Ft. Klamath 4-Day Self-Supported Tour
Before you can start any tour, you not only have to know where you're going, but also where you're going to leave your car.
The thought of leaving the car in "downtown" Ft. Klamath for four days was not a comfortable one. A call to the Crater Lake Campground and RV Park on highway 62 --1/4 mile south of the Ft. Klamath Museum-- solved that issue as they kindly welcomed my request to leave the car in their park--at no charge. How nice is that?
The other aspect to a tour is to know daily mileage limits. I like 35 to 40 miles. With that in mind, it makes sense to determine where you'll stay when you reach your mileage limit.
My aim that first day was to reach Sprague River, a 37 mile ride. Never having been there, it seemed wise to determine where I might pitch my tent. A call to the local SR library led me to a Pastor Tim and his Friends' Church--the only church in town. He kindly said the area behind his church would be fine and added that as I was to arrive on Wednesday, a chicken/pizza dinner was planned that night at the church and I would be welcomed. Further, he gave me key access to the bathroom. Again, how nice is that?
Laurie Nielsen, a psychiatric nurse at Southern Oregon University and Siskiyou Velo member called to say she'd like to join me on this tour. She just returned from a 500 mile International Selkirk Loop tour taken with her sister and wanted to do another tour before school began.
We met one another and spouses over dessert to discuss the scope of the tour and study maps of each day's ride. I was pleased to have her along and enjoyed getting to know her.
We lunched the first day in Chiloquin. A small mom&pop deli seemed our best bet. It offered the usual plastic wrapped sandwiches which we bought along with drinks to a nearby park picnic table.
The ride to Sprague River had its long, rolling hills which I crawled up on my trike while Laurie took the lead and sped away. I had walkie talkies for us if needed but we didn't use them. On arrival in Sprague River, we were both hot, tired and ready to end the day's ride. I pitched my tent; Laurie attached her hammock to two trees about 10' apart.
We did attend the Friends' dinner and chatted with the local gentry. We learned that many there were not members of the church but appreciated a hot meal. Laurie and I each gave the church a donation for their hospitality.
Our intended ride the next day (Th) was changed as the route selected turned out to be gravel. We simply continued back to Chiloquin the way we came. Once there, we returned to the same deli for the same fare. To top it off, we went to the Black Buffalo Cafe and Pastry Shop where I had a smoothie. If you go to Chiloquin, visit this place as it's quite attractive and don't miss seeing the back room.
Our ride took us past the Train Mountain Museum with over 13 miles of 71/2" mainline track spanning 2000 acres of Ponderosa Pine forest. In the 2004 Guinness World Records, Train Mountain is recognized as the "Longest Miniature Hobby Railroad".
We rode on to the Agency Lake Resort (34 mi.) to spend the night. ($13) We were the only guests. The office offers basic fare: ice cream bars, cokes, chips. We got our cook gear going and enjoyed hot meals. Regrettably, the lake was so dense with algae that we refrained from going for a swim.
The next morning (Fr) we aimed for Melitas Cafe located on Rt.97-- about 1/4 mi. south of Chiloquin. Both Laurie and I rank this place with high marks. We had "senior" breakfasts which were ample, inexpensive and delicious.
I began to experience problems with shifting. With a Rohloff hub, this is serious as the only mechanic to work on it is in Albany, CA or Germany. The problem disappeared but something's not right. Another problem is the shock absorber (elastomer) lost is stiffness owing to the heavy load. I need to order a stiffer elastomer.
Once again, we learned our planned route would have taken us over dirt roads, so we ventured directly to Collier State Park on Rt. 97. (8' shoulder) This detour cut our planned mileage down to 12 miles for the day.
After settling into our campsite ($19) we hiked to the logging museum to participate in an hour-long tour led by a docent. It was both entertaining and informative. As we hiked back to the campsite, crystal clear Spring Creek beckoned us to go for a swim. This creek flows directly from Crater Lake, some 34 miles through underground tunnels and erupts just above the museum. Our swim amounted to a dive and a quick exit. How's 42 degrees sound? A short walk from Spring Creek is Williamson River which elbows into Spring Creek. Here we were able to swim. What a treat on another hot afternoon.
We cooked our dinners, shared family histories, future plans--Laurie retires next year--and called it a day. I lay in my tent--read 'til 11 p.m.
The final day (Sat) started with a return ride to Melitas for another fine breakfast before returning to the car. A final stop before driving home was at the Ft. Klamath Museum, the site where Captain Jack was hanged.
Short term tours can be adventurous, fun and a break from the humdrum of the usual day rides in local environs. Besides, it's summer--a time to breakaway.