OC&E trail, and to Bend

This is an end of summer trip starting in Klamath Falls and ending in Bend, OR, where I took a bus back to Portland. It was inspired by an account of an Oregon backcountry bike trip written up on the Velodirt blog (link here). I took the train from Portland, OR where I live, to Klamath Falls and arrived about 9:30PM and stayed in a motel. The next day, I began rolling down the OC&E trail, which is a rails-to-trails conversion. The first 8 miles is paved and a breeze to ride. I used my home-made portable folder bike with 406-50 tires (20×2.0 inch).

My bike set up for the 3 day camping trip
The bike folded up with 2 bags of gear, ready to walk aboard the train. The bike can easily fit into the lower level luggage areas. I took the 2 other bags to the upper level where my assigned seat was.
After 8 miles, the trail had a dirt surface. There were several bike tire tracks along it and it was easy to ride.  There is usually a road nearby, but the track was quite pleasant as there were no cars. Just butterflies, jackrabbits, and the intermittent cow.
Helpful mile markers. Yes, thats the trail extending in the distance. The further you go, the gravelier and bushier it gets. 
The trail started to get a bit harder to ride on with more gravel and softer surfaces encountered. At times I was riding thru the weeds, but was having a great time.

Swedes Cut; where they cut thru rock for a short distance when the train track was first laid. There are some placards placed to illustrate the event.
This is a great trail path but the further you get the more you need something like a mt bike. Eventually there is coarse gravel that would sometimes stop me in my tracks. 
After 30 miles from Klamath Falls I had enough of the rough stuff, and cut off to a nearby paved road that took me to Sprauge River, a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. There was a small store, deli, and even a small library with computers to use. From there, I took paved roads to Beatty, where there was another convenience store. On the way, I found a discarded automatic transmission fluid container that had enough oil to quiet my chain. Then it was onto forest service roads over the mountains to Silver Lake. I went north from Beatty to ride forest road 3450 (rideable dirt). My goal for the night was a tiny reservoir indicated on the USFS map, but it was empty and dry. A half mile further I found a tiny spring. Clear water would collect in the depressions that cow hoofs made. That was good enough for me so I made my first camp there. 
Small seep spring just beyond the tent

Packed up to leave on day 2.
The next day I followed mostly paved roads to Silverlake. I crossed the OC&E trail a couple of times. The surface was crushed volcanic rock and not that inviting to ride on. The extra energy and attention to negotiate the path was not worth it on this bike. A 26″ fat tire (or 29er) would work better. I was enjoying the almost carless forest roads very much as it was anyways.  I took road 3462 to forest road 30. Then took the dirt cutoff 3239 to Klipple lake and beyond.

Klipple lake is a mud pit with water lilies at this time of year

Road 3239 soon became very soft and unrideable. After a quarter mile of walking that I turned around and rode 2 miles back to paved road 30. Soon I crossed the Sycan river. It was a beautiful area I could have stayed in all day.
The Sycan river. Finally I could fill up all my water bottles.
Then it was onward to forest road 28, where I turned north. I rode thru forest and glade
Lots of old growth yellow pine up here.

expansive views; nearing Thompson reservoir 

I had reservations at Cowboy Dinner Tree and boy was I hungry. It was just a short distance after leaving National forest land. There were no signs for it, but I could see a bunch of cars and RVs on the left thru the bushes and figured I had arrived.

Cowboy Dinner Tree restaurant. 

The adjacent museum/gift shop

salad and pink lemonade for starters. No alcohol is served (they have no liquor license) but some patrons had a glass of wine or 3 in their RVs before coming in to dinner.
Salad, bean soup, yeasty rolls, potato, and a whole chicken. I wonder if anyone could ever eat all of this delicious food in one sitting. I departed with 2 bags of leftovers. 
From there it was downhill into Silver Lake. There is a park in town I could camp in; had water, big grassy space and portapotty. But I had an hour of light left and there was a tailwind going up Hwy 31, so I decided to take advantage of it. I was flying down the highway with little traffic, in the open sage with rimrock in the distance. I entered national forest land again in the moonlight, and found a flat place to camp under some yellow pines.
my second campsite

The next day was more riding in the high desert and forest to Bend.

highway 31 towards Bend

Bend from Powell Butte.
The weather was beginning
to change.

 Stayed in Bend for a day and took the bus back to Portland. There is room for a bike box in the back of the bus, but the box would need to be standing on end. Or you can have a folding bike if it is in the bag. The seats are roomy and comfortable and the driver was very friendly.



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