Woke up in Lakeview, WA and took the time to change the oil in our bikes and we did some laundry as we had a laundramat right across from the Motel. Also across from the Motel was a nice little restaurant that we decided to have breakfast at, as we let our clothes wash/dry!
The weather was beautiful and allowed us to enjoy breakfast at an outside table. This was the first and only breakfast that we were able to sit down and eat during our ten day ride! The eggs and sausage, with pancakes, was such a treat after normally downing a few cans of V-8 juice or grabbing some coffee and heading out for the day!
We knew this would technically be our last day on the TAT, as the trail would more or less officially end at/near Crater Lake national Park. From there we would hit the pavement and head home to Tacoma and Port Orchard, WA.
After packing up/putting on some freshly washed clothes, we motored our way out of town.
Pretty much every day of this trip we started our days without sore butts. However, after the first couple hours of riding, we were back to moving around in our seats to find a spot that felt more comfortable. I dont know that there is really a fix for this, as riding 10-12 hours a day on a Dual Sport bike (especially smaller ones like ours) will culminate in this occurring...unless you have transplanted a Harley Davidson seat onto your bike! It is worth mentioning as this discomfort will occurr to a different extent to virtually anyone making this trip. We discovered the advantages to standing up on the pegs when prudent, to take a break from the seat!
We headed west and into the Fremont national Forest where we enjoyed some good old Oregon gravel roads/trails. We rode some nice rolling hills and soon found ourselves riding on the kind of forested roads/trails that we were used to riding in Washington State. We rode past alot of logging operations and enjoyed milder temperatures in the 80's, which felt great in contrast to the 100 degree temperatures of the previous days.
As we gently ascended/descended these rather well groomed forest roads, they eventually yielded to some smaller gravel roads that led us to some trails that took us along and through some large power line towers that crackled with high voltage. This was a fun little diversion as it was definately a trail and it allowed us to screw around a bit like you would on a local trail ride. This section was very short and in a few minutes we were back on the gravel and found ourselves crossing a few bridges as we continued enjoying the meadows and .... a patch of forest that had seen a fire in the past year or two. It was a big patch of burned "sticks" among alot of new growth and flowers.
The riding was pretty relaxed and it wasn't long before we were approaching an old "railroad grade" that Weyerhauser (think lumber industry) had used for many years. The railroad tracks were gone, but the elevated grade, the red rock gravel and the bleached out, old railroad ties lying on either side of the elevated grade, all served as reminders that this was once a thriving rail route providing the region and the Country with lumber. I had looked forward to this stretch of the trail, as it was such a historic part of the Pacific Northwest's past. Lumber was king here for more than a hundred years, and we found ourselves riding that same historic route that the trains and loggers had travelled countless times! The grade was very cool though I found the gravel offered a bit less traction than the regular gravel we had been travelling on. We enjoyed a casual ride along this part of the trail and took a lunch break along the way. We encountered some VERY loud grasshoppers that made a noisy "clicking" sound that could be heard throughout the forest.
We found ourselves stopping for fuel in the small town of Bly (I am pretty sure this was the town...it was really just a gas station!!?) We talked to the owners of the service station for a bit, nice people. In retrospect, we had seen quite a few of these very small towns over the past week and we enjoyed them. We seem to get caught up in our larger cities, malls, stores, chain restaurants and the like, and these tiny towns slow you down/give you a more basic perspective, and the people just seem more down to earth, genuine and "real". At least that is my impression. We really enjoyed the small towns and the people that we met in those same small towns.
We headed back out and went east toward Klamath Marsh. I did not realize until we were looking at it, that Klamath Marsh was a HUGE Marsh...I had assumed it was a town! We took a few photos of this seemingly endless "marshy" terrain before we continued west towards Diamond Lake and ultimately Crater Lake.
We rode some hardball on the last leg to Diamond Lake and arrived just as the sun was setting. We were lucky enough to find a place to stay at Diamond Lake... just a hop/skip from Crater Lake. It was 8:30 pm or so, and we decided we would call it a day and get a bite to eat...saving Crater Lake and the Rim Drive for tomorrow, before heading north and home.
We reflected on the trip we had all but completed and laughed about how difficult it was to properly remember the towns and the experiences in the right order! We reflected on that strange but common experience... of being closer to home and thinking less about the TAT and more about things waiting for us when we arrived home. It is a transition that happens to me everytime I go on vacation or travel some distance away from home...Always wishing the trip would have lasted longer....
More to come.