Southern Cascades Tour

July 1999

Annie Creek Overlook climbing towards Crater Lake.

This week long tour in July 1999 was near Klamath Falls, Oregon our home. Last winter I built power assist units for our bikes based on a Honda 22cc four stroke string trimmer. This was one of two shorter trips close to home to work the bugs out.

We started in Klamath Falls and rode to Keno some 10 miles east on Hwy. 66. This is part of our local rides and quite flat. Some traffic but OK shoulders. Ate lunch in Keno, I had corndogs. We then headed north to Lake of the Woods taking Clover Creek Rd which is a county road. It's paved with virtually no traffic, a nice route for touring. It rolls up and down for 10 miles or so then starts climbing to Lake of the Woods. A wonderful day topping out around 85 degrees. Great riding through forest lands. No services between Keno and Lake of the Woods so bring lottsa water and feed.

The motors were wonderful. We used them only some 10% of the time but that's on the worst hills. Just at the end of the day the timing belt on mine broke and of course I had no spare. I was forced kicking and screaming back to pure bike touring. Denise's is still working, we'll see how it does the rest of the trip.

We camped at a National Forest camp at Lake of the Woods. This was Friday night and the camp was very busy. We arrived fairly early and got one of the last sites. Nice campground if it weren't for all the people.

From Lake of the Woods we traveled to Rocky Point, 7 miles on Hwy. 140. A little chilly in the AM and we got on the road around 10:30. A great down hill and tailwind along this section. There was a yearly BBQ at Rocky Point so we had to stop for lunch. Saw several people we know and had a good time. We followed the West Side Road along Agency Lake and bird refuge to Fort Klamath. Again a great ride with good roads with virtually no traffic. A hot day but not too hot. Bought food and chowed down on French fries in Fort Klamath. We left town on Hwy. 62 towards Crater Lake. On the way to camp we met four cyclists we know. Pam & Mike were jealous because we were touring and they weren't. We were jealous because Linda and John were planning another tour of New Zealand. But for this day we were all biking. We made it the Crater Lake RV Park around 5:30. Not crowded for a Saturday. Good showers.

Another nice day as we left towards Crater Lake on Sunday, which was also Denise's birthday. We got all packed up and I found I had a flat tire. So, unload, fix flat, load up again. A cool start but it quickly warmed up. Some 12 miles of climbing to the Crater Lake junction and the top. We didn't go into Crater Lake, we've seen it and it's quite a climb. Wish my motor was working here. The ride down to Union Creek, 12 miles, was wonderful. As nice a run I've ever had touring. Temperature was just right, clear skies, sometimes sunny sometimes speckled shade from trees. Good road and few cars. 12 miles coasting at 25 mph, as section to remember. No services from Fort Klamath to Union Creek.

We camped at Union Creek. Went to the lodge for dinner after cleaning up in the VERY cold Rouge River.

Another slow start Monday after cinnamon rolls and filling our camel backs with ice water. We continued the wonderful down hill run to Prospect. Some 12 miles coasting at 12-15 mph. After getting food in Prospect we found National Forest Road 37. This is a great paved single lane road headed, in a round about way, toward Butte Falls. There is a more direct route to Butte Falls but this NF road was nicer with really no traffic. It was quite a climb and at the top 2 1/2 miles of gravel. A beautiful day to be out. We made it to South Rouge CG at 5:30. We were the only people there, a welcome surprise in July.

Tuesday we got going 8:30, an earlier start. Rolling hills but mostly down to Prospect-Butte Falls Rd and into Butte Falls. Again no services between Union Creek and Butte Falls. We ate a late breakfast/lunch and then headed east towards Willow Lake. Denise filled her gas tank for 9 cents. We were going to stay at Whiskey Spring CG but it was marshy and there were no good sites. We went 1 mile further up a dirt load to Fourbit Ford CG. A much nicer camp and as it turned out we were again the only people there. We were to camp by 2:00 so we had a relaxing afternoon reading and resting. We got cleaned up in the river/creek which was just as cold as the Rouge. Lottsa dark clouds, lightning and thunder. It did sprinkle a little at night, as it did the night before, but not enough to be considered rain. All in all still great weather for touring.

Past the Fourbit Ford the road goes up to Hwy. 140, probably 6-7% for 7-8 miles. This is what the motors are for and Denise's worked great. They put new chip seal over this section so the surface isn't ideal but the traffic is light and the road is wide. We stopped at Fish Lake for lunch and ate way too much, including apple pie. There is a mountain bike path from Fish Lake to Lake of the Woods paralleling Hwy. 140. We tried this for about a mile but it was too hilly and too loose a surface for loaded recumbents. We stayed in the Sunset CG at Lake of the Woods. We picked up a couple of Fosters from the Lake of the Woods Resort which finished off the day. Hwy. 140 has some traffic but good shoulders.

We retraced our tracks from Lake of the Woods, through Keno, to Klamath Falls Thursday. A little hot but still nice weather for touring.

All in all a good tour but quite hilly. Besides the hills this is a great route for a short tour, great scenery and wonderful roads. We toured 234 miles in 7 days for an average of 33 miles/day. Not a blistering pace but we had fun.

Denise's power assist worked very well. As I stated, mine broke the first day out. However, watching Denise pull away while struggling up some of those hills only convinces me they're a good addition.