Armed with possible route from Harold, we depart bright and early from Bend, and headed south on Hwy 97 and take some forestry road headed towards the Paulina Lake region to ride around the crater.
The area is pretty rutted up, but beautiful scenery. With our bikes fully loaded it makes for a long morning.
Ok maybe we were the ones rutting it up
It was a little dusty
We realize time is slipping away, so we head back to the pavement and zoom passed Fort Rock and dry lake beds to try to make some distance in the day.
The skies turn from blue to a murky shade of grey as our southern route is polluted by smoke, forest fires are a reality in these parts, and with the extremely dry weather and wind itís not a easy task to extinguish the flames.
The weather is hot and exacerbated by the smokey air. We stop at the town of Lakeview, on the border of Oregon and California, we had enough of the char filled air and desperately searched our maps for a camp that would give us some reprise from the tainted air. Fires were to the south west and south east. The valley floor was filled with dense smoke, just as we cross the California border we spot a camp, and headed up into the hills, hoping the trees would filter out some smoke.
Six miles up we finally found a camp, Cave Lake, where a plethora of wood had been chopped but left unused due to the fire bans. Finding a suitable camp spot for the night, we popped our drinks into the cold river to enjoy later. Night fall came quickly, and so did the neighbors, who marked their territory prolifically.
Ice Box: Check
Body Guards: Check
Camp spot with a whole lot of wood we canít use?: Check
We awoke with the sun, the buzzing of insects and the call of birds from tree to tree. Descending through the mountains, we head southwards. The smoke begins to fill the valley as we make down to the lake. We are now on Hwy 395 which eventually take us to Tahoe.
With the hot weather, and smoke we are keen to get back into the mountains.
The guy here will make you sandwiches
We find a little stop for lunch, outside Susanville, and then continue along 395, meandering between hills before we find our way across the Nevada border and into an increasing thickness of traffic. Reno is in the distance, casinos, big trucks and a thick layer of desert heat. We suck in a breath and ride through, waiting to be spit out the other side into the mountains. With highway construction it slows slightly, then, traffic thinning out we make ascend into the mountains along the Rose mountain parkway, a slivery slab of asphalt that finds its way into the Sierra Nevada Mountains and descend into the Tahoe lake basin at Incline Village.
We reach the lake, a pool of deep blue. The temperature has gone from hot to pleasant as we ride the shores of the east side of the lake, soaking up the scenery.
Another one of Bonsai Rock because it took so long to hike down to it :)
We finally reach Stateline, a small community on South Lake Tahoe and look for the Mont Blue, the host hotel of the event. We pull into the parking lot and immediately know weíre in the right place. J Brandon from the Tahoe ADV Summit is there to greet us and get us our press passes and usher us into the parking area. It looks like itís going to be a good turnout for their first year