all kinds of goodies, (hemp seeds, flax seed, chai seed, almonds and raisins) thanks to our Warm Showers hosts, Erin and Paul. This will definitely keep us going for a while.
Our ride continues downhill on the Cascade Lakes Hwy, a great road with little or no traffic. It is a beautiful ride with mountains visible in almost every direction. We are riding adjacent to lava fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. The lava fields sometimes look like construction sites where they have pushed all the rock into huge piles. In other places, the lava field is flat with very little or no growth.
Our final destination today is Chemult, but we needed to find water and food to help us get there. There is a small town, Crescent Lake Junction, about halfway into the ride which is three miles off route. They are supposed to have a restaurant, grocery store, convenience store, and a gas station. We headed that way on Hwy 58, which was not the best place to ride, lots of high speed traffic with a very small shoulder. When we got to town, the restaurant was closed, and there is no grocery store. Luckily, there was a convenience store/gas station where we were able to get what we needed.
We had twenty-five miles to go to get to Chemult. We backtracked on Hwy 58 and then continued another fifteen miles until we ran into Hwy 97. Our campground neighbor told us this morning that he was not a fan of biking on Hwy 97, he told us there was lots of traffic and not much of a shoulder. We didn’t think it was too bad, especially after traveling on Hwy 58. The final eight miles of our ride into Chemult was mostly downhill with a nice tailwind pushing us. Great way to end the ride. We were in by 1:30.
We were not sure where we were staying tonight. There were only three hotels in Chemult, one we would never stay in. Luckily, someone canceled their stay at the nicest hotel in town, Dawson House Lodge, and we walked in the door two minutes later and scooped it up. It even has air conditioning!!
After a shower, we headed down the road to the laundromat. Clean clothes are great!!
Tomorrow we head to Crater Lake National Park. We are excited to see this beautiful park, but know we will have a climb from 4,900 feet to 7,500 feet to get there. Crater Lake was formed approximately 8,000 years ago when a mountain the likes of Mount Hood and Mount Rainier collapsed in a massive eruption and formed the 4,000 ft deep caldera. The caldera filled part way up with water to form Crater Lake. Crater Lake is the deepest body of water in the United States at 1,943 ft. Can’t wait to check it out!
Day 17 (June 17, 2019)
Bend, OR to Rock Creek Campground on Crane Reservoir – 56 miles
Total Miles: 709
Weather: 62-70 degrees, sunny, light breeze
Well, we were in Bend, Oregon a bit longer than expected. We had planned to spend an extra day in town to rest and relax and see the sites but between bike repairs (brakes are good to have in the mountains), and Tracy getting sick and needing to visit the local clinic, two nights with our Warm Showers hosts Erin and Paul became three. What could have turned into a trip-ending set of circumstances actually ended up with us becoming life-long friends with our hosts. The extra time we spent together turned out to be a blessing.
Erin and Paul, made us a killer oatmeal breakfast this morning with all of our favorite toppings, and one new one. Bacon! The problem with oatmeal for breakfast as an endurance athlete is that it doesn’t have enough protein or fat. Problem solved! We don’t know where the idea for bacon in oatmeal came from, weather it is a holdover from Paul’s professional bicycle racing career or Erin’s experience cooking for her sons’ cross-country ski team but, wherever the idea came from, it works.
We left the house at 8:15 escorted by Paul, Erin, and their seven-month-old puppy Cosmo, in his own special bike trailer behind Erin. They rode with us for about 3.5 miles to the beginning of the Cascade Lakes Highway which would take us up and around Mt. Bachelor (9,052 ft.) The crux of our ride today was the first 25 miles which took us from about 3,750 ft. in Bend to 6,500 ft. at the base of the Mt. Bachelor ski lift. The climb was hard, but not as hard as many we have done earlier in the trip. The road had a nice wide shoulder that was in very good shape and clean, the grades were steady, and the traffic was light. On the way up we met a bicyclist in his mid-60s who was training for the Bicycle Oregon ride. Our pace was similar and we played leap frog all the way to the top. At the top of the climb we checked out the ski/mountain biking resort and the snow that surrounded the parking lot. With the temperature right around 70 degrees, we don’t think the snow will be around for much longer.
There wasn’t much food at the resort so we took the suggestion of our climbing partner and decided to head to Elk Lake for lunch. The Elk Lake Campground Resort was about fifteen-miles away, and all downhill. We were there in less than 45 minutes.
The Mac and cheese with sausage we had for lunch was great, but we were both glad that the rest of the ride was mostly downhill as the concoction was a bit heavy for bicycling faire. Ha!
Another 19 miles and we were at Rock Creek Campground on Crane Reservoir. The U.S. Forest Service facility didn’t have electricity or showers, but it did have water. One hand pump. Good enough. We set up camp and then rinsed off in the reservoir. Dinner consisted of a Mountain House backpacking meal, Chicken Fajita Bowl, with tortillas, applesauce, coffee and tea. Not bad at all.
Sunset over the reservoir was lovely and so was climbing into our tent as the temperature was dropping and we were pooped. Tomorrow will come very early and cold.
Day 14 and 15 (June 14-15, 2019)
Detroit, OR to Bend, OR – 78 miles by car
Total Miles: 653 plus 78 by car
Weather: Beautiful, 76-80 degrees, sunny
So, we limped into Detroit yesterday and knew we had to figure out the drag brake problem, we could not go down any more mountain passes or hills without it. Our first call was to Jeff at J B Cycle & Sport in Green Bay. He gave us a couple of suggestions which Peter tried. Unfortunately, neither of them solved the problem. We thought the brake pads were probably worn down and needed to be replaced.
Now we knew we could not fix the bike and needed to get to a bicycle shop. Sisters or Bend are our closest choices, we just needed to get there. Tracy asked Shari, the hotel owner, for suggestions. She recommended Michelle and Ron, who owned a RV Park in town. She gave them a call for us and Michelle said she could give us a lift the next day. Yeah, now we just needed to find a bicycle shop that could help us out. We could not call until the next morning when the shops opened. So Tracy walked across the street and grabbed us a beer to share. We should have gotten two.
The next morning Peter reached out to bicycle shops in Bend to figure out who could take care of the repairs. WebCyclery is a co-motion tandem dealer. The owner, Kevin, had Peter email him pictures of the drag brake and the offending pads. They had the parts we needed to get us on our way.
While Peter was finding a bike shop, Tracy was reaching out to Warm Showers hosts in Bend. Not ideal to reach out the day you need to stay and also ask for a two night stay. Luckily, Warm Showers hosts Paul and Erin reached out and said they would be happy to host us. Yeah!
Now we had a ride to Bend with Michelle, a bicycle shop for repairs, and a Warm Showers host.
Michelle showed up at the hotel, we loaded up and headed towards WebCyclery in Bend. Michelle was great, she not only took us to the bicycle shop but said she would drop all our bags at our Warm Showers host and then bring us back to the shop. Tracy reached out to Paul and Erin to get their address. Paul was on a ride and did not get back right away, so Tracy sent Michelle on her way with much thanks. Unfortunately, Tracy left two of our water bottles in Michelle’s car, we would need to buy two new ones.
WebCyclery was amazing. It is located in an old church that still has the stained-glass windows. The owner, Kevin, worked on our bike himself.
About 5 minutes later Paul called and said he would be at the shop in a few minutes. Paul walked in to the shop, introduced himself and gave us his address. He headed home and we went to a local taco restaurant for lunch. Then back to the shop to wait for our bicycle to be finished. A few minutes later they completed the repairs. We now had a functioning drag brake, new rim brakes on the front and back wheels, and all the wheel spokes tightened and the wheels trued. We are ready to roll again.
We headed over to Paul and Erin’s house, only seven blocks away, for a fun evening of getting to know each other, touring Bend, dinner, and, of course beer. It is a beautiful city and we made some great new friends. We slept well that night thanks to the many acts of kindness we received that day.
June 15, 2019
Total Miles: 653
Weather: Beautiful, 76-80 degrees, sunny
We woke up this morning at our Warm Showers host’s house in Bend and Tracy did not feel well! She had been struggling to get comfortable on the bike for the past two days and now she was pretty sure something was wrong. Wrong enough that a trip to the local clinic was in order.
Erin, our host, walked with Tracy the clinic, just a few blocks away, while Peter stayed home, shaved for the first time in a week, and caught up on social media.
About three hours later, Tracy came back to the house and filled us all in. She had developed an infection which required antibiotics and at least another day off the bike, but she would be okay. Our hosts graciously offered to let us stay at their home for another day so that Tracy could rest and recuperate.
Tonight we are having fresh salmon for dinner and then driving up to Pilot Butte to watch the sun set.
Our Warm Showers community never ceases to amaze!