Oregon Tour 1997
Part 2 – July 5-8, 1997
As we turned inland, it was a sad farewell to the sun, sand and surf of the coast. But, to our delight, we soon discovered that this diverse state had much more in store for us.
Day 9: Saturday, July 5
This day was our longest one – marked by an incredible lunch stop at Smith River, a scenic spot with polished rock plateaus and small waterfalls. Thus began the waterways portion of the trip. Whether just wading or full submersion, the crew began to “get their feet wet”, so to speak.
Cooling off at lunch was timely, for we had a long, slow climb along a quiet, treed backroad – no traffic, very peaceful. And of course, a nice long descent. At the bottom, we all admired Dave’s “pretzel” customization of his rear wheel, a product of his arduous climb. Oh well, banished again to the driver’s seat, in quest of the “holy rim” for the rest of the trip. The support van was getting crowded!
We joined the main road again, and followed it in to Elkton RV Park, set up camp, and took another “fluid frolic”, this time in the Umpqua River, which we would parallel over the next few days.
The night ended with a massage demo on Ellen’s accommodating legs, an attempt to pass on the techniques and abdicate myself from the role of “muscle relaxant”. Luckily, Ernie was eager to take over and had “the touch”. Hurray!
Day 10: Sunday, July 6
We saw our first covered bridge, built in the 1930’s. This reminder of earlier times got us in the mood for our first sightseeing spot, Oakland. The main street was lined with old fashioned store fronts, and some great shops to snoop in – antique shops, craft shops, ice cream – and best of all, a candy/soda fountain, with rows of jars of penny candy. Unfortunately the “penny” was not representative of the price, as Fabian discovered!
After lunch in the park, we were back on our bikes for a very dry, grassy, rolly incline, reminiscent of Kamloops terrain. No trees, very sweaty – where was that river when we needed it? We found it when we glided into Glide for a break and viewed the Colliding Rivers, where the North Umpqua and Little River meet head-on. Things were starting to look quite mountain parkish as we reached Susan Creek, our destination for the night. Even the water was getting colder (thus the swims were shorter). All this justified the climb, and prepped us for the next day…
Day 11: Monday, July 7
Climbing from the word go, this was indeed our greatest elevation gain for the trip. That work was worth it becomes evident at our lunch stop. A short hike into the forest revealed a beautiful double waterfall, inspiring many a Kodak moment. Equally as memorable was the group shot sitting on an enormous fallen tree across the stream, which demonstrated just how conducive spandex is to splinters (I’m still picking them out of my shorts).
The afternoon got a little grumbly with a 3500 ft climb that was 20 km longer than expected, culminating in Carol declaring this the “Who Needs This &@*% Tour ’97”. But any tension was soon relieved as we drifted into Broken Arrow campground at Diamond Lake. It was a leisurely night, and we actually got dinner taken care of early enough to enjoy a campfire and make rice-crispy squares.
Day 12: Tuesday, July 8
A well deserved day off was spent exploring Crater Lake, the deepest lake in North America. We all piled into the van to motor-tour (no one wanted to cycle it? – I’m shocked!).
We started the morning by hiking down to the shore and taking a boat tour of the crater, and learned lots about the history, formation and legend of the lake. We spent two hours viewing Wizard Lake, the Phantom Ship and Pumice Castle, and then the afternoon was ours.
We split into groups and went off in different pursuits – souvenir shopping, relaxing in the lodge, viewing the interpretive centre. The wildflower hike turned out to be a misnomer (too early for this particular mountain flora), but you just can’t complain while strolling through a meadow!
We again congregated for our “day-off-dinner-out”, which was quickly becoming an Oregon ’97 tradition. Scrawled calculations on paper napkins (look Mom, no calculator) revealed we had ordered enough pizza to feed Cambodia. Needless to say, the mountain of take-out containers we carried out produced some stares.
A snow storm(!) hit as we left for camp (great maneuvering, Neil), just to remind us how fortunate we had been, weather-wise, to this point. (Note: foreshadowing).
So ends the mountain leg of our journey. On to the Willamette Valley, and more adventure to come, in Part III of the tour to follow next month.