Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

Wednesday, August 12   Day 11   Bend to Diamond Lake, OR  127 miles, 6300' of climbing

For the third day in a row, we rode on an Oregon Scenic Byway, but this one wasn't as densely forested and "back roads". As you can see in this photo taken at Mile 18, it was more an open highway near Mt Bachelor. We rode around Mt Bachelor on its north side and then circled south past several lakes.
Actually, it was more densely forested here, after about 10 miles as we started a long climb. Such a nice, wide shoulder for bikes.
After passing Mt Bachelor, ahead was South Sister. I'd seen North and Middle Sisters yesterday, and now there was the third Sister, which we passed below to its south.
They got a shot of me riding the way I had to ALL THE TIME on this tour - standing up to give my saddle sore a break.
One of many Cascade lakes on the way south was Devil's Lake.
This was my attempt to be artistic, but it didn't work. As I was riding along, Lower Sister filled my rear-view mirror, much as the Grand Tetons had filled my rear-view mirror on my final day of Tour 1 and Mt Adams had filled it on the ride to Mt Hood. I finally decided to illustrate this with a photo, but I couldn't capture it. All I got was a small piece of the mountain.

I actually was trying to minimize my stops, and I even skipped the rest stop at Mile 42, because I was trying to meet Jeff at Lake Cultus at 10:00. The evening before, Jeff said he wanted to do a ride out to the Byway we would be on, and we chose 10 am to meet and ride together for about 9 miles. I was running behind, so I hurried to get there and ended up just 6 minutes late (but he was 15 minutes early, so he did have to sit there a while and told some of our group who passed by that he was waiting for me).
I forgot to take a photo of Jeff, so I pulled this from my pictures during the Skyline Drive ride back on July 5. We had a good time yakking for our 9 miles together, and then he had to turn left and head back to his home to complete his 65-mile ride. I continued on to our lunch stop at Mile 70.
 Enjoying some energy intake with Ron and George.
We then rode 14 miles southeast toward Hwy 97. Along the way, I passed two lakes that were obviously affected by the drought. You can see how low this one is.
And this photo shows another low lake, surrounded by the remains of a major fire. All the mountains on both sides of the highway here for several miles had fire-scarred trees like these.

Once at Hwy 97, I did not like the bike ride very much. We had a strong, hot, dry headwind, and the road surface was the rough chip-seal. My saddle sore had worsened. During the entire 19 miles on Hwy 97, I looked forward to when we would turn west onto a different road for our final 23 miles. I remember feeling the same way on Day 3 when we also rode south on Hwy 97 in Washington along the Columbia River, and that day also had a hot, dry, strong headwind. I don't do well in headwinds due to my upright, non-aerodynamic position on the bike. Seems like everyone who had been behind me passed me during this section.

Once we turned due west on Hwy 138, on this Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, I had a resurgence! The road was smooth, no headwind, and we had a rest stop after just three miles. My final 23 miles saw me speeding up and passing several riders up the hills after they had all passed me back on Hwy 97.
 See how straight and smooth the highway was along Hwy 138? What a shot this is looking back so far on this road.

It was a relief to finally reach our destination at Diamond Lake, hazed over from the wild fires farther to the west.
Once in, I took this photo showing the smoke from the nearby fires. To be "fair", I also took a photo to the south that was not tainted by the smoke:
 I also enjoyed my 6th and final massage from Barb. For the first time, I washed my bike, which some riders did every single afternoon.
There was only one restaurant at this resort area on the lake, but it was a good one. As you can see, all of us were there. I ate with Bruce, from Chicago, and enjoyed sharing stories. When he learned about my book, he bought one. (I took six copies, and eventually sold all of them.) He also told an interesting Peter Sagan story, of how he saw him climbing Independence Pass in Colorado the previous year when Sagan was training for the U.S. Pro Challenge. The two of them ended up talking, and Bruce said that Sagan was just the nicest fellow you could ever imagine. He got this photo of the two of them, and he said that I looked like Sagan when I wore my full Cannondale kit on the first day of the tour.

It was a late dinner, and soon afterward Bob and I turned out our lights. The final day was not only going to be a long one, but breakfast was scheduled for 5:00 to give us an early start.

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