July 10, 11 - Oregon

in

On a Tuesday morning, I started my journey, heading south into Oregon. I first noticed the temperature exceeding 100°F as I passed through the small town of Maupin, where Oregon 197 winds down and crosses the Deschutes River. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 45.17664, -121.0759 

Oregon 197 later merges into Oregon 97, and then crosses the Crooked River on one of three bridges spanning a dramatic 300 ft. gorge. The other two bridges include a railroad bridge, and the (abandoned) old two-lane road. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 44.38996, -121.1935 

Crooked River Gorge - Sign: "DANGER CLIFF - 200 YDS"Crooked River Gorge, looking northeast towards 3 bridges (7/10 4:22 PM)Crooked River Gorge, looking northwest at bend in river (7/10 4:28 PM)

I spent the night in Bend, Oregon, after having dinner at the Deschutes Brewery.

Wednesday morning, I checked out Lava Butte, just south of Bend. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 43.915, -121.35  The center image below shows the road Oregon 97 looking back north towards Bend, as seen from the spiral road up to the top of the cinder cone. The curious chipmunk thought my camera might be food.

Looking north at road from Lava Butte (7/11 9:47 AM)One of many aggressive chipmunks looking for food (7/11 10:02 AM)

After La Pine, I headed southeast on Oregon 31, pausing to investigate an interesting spot I found in my DeLorme map called "Big Hole" — basically a mile wide depression in the ground. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 43.4244, -121.3124 

A little farther south, at Summer Lake, I spent a few hours trying to find a road marked in my DeLorme map as detouring through the dunes on the east side of the lake. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 42.96343, -120.6715  As you can see, after passing through some interesting playa surfaces, the road faded away to nothing in the grasslands (even though my GPS showed I was still on what was once a road) before being blocked by a rancher's barbed wire fence.

Track crosses playa surface (7/11 1:10 PM)Track fades to nothing in the grass, but the ground is still graded (7/11 1:22 PM)

I was asked if I had any fresh fruits or vegetables. Well, I had lots — so I admitted to this. But, it turned out that they were only interested in cherries, and I had none.

I spent the night in Alturas, California, where I discovered I had the first of what would turn out to be many flat tires. The rain produced strange bubbles on the parking lot.

Flat tire (at motel) (7/11 6:45 PM)Odd bubbles on pavement (7/11 6:52 PM)