Niko’s Kantina Ride: Riding high

Just a quick blast through Bend and we were on the Cascade lakes HWY. No idea what the mountains have in store for us.

Well, I had an idea, but I was hoping for the best. It was actually worse, far worse than I expected. What started as a glorious, almost sunny, kind of warm day, was to become a real mini adventure.

We had a big breakfast at a very local diner in Prineville. Unlimited coffee for 1$ and bacon that was fried to perfection. A sweet monochrome plate of colon cancer was just what I needed after living on a party bucket of fried chicken for the last 30 hours. Seriously, who can eat 1 kilo of meat in one go? Don’t forget the fries and the jerky on the side …

Back to the present. We fuel up in Bend, find a moto shop for some spares. I needed a new visor for my goggles. It’s pathetic how easy you scratch it. I look at the tire selection they have. It was my first time I’ve seen pure sand paddle tires. Queer!

Lock and load, we’re ready for some dirt baby! The plan, rough plan, was to get to lake Waldo through a mini pass with a recent burnout (quite common around here). The trail starts off nice and easy, we even meet a truck! But as we get on, we meet another truck guy hunter, who stops and asks about our destination. He smiles and says we’re gonna have fun. He mentioned floaters, mud and snow. Hmmm …

We get around the first couple of “floaters”, but the problem becomes the mud as the terrain got quite rough. Can’t believe those guys drove a car there. Well 4×4. Met another guy who was coming back saying he has no desire going any further. We see why. Hillclimbs and more puddles and snow. Oh, and rain. However it was fun, fun and more fun. I was wishing I had some teeth on my tires, as soon as I’d get a bit more frisky on the throttle BC started to whipe around like a window wiper.

We made slow process. About 6 kmph average I’d say. When things started looking particularly shitty and I was looking for a way around a big pool, I see signs of civilization. A whole bunch to be exact. The true natives, Native Americans, were there packing their things after some Indian affair. I think we were both equally surprised to see each other. The chief brought us very good news. He said that they’re coming from the other side and that if we made it through the northern part, we should have no problems on the other side, plus that there is no more (or less) snow further on. He warned us about the puddles …

The old Indian chief was right in every aspect. Especially about the puddles or pools or mud pools as we could call them. To add to the flavor of our little adventure, the deepest puddles seems to have no viable alternative. It was a perpetual leap of faith. After I got both my boots wet, I started to have fun and I didn’t really care about bypassing them at all.

After we finally got to the lake, we took a minute to contemplate about our next destination. Somewhere warm and dry!

We took took the paved road, covered in snow with precaution and in the next hour or so found ourselves a cheap and nasty motel. Perfect for us.

Dry the gear and our wet bones. Tomorrow, Crater lake!

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