DAY 15 - Monday, July 22, 1968
Cold out! Feels like winter! Where are we, that it should get this cold? We must be at a high altitude.
Altitude of Bend, Oregon where they camped overnight is about 3,600 ft.
I wake Chris and we pack and go. He’s still sleepy but the cold air on the road wakes him up. At La Pine we stop. I tell Chris to order me ham and eggs for breakfast while I stay outside to change the oil. At a filling station next to the restaurant I pick up a quart of oil, and in a gravelly lot back of the restaurant remove the drain plug, let the oil drain, replace the plug, add the new oil, and when I’m done the new oil on the dipstick shines in the sunlight almost as clear and colorless as water.
Breakfast in La Pine, and a descriptive oil change. "in a gravelly lot ... remove the drain plug, let the oil drain, replace the plug" - that's what catches my attention about his oil changes.
We arrive at the turnoff to Crater Lake and go up a neat road into the National Park—clean, tidy and preserved.
This is either referring to the turn from US-97 to OR-138, or from OR-138 to Crater Lake Road (more likely).
At the lake we stop and stretch and mingle affably with the small crowd of tourists holding cameras
see the Crater Lake with a feeling of “Well, there it is,” just as the pictures show. We wind down out of the park to the south.
It's possible to circumnavigate Crater Lake, and it's unclear which way around they went. However, there was tension between the author and Chris at this point in the book, so neither of them were likely interested in the view as hinted above. We'll assume they stayed to the west side and just went into the main visitor center area.
We travel down the eastern shore of Klamath Lake on a three-lane highway that contains a lot of nineteen-twenties feeling.
We pull in for lunch at a roadhouse which belongs to this era too.
When they arrive, the hamburgers, with giant raw onions, are tasty and the bottle beer is fine.
Lunch here, about 140 miles into the day. This is likely right around where OR-62 and US-97 merge.
As we eat I see on the map we’ve taken a wrong turn way back and could have gotten to the ocean much quicker by another route.
Had they taken OR-62 West rather than East, they could have gotten to Grant's Pass in less distance.
Had they gone down the western shore of Klamath Lake, that would be part of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Highway. Don't know if that is a better option, I may consider it.
Around the southern shore of Klamath Lake we pass through some suburban-type development, and then leave the lake to the west, toward the coast. The road goes up now into the forests of huge trees not at all like the rain-starved forests we’ve been through. Huge Douglas firs are on either side of the road. On the cycle we can look up along their trunks, straight up, for hundreds of feet as we pass between them. Chris wants to stop and walk among them and so we stop.
Turning west near Klamath Falls, they stop between there and a summit where Chris takes a walk and the author leans against a tree. Hayden Mountain Summit is the most likely candidate, about 20 miles from Klamath Falls.
After a few minutes the road reaches a summit and then drops steeply into a valley that becomes more exquisite as we descend.
The valley seems to be west of Hayden Mountain heading into Pinehurst, OR at Jenny Creek.
When we’re through the folded hills we come to Medford and a freeway leading to Grants Pass and it’s almost evening.
Medford is only about 30 miles from Grant's Pass, definitely near the end of the day.
Not sure what the "folded hills" are, but most likely they're the windy mountainous road between Pinehurst and Emigrant Lake.
The freeway is I-5. He mentions the freeway directly and it is late in the day, so we'll assume they take that in this case rather than the parallel state road OR-99. It actually makes the most sense to get on the freeway a bit before Medford, at Ashland. The alternate routes are pretty urban.
Coming into Grants Pass we hear a frightening, loud, clanking noise and stop to discover that the chain guard has become caught in the chain somehow and now is all torn up.
Grants Pass looks like a big enough town to have a motorcycle place open the next morning and when we arrive I look for a motel. We haven’t seen a bed since Bozeman, Montana.
Indeed, the last three nights straight were camping. And Grant's Pass is a large town of about 35,000....Continue to Day 16