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Old 11-04-2010, 08:09 PM   #1
storman113 OP
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Central Oregon
Oddometer: 99
Bend to Crater Lake loop

Bend Ė Crater Lake loop ride

Couple Wednesdays ago, my riding partner and I wanted to get in a day ride before the rain and snow shut us down for the season.

We also wanted to check out some of the state and national camp grounds for future reference. Also to visit the Collier Logging Museum at Chiloquin. We decided to ride the east rim of the lake as neither one us had been on that side.

To get to Hwy 97 we took a back road to La Pine with lots of curves to get a little muscle memory going. Hwy 97 is long and straight with lots of semiís. All the trees and blue sky kept it from being just a ride on the slab.

There are two camp grounds north of Chiloquin, one state and one national. Both are right on the Williamson River, known for its great fly fishing. The state park has full hookups and pay showers. The national is primitive, no water. Space to park RVís though. I would stay there and tent camp as its right on the river. Mosquitoes could be a problem early in the season.

The Collier Logging Museum was a surprise.

Itís a ton larger than what you see from the road. They have all kinds of logging hardware from horse powered, steam powered and some more modern stuff, and lots of it! I found the post war equipment the most fascinating (before OSHA). The chain saw display is awesome, especially the two man units. Didnít have a lot of time but is on my go back list when they reopen in the spring.

Didnít pack a lunch, figured to find a restaurant in Chiloquin, big mistake. Place had bars and metal screens on the windows, donít think it was to keep people out, but in! Service was worse than the food. The ice tea was good though!

From there motored up to the park via Fort Klamath. A couple of private pay camp grounds at Fort Klamath. They looked very clean and well set up. I have heard the overnite rates are on par with the state camp grounds. There is one state primitive(no water) on the Sun Mountain road just before Fort Klamath. The Fort was headquarters for Gen. Canby during the Modoc Indian Wars. A visit to the lava beds south of Klamath Falls is now on my visit list.

Excerpt from

The war began when troops tried to force Captain Jack's band, camped on Lost River, back to the reservation on November 29, 1872. As the Indians fled, they murdered thirteen (or eighteen) settlers. The Modocs retreated to "The Stronghold," a vast lava bed honeycombed with outcroppings, caves, and caverns, making it a virtually impregnable rocky fortress. Efforts to dislodge the Modocs in heavy fog on January 17, 1873, cost the army thirty-five dead and many wounded, with no casualties for the Indians. Weeks of negotiation followed, with the army reluctant to risk more casualties and Captain Jack desirous of stalling until spring so he could more easily maneuver in the mountains. The deadlock ended on Good Friday, April 11, 1873, when General Edward Richard Sprigg Canby was murdered, with other peace negotiators, by Captain Jack, while unarmed and conducting peace negotiations. (Canby thus became the only army general to die in the Indian wars.) The usually astute Captain Jack was was goaded to this misdeed by warriors convinced that the army would leave if their leader was gone.

Learned a lesson about prairie dogs. Usually when you see a chipmunk or squirrel in your line you donít swerve, just stay on your line as it will move just before you get there, NOT prairie dogs!!! Stopped just a bit after that and remarked to Gary about the prairie dog. He said ď saw the one you nailed and missed it, but got the one 50Ē further on, IT didnít move!!!Ē

Lucked out at the park entrance, the booth was closed and the gate was open. Found out later that two days after our visit the loop roads and north gate were shutdown due to snow! On the way up we noticed a forest service burn was in progress on the south side of the park. Thought no biggie till we got to a view point on the rim. The lake basin was full of smoke!

On to the east rim loop drive. Going north you are on the outside lane. Road is in good shape for cars. The road patches are laid down with about a 2-3 inch lip on top of the road bed! First one got me by surprise! Was glad to find no gravel on the inside turns. Lots of elevation changes and twisties. Some small rocks here and there in the 2-3 inch range, a bit disconcerting when I hit one! The thing that really got my attention was the outside turns with a few hundred foot drop off and no guard rail. Felt like there was a motorcycle monster just over the rim waiting to grab me!

Kinda surprised by the number of bicycles making the loop, the east loop is about 32 miles. Gotta be in good shape for all the up hill sections and high elevation. Very few cars, would be a lot worse during the tourist season with the cagers watching the lake and not the road!

Stopped at lots of the turn outs and chatted with some of the bikers. They all drive up with their bikes strapped on their cars and then they do the whole loop. Ran across one guy who had hydraulic disc brakes on his bike. Never seen that before, might be common to bicyclist but new to me. Very disappointed with the smoky haze over the lake. But it is still a very awesome sight and a must see if you have never been there.

We finished the loop and exited the north gate. Then Hwy 97 slab to home. All in all a very good days ride with incentive to return to the Williamson River for some fly fishing and a longer visit to the logging museum.

Google map of route.,-121.761475&spn=2.34159,4.691162&z=8
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storman113 screwed with this post 11-05-2010 at 01:00 AM
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:33 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing.

I've been to Bend so many times in a car. Yet to ride there (from WA) and then to Crater Lake.
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:04 PM   #3
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:14 PM   #4
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Gorgeous ride! Thanks for the report and pics
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:21 PM   #5
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Am very jealous! Can't put a value on your combination of riding buddy/good bikes/gorgeous scenery. Hope you fellows enjoy many more great rides.
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Old 11-06-2010, 09:07 AM   #6
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Looks like you had a fun time, despite the smoke. Been to Crate Lake several times but never around the loop. It's great that you two can share rides like this.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:59 PM   #7
storman113 OP
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Location: Central Oregon
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I wish to add to my previous ride report the picture of the lake was taken while there on the ride. To those who have seen the lake previously they can tell the haze. I didnít sneak in an earlier pic.

Just north of the park is the Diamond Lake Resort. It is between Mt Thilson and Mt Bailey and is a beauty in its own right. There is a motel, cabins and several camp grounds adjacent. Have spent many vacations at the lake resort and have never been disappointed. In the posted pic of the lake you can see Mt Thilson on the horizon.

I mention this as someone who has seen the Grand Canyon so many times in pictures and movies that when years ago with wife and kids we visited there. When I walked up to rim, I froze for several minutes! Seeing it live was mind bending! The first time you walk to the rim of Crater Lake from the parking lot you will fill the same. Itís like the first time you get to Yosemite and see Half Dome or up to Mt St Helens, you forget the crowds and the effort spent to get there, you are in awe.

I feel very lucky to live in an area of our great country that I am able to see these wonders of nature without extensive expenditure of time or resources.

If you ever find yourself in the southern Oregon area, it will be worth the extra day to avail yourself to visit the park.

Side note. Oregon allows the use of triple semiís on Interstate 5 and 84 and recently on Hwy 97. Passing them takes some planning! After seeing the pic you will understand!

Units limited to 80K pounds, makes the last one a bit wigglely! Mostly bread trucks and UPS/Fedex trucks, check em before passing!

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Old 11-11-2010, 06:27 AM   #8
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Triples on Hwy 97!!!

Arrrgh....but I guess it eliminates 25% of the bread and potatoe chip trucks. Ditto on visits to Crater Lake-Just Do It! Thanks for posting stormin113, as a kid we fished Diamond Lk every opening weekend for years. Lots of memories there. dd
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:42 AM   #9
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thanks for the great thread and pictures
our time riding around crater lake remains one of my favorite motorcycle memories.....
thanks for helping us relive it

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