biketrip – day 5 – Vancouver, WA to Odell Lake, Oregon

Total Kilometres: 451 (280 Miles)
High/Low Temp: 9 Celcius and as high as 12 Celcius (yes, twelve as the high!)
Total Riding Time: 9:30am PST – 6:00pm PST

wow, what a long day. reasonable distance covered but today luck ran out with the weather. when i returned from the ride yesterday it started raining, and this morning it’s, well, still raining. luckily it’s not a real downpour, rather just a mist that only gets you wet when you’re moving say on a motorcycle.

i met a guy at the meet, bjorn, who has a reservation at a small resort in oregon. so rather than go straight down the oregon coast like last year, i’ve decided to stay inland this time and work my way to crater lake national park.

Bjorn, from Vancouver, BC - Travelling Companion for Day 5-6

Bjorn, from Vancouver, BC – Travelling Companion for Day 5-6

bjorn planned a route of all foresty routes, roads that have little or no traffic, maybe in good shape or complete gravel. luckily for us it turns out the roads we chose are vacant but have been maintained as there are many places to camp in the cascades range.

the route was interstate 205, to highway 224 which travels mostly through twisty rural farmland and acreages and into mount hood national forest. the beginnings of the cascade range are impressive, they are old tree covered mountains that have a looming dampness and mist covered peaks. really pretty. i even had to put on my goofy $12 home depot rain suit. it worked, but i looked like a pylon and a dork. mental note: get real motorcycle rain gear like bjorn’s rhyno stuff.

Entering the Cascades Scenic Byway - Misty and Wet

Entering the Cascades Scenic Byway – Misty and Wet

we stopped in detroit, OR for a snack and to put on rain gear as we were beginning to get damp and it looked like we were in for a sound soaking.

on to highway 22 and 126 which travel through an area of past volcanic activity. pretty cool since there is old lava flows and vents with steam just off the side of the road. bjorn was going to venture off to take pictures until i noted the sign saying basically “stay off, danger” apparently there is still the odd active lava flow. we joked that it was unlikely that our protective motorcycle gear would be of any use against molten magma.

quick jog over to Rainbow. ask a few locals where the forestry roads start. “um, well, forestry roads? well, i don’t know. aren’t they back up the highway a ways. honestly, i’ve never ventured far out that way.” okay great. they don’t show up on our map, and we have no topographic map. so, we just go off and explore. luckily we found an old covered bridge and a local that actually knows where the roads start, end and what condition they are in. he assures us that even my “fancy bike” will be able to make it, and the trailie that bjorn is riding is perfect. these roads are fantastic but many of them don’t even have signs anymore, strange because this road (other than a few bumps and short gravel sections) is actually quite good.

Restored Covered Bridge

Restored Covered Bridge

the forestry roads wind under a canopy of large redwoods and low deciduous trees, along with an abundance of vegetation, including unbeknowst to me, moss (more on that later).

the road passes a large reservoir built in the thirties from the rock on the adjacent mountain. and winds for almost 100 miles of dense rainforest like conditions. a bit too wet for camera work, but you could actually smell the vegetation and redwoods as we rode through. the forestry roads from rainbow are absolutely not to be missed if you are a rider, no traffic and 100 miles of turns = big grins from ear to ear from us, even in the rain.

Cougar Reservoir - Forestry Highway / Aufderheide Parkway

the only draw back of the rain is, well, it is wet and occasionally slippery. this area looks as though it rarely dries. the dense canopy provided by the trees protects some areas from any rain reaching the ground while others it guarantees that the areas never dry. i found one of those such areas. apparently in those conditions moss can actually grow on the road. moss + motorcycle tires at 30-40mph do not mix. i had one corner where the front tire broke free and i actually turned the handlebars back and forth 3 times before recovering the motorcyle in the turn. i then proceeded to check my shorts as i just about shit my pants when the whole bike started veering out of control. luckily, the shiny side stayed up, and rubber side down. whew!

at westfir we joined highway 58 which rise to the summit of the cascades highway. i thought it was odd at the bottom when signs posted the elevation – 2000 ft. really not a significant altitude, calgary is higher. then within about 16 miles the elevation up to Willamette Pass rose to 5128 ft, holy, now that is a mountain pass. what’s cool is the highway is a plateau, so you remain at over 5000 ft for the remainder of the highway all the way to crater lake.

at the top of the highway is a 9 mile long lake called odell lake. our destination for the day. now when bjorn said he’d booked a room at a resort i was expecting a small town around the lake and little mom and pop hotels. turns out, there’s only one place to stay, the odell lake lodge and resort where we stayed. i was blown away, this was a little gem tucked away off the highway. an old lodge built in the 1920s, and pretty much looks exactly the same today. a young couple was running it and it was very comfortable and cozy. and get this, the room rate is 55 USD/night, unbelievable!
we packed it in for the day, it was cool, getting dark and we were still wet and cold from our ride. the food at the odell lake resort is fantastic – for 20 bucks i had a couple microbrewery beer and a squash dinner beer glazed and stuff with risotto and mushrooms, along with a sweeter squash in a brown sugar and cinnamon glaze. oh my! was it tastey.

an early night and we’re off to crater lake tomorrow, and i’ll make my push to california.