Crater Lake, the real test

We were able to eek out a very short vacation this year – just over a week. With so little time, we wanted to go far enough away to be in completely new territory, but close enough to be within a single day’s drive.  We wanted to test our mettle and see if the reality of bicycle touring lived up to our ideals. An overnight trip is one thing, but day after day is another.

Would we actually enjoy it? Would we quickly grow tired of bicycling if it was no longer optional? Could we stand going several days on end without a shower? Would Julie go crazy living out of the tent for more than a night or two? Would Mark be able to get a handle on the navigation? Would we have any catastrophic gear failures? Could we stand being at the mercy of the elements?

We decided that Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon would be our destination. We have friends in nearby Ashland, Oregon, and they kindly offered up their house as our launch point. It was perfect timing to participate in Ride the Rim, an annual event where motorized vehicles are prohibited on the main road encircling the rim of Crater Lake so that cyclists can ride the narrow two-lane scenic route around the crater and enjoy the spectacular views without worrying about inexperienced RV drivers inadvertently running them off the road.

And so, on September 16, 2015, we drove the 300 miles from Sacramento, CA to Ashland, OR. Up until just a few days prior to departure, we thought we might have to change our plans on the fly.  Crater Lake National Park and much of the surrounding forestland was ablaze.  This photo was published in the local Herald and News on 8/23/15.
Northern entrance to Crater Lake National Park on fire.

Luckily for us, recent rains helped fire fighters get the fires under control, wash the smoke out of the air, and re-open the park. The rains didn’t extend south to sweltering Sacramento, so although we didn’t necessarily want rain, we were looking forward to the higher altitude and cooler temperatures.


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