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September 1, 2010


Good Food, Better People and A Fantastic Lake


Independent, budget travel can create vast differences in expectations, and experiences in a short period of time.  I had just such a swing over three days in southern Oregon.  It all started around 4pm as I left Boise with a new chain and sprocket in my panniers on my way to Bend, Oregon.

Riding through Oregon on US-20 I pulled into the first gas station in 68 miles to discover they were already closed at 7pm.  Normally not an issue, but you Oregon requires an attendent to pump the gas for you.  Or at least they do for cars on the bike all they’ve done is swipe my card for me and hand me the nozzle.  Rather than push on 20 miles I probably could have made, but not definitely, I went a mile back to a rest stop.

There I heated up dinner, ran my 6′ cable lock through all my bags, laid my tarp on the ground next to the bike, and put the thermarest and sleeping bag on top.  There  I was for the night.  Only 50 feet from the highway laying on the dirt.  Earplugs took care of most of the road noise at least.

I took care of business in the morning and ended up on some really fun roads going to Bend.  A few miles of dirt forest road, but most it was freshly paved, empty, and twisty.  They didn’t bother putting up many speed suggestion signs for the turns so I was kept on my toes as they approached trying to anticipate how little I needed to slow down for each of them.

Crater LakeCrater Lake


Crater Lake


My primary goal in Bend was to find a place with wifi that would be open Sunday morning so I could do my fantasy football draft.  That project was derailed early on as I got to talking to a local who took me around to a couple of his favorite bars until it got dark.  All of a sudden I had to find a place to stay at night and didn’t know where to go in the morning.

Luckily, a National Forest was nearby taking care of the first problem and I found a laundromat listed with wifi with google maps on my iphone.  In the morning, my lack of searching earlier became apparent as I was in a ritzy vacation community trying to find the laundromat without standing out too much and getting asked to leave.  I found wifi everywhere, but no inconspicous place to get on it and have a plug.  The only outlet I found was an extension cord right in front of a grocery store.  At least they had benches and shade so I setup shop there.

An hour into this setup someone came by to ask if that was my V-Strom in the parking lot.  He has toured around on his Goldwing before and was curious about my trip.  Within 10 minutes he was drawing out directions to his house and offering a shower, laundry, food, and his sons were there who had all the fantasy football magazines and advice to offer.  Awesome!  I packed all my gear up and set off.

Across Crater Lake to Wizard IslandAcross Crater Lake to Wizard Island


Across Crater Lake to Wizard Island


I ended up getting all that, plus dinner, and slept in a bed for the first time since Gallup New Mexico!  They had four generations staying there for the week and adding one more person didn’t seem to be a big deal to any of them.  By the next morning I was already turning into Tom’s favorite new son so I had to get out before any sibling rivalries started.

Despite the generous hospitality I was anxious to get out and go see Crater Lake.  The pictures of it are always gorgeous and everyone said don’t give you the scale of how big it is at 6 miles across.  I found out a few hours later for myself and it lived up to its billing.  The blue of the water was even darker than that of the clear sky and absolutely pristine.  The lake is over 1,000 deep on average and almost 2,000 feet at its deepest point.

Crater Lake from Mt ScottCrater Lake from Mt Scott


Crater Lake from Mt Scott


I drove the entire rim road stopping frequently to check the views from all the angles.  I also took the 2.5 mile hike up Mount Scott to the highest point in the park.  My main motivation was to see the view of the surrounding forests expecting the crater rim to block much of the lake.  That wasn’t the case though and the view of the lake was fantastic from there as well.  Its a park well worth visiting and easily seen in a day even with travel.

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12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mama Setz
    Sep 1 2010

    I think we’re going to have to check out Crater Lake for ourselves sometime. The pictures are gorgeous – can’t believe the shades of blue!

  2. Sep 2 2010

    I have Crater Lake in my wish list. So much to see…so much to do…so little time to do it! Good reading, Thanks.

    • Sep 8 2010

      I know the feeling. The more places I go, the more I find out about and add to the list.

  3. Marsh
    Sep 2 2010

    Was it SunRiver where you were trying to find a laundromat? I could see it being difficult there. Also, you are always the favorite child so I’m not surprised you were Tom’s favorite too!

    • Sep 8 2010

      Yup, that’s where it was. I guess being the favorite comes natural for me.

      • Greg
        Sep 8 2010

        Really? Let’s be honest we all know Marsh was the favorite child!

  4. Mama Setz
    Sep 9 2010

    No comment to all of you.

  5. Sep 13 2010

    Man, those pictures are amazing. I’ve never been to Oregon, but after seeing this I realize it’s somewhere I need to check out.


    • Sep 14 2010

      It’s a gorgeous state and so much variety; mountains, coast, and high desert. The summer weather is fantastic as well. Thanks for coming by!

  6. V.
    Sep 16 2010

    One of the most bful places I saw in the US until now. I can just keep looking at that lake for days. I want to go back!

    • Sep 16 2010

      It is gorgeous. There is still plenty more for you to see though, no need to double back just yet.


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