Days 2-3 of Bike Touring Southern Oregon or, Episode 2: The Podunk Towns Strike Back
The second day of riding brought us from Klamath Falls to Bly, Oregon, a ride total of 52 miles with 2,000 feet of elevation gain. This was probably our easiest ride of the tour. We dealt with some nasty construction on one pass, and had a horrible experience with a hay truck that buzzed us while blaring his horn, even though it was a long straight stretch with no one coming as far as the eye could see – some people – but otherwise the ride was very mild with what felt like a helpful tailwind most of the way. The section of construction we encountered was actually kind of fun because we got ourselves to the back of the line on the way down the hill where the construction was, and then just got to coast our way down the entire pass completely unmolested by speeding cars. It was great. The surprise for both of us came when we got to Beatty, a town which we assumed had a diner. The only shop not boarded up was a small convenience store, where we picked up some needed supplies, filled up some water, and then headed out, resigned to cooking our own meal in the evening.
Another surprise came after finding what looked like an absolutely gorgeous campsite, complete with a creek view, Aspen tree shade, and even an outhouse. What a luxury! The surprise was that after we had set up camp and begun cooking a large meal of couscous, dried vegetable soup, and a thai noodle packet, a man on a four-wheeler drove over from a house across the road and asked what we were doing. We told him we were camping and then heading to Silver Lake in the morning and he made a noise that sounded kind of like, “Uh-oh…”, and then informed us that this was his land and that he only allowed people to use it during the day. After we apologized and put on our nicest, most disarming faces, which were meant to convey a sense of helplessness and naivety, he acquiesced and said we could stay on his property as long as we picked up all our trash when we left. Relieved, we thanked him profusely.
He warmed up a bit to us after that, and very paternally added to the conversation that we should be careful of them ‘drunk Indians’ that frequent his land sometimes late at night. Although Trish and I may have unintentionally winced at his political incorrectness, we thanked him for the warning and after some additional pleasantries, he drove off. We spent the rest of the evening discussing our luck, enjoying a cheap bottle of wine we bought at the Beatty convenience store, and walking around the private land we had unwittingly trespassed on.
We woke in the morning to some chilly weather in the low 40s, and Trish could hardly wrangle herself out of the comforts of her warm sleeping bag. The plan for the day was to ride to Bly, fill up on water and some supplies, and then bike to Silver Lake. The ride ended up being 78 miles and 4,340 feet of elevation gain.
After resupplying in Bly, we started a slow, 38 mile ascent which contained only two sections of 5% grade and two sections of 6% grade. Otherwise, it was pretty mild climbing. We enjoyed some beautiful deserted forest roads on which we saw almost no traffic, and after finishing off our uphill climb with a 2 ½ mile section of gravel, we got to enjoy some moderate downhill, always a nice reward after working hard most of the day.
The ride ended up being what both Trish and I would consider to be the most enjoyable riding of the trip. However, once we arrived in Silver Lake, all we wanted was to set up camp and buy a greasy burger, neither of which was in the cards for the night. Silver Lake had no campsites, and while we probably could have asked around and found a yard to sleep in for the night, we learned shortly afterwards that Silver Lake didn’t even have a diner for eating. The only businesses in town were a convenience store and a motel. We decided to cut our losses and stay in the motel for the night. Although some of our campsites throughout the course of the trip ended up feeling cleaner than the motel did, it was nice for both of us to relax and get a much-needed shower after a couple days on the road. Overall, it ended up being a well-earned reward for what was, up to this point, our longest day in the saddle.
Categories: Pedals and Packs