Trans-Am Trail - Day 22 - Lake View, Oregon to Crescent, Oregon
Day 22 - Lake View, Oregon to Crescent, Oregon
What a perfect start to the day, beautiful sunshine and a ride that took us quickly into deep pine forests, with the smell of fresh pine and the early morning mist creating a real sense of being away from it all. Not for the first time on this trip we didn't see any traffic for most of the morning, as we headed deeper into the forest away from civilisation.
But it was not without drama or adventure, as the plethora of forest trails made our navigation challenging to say the least. Rounding one bend looking for a right turn we were faced with no less than 4 possible trails to take, the GPS map showing only 2. We tried them all looking to see which matched the highlighted route on the GPS. None did. So we took the most likely one and headed ever deeper into the forest. After a couple of miles we reached another intersection that was not on the map, and had also moved a good 700ft from our intended route. No problem, we thought, the trail to our left was on the map and looped round to rejoin the route on the hillside opposite. So we took it, and it descended down into the valley bottom as promised. Then we came across a large hump of mud across the trail, which we needed to get over. Aaron naturally went first, not having learnt his lesson from creek crossings and bridge out adventures earlier in the trip. He got to the top of the mud bank and his back wheel dug in, showering the rest of the trail in a cloud of mud dust...
Whilst Harold and I laughed, he got more and more stuck until it was obvious he wasn't going to get over the hump, and now neither were we, as there was a ruddy great gouge in the middle of it!
Once we'd stopped laughing we helped him dig his bike out and we all rode off the trailside down a steep hill to bypass this latest obstacle. Once on the valley floor we could find no trace of the trail that was supposed to head off to the right, so sent Harold exploring. He found nothing except a steep drop into the creek that ran along the valley floor, so we reasoned we would need to head further up the valley to where the creek would be narrower in order to get to the other hillside. Harold set off to explore this possibility and promptly dropped his bike again, taking the opportunity for a short nap to regain his composure.
When he woke, we rode up the valley, blazing a trail through thick scrub and wet marshy ground until we could go no further. And we still hadn't found a way across. So we turned round and retraced our wheel tracks back to where we'd lost the trail. This time I went exploring and found a large, clearly marked trail just yards from where we'd stopped the first time. This took us back up onto the main route and we were free of the valley's clutches at last. It had only taken us an hour and a half to get the 700ft or so back onto the trail...
Once back on the route the trail opened up a bit and we were able to increase our speed, taking care when coming round blind turns so as to avoid running into the odd logging truck that was out in the forest doing its job.
After what seemed like an eternity of beautiful riding through the forest we emerged onto the highway just outside the small town of Silver Lake, where we had a late lunch. Our original schedule had this down as a short day with a motel stop in the town, but looking at the town we decided to continue on and complete the ride through to Crescent. Our reasoning was that as the town consisted largely of the motel, a fuel station-cum-general-store and a caravan with teepee outside serving our lunch, it was perhaps unlikely to have great nightlife. Or wi-fi. Or anything, really. Lunch was, however, very good. Yet another burger cooked by our "Norwegian" host (she was flying the American and Norwegian flags outside, and claimed to be Norwegian, but I've never met anyone who looked less Norwegian before).
To get to Crescent we took the easy option of following largely highway, wary of following the trail given the navigation challenges we had encountered all day. On arrival, we stopped at Gilchrist just before Crescent and grabbed an ice cream and some more fluids. Whilst sat in the shade we noticed the KTMs of our Kiwi friends heading down the highway towards Crescent. It transpired they too had experienced some tough riding during the day and had blown off a section of the trail. When we got to Crescent we found a lovely looking motel called the Woodsman, with carved wooden animals on guard outside each room and a big neon sign proclaiming "Free Wi-Fi", which was one of my major concerns for the day as I'd been trying to get hold of Tracy all day to chat about her latest appointment with her consultant. Harold went into the office to do his usual negotiating act, only to be told they were fully booked. No problem, there was another motel just across the road, where we went and got a room. The guy running the place looked seriously spaced out (crystal meth anyone?) and the young girl assisting him kept her large sunglasses on even in the dim light, not quite hiding an enormous bruise under her eye. Nice people... But the room was clean so we started to settle in, when we were disturbed by someone shouting. At the Woodsman the Kiwis were trying to check in to the rooms they'd reserved, only to find their reservations had been cancelled as soon as the proprietor discovered they were riding bikes. Later, when we were having dinner at the bar next door to the Woodsman, we found out there have been lots of complaints as the white supremesists who run the place have turned away a heavily pregnant woman in a blizzard (she only had cash and no credit card so they wouldn't accept her as a tenant in case the did some damage!) and a construction worker whose company had booked him a room for a month and paid in advance (he might get the room dirty). The shouting wasn't our Kiwi friends complaining, but the proprietor shouting at them when they asked why their reservations had been cancelled! They got a room up the road instead. If ever you're heading this way, ignore the nice looking Woodsman motel and stay elsewhere. Anywhere else.