It’s been a cool, foggy summer on the central California coast, and we are ready for a few sunny, hot days to warm up and dry out. So we loaded up the raft and gear in the truck and headed north to the high desert of central Oregon.
The Deschutes River threads through Oregon all the way to the Columbia River. There are several stretches known for fun whitewater rapids and great fly fishing. We are looking to do both, so we put in at Trout Creek, outside of Madras, and ended at the Maupin City Park. Although you can float several miles past Maupin, we opted out at the city park to avoid the crush of daytrippers.
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Food buckets with essentials: fruit, cookies, local bread, and plenty of wine.
Personal gear: binoculars and some reading material.
The air conditioning is not working, and no one had time to take the truck to the shop to get it fixed. That didn’t seem like it would be too bad, until the reality of ten hours in the truck hit. Until today. Originally, we had planned to leave at 9am, after the bay area traffic cleared. But, work commitments delayed our departure until noon, putting us in the hottest part of the drive at the hottest part of the day. We’re stocked with snacks and beverages, and we’re not sure we’ll make it to Madras this evening.
It’s a straightforward drive: US 101 to I-680 to I-505, connecting to I-5, then veering northeast onto US 97 at Weed. Crossing the state line into Oregon, we need a break and a real meal. We cruised the main streets of Klamath Falls, settling on a Mexican restaurant that had mostly good reviews on TripAdvisor. The wait staff was attentive, the food was good, and the margaritas refreshing. After a fuel stop, we got back on the road at dusk.
US 97 follows the eastern shore of Upper Klamath Lake for six or seven miles just north of Klamath Falls. I was sorry that it had gotten dark – I was hoping for a nice view of the sunset over the lake. Instead, almost had to spend the night in Klamath Falls – an epic hatch of insects soon covered the front of the truck. The windshield wipers could not keep up. In fact, the squashed bug “juice” seemed to mix with the washer fluid to coat the windshield with an opaque schmeer. With the road cut tucked along the cliff above the lake, there was no place to pull over to clear the windshield, or wait for the onslaught of bugs to subside.
We forged ahead, peering through some clear spots that opened up as we kept running the wipers after passing the lake’s edge. We made it to Chemult, where we pulled into a non-chain motel and collapsed into bed. We still have two hours to Madras – we’ll just get up early and go.