Diamond Lake to Mazama CG
Day 5 - Over the Rim.
Today I had a riding buddy. Lorri rode with me while Charlie drove the car, took care of the dogs, and got our campsite. We wandered around the Diamond Lake campgrounds a bit trying to find a bike path but soon got back on track. It was a few miles on highway 140 heading east before we got to the park entrance. All up hill of course. There was a long line of cars at the entrance, which at first was not moving. When we finally got there I just flashed my old-folks-get-in-free card (a.k.a. senior pass) and the ranger just waved us on. Free is good! There was a lot of traffic, more than I expected. It was a plesant climb, gentle at first but increasingly steep as we neared the rim. We stopped at a nice viewpoint on what they call the Pumice Desert as nothing much wants to grow on the volcanic debris there.
We finally got to the rim and stopped to celebrate. I was just shy of 200 miles from home. I have no idea what the cumulative vertical was but Corvallis is at about 250' and we were now over 7,000'. That's a lot of climbing! The weather was still great and it was warm and sunny on the rim. I had my bike leaning on it's kickstand and Lorri was sitting a bit too close to it when a big gust of wind came along and knocked it over, bashing her arm in the process. Fortunately it did not impede her riding. Even though we had ridden less than 20 miles at this point I think Lorri was impressed to have climbed to such an incredible place.
It was now time to navigate the construction we had heard about. The first part was new pavement! The pilot car took all the cars ahead and we pretty much had the road to ourselves. It was all up hill on this stretch. We got to the end of the new pavement and stopped at a viewpoint. We then had a mile or so of unpaved surface. It was not so much gravel as hard packed dirt and rocks. Not at all a problem for our bikes, which both had wide tires. I wondered how it would be for the skinny tire riders the next day.
We were soon at the tourist area on the west side and stopped at the restaurant for a snack. Then it was the really fast 3 mile downhill, followed by 4 more miles of mostly fast down hill, and then the campground.
We were hanging out at the store/bathrooms/showers at the entrance to the Mazama campground when we met Jessica. She was riding a gravel bike with very minimalist bikepacking setup. She had a front roll, a small frame bag, and a Revelate seat bag. She had come 300 mile from Truckee taking forest roads around Mt. Shasta, solo. Certainly more impressive than my 200 mile ride, but I have no problem being outdone by a much younger woman. We made friends with Jessica and she joined us for diner at the lodge. This was an introduction to bike touring trip for Lorri so I was really glad for her to be exposed to a solo woman bikepacker.