Distance: 273 miles / 440 kilometres
Riding time: 8:30-4:30pm
Temps: Low 14 (Klamath morning) High 25 (Bend)
This is one of those days that confirms why I love riding a motorcycle. Great weather and perfect roads with scenery.
Yesterday, I ran right down to the bottom of my reserve. When I filled up I found that I still had 2.25 liters left which would have taken me about 40-50 kilometres farther. Legendary fuel performance at steady highway speeds 51 MPG and a range of over 240 miles.
When finding the gas station in Klamath Falls I happened across a unique sight to me and something that would be entirely odd at home – a gun shop in a residential neighbourhood. What odd zoning to have gun sales among regular homes, not even in a business mall. I’ll never understand it. It’s something that just doesn’t compute for me.
The early morning was a quick zip up highway 97 which is a divided two lane most of the way. Wick up the speed and 150 or so kilometres go by in a jiff.
Off to highway 58 which is quite a nice road that winds through lakesides and has views of the mountains. I elected not to stop a Crater Lake this time simply for the sake of seeing other things and since I’ve been twice before.
Taking highway. 58 gave me the opportunity to stop at Odell Lake. I stayed there with a riding companion the second year I had my bike in 2007. It’s a beautiful lake with a rustic old lodge and an excellent little restaurant.
I was in luck to arrive in time for the breakfast menu and only two others were in the restaurant. I had the. “Jeremiah Johnson” breakfast which was massive – 3 eggs, 3 sausage, 2 pieces of toast, homemade cut hash browns and a 10″ pancake. Needless to say this kept the motor running through the entire day.
On the way out I had a good chat with a retired couple that came out for a drive and meal. They mentioned they’d like to come to Banff and the mountains but “gas was too expensive” and “you can’t bring your guns across the border”. Well, gas is virtually the same this year and the gun thing, again, not sure I get it.
After breakfast I continued towards Oakridge and the Auf Der Heide scenic byway. After stopping for fuel I was off to follow the path from the GPS once again it didn’t really help much. I did a bit of hunting on the map a bit of exploring and recalling from a previous trip landmarks and finally found it. It’s a beautiful road and not particularly well signed or marked. Which explains the ride I had – a vacant secondary highway to ride.
There was a chance that the weather could play a factor again this time. There was mist and a few sprinkles but luckily it never amounted to any real rain. Last time I was here it was miserable, damp and very slippery. This time it was a dream to ride. It’s fun to travel almost 100 kilometres under tree lined verdant roads without seeing a soul until the very end.
It rains so much that it is rainforest-like. Even the road has started to grow in some sections. Moss has started to grow from the sides of the road inward , often right into the driving lanes.
There is a natural hot springs at the end by Cougar Dam but I decided not to stop again. Apparently, I could take off all my kit as it is “that type of hot springs”.
A few kilometres later thE road connects to highway 242 and the McKenzie Pass. What a spectacular ride. It goes up over 5300 ft and twists and turns on perfect pavement on both sides of the pass. Great views and vistas can be had at the top of the pass. It’s a huge lava field that spreads for miles and offers views of the stunning Sisters mountains. The Dee Wright Observatory was a make-work project that was done by laymen to offer a fortress at the top of the lava field complete with pathway and portholes that point out the various features of the surrounding landscape. Very cool.
Another oddity was a granola dude walking through the lava field in nothing but a g-string. Boy the world would be dull without interesting folk, wouldn’t it? He reassembled his clothing just before the parking lot and jumped right into his car without batting an eyelash. A good opening story for next year’s grade six class. Haha.
The remaining spin went right into the core of Bend and the Old. St. Francis hotel. A remodeled and restored old schoolhouse that is now a beautiful hotel. It’s artfully decorated, has several pubs on site, a private theatre and even small cabins out back. I’ve stayed at McMennamin’s before and really enjoyed it. This time was the same. Excellent room, excellent food in the restaurant, and delicious microbrew beer. The end to a very enjoyable da – a few of there double IPA beers and off to bed.