Conclusion - The Lost River to Bonanza 2020 - CycleBlaze


6 days.  243 miles/389 km.

This was my shortest tour ever but it was more challenging than the previous two tours. There was a feeling of accomplishment from crossing the Cascades twice and exploring a high desert region that I had never seen before.

This 6-day tour and my previous 9-day Going Rogue tour combine to form somewhat of a grand tour of southern Oregon.

I didn't get a single photo of myself. There were opportunities in Klamath Falls but most of the time I was alone.

No mechanical problems at all. I never needed to pump the tires or lube the chain. I did need to twist the cable adjusters to compensate for brake pad wear and derailleur cable stretch.

No injuries from biking or anything else. No major scrapes or insect bites. No upset stomach. Murphy was on vacation!

Scarcity of lodging forced two of the days to be much longer than I prefer. I feel like a wimp for taking two semi-rest days on a 6-day tour but the long distances on days 4 and 6 made it necessary. I know my limits. I ended the tour feeling tired but not sore.

Overall I think it's a good route for cycling. It avoids busy OR 140 and US 97 as much as possible. The grades don't require superhuman effort and there is a good variety of scenery. Oak forested mountains. Pine forested mountains. High desert. Lakes. The Klamath river and 3 scenic tributaries. Interesting rest day activities.

I hit a pretty good sweet spot in the weather for this tour. Day 1 was cooler and cloudier than usual which is good when the entire day is uphill. The remainder of the tour was warm and exceptionally clear. Never above 86F (30C). Wind was always gentle from the northwest, never troublesome.

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I spoke to several people (all non-cyclists) who were surprised that I was close to Crater Lake but didn't go there. I was surely the only overnight guest in Fort Klamath who didn't plan to visit Crater Lake. I have pedaled through Crater Lake on several previous bike tours. A Crater Lake excursion would add 3000 feet of climbing to the loop. This tour had plenty of climbing without going up to 7600 feet in Crater Lake.

A Crater Lake detour would be an excellent option for somebody who hasn't been there before. US 97 has heavy traffic but does have a paved shoulder. Lodging is available at the junction of US 97 and OR 138, Rim Village, and Mazama Village. Lodging and camping are hard to get in the park but you can pedal through the park in one day if necessary. 53 miles, 3760 feet of climbing from US97/OR138 to Fort Klamath. Don't forget that Crater Lake National Park has a $15 per person entry fee for cyclists.

Oregon mandated masks in all indoor public places starting on July 1. During my previous tour (May 28-June 5) wearing a mask was more of a courtesy. Now a mask is required. Overall I was surprised at the high compliance to the mask rule even in remote rural areas. This tour ended before July 15 when masks became required in outdoor public places when socially distancing can't be achieved. Expect the rules to evolve often for the foreseeable future.

The pandemic definitely has negative effects on a bike tourist. Many restaurants are take-out only. Many remote restaurants are closed altogether. Most stores are open, but sometimes with shorter hours. Commercial campgrounds were open but not all BLM and National Forest campgrounds were open.

The pandemic situation in the U.S. became steadily worse during the month of July, 2020. Bad enough that I can no longer do bike tours in good conscience.

I don't want to contribute to the problem and I don't want to get sick. Hopefully vaccines will make bike touring safe and practical again by the summer of 2021.

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