After visiting Seattle and Portland and being around people all the time it was even relaxing to take a break from the society and purely enjoy the nature of Oregon and northern California before I came to San Francisco.
I already told about the experience of visiting hot springs and how relaxing was it, but I didn’t expect how difficult will be the next day.
The plan was very simple – to ride first to Detroit lake and from there take the highway to the Crater Lake and camp there. I asked the ranger for directions and I was told that there is a road that goes straight where I’m going and it’s very easy to follow it. For my surprise the paved road ended after 20 minutes of riding, but I was sure that I followed the directions so I decided that I should continue and not turn back. On this trip I realized that I really don’t like to drive through the same place twice. And what a surprise! After another hour on the dirt road I had to stop because the road literally ended. It wasn’t blocked by fallen rocks or trees, which I could easily avoid, it just ended. In my head I imagined road workers that decided to take a break from cutting trees down and making the road, looked at the beautiful forest around them and just decided to quit their job. I tried to imagine another comical reason for that, because I was so angry. Clearly the road should be there, I didn’t see any signs like “Dead end” and my dump GPS showed its existence, but my eyes told me something different. I needed to go back and look for alternative road.
That’s how I spent the first part of my day, riding through random forest roads trying to find my way out of Mt Hood National forest. I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the scenery and riding off road, but it was also very irritating. Mostly because I wanted to make it to the Crater Lake till the dark and the understanding that it’s another 3.5 hours after Detroit Lake plus stops for gas/good/rest made me doubt that it’s possible.
I was very happy when I saw asphalt after long hours of riding but then I realized that I had another problem – I was very low on gas. To safe time I decided to have a lunch in some local dinner instead of cooking something. I was tired and hungry so even if the food wasn’t great, everything in my condition tasted wonderful.
Before I left I asked the waitress where is the next gas station, she said that there is nothing till Sisters. When I checked on GPS I understood that I had to ride another hour, and I started to think that I might not make it.
I almost made it.8 km from the town the bike shut down and refused to start again. It reminded me of the situation from the first day of my trip, but at least this time it was light outside. I puled the bike of the road, took the gas can and stretched my thumb up with the hope that I’ll catch the ride soon. I thought for myself – “What kind of person you need to be not to stop for a guy with a gas can in his hand and the bike on the side of the road?” But after half an hour and more then 20 cars I understood that people are not as friendly here as I thought. Finally I saw a pickup truck that stopped for my and I jumped in.
– Run out of gas?
– Yep, burned too much of it in the forest. Thank you so much for stopping!
– No problem. I’ve been in a situation like that many times. I always stop. You actually almost made it, we are very close
– Yeah, I’m not lucky today.
– How long were you waiting?
– Something like half an hour..
– Not too bad, it could be much worse. Now the area is full of Californian yuppies that came here to live in a huge house surrounded by nature and not to care about nothing else. They will never stop you or anyone else who needs help. It was better once.
– But they bring money with them to the area, no?
– A little bit by buying food and stuff. But Mexicans build their houses, also most of the maintenance is done my them. They never come to the town, so we only see them passing by.
– It’s sad that it’s have to be like that
– Yeah… But f**k them. They probably will die alone, so who cares.
After a short ride and this very interesting conversation I’ve got to the gas station and the driver said that he can take me back in 10 min after he drops something at his work. Wonderful! I started to think that my luck is coming back. But few hours later I changed my opinion.
Back on the road. I was going east from the mountain range and it was hard to believe how rapidly the view around changed – green changed to brown, snow peaked mountains remained from the right and everything was flat. I was on the highway, and usually I don’t like to ride on them, but this time I was actually glad because I could get to my destination on time.
Suddenly I realized that few track drivers flashed with their lights, so I checked if my light is not on high beam and kept riding confused. Maybe 10 minutes later I was behind another car and I realized that I don’t see the reflection of my light. I stood up and looked from the front. It was off. It’s NEVER off! That’s what drivers tried to tell me. I had to find a place to stop and find out what is the problem.
I saw a nice forest road and decided to turned there, few minutes ride and I was far from the highway and found a beautiful meadow that was perfect for camping. I guess I’ll see the Crater Lake tomorrow. To fix the light I needed to buy few things. I discovered that few electric cables simple torn apart, I could improvise something but I decided that it’s better to buy proper connections. It was a full moon night, so I enjoyed listening to coyote howls while reading the book by the fire. At least something was good about this day.
On the next morning it took me longer to fix the lights, and even a biker who stopped to check what’s up wasn’t very helpful. But eventually I had everything bad to work again and rushed to the lake. I have to say it was one of the most beautiful places that I visited so far. Climbing to the top of ancient volcano, from the hot valley to the snowed peaks, seeing everything changing colors again and suddenly see this dark blue beauty surrounded by sharp rocks. It actually was pretty cold, so after a ride around the lake I started to go down again and it was nice to warm up again.
The rest of the day wasn’t very exciting till I’ve got closer to the Pacific ocean and saw giant redwood trees. I was in California.