Leg 44 – Through the Sun Pass Labyrinth to Crater Lake National Park

6/20

I made 30 miles today to Mazama Village in Crater Lake National Park – not a big day in miles, but my Runtastic App says I climbed over 6,000 feet.

I had no cell phone or internet last night or most of today, so I had to work from routing info I saved at the cafe yesterday. Google’s preferred route to Crater Lake takes a backdoor to the East Rim Road, which I knew to be closed due to snow. The second and third routes followed Sun Pass road to the top of Sun Pass, then navigated a maze of forest roads to Route 62. Although Sun Pass Road also went to Route 62, it looked like it made a steep side hill 800 foot drop from the Pass, which would not be fun on unimproved roads on a road bike.

I knew my way back to Sun Pass Road, which was fairly easy rolling on semi-improved hard gravel. Fortunately I had made a screenshot of the maze of forest service roads, and the Google base map was good enough to locate me among topographic features, even if the roads were missing, so I had a pretty good idea of where I was most the time. When the time came for the turnoff from Sun Pass Road, there was a barricade across the road. But the sign just said it was closed to wheeled motorized vehicles; snowmobiles and hikers were specifically welcomed, so I figured it was open for bikes.

The hard sand road made a beautiful, mostly smooth drop through the forest, with mountains peeking through the tall trees. Piles of pine cones, and some washout ruts and potholes kept my attention and my brakes engaged, though. At the bottom, I needed to check the map to confirm the sharp right turn onto a good gravel road. This road was easy to follow for a while, but eventually petered out and became indistinguishable from the maze of sand tracks. With multiple mapchecking stops, and minimal backtracking, I managed to find the right route as it hooked north, then west, the south, then west again to join Route 62 at a Volcanic Scenic Byway information sign.

I ate lunch, then went to pump my tires back up to pavement pressure. But when I removed the valve cap from my front tire all the air whooshed out. Good thing I have spare tubes now, I thought. But it turned out that the valve on this tube can be unscrewed from the stem, and it was a simple matter of screwing the valve back in.

Route 62 soon crossed the boundary of Crater Lake National Park, and climbed and climbed and climbed along the rim of Annie Creek Canyon. I made plenty of rest and picture stops, and got to Mazama Village at around 2:30, where there were campsites available, a grocery stocked only a little bit better than the Silver Lake market, and a fireplace, cold beer, pricey kale salad, and slow WiFi at the restaurant. No pictures with this post because the WiFi is too damn slow!Tomorrow I will ride up to the rim road

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