Waking up in McCloud one more time was absolutely amazing. The view of Mt. Shasta from Miles’ family cabin is head-on and the creek running behind the house was the perfect place for a morning read. After a slow morning and some breakfast, our friends bid us farewell on our final day in California!
After about 5 miles, I got a flat tire from a piece of metal on the shoulder of the road :( The only other tube I had was one that I had already patched, but it turned out the patched hole wasn’t perfectly covered and it was leaking. At the same time, our one pump mysteriously broke, along with two tire levers... twas a brutal morning. Luckily Zach had an extra tube that fit my bike and we managed to get it running again. We got back on the road and found ourselves in the cute little town of Mt. Shasta. We picked up a few things from a bike shop (new tubes!) and were sipping on some coffee when we saw our friends Robin and Abby crossing the street towards us! After catching up and filling our water bottles, we were finally ready for a big push into Oregon. The ride that day was pretty uneventful and none of us were looking forward to having to ride on I-5 for a few miles to get into Oregon. It was difficult to find water all day, but we managed to find some (and some ice cold Gatorade) and a store off of the highway just before leaving California.
After hydrating, we started the final climb to the state border on I-5 (which was sketchy and extremely windy), and took this until we took an exit onto Old Highway 99 leading into Ashland! After a brief interaction with an angry land owner, we ended up camping right near where the PCT crossed 99 (which went well minus being woken up by a mysterious bear-deer that was rummaging around near our food)
After getting out of our campsite early, we made the descent into Ashland. The road was one of the most enjoyable sections of the trip - smooth pavement, winding turns, and the beautiful trees made it feel like a rollercoaster of a ride! Dylan and I stopped at one point along the way to feast on the infinite amount of blackberries along the side of the road. We also filled up some bags and brought a TON more with us! Once in Ashland, we stopped at a super cute coffee shop for some caffeination and croissants. The town itself was one of my favorites of the whole trip. The buildings were all very old fashioned and the town was full of cute coffee shops, colorful houses with beautiful gardens, and so many friendly people! We then stopped by a bike shop to get something checked out with Dylan’s brakes and popped into the local food co-op to grab some fruit.
Upon leaving town, we started the huge climb up Dead Indian Memorial Highway (in need of a name change?) in the heat of the day, which may not have been the best move. The climb was long and slow but the downhill was well worth it. We eventually made it to some beautiful meadows and crossed over the Rogue River where we found what was quite possibly the world’s largest spigot to refill on water.
The rest of the day was fairly relaxed and we ended up camping in some weird logging land near a town called Butte Falls. After being pestered by some curious cows, we made some classic ramen and peanut butter for dinner and hit the hay.
“Moooooooo Mooo Mooooo” was all we hear through the night and we found ourselves awake bright and early. Camp was packed up quickly and we started the chilly ride into the town of Prospect where we refilled on water and grabbed some coffee to fuel the big day - the climb up to Crater Lake National Park! The road started of at a reasonable steepness and became more and more beautiful as we went along. The smell of the blanket of pine needles along the road was one of the most amazing things to ever hit my nostrils. It brought me back to home in the Midwest and the smell of the Christmas tree and the candles my mom would burn all winter long. The climb was quite long but never too steep, and we eventually found ourselves at the entrance to the park. We stopped at the village store and loaded up on food for the next few days (as well as some ice cream for lunch) and then continued up the last bit of the climb to where we got our first view of the lake and HOLY MOLY IS IT BEAUTIFUL!
The lake is SO blue and SO huge and we were so excited to finally be up there after such a big climb. We started riding around the west side of the lake and stopping at all of the major viewpoints, and each one provided an equally shocking view of the lake.
After we cruised around, we began the super fast and super long descent down to diamond lake! We made it down to the lake and checked the campground the see if they had any spots and to fill up on water. The campground house told us that there was actually a free hiker/biker campground just down the lakeshore and we headed that way. It turned out to be one of the more perfect campsites of the entire trip - right on the edge of a scenic (and perfect temperature) lake. We made it there just in time for a swim before dinner and a super colorful sunset. Although the mosquitos were pretty blood-thirsty, the day was one of the most beautiful of the trip and the free lakefront camping was the icing on the cake!