Day 6: Fort Klamath to Ashland - The Lost River to Bonanza 2020 - CycleBlaze

July 12, 2020

Day 6: Fort Klamath to Ashland

Today is very long and has the most climbing of any day of this tour. But I'm not dreading it because the day ends with the biggest descent of the tour.

There is no restaurant or convenience store in Fort Klamath. I wasn't very well supplied with food. Breakfast was a banana and one envelope of instant oatmeal.

On the road at 7:30 AM. It will be a long day. The day starts going southwest from Fort Klamath on West Side road which wraps around the northwest corner of Upper Klamath lake.

The day begins with 7 flat miles in the Klamath valley.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Traffic was very light. It's just farms, no houses. After 7 level miles I crossed Sevenmile creek (hmmm?) and began climbing into forested hills that are the bottom of the Cascade range. In this area there is a definite line between the flat valley and steep mountains. The last hill was several hundred feet and it doesn't count as one of the day's big climbs.

Sevenmile creek flows out of the Cascade range.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Then a descent towards the valley and the lakefront community of Rocky Point. I turned left onto Rocky Point road which descends steeply to the shore. I took the 1/4 mile dead end road to Rocky Point Resort to find out if their restaurant is open. It's not but the lady at the store said the restaurant is open at Harriman's Resort.

Rocky Point Resort. Restaurant closed.
Heart 1 Comment 0

So I pedaled another 2 miles south to Harriman's Resort. Their restaurant was indeed open but I was the only customer. I ate on the deck overlooking the marina. I was ready for a big breakfast after pedaling 23 miles. I need to fuel up for the big climbs.

Harriman's Resort. Restaurant open.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The climbing begins after Rocky Point road connects to OR 140. I have to go 5 miles uphill on busy OR 140 which is the kind of highway I try to avoid. The first 2 miles have no shoulder. Fortunately a usable shoulder appears when the steep climbing begins and it's Sunday so there are no trucks.

Closest view of 9495 foot Mt. McLoughlin from OR 140.
Heart 0 Comment 0

I was happy to turn off OR 140 onto Dead Indian Memorial road. It has no shoulder but it also has much less traffic.

Simultaneously racist and sensitive.
Heart 0 Comment 0

I pedaled this road once in the opposite direction but only the westernmost 2/3 of the road. I had never seen the eastern part near Lake of the Woods.

Tall trees along Dead Indian Memorial road.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Elevation was almost 5000 feet when I turned onto Dead Indian Memorial road. The road is rolling hills going past Lake of the Woods. Today's climbing is all 4-5% grade, never super steep.

There are no panoramic views despite being the highest elevation of the tour. Tall pines always obstruct any view at hilltops. No clearcut to open up the view. No volcano views other than the glimpse of Mt. McLoughlin from OR 140.

Trees not so tall here.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Near the first summit I leave Klamath county and enter Jackson county. The first summit is 5400 feet elevation. Highest summit of the tour but no summit sign.

Trees are noticeably smaller on the west side of the first summit. I can tell the climate is getting drier.

Back to the county where I started.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Then a descent to 4550 feet and a steady climb to Dead Indian summit which is 5237 feet elevation and also has no summit sign. The 3 highest summits of the tour have no signs. Temperature was sunny and 70F (21C) at the summit. Pretty much perfect weather for climbing.

The road is named because the corpse of an Indian was once found at the summit. For a long time the road was called Dead Indian road. The word Memorial was added a few years ago as a gesture of sensitivity. It would have been a good time to remove the word Dead.

No shoulder.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today I was in forest nearly all the time. There were occasional wildflowers even above 5000 feet where the ground is covered with snow for 5 months a year.

Daisies at 5000 feet elevation.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Finally, a 13 mile, 3300 foot descent to the edge of Ashland. Much of it is 8% grade. My brakes got a workout.

Looking southwest towards the Siskiyou range.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Dead Indian Memorial road has recreational traffic going to and from Howard Prairie reservoir and Lake of the Woods. People towing boats, etc. No trucks because it's Sunday, and probably very few trucks on other days of the week. Trucks stay on OR 140 where they can drive much faster.

Beginning of the big descent.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Pine trees transition to much smaller oak trees, allowing the descent to have wide open views of the Siskiyou range to the southwest. Unfortunately that view was looking into the 6 PM evening sun.

13 mile, 3300 foot descent.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Pine trees are replaced by oak trees.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
First partial view of the valley below. Looking into the sun.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Conventional wisdom is that the west side of the Oregon Cascades is green and the east side of the Oregon Cascades is brown. That is true in most of Oregon but the opposite is true in southernmost Oregon.

The west side is brown oak savanna in the rain shadow of the Siskiyou and Klamath mountains. The east side is tall green pines because the elevation is so high. The pattern is visible on both Green Springs road and Dead Indian Memorial road.

Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Dead Indian Memorial road connects to OR 66 at the bottom of the descent. If I turn right I could go mostly downhill to Ashland. I turned left and pedaled mostly uphill, south, towards Emigrant lake.

Looking up from the bottom of Dead Indian Memorial road. Not a typical lush western Oregon scene.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Lavender lined driveway.
Heart 2 Comment 1
Charmaine RuppoltNice lavender plants along the driveway! :)
Reply to this comment
4 days ago
Neil creek, looking into the sun.
Heart 0 Comment 0

3 easy miles on OR 66 to my parked car at Creekside RV Resort. I arrived at 6:45 PM. 11 hours 15 minutes on the road today! Temperature was a pleasant 80F when I finished. I was hungry and tired but not sore. I wouldn't want to bike tomorrow but I don't have to. This is the end of the tour!

Back to my car at Creekside RV Resort.
Heart 0 Comment 0

It took only 15 minutes to put the bike in the car, change clothes, and start the 130 mile (208 km) drive home. I stopped in Medford for a burger and got home at 10 PM. I think of this tour as being close to home but I drove slightly more miles than I biked during the 6 day bike tour.

Distance: 71 mi. (114 km)
Average Speed: 8.9 mph (14.2 km/h)
Ascent/Descent: +3488/-5324 ft. (+1063/-1623 m)

Today's ride: 71 miles (114 km)
Total: 243 miles (391 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0