We awake to a beautiful morning and are quick to head out to Crater Lake National Park. It is pavement all the way there, and it takes us perhaps 30 minutes to get there. It is cool in the morning, but sure to be hot in a few hours so we enjoy the cold wind on our faces as we arrive at the Park.
We stop for a few photos at the first opportunity and Jim is quite impressed with the lake and it's views. It is a special place, well deserving of a detour. It is the Nation's 5th oldest National Park and at 1,943 ft, it is the deepest lake in the United States, and the 7th deepest lake in the world! It is literally surrounded by a continous ridge that forms a crater around the lake. The sheer ridge reaches as high as 2,000 feet. It is also the "bluest" lake water I have ever seen!
We decide to do the "Rim Drive", which takes you completely around Crater Lake. This is the third time I have been to Crater Lake, but it is the first time that the "Rim Drive" has been open while I was there! It is a rather small window in which there is no snow keeping the drive closed.
We make our way around the Lake and while we are not in a hurry, we waste little time taking a few photos from the touristy parking lots/view area and moving on. The photographer side of me yearned for more time during this entire trip. We had such great opportunities to take creative photos, different vantage points etc...but we simply felt compelled to make decent time as we rode. Besides, morning and evening light are generally considered the best, and it would have proved difficult to perfectly time being in a beautiful spot during those hours....but I digress.
One photo we were able to take while touring Crater Lake, showed an old Field Camera (think 8 x 10 film plates...like Ansel Admas might have used) setup for an east to west shot of the Lake. It was interesting taking a picture of a camera set up to take a picture...but it was a great shot!
We posed for one last shot near the end of our trip around the lake. It would signify the end of our TAT ride, as from here on out we would ride asphalt to get back home in a timely manner. The shot simply shows Jim and I (with me pointing at the TAT Sticker) and my trusty mule...the Super Sherpa. A nice German gentleman was kind enough to take the photo.
We said goodbye to Crater Lake and headed west towards Interstate 5.
We took a bit of a detour onto a primary road that would lead us north/northwest vs a straight shot west to I-5. It was a nice, winding primary road that was quite enjoyable. A few deer her and there, nice pace, very little traffic. We took this out to I-5 where we crossed over to the west of the Interstate and picked up old Highway 99. (used before I-5 was completed)
We rode Highway 99 north for the remainder of the day, until we found ourselves having to get onto I-5 to cross over from Portland, Or...to the state of Washington. We made it into Vancouver, WA before deciding that we had better stop for the night (9pm) vs riding tired...on I-5 North...at night. Hwy 99 stops here and we would be forced to complete the remaining 120 miles or so on I-5. This is a fast and heavily travelled portion of I-5 and being as light as we were, we would need to be fully awake/aware to safely ride it with two, 280 lb bikes!
We found a motel and got a late dinner...as we listened to some of the worst karaoke I have ever heard...and it was loud...who the hell picked this restaurant....I am gonna blame Jim...even if its not true!
We turned in for the night, fat and happy...our TAT trip pretty much complete. I sent the daily "text update" to those that had given us their number.
More to come.