As it was our anniversary - 15 years! - you'd think we'd have gotten more pictures of the day. Perhaps one with Anthony and I both in it? Or perhaps one of the very creative sign Davan made for us on the parking area in our camp site? But, no. The only pictures we have of the 3rd of September are the series I took here:
This is another work project which necessitated a picture. It was first thing in the morning, just after leaving camp. This project, unlike the first bridge, is a completed project that Anthony and his team worked on. They had to redo this whole bridge/interchange because the city wanted a bike path. The bike path doesn't actually hook up to anything, so it was affectionately called the "bike path to nowhere" project in the office. We discovered on this trip, though, that it will eventually hook up to the bike path we took to ride into camp the night before. Someday...
We were planning another not a lot of miles sort of day. Davan was showing definite signs of not being excited about getting on the bike. Anthony was feeling better after our Bear Camp climb, but we still didn't want to overdo it too much. Plus, we started to climb this day toward Crater Lake and would have another day of serious climbing the next day.
We had done some talking over the last couple of days about trip goals. Anthony and I were kind of keen to try to make it back home, but not at the expense of enjoyment. Davan thought that making it back home was all well and fine, but she wanted to be able to stop and play at cool looking parks and maybe not do so many miles in a day.
It was a nice day of riding, even with an early morning break for the mailing of my journal, a park romp for Davan and an extended bathroom search. We rode along the Rouge for much of the day and it was a very pretty both weather wise and scenery wise.
We stopped at a park along the Rouge in Shady Cove for lunch, where they had another appealing play ground, as well as the great view of the river. Flush toilets with sinks and soap, even! The height of luxury.
After lunch we shopped in Shady Cove at the local Ray's. Ray's was the most common small town grocery store we encountered on the trip. Each store carried a varying selection of food with smaller towns, of course, having less selection. It being our anniversary, I'd kind of hoped to get something special for dinner. Bocca Burgers were a favorite treat meal and Sunchips were a favorite snack, so I was kind of hoping for those items. No go. No fake meat products at all were to be found in this Ray's. They had Sunchips, but not the original flavor and all the other flavors have dairy. Even though it was a pick up dinner for that evening and breakfast (we planned on English muffins en route rather than the usual oatmeal for reasons I'll explain later) and lunch for the next day sort of stop and should have been short, it took a while due to repeated scannings of the store for "treat" items.
In the end, dinner was not overly treat like. We had baked beans over sweet potatoes with sauted onions. This was a good meal and sweeter than our usual with the very sweet baked beans, but, you know, not an overly special and certainly not a gourmet meal.
The riding day ended with a long, hot climb to Joseph Steward State Park, were we arrived around 3:00 with 45.85 miles under the tires for the day. This state park is situated along a reservoir causing Davan and I to have visions of a post ride cool off splash. However, getting to our site, which was lovely, and exploring soon showed that dream to be more difficult to fulfill than we might have hoped for.
The reservoir was down a cliff from our campsite with no access. To get to swimming access, you had to go to the day use area, 2 miles away. Davan still wanted to swim, but was rather unresponsive to my prods about swimming or not, which turned out to be the last straw for me.
I'm embarrassed to say that I blew up at her. It wasn't really her, although her behavior was rather annoying, don't get me wrong. It was worry. I was worried about the next day, which involved another 4000 ft climb. I wasn't so worried about being able to do it, but I was worried that we'd get there and not be able to camp.
We were headed to Mazama Campground, which is the campground at Crater Lake. We didn't have reservations and it was the start of the holiday weekend. Anthony wanted to get there as early as possible so as to have the best chance of getting a site. Only half of the spots there are reservable, so with an early arrival, we were hoping we'd get a spot. However, if we didn't, we were toast. We'd either have to go on through, adding another 20 plus miles to the day and more climbing on top of the 4000 ft or turn back without seeing the lake at all.
Then, to arrive at camp this evening and realize that we wouldn't be able to swim without doing some extra riding anyway, was really disappointing. I felt very much like we should have just stopped at the day use area, taken a quick dip, then ridden on another 10 miles or so to shorten the day the next day and to free camp. All of this boiled up and I had a fit.
We unloaded the bikes and left to go swimming with me in tears and not wanting to go, but trying to be a good sport about it, to find that the swimming hole rather sucked. Davan headed down toward it while I had a good cry and finally really told Anthony what was going on in my head.
Davan showed back up, reporting that the water didn't really look appealing to get into, but, by golly, I'd ridden extra to get there and I was at least going to wade. The water wasn't really that bad and I got in a couple 100 yards of swimming before we rode back to camp.
By the time I was done swimming, I actually felt much better, but I'd infected Anthony with my worries and he started talking about just skipping Crater Lake. We could go around, save most of that climb and shave a day off of the trip.
On the way back to camp, I lost my red blinky tail light in the bushes when I hit a large bump and was unable to find it. Sigh.
At camp, Anthony and Davan went to shower and wash clothes while I got dinner made. Over dinner, I apologized for my behavior and we talked about what we wanted to do. Davan didn't really care about going to Crater Lake and was happy to miss the climb, but agreed readily enough when Anthony and I decided we'd just go for it. We did come up with a back up plan for if the campground was full. We'd peddle around the campground until we saw someone with extra space, then ask if we could put our tent there if we paid for their night's camping. This had been a Stanford technique for finding spots in California campgrounds where there were no hiker/biker sites and the campgrounds were often full.
After dinner we split a pack of Kashi cookies I'd had the foresight to pick up at Fred Meyer's the day before. This is when we discovered the non-vegan ingredients. We did go ahead and eat them, but for the last time. Over cookies, Anthony and I brought up a topic for discussion with Davan.
My mom and step dad had decided to come and camp a couple of nights with us starting on Monday (this day being Thursday). They were going to meet up with us, camp with us, do their own thing during the day, then camp with us again the next evening. I'd touched base with Mom about this in Grant's Pass the previous day and had mentioned that I felt like Davan was not overly enthused about riding more. Mom and Dennis talked about that and called back to say that they'd be happy to either have Davan ride in the van with them or to just take her back to their place for the rest of that week so Anthony and I could just do the miles if we wanted to. She also offered to carry gear in the car for us to make getting the miles necessary to finish easier. The two of them were willing to go to our house and pick up any bike/tool/bike part we'd need for Anthony and I to ride without Davan.
Anthony and I had talked it over and decided that we didn't want them to carry our gear, wanting to have done the whole trip unsupported, but that we did want to offer Davan a total or a partial out if she wanted to be done peddling. I'd move over to the tandem and we'd put my bike on the back of the van to either go home or for a couple days while Davan took a break. We didn't need anything from home to make that work. This is what we offered her over cookies.
Davan broke down crying. The jist of it was that she was having fun and, yeah, it was hard sometimes and sometimes she wasn't excited about climbing back on the bike, but the was our vacation and we couldn't just tell her she couldn't be on our vacation with us anymore. It'd be like getting kicked out of Disneyland!
Her vehemence was a little shocking, but we were glad to hear that she was enjoying the trip and the little reluctances were nothing more than that - little - rather than leakage of her true feelings about the trip. We assured her that we were not sending her away, but giving her options and she was more than welcome to complete the trip with us. That was the end of that.
We settled down early again, with the plan of an early start in the morning and breakfast down the road. We weren't expecting to have water available, thus the English muffins. We still wanted to make the best time we could on the ride the next day to increase our chances of getting our own spot.
Happy anniversary wishes were shared all around, the three of us each in our own sleeping bags in our snug little tent, and it was off to try to sleep amid the typical evening campground noises.