Day 15 – Coos Bay, Crater Lake to Bend, Or

Distance: 350 miles / 563 kilometres
Temperature: Low 12 (Coos Bay and Coast Mountains) / High 29 (Bend)
Travelling Time: 8:45am-4:30pm
Altitude Change: Sea-level to over 8,100 ft (2468 m)

Yesterday I had such great luck exploring side roads that I thought I’d try the same strategy today.

I left late this morning – decided to sleep in a bit today. The weather seems to be the usual west coast start to the day – damp, foggy and cool. It was quite windy and chilly this morning. I put on my rain gear as a windproof layer and a couple under layers as the wind seemed to really cut through me.

Highway 42 across Oregon is quite speedy yet quite fun to ride. Not a lot of traffic and lots of long sweeping corners. Not a lot to see along the way except the Rogue and Umpqua river basins – lots of place to camp and hike, which would be worth exploring on another trip.

I decided to get off the beaten path at Steamboat and hit the Steamboat River Road – thinking it would be like yesterday and I could stay off the highway and have some fun. Fun it is! It’s a well maintained road with lots of sweepers and few sections with tight low speed corners which were lots of fun. Again it winds along a river, plenty of camping places, little traffic and a tree-lined or tree-covered road. One problem – after the 25 mile point the pavement ends. This was fine for the two BMW GS bikes I was following as they kept on trucking right on through. I, on the other hand, had to turn around and backtrack. It was fun but added about 45 minutes to the day.

Quick stop in Diamond Lake for fuel. The most expensive gas of the trip – $3.41/gallon almost a buck more per gallon than everyone else. The diamond lake viewpoint provides a nice view of the surrounding mountains before heading off to Crater Lake. The thing with scenic places, is well, it draws a lot of people. It’s such a lovely and serene place without asshole Harley riders making noise and families yelling at each other – kinda spoils it. There were a few minutes of complete silence and not a breath of wind today which was much different in 2007 when I was here and it was snowing (in August) and just above 0 celcius. What’s interesting is there must be huge dumps of snow through the winter as there are still snowbanks on the side of the road even with temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s – amazing.

My other roads outside of Crater Lake turned out to be dirt roads – so exploring was a bust. With the temperature coming up to 30 celcius I made a straight journey to Bend to crash for the night.

My plan for the next few days is to hit as many of the highlight roads in NE Oregon and Eastern Washington as possible along the way home.

** – Map is a bit funky, it doesn’t seem to like to add points around Crater Lake

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