Have I mentioned I’m not really having much fun? Dead ends, bad tracks, crap way points, closed gas stations, spats of bad weather and less than affordable accommodations. This is only day 4? Yeah, yeah…I know that’s what makes it an adventure.
I woke up at 6:30 am. I heard the rain most of night and was just dreading the miles ahead of me. I opened up my laptop and started to search for places to stay early. I found an RV Park 10 miles outside of Lakeview that offered tent camping for $20. That’s the plan. No more panicking at 4 pm. The forecast for the evening was supposed to be 37 degrees for that area and no rain. All better than the night before. I looked at the route again, familiarized myself and told myself we would be on the trail by 9.
Then 9:45 rolled around as I was getting my stuff finally all reinstalled on the bike and I headed out by 10. The first track of the day was sand. Great…sand. Now I knew there was going to be sand on this trip, I’m riding through Nevada. I just didn’t expect it on day 4 in Oregon. I was slow at first; I hadn’t ridden sand in maybe 5 years and it was minimal at best.
After about 15 miles though I was picking up speed. I was back up to the pace I was riding the gravel roads at. Even better though I was actually having fun. After about 26 miles I stopped on a gravel road and did an equipment check. The sand ride was bumpy and a few of the whoops caught me off guard and went over them fast that I’d wanted to. I actually bottomed out the rear shock over the last of them.
I noticed when I went over the bike that the panniers were loose. I tightened them and noticed that one of my clips was busted, so I tied it up and took off down the gravel road.
This leg of the track was 66 miles down to Silver Lake and there was a spilt at about the 24 mile mark between the standard route and the scenic route. I rode the first 24 miles; made great time and decided I wanted to continue that so I jumped on the scenic route and pushed forward the whole way down to Silver Lake.
The trail dumped me out onto route 31 and there was a quick 5 mile run into Silver Lake. Where again the gas station was closed. I looked at my fuel situation and I’d only used about 1/4 tank getting down there. I figured I could make it to Lakeview on it so I hopped on the trail and headed toward Lakeview.
It was a desert trail and it was awesome. I clocked another 42 miles; smiling ear to ear. I was just flowing through the sand. I came up to an intersection and checked my GPS to see where to go. Interesting… I had a pink, green and RED line… Red was the color of my current track…
Then it hit me. I made a wrong turn in Silver Lake. Instead of taking the track to Lakeview I took the standard track I’d skipped earlier in lieu of the scenic route BACK up the mountain to where they intersected! At that point I snapped; complete mental break. I was pissed, I was swearing. It had just completely ruined the whole day. There’s nothing in Silver Lake so I either had to go back to Crescent where I’d have to camp in the cold or hit the road again toward Lakeview.
I peeled out back down the scenic route toward Silver Lake. I was still fuming which meant I was flying. I wasn’t going back to Crescent and freezing at camp or getting ripped off at the motel again. I was going to Lakeview hell or high water. The sign I saw on the road when I was there the first time said 95 miles to Lakeview. I was again skipping the TransAmerica TRAIL in lieu of just riding the street.
I started to calm down a bit. Mainly because I realized I wouldn’t be getting to Lakeview if I wrecked on this stretch or broke the bike. I got back down to the road and hoped off the bike the open the final gate when I accidentally kicked the top box while swinging my leg over to get off and knocked the bike over. The Doctor and I both hit the ground. I reached over, flipped the key off to shut her down and just laid there. I wasn’t hurt, I was just at rock bottom. Days of various crap happening all coming to head after I’d just ruined the best day I’d had yet by going the wrong damn way.
For those of you keeping score at home: The split between the routes was 24 miles into the leg; which in total was 66 miles long. I took the scenic route so I did 32 miles down to route 31 and then 42 miles back up using the main route to where the routes split. Then 32 more miles back down the scenic route to RT. 31 again. It effectively took me 106 miles to go the remaining distance from where the tracks split to Silver Lake. All at about 30 mph or a tidy 3.5 hours…
I jumped on Rt 31 and headed back toward Silver Lake. It’s late at this point, about 3:30. I wasn’t going to jump on the right trail this late; plus the gas station in Silver Lake was still closed anyway and this time I really did need fuel. The sand was deeper on the standard route back up so I used much more fuel. Rt. 31 passed a couple towns and one of those was sure to have fuel. I pushed on down Rt. 31 all 95 miles to Silver Lake and the 10 more to the campground.
Oregon Route 31 is amazing. It completely turned my whole mentality around. The views were awesome, the air was warm and there were no cars in sight. It was perfect. I’d recommend it if you ever find yourself this way. It is considered an Oregon Scenic Byway for a reason; it was spectacular:
I’d picked an RV Park/Campground to stay at earlier that morning. I figured Junipers Reservoir RV Park seemed like a good choice; it was 10 miles past Lakeview. I pulled in and the place was packed. I knew it would be difficult to get a camp spot regardless since it was the Sunday before Labor Day.
I asked the lady running the place if she had any spots. She told me she wasn’t sure; there was a Moose Lodge event and a class reunion going on this weekend but she’d ask her husband. About 10 minutes later her husband came walking over looking a bit distressed. He told me he wasn’t sure if there was room and when he saw me come up the drive he was praying I wasn’t looking for a spot. I told him it looked like they had plenty of room for a tent; since the field the tents were in was basically empty. I was told the issue wasn’t so much spaces for tents as it was parking. I told him if he’d allow it I’d just park next to the tent. He perked up and said “Yeah, that’d be perfect!” I’m not even sure why you would assume I’d want to park further away. Literally everything I own is on this bike…
I set up camp and the guy in charge came over an offered me an additional sleeping bag since the temperatures were supposed to dip into the 30’s. I accepted. When he came back with the bag he informed me that the Moose Lodge had invited me to come join in the BBQ. I thanked him and said I may.
About 15 minutes later two ladies from the Moose Lodge walked up with giant plate of food saying they couldn’t just let me starve. I thanked them and decided I may as well walk over and eat in the lodge; it’d be rude to just take the food.
Everyone asked where I was from and where I was headed. I explained as I’d done numerous times this trip then I proceeded to play Scattergories with them for an hour and half and went to bed.