We woke up about normal time for a motorcycle vacation. About 7ish. Breakfast was made and eaten. Kathleen, being the good girl she is, cleaned the kitchen while the boys finished loading the bikes and got the gear on. We all left about 830.
Trevor had to drop Kathleen off at her house in Bend. Convenient, since it was right on the way. We chatted with her Grandma and Great Grandma for a few minutes before the days ride. Trevor wanted to go to Talula Falls (sp?) on the way out. I'm sure they are beautiful. But, that's close enough to see on another trip and we have bigger fish to fry.
As I have traveled more and more, I have noticed that certain areas have a certain feel to them. They also have certain smells. You could drop me in many different areas of the mountain West of the United States and there is decent chance I could tell you what state I am in just by evaluating the shapes of the mountains and the smells that trigger memories in my brain. Central Oregon is a little unique. The smell of juniper is heavy in the air. Especially after a rain. And yes, there are several different types of pine trees here, just as many other areas. But when everything is combined, it gives this area something unique. Something I can't quite put my finger on. All I know is I like it.
Highway 97 takes the father and two sons South. I think I'm finally starting to relax. It really does take several days to get out of work mode. I should have known it would take some time to truly unwind. Certainly after the stint I've just had. I've found myself getting irritated at stupid little things so far. Like when we are geared up and fueled up, then dad decides he has to pee and fill his coffee cup with ice. I keep telling myself, "Dammit Tyson! You're on vacation!! Chill out!" It's taken three days, but I'm finally starting to relax. Don't worry dad, I was never really mad, only fighting with myself in my own head.
Here's a decent shot of the mountains to the West of Bend and Redmond. Once again, no zoom while riding. I'm pretty sure they are all old volcanoes.
Here is a reminder that the land we are moving across was formed by fire. This lava flow happened only a blink of an eye ago from the earth's perspective.
I'm still amazed that my brother can do off-road trips with his girl and gear on that bike.
Nothing too much to report from this section of road. It's a pretty major highway with a lot of traffic. It was still nice because my tires had never come in contact with this stretch of road before. As a matter of fact, this begins the major segment of our vacation. From now on, all of it is new and exciting.
We made a right on 138 towards Crater Lake. I think everyone has seen pictures. Up until this point, that was all I had seen. It is one, long, straight road to make it to the turnoff for the North entrance of the park. Trevor's gas mileage goes to shit past 65 or 70. The speed limit in Oregon is 55 anyways. We were having a nice leisurely ride and this brought my best gas mileage of the trip. Nearly 55mpg! Pretty damn good!
After our reasonably priced admission fee to park was paid, we stopped at the bathrooms just past the entrance to formulate a plan. We decided to run the East side of the lake around to the South. That would get us about 270 degrees of the round lake.
We crossed the Pumice desert.
This one is pretty good for a behind the back shot.
We are now beginning to gain altitude as we creep closer to ridge.
Here she be! In all her glory!
Crater Lake is a caldera. It was formed when Mount Mazama collapsed 7700 years ago. There are no rivers in or out. The water that evaporates is replaced by rain water and snow melt. It is deepest lake in the United States at 1949 feet. You can read more HERE
To give a size perspective, that's a big tour boat down there.
We continued the journey around the lake.
One overlook after another. The next one just as beautiful as the last.
We were all hungry and wanted to stop for lunch. There was a great spot in the shade that we passed up because the other two family members wanted to find a picnic table. Sometimes, when you see something good, you just have to take it. Dad just got done telling me that back in Boise. My Klim Traverse pants are awfully hot. Very waterproof, but hot. I had the opportunity to get some Klim Mojaves (mesh) in Boise. I was second guessing the purchase, and dad talked me into it. I was glad I got them for the rest of the trip.
This was one of last moments of frustration I had before I finally let go and started having a good time. Please don't get me wrong, I've been having a great time so far. It's just taken a long time to forget work and realize once again that I am a human on this beautiful planet with a loving family. We weren't meant to slave away our entire lives. Now, I am finally in vacation mode.
We did find a good spot with a rock wall to sit on with some shade. We had granola bars and jerky to fuel our bodies. While we were sitting there, this little guy sat on my sock for a bit. I can't think of another bug I've ever seen that has larger antennas!
We also had another visitor. A much better looking one. A girl on a bicycle stopped and asked if we had any extra water. I was of course happy to fill her bottle. I always carry more water than what I need. She was on a solo bike trip from Seattle, Washington. I forget where she said she was heading, but she definitely had more time off than I.
That is Phantom Ship Island below.
We got gas at the exit of the park and paid a pretty penny for it. I think it was $4.15 a gallon. Oh well, the cost of doing business I guess.
We met up with highway 62 and took it to the West. It was a fantastic road. The trees were tall and created a canopy over the road. A tunnel made of trees instead of rock and concrete. This was the first time in awhile my bro and I had a chance to open up the throttle and play a bit.
Trevor and I were ahead of Dad so we stopped and waited at the intersection of 62 and 230. There were some pretty damn big trees there. We were joking that we weren't to the Redwoods yet!
It got hotter and hotter as we got lower and lower. Our goal was to take Sam's Valley Highway to bypass Medford and get to Grant's Pass, OR. Dad put the intersection into his GPS. He stopped short at an intersection because his computer told him that was the turn. I knew it wasn't what we were looking for when I pulled out my map. Hmmm... let's think back, Tyson: 3 GPS: 0.
We were at the bottom of the dam holding back Lost Creek Lake, so we took the opportunity to dunk all of our riding gear in the ice cold water. The temperature of the stream running out of a reservoir is highly dependent on if the water runs off the top or if it is let loose from the bottom. We were thankful this one came out the bottom and was freeeezing!
We did find the road we were looking for and headed in a Southwesterly direction.
We got to Gold Hill, OR and stopped to check the map. Trevor was hungry and ate a very melted chocolate covered granola bar. Grant's Pass was just up the Interstate and that was where we would pick up the 199 to California. We decided to get there, get gas, and then pick a place to eat.
We passed a major rollover accident. A pickup truck had scattered debris all over the median. There were tons of cops and other emergency vehicles. I hope everyone was ok.
We checked our phones and GPS'. We decided on a place called One Fifteen Broiler. We left the gas station and I was following dad and his GPS with Trevor behind me. All of a sudden, Trevor was gone. My heart sank as I immediately thought of a crash before I calmed myself. Dad stopped and I doubled back on the side streets since we had been traveling down a one way. I made the loop back to Dad with no sign of Trevor. I pulled out my phone and I had missed a call from him. He was following his phone directions on his handle bar and took a different way. Dad and I were pretty pissed.
Dad and I got back the one way and dads GPS told him to turn left. Like, now! He was in the middle lane and I was in the far right. The next thing I see is dad cutting off a car to make the left and here I am going past the turn. Now this really isn't a big deal. But, we are all hot, tired, and hungry, so an argument ensues in front of the One Fifteen Broiler. Dad and I bitched at Trevor for breaking formation. Then I bitched at Dad for his dangerous turn in traffic. Then the Broiler was closed and we couldn't decide on a place because we decided on steak but the two cheapskates didn't wanna pay $18 to $25 a plate (WHICH IS WHAT STEAK COSTS!!). Ahh family.
We finally settled on Blondie's Bistro. It turned out to be excellent. Dad was disappointed at the cut of meat they used for their steaks, but ordered Steak Diane anyways. I ordered the Green Peppercorn Steak, and I think Trevor had a burger. It was awesome.This is a meal I really wish I had a picture of as I write this. We were all settled down from our squabble and enjoyed our dinner. We also enjoyed the scenery of the pretty wait staff. One was a dead ringer for really beautiful woman I dated in Reno, NV when I lived there.
I pulled out the map to plan the last leg of the day. The plan was laid and we walked out of the Bistro as I snuck one last look at the waitress and sighed.
Back on the highway with bellies full of wonderful food, we ended up with a cop behind us. I was last in line. Ok, just don't speed and we'll be fine. After a few miles with fuzz on our tail, Trevor got sick of it and decided to do something about it. He looked down at his bike, put his blinker on, and pulled off on a side street. I followed and we came to a stop as the cop drove on by. Dad knew what we were doing and patiently waited for us on the shoulder while we "investigated" our "problem". Our "problem" was we don't like cops and our problem has now passed us by. Moving on....
Big logs. You don't see 'em like that on trucks where I live or grew up.
One final gas stop in Cave Junction. We got beer there too since our campsite was getting close. A few more miles South on 199 before we made a left onto Co hwy 5560/Waldo Rd./Grayback Rd./40N07/Indian Creek Rd./State of Jefferson Highway. Yes, one road has all those names. I didn't think it was possible.
We were cruising along and I was in lead. It was my turn to do something stupid. I saw the road sign for Waldo Rd and slammed on the brakes and moved into the oncoming lane since there was no approaching traffic and we had just passed a car. I knew it was gonna be a quick stop. Dad and Trevor almost collided trying to make the turn and rightly yelled at me. I deserved it.
We started to go up in altitude and the road got much twistier. They were in the process of chip sealing it so there was a lot of loose pea gravel. Trevor and I still had fun pushing it a little, where they weren't working on the road. And even where they were. That stuff just sucks with street tires on.
We passed into California without any fanfare or even a sign. Just a sign that read, "End County Maintenance." We came upon an overlook that stopped us in our tracks.
We all stood in awe of the beauty before us. There was also an informational sign the spoke of the state that never was. The State of Jefferson. Read about it HERE
. The "XX" logo was to be their flag for being double crossed. Over the next day and a half we would see this logo in many places. If I hadn't read this sign, I never would have known. I even saw a car with the entire hood painted up with the Sate of Jefferson "XX" logo.
I still wasn't sure where home was going to be for the night. I knew it was going to be in that beautiful valley somewhere. But, in a rare instance of incomplete information, my Benchmark didn't show any campgrounds. I had seen some on google when I checked my phone back in Grant's Pass. Off we went down the mountain to find home.
Trevor and I were flying as usual. We passed several signs that indicated several national forest campsites off the main road via several miles on dirt. We knew dad wouldn't be up for that on the Wing, so we pressed on for another few miles. Then, we found it.
Trevor waited at the road for Dad as I ventured in to check things out. I made a loop around and we were going to be the only ones there! Not a soul for miles!
The bridge into camp.
I was on my way back out and met Dad and Trevor at the bridge. We did a once around. Trevor went off down a spur and I followed. It ended very quickly.
We picked the spot directly across the road from the bathrooms. It had three flat spots for each of our tents. I thought it was close to the river so we could put our beer in it, but the river was much farther than expected. Good thing we bought IPAs which aren't bad as they get a little warm. Way better than Bud Light.
I went on my normal firewood search with the bike as the light of day faded. I came up pretty empty, but the three of us managed a good enough haul to have a very satisfactory fire for the evening.
Camp was set up and we all gathered around the fire. This is what I had ridden all these miles so far to experience; sitting around the fire with my dad and brother in the California mountains. Dad broke out the rum to go with the IPAs and we proceeded to drink every last drop of alcohol we had. I think we were all pretty damn drunk by the time we passed out at 11:00.