A week from today I’ll be starting a five-day ride that includes another visit to Crater Lake. Last year, I traveled solo (see 2014 Trip to Crater Lake). This year I’ll be traveling with Nathen, another rider from the Seattle area. This trip will be one day longer and 50% farther than last year’s.
Day 1 distance: 406 miles (for Nathen, who lives in Marysville)
We’ll meet up before 7am somewhere east of the I-90 / I-405 interchange. These are commuter roads and if we don’t get an early start, we’ll hit the morning commute.
Once on our way, we’ll ride over Snoqualmie Pass on I-90. We’ll get off the freeway and cruise Hwy 821, known as Canyon Road or sometimes Yakima River Canyon Road, a fun two-lane highway with some twists that follow the Yakima River. Once in Yakima, we’ll continue to follow the river along Hwy 12 towards the Tri-city area and south along the Columbia River. Lesser highways will lead us southeast over the Blue Mountains and towards Lake Wallowa where we will be camping for the night. We have reservations at Wallowa Lake State Park 🙂
Day 2 distance: 358 miles (if we stay on this route)
Heading east from Wallowa Lake, the first part of Day 2 is an exploration of Hells Canyon National Rec Area. Then we head west through a variety of landscapes typical of Eastern Oregon until reaching Bend.
As this is a relatively long day already, we may not wish to take detours, or go much beyond Bend, but our destination this night is still being finalized. Nathen does have a campsite reserved at Diamond Lake, but that is close to two hours beyond Bend, so we are looking for options.
Day 3 distance: 305 miles or so, depending on our route through the Park.
In the morning, we’ll ride to Crater Lake, entering the Park from the North. We’re going to finalize our route around the crater and hopefully ride along Pinnacles Road, something I didn’t get to see last year.
A friend suggested a hike to the top of the watchman trail is totally worth it. He had a great photo to prove it, so I hope to have the time to hike up that trail.
I figure that will take the entire morning up. Lunch is an option at the Lodge. I bought a drink and a sandwich last year.
In the afternoon, we’ll head west towards Bend. We’ll definitely be riding through some hot country on Day 3. Long range forecast call for sun and temperatures in the high 80s.
Day 4 distance: 330 miles (approximately)
As you have probably guessed, our return home will largely be along the coast.
Tentative plans include heading south first thing on Day 4, if we want to visit a wonderful overlook off Requa Rd and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Maybe there will be Elk out this year 🙂
We head north in the afternoon, all the way to Lincoln City. In both Crescent City and Lincoln City, we are planning to stay at the KOA campgrounds. Not ideal for tent campers, they are generally well maintained and have nice amenities.
We are likely to encounter congestion along Hwy 101 during Day 4 and Day 5. When the weather is good, though, it is easier to block out the congestion and focus on the natural beauty of the Northwest Coast. It is beautiful.
Day 5 distance: 335 miles
North along Hwy 101 into Astoria and across the bridge back into Washington in the morning, and a visit to Long Beach where it will likely be time to eat 🙂
After brunch/lunch, we’ll bust home. This will be a Saturday, so some of the highways may be congested with other travelers. We’ll see.
All in all, a great five day plan. This will be my first ride with Nathen and my first of two long rides in August.