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The Ride Day 5 – Destination Crater Lake

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Posted 13th August 2008 at 08:02 by glh

I had spent the previous night in Medford, close to the north side of town. While the goat trail ride had been exhilarating, and it had been relaxing sitting by the Rogue talking with good folks, my search for coffee and later a place to stay, had been exhausting because of the heat, the humidity, and the sprawling nature of at least that part of town.

By the time I left in the morning for Crater Lake, I already knew I faced a long series of traffic lights before I could escape the sprawl. I waited until I was well out of Medford proper, and then stopped at a gas station/convenience store for the serious rehydration and to stock up on cliff bars. While there a young guy dressed for work pulled up on a really old Vulcan with chain drive and mini apes. He asked where I was headed and told me about the road to Butte Falls which wasn’t much longer than Hwy 62 but was much more scenic. I ended up hanging out there for nearly a half hour, and was just about packed to go when I heard a loud THUMP behind me.

A young lady of perhaps 17 had come around the corner of the cars parked at the gas pumps at what must have been a good rate of speed and hit a man walking back to his car from the store. I arrived just as the young lady was emerging from her car with a horrified expression on her face. He was on the ground in a fetal position, and it quickly became apparent that he had been hit, at least in part, on his left leg. A number of bystanders were standing around; one lady I noted was standing close by, as was I but his back was to me.
Before long he tried to stand up. The young lady who had hit him asked if she could help, but he waived her off and told her no, which was probably a good idea considering she was probably 100 pounds at most. He managed to leverage himself onto 2 legs, but dropped his keys in the process. He stayed there hunched over, supporting himself with his hands on his knees for a good long time. The young lady said “what can I do, I’ll do anything” but he waved her away again and said “you just keep an eye out next time”.

I went back inside the store after the man headed for his car, and when I went to check out the guy behind me in line commented that the man didn’t look that good. It turns out that his wife was the one who had stood close, and they had both seen the accident. When I got back to the bike the young lady was parked next to me on one side talking to someone on the cell phone and clearly distraught. Before I finished packing the bike an early 80’s vintage sedan in good repair pulled slowly into the other spot beside me and it was the man that had been hit. He was trying to drink out of a coffee cup but his hands were shaking so bad he could barely manage. I told him that I didn’t think he looked to good, and he said it was just his nerves.
He got out of the car and proceeded to sit by his car on the curb. After I was sure he was not going to keel over I went inside and asked one of the clerks to call the paramedics. The couple who had witnessed the accident had come over to talk to him while I was gone, and another bystander as well. The young lady came over and asked if there was anything she could do for him. He finally conceded that maybe he should take her information. The couple gave him their information as well, and then headed out. After the police and then fire truck arrived, I waited until they were mostly done interrogating both him and the young lady, then asked one of the cops if they needed anything from me. Since I was not an eyewitness, and likely because their stories agreed, I wasn’t needed and headed on my way.

The detour on Butte Falls Road turned out to be a good move. The road was nearly deserted, and the pavement was in great shape. This route did end up costing me more time than expected since I missed the turn to Prospect that would have brought me back to Hwy 62 near Crater Lake. I was happy enjoying the road thinking I should be there soon when the road ended at a T intersection with Hwy 140. I did not consider this any great loss since I had plenty of time, so I just turned around and rode that beautiful stretch of road back the other direction.

Crater Lake was quite beautiful as expected, although I didn’t spend a lot of time there. I headed north from there to Diamond Lake thinking to camp, but just before I got to the resort area I started to be splattered with the juices of huge bugs. When I stopped for gas the attendant said the red blooded ones were the large brown butterflies that were stuck all over the walls of the station, and the yellow ones were Sphinx moths. He picked one of the large furry moths up off the ground and showed me, then proceeded to tell me that they were expecting possible lightning storms and that the forest service was called out on alert. That was enough for me; it was time to head towards civilization.

I headed out on Hwy 138 towards Roseburg. This was a road that had been recommended by the couple from the day before and it totaled exceeded expectations. This road winds down through canyons along the Umpqua River in a combination of medium tight turns and sweepers. If it would have been earlier in the day I would have tried to camp out here along the river, but instead I headed into town. I got a hotel room in Roseburg two doors down from the Harley dealer.
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