Day 13 – Round the Bend

The grey skies of last night were replaced with blue ones this morning and my outlook improved, I was excited about riding, but I was also in no rush about it. I was still in bed at 8am when Scott called to say hi. He is the first friend I made in California, we went through Tesla training together. He wanted to see how it was all going with me, it was great to chat to him. He was out walking his dog before work, not a bad way to start the day. I got up, found that I had another van camper for company but he was gone when I was walking back from the bathroom. I was popular this morning, Jon called, he was about to get on a plane from the Cayman Islands, so told him all about what I was doing and he filled me in on the fun he’d been having with Lizzy and her family. I made bacon and eggs while we talked.

Since I didn’t know what trails were good, I drove a short way back the way I’d come to the information center. There, I spoke to a girl about my age about what I should do. She was a rider so suggested a few routes to me. The first of which left from the info center, so I resolved to do that first, then maybe another loop in the afternoon. I set up a makeshift clothesline in the car to finally try to dry out my Whistler riding gear and packed light so I didn’t have to wear a wet backpack. Even though the sun was out, I rode in a thermal top because the wind was up. I got riding around 10:30am and hit “Catch and Release” first off. From there it was “Storm King”, then the last climb in “Kiwa”. The trails were sandy, through thin forest with a few porous boulders here and there. Nothing like the challenges of Whistler. Unfortunately, these trails had a characteristic that is inherent in a lot of trails I’ve ridden in the States. You ride a lot of up, then you ride a lot of down. It’s not my pick, I’d rather roly-poly style where you’re constantly gaining and losing elevation, instead of doing all the hard work at the start. I met a couple of local girls at the start of “Kiwa” who were doing the same loop as me, so that gave me confidence I was on some of the nice trails. They confirmed a suspicion of mine that everyone in Bend has a fluoro-coloured Santa Cruz. One was bright pink, the other green. I swear, everything with two wheels had been obnoxiously bright.

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After “Kiwa”, was the main event, “Tyler’s Traverse”. The first half of this trail was pick of the day. It was flowy, with deep berms and a few rocky sections. It trended downhill, but not so much that I was on the brakes the whole time. Quite the opposite, pedalling between corners to keep the speed up. I stopped for some food halfway along the trail and shortly after heard the two girls coming up behind me. I let the first pass, then chased on. I thought I’d been going fairly quick, but I picked up the pace by half following this girl. It definitely helps to have someone to chase! I’d nearly caught her by the end of the run. They stopped for a break, but I continued on, getting back onto “Catch and Release” to get back to the car. It was a 40km session that took me just over two hours. I didn’t realise it had been that long, it seemed like such a short ride. Overall, I wasn’t too impressed. Of course I’m being a snob having just come from Whistler, but the trails we have in Brisbane are superior. I went back into the visitor’s center to ask if the second set of trails were similar to those I’d just done and the girl said they were the same style through the same type of scenery. Also, the Mt. Bachelor bike park was closed, only being open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Knowing that, I decided I was done riding for the day. Highway 46 hosted some pretty lakes and views to be seen so figured I’d spend more time enjoying them.

As I packed up my riding gear, I put the wet clothes on the tarmac next to the car and they were dry within minutes. I did 200 reps on the tyre pump with my slowly leaking right rear tyre, then I was off. Hungry for lunch, I was on the hunt for a nice lake to sit by. I pretty much took my first option with Sporatz Lake. The drive in on a gravel road was longer than I thought, I feared that my bike would shake itself off the roof, but no problems. Even though it was sunny, the weather was a bit foul. There was some rain a distance away that was being carried in sideways by the strong wind. I saw two people launch some kayaks into the lake and I thought they were absolutely crazy. I wanted some sun, so I managed to find a spot out of the wind behind a big tree where I set up my picnic and made lunch. I listened to a crappy podcast where the hosts just didn’t get to the point. Lunch finished, I was stretched out relaxing eating a Nutella wrap when the weather really turned foul. The rain that had been in the distance was now above me and blowing every which way. I packed my shit up quick smart and retreated to the van. I put everything back in its place, kneeling on the floor, doors closed. It was horrendously cold and wet! I climbed through to the driver’s seat instead of going outside. So much for seeing the lakes along the way, the weather continued all the way along Highway 46, but I was happy, I was in a nice warm car. I had seen multiple cyclists on the road earlier. I felt for them.

There were volcano peaks dotted all around, the tops of which I could not see because of cloud. In my imagination, a volcano is something that attracts and cumulates stormy weather because of the beast lying within. It is as if exposing their peaks will result in catastrophic events, so it must remain hidden. I felt as though I was driving towards the sun, which I was. As soon as I got to the end of the scenic highway 46, I was back into blue sky weather. I wasn’t too far from Crater Lake so thought I might be able to stay somewhere in the park that night. At around 4:30pm I hit a rest area and discovered that the rules in Oregon allow you to stay for 12 hours. That said, it was a bit too early to stop and the area was quite exposed to the wind. I carried on to Crater Lake, but the weather was turning foul again. Per my suspicious imagination, just after I entered the park the rain came down, trying to stop me from seeing the Crater. I had a look at the information sign just inside the park where it mentioned overnight parking anywhere within the park was not allowed except for at the two campgrounds. I was running out of light and time to see any of Crater Lake, so decided to head back out and hit a spot I’d seen just before coming in. I’m parked at a trailhead for the PCT trail. Never know, Theresa might walk through in the middle of the night (she’s a friend of mine that is just about to complete the PCT having started it in March. I’m not sure exactly where she is but I know she’s within a few hundred kilometres). I think it’s my earliest camp yet at around 5pm, but I was happy to crawl into bed and get back into my book, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. It rained on and off up until I went to bed. Honestly, I was looking forward to the weather getting warmer as I headed back down south, unfortunately, it seems to be going the other way!

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