Waking up on Day 2, we were sore and tired, but we also knew we had a long day of climbing ahead of us. Hwy 58 loomed large and in charge. Our B & B hosts made us an awesome breakfast, we packed our bikes and away we toodled off up the mountain.
The first 15 miles were nice and easy, and all was well. Then the day started heating up and the slopes became unceasing. We took lots of breaks, trying to find a few moments of shade while we drank water. Lots of water. The whole reality of how to stay nourished and hydrated, while still expecting hours of exertion out of your body, without the convenience of a store anywhere around, was new to us. We had packed well, however, and had our stockpile of food and water bottles. I learned the hard way that I had to eat every hour or so, even when I didn’t feel any hunger pangs. ‘Hitting the Wall’ with 1000 feet of elevation still to climb is not a fun feeling.
Even though Hwy 58 is a heavily trafficked stretch, and the road was constantly in the upright position, we found beauty in where we were. The views become quite amazing towards the top. Ironically, the area we were most worried about that day was when we had to go through the tunnel near Salt Springs, and it ended up being a piece of cake. The tunnel was under construction and so traffic had to take turns, one lane at a time, under the guidance of a pace car to get through. We had to go last because we were bikes, but basically we had the whole tunnel to ourselves and all the construction workers waved and smiled and several asked us where we were from and where we were going as we pedalled past. Go figure!
Reaching the summit was such a great feeling of accomplishment! And the next several miles were a sweet little coast past long Odell Lake. I don’t think I ever really appreciated just how long that lake is before. Riding by it on a bike gives you a different perspective. It seemed to go on forever! We stopped to get some more food and drinks at the little store in Crescent, and to figure out our game plan for the evening. It was getting to be 5:30, and we were still about 25 or 30 miles from our goal for the day. We had originally planned on camping at Crane Prairie Reservoir, but it was clear we were not going to make it that far. We looked at the store for a good map showing other camping possibilites, and settled on shooting for Davis Lake, which we had never visited before. Once we were rested and restocked, we pedalled on, taking the Cascade Lakes Highway towards our hoped-for happy ending for the day.
Sure enough, we found our turn-off, a long stretch of loose gravel which would have been easy if we had been a pickup truck, but made the last mile of travel very slow on our fully loaded bikes. We found a perfect camping spot, right on the bank of the lake just as the sun was lowering itself in the sky. Two other cyclists also rolled in, introduced themselves and found a site. Joe and I quickly set up camp and changed to go swimming. That water was so refreshing and sweet, sweet, sweet! What a great reward at the end of an arduous day. We couldn’t stop grinning and were amazed at how gorgeous the area was, how quiet the tiny campground was, how stunning the sunset was, and how our day had ended on such an unexpectedly serene note. Goodnight trees. Goodnight lake. Goodnight moon.
Day 1: McKenzie Bridge to Oakridge OR (65 miles, 4190 ft climbing)
Day 2: Oakridge to Davis Lake OR (49 miles, 4,960 ft climbing)
Day 3: Davis Lake to Bend OR (62 miles, 2,700 ft climbing)
Day 4: Bend to Sisters OR (29 miles, 950 ft climbing)
Day 5: Sisters to McKenzie Bridge OR (45 miles, 2,500 ft climbing)
Read our final thoughts on the Cascade Classic cycling tour.