An epic day of lakes, Redwoods and the Pacific.
Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway
Before riding out of Bend, I found a top-notch espresso shop, Thump Coffee. It had a unique feature, in that suspended from the ceiling were small boards decorated with art. There were hundreds of them.
I was roughly 15 miles west of Bend when both the low fuel and low oil lights came on. I hadn’t followed my normal protocol of topping off the tank the night before. As for the oil, the bane of the BMW boxer twin owners’ existence is that the engine goes through a healthy amount of oil. I had packed for this scenario and 2 quarts with me. I headed back into Bend – which wasn’t a bad thing, but I was annoyed with myself for being lazy the night before – topped off the fuel and oil, then hit the road west again.
I rode through the heart of the Deschutes National Forest via the Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway. The Byway passes right through and around the Three Sisters wilderness, with up close views of the 9,068 ft. peak of Mount Bachelor, and right by eleven (11) pristine, high mountain lakes.
Unfortunately, I was not aware that the Byway isn’t plowed until mid-July, so I was not able to see those lakes. I was able to ride a small segment around Mount Bachelor, which was a great experience in and of itself. It was time for Plan B, which brought me through high mountain roads that eventually hooked up with the U.S. Route 97, the main north-south road on the way to Crater Lake National Park.
Crater Lake National Park
Established in 1902, Crater Lake National Park is the fifth oldest national park in the United States. Located in southern Oregon, Crater Lake is 1,943 ft. deep at its deepest point, which makes it the deepest lake in the United States, the second deepest in North America and the ninth deepest in the world. The park averages 500″+ of snowfall per season.
The park’s north entrance had not yet been plowed out, and was still closed. I took Oregon Route 230, which runs on the west side of the park, to Oregon Route 62, which intersects with the west entrance to the park. The ride into the park was gorgeous, with snow becoming more visible as I climbed on the entrance road. I eventually made it to the park’s Rim Drive, a 33 mile loop that follows the volcanic caldera rim around the park. The West Rim Drive was only open for 7 miles, and plowing had not started on the East Rim Drive. I ended up parking at the Rim Village Cafe and Gift Shop.
The Majestic Redwood Highway, National and State Parks
The third and final leg of the day’s ride turned out to be one of the top riding experiences of the entire trip. I made my way from Crater Lake to Grants Pass in far southern Oregon, then began riding the 80 mile long U.S. Route 199. Also known as the “Redwood Highway”, US-199 traverses the rugged wilderness of the Klamath National Forest in southern Oregon and northern California.
The Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) are located along the coast of northern California. This is a unique national park, comprised of the combination of four State parks and the National one’s additional acres. RNSP holds 133,000 acres that contain coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) old-growth forests. These trees are the tallest tree species on Earth.
I can’t describe how magical it was riding amongst these giants. The twists and turns were everywhere, and beneath the trees’ canopy – which at times almost literally blocked out all of the bright sunlight such that it was dark – was a lush, green, verdant forest of ferns and flora. Add to this the moist, humid conditions that contributed to a light mist, it made for a spectacular ride. I highly recommend watching this day’s HD video below. Start at the 3:50 mark, which captures the experience I just described.
I finally rode through the trees, and made my way into Crescent City, California. Crescent City is a unique harbor town, in that its topography makes it highly susceptible to tsunamis. The 9.2 magnitude, 1964 Good Friday Earthquake off Anchorage, Alaska, led to a massive tsunami eventually making its way to Crescent City. Four waves hit Crescent City in two hours, with the following results: 289 buildings and businesses had been destroyed; 1000 cars and 25 large fishing vessels crushed; 12 people were confirmed dead, over 100 were injured, and numbers were missing; 60 blocks had been inundated with 30 city blocks destroyed in total. The 9.0 magnitude, March 2011 Tōhoku, Japan earthquake and tsunami also resulted in 35 boats being destroyed, the harbor being majorly damaged, and 1 killed.
As I walked along the harbor near the lighthouse, I chatted with a local retiree, who pointed out damage indicators. He was a lifelong fisherman who grew up in Crescent City, and explained that due to the 1964 tsunami and the area’s topography, that the city never truly recovered from being decimated, and that to this day, investors aren’t willing to sink capital into its infrastructure.
I made my way to Perlita’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant, and it was excellent. My last stop, right at dusk, was for my overnight stay at Crescent Beach Motel. I was able to get a few pictures of the beach area, then fell asleep in about a minute.
What a great day.
The Day : Weather
|Location||State||High (F)||Low (F)||Precipitation (in)||Max Wind (mph)|
|Crater Lake National Park||OR||72°||35°||0.00||20|
The Day : Images
The Day : Video
The Day : GPS
|Avg Speed||24.8 mph|
|Moving Speed||45.5 mph|
|Elevation Max||7,121 ft|
|Elevation Min||0 ft|
|Elevation Gain||23,844 ft|
|Elevation Loss||27,460 ft|