Day 3, September 12, 2000, Bend to Crescent: Cycle Oregon!
The Hampton Inn at 0630 - filled with club pros in town for the Oregon State Pro-Am golf tournament. Impeccably dressed men in Polo shirts mingling with tousled glumpfs tanned to their eyebrows (from playing all day in golf caps?). One duffer at my table for the continental breakfast kept complaining about how none of the courses were "hard" anymore, how they all played so soft. Meaning the groundskeepers were more into the lush green look, and so kept the water on all day here in the high desert. This should have been a warning to me, but I paid no heed.
Cheryl and I doffed our Poison Spider shirts, and set out on the 22 mile, 2800' journey to Mt. Bachelor on the tandem. Riding with Leigh (Craig sagged today), we quickly shed the sleeves, leggings, headbands, and other nonsense we'd thought we needed taking off from the shade of the Inn parking lot. On went the 15 spf, and down went the water. Thank God for Camelbacks. Among seven riders, we went through a five gallon jug of water today, along with Cokes, V-8 juice, and untold gallons of sweat. Only 82 F, but at 6000' with 10% humidity, under a cloudless sky, puffing up endless hills, we barely staved off the dreaded dehydration bonk.
For the last hour of the uphill, and the first hour on the other side, we were entertained by the 2000 riders of Cycle Oregon going by in the opposite direction. At the start, one lone rider in full on aero tuck, with a green back pack. Not obvious he was the pace rider, but at 10 AM, they were nearing the end of a 60+ mile journey from La Pine, including a mean climb up to Bachelor, and now on a downhill slam from 6400' to 3700' in 12 miles to the night's digs at Inn of the Seventh Mountain, where at least 50 miles of safety orange mesh fencing awaited to cordon them off onto their grassy campground, well way from the paying guests. Next, 3 young guys, jockeying for position to be (they thought) number one, but actually vying for the Avis award. Within the first 15, one woman, and one tandem (also with a woman). And then ... the hoards. For over an hour, the road across from us offered a steady stream of the full breadth of the cycling community. Racers and tourers, men and women, young and old, tandems and recumbents, lean and plump, logo'ed lycra and cotton T's - they were all here, each one convinced we were "going the wrong way". The feeling I got was - what a pleasant addition to the scenery! Here among all the mountains and lakes and Ponderosa pine, whooshing downhill at 33 mph on our tandem, watching them all labor up from lunch at Elk Lake to the next rest stop at Bachelor, here were all these cycling buddies. It made the day in the wilderness quite homey. By the time the last (quite plump) guy on his recumbent tootled by with a wave and a honk, I began to miss them.
Nothing but the upper reaches of the Deschutes river to see, here in this high (5000') pine covered desert amongst the central Oregon volcanoes. Now riding with Leigh and Craig tucked in behind us (a headwind most of the day made that mandatory for singles), we spent hours going from lake to lake, seeing mostly trees, interspersed by occasional remnants from the volcanic past. Once, we passed a mile long fifty foot high pile of rubble, which looked to Leigh just like detritus from a rock quarry. Craig and I assured her that, no this was not man-made, but rather blown out of the earth in some pre-historic belch from below. Just at the end of the basalt jungle, we came across - a gravel operation, turning these shards of the earth's innards into the makings of concrete for the insatiable builders of Bend and Portland.
Farther down the Deschutes, we began to run out of gas, and rolled into Crescent on fumes. Since Craig was bringing up the rear, this kept us going at a lively 21 mph clip. We hit the Woodsman Country Inn about 5:30, and saw this guy: His buddy, next door at the Gun shop, was doing something very strange and un-natural with a fish.
The crew was exhausted, but generally pleased with themselves, and took full advantage of the Woodsman's deck for chips, salsa, beer and wine. Dinner was next door in the Mohawk Cafe. Years earlier, when the highway had been widened, the Cafe was moved back aways. Since the Grange was right behind, and was only being used as a museum, they decided to amalgamate. Now the main dining room IS the Grange/museum, making for a lot of very confused dinner conversation. For surrounding us, on all four walls, were the most complete collection of commemorative whiskey bottles to be found anywhere. Name the event, person, or place, and the whiskey industry has evidently (and often quite recently) commemorated it with an odd shaped, hand-painted ceramic bottle. And they're all here. But that's not all; to top it off (literally), a taxidermy heaven is right above all the bottles. All manner of woodland creatures, many somewhat smaller than real life reside permanently on the Mohawk's top shelf, along with oddities such as a two-headed calf and a jack-a-lope. My favorite was the armadillo, not really a denizen of the local woods. And soaring above it all, flocks of geese, ducks, hawks, and other feathered flyers, none of which had been dusted since the Eisenhower administration. It all went well with the gravy and a-la-mode covered meal we eat there.
Miles: 83; Elevation gain: 3350'; 82 F, clear, dry