Author Topic: Critique my NE CA/SW OR Loop!  (Read 3910 times)

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Offline MrBent

Critique my NE CA/SW OR Loop!
« on: January 11, 2012, 07:27:30 pm »
Hey, Riders:  I'm thinking of doing this loop as a tour with a gang of young (and not-so young but tough!) riders late this spring (prob. early June).  Some of it I'm familiar with (395), but a lot of it is a mystery to me.  Hwy 139 into Oregon looks pretty good on Google maps ground view, i.e. shoulder!  And I can't  imagine there's a lot of traffic.  Hwy 140 east out of Klamath Falls is a bit more uncertain: Doesn't appear to be much/any shoulder.   Anyone ride in this area?  Comments?  It looks like some great country, and I like the idea of a monster loop.


« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 07:29:11 pm by MrBent »

Offline jamawani

Re: Critique my NE CA/SW OR Loop!
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 10:45:38 pm »
I fell in love with this area back in the late 1990s.
Ridden many routes - driven others.

First off -
Hwy 140 from Klamath Falls to Beatty is not the best choice - esp with youth.
Narrow, few shoulders, moderate+ and fast traffic, blind hills and curves.
You can take the OC&E Trail out of Klamath Falls - first 8 miles paved, then gravel.
One of the most beautiful rides in the region is along the Sprague River - from Chiloquin to Beatty.
From Klamath to Chiloquin - US 97 has shoulders but very heavy traffic - West Side Road is better.
East of Beatty, Hwy 140 has less traffic, but still pretty high speeds amd little shoulder.

Second -
Instead of Hwy 139, you can loop south from Merrill and head thru Lava Beds NM.
Since much of this loop is heavily forested, the open vistas are a treat.
Further south on Hwy 139, you can take Lookout Road to either Adin or Bieber.
Almost no traffic and you miss the Hwy 139/299 section which is a little busy at times.
Eagle Lake should have plenty of water after two wet years - great desert lake.

Third -
I love US 395 in this region - wide open and remote - like Nevada.
There's a back road east out of Susanville to Litchfield - country store.
I can't remember if the Termo Store was open when I went thru.  Be good to check.

Fourth -
The east side of the Warner Range is awesome - Surprise Valley Road
No good way to get to Eagleville without dirt - so it may not be possible for y'all.
Fandango Pass Road is hardpack - big climb coming from east then great downhill to US 395.

Lakeview is a friendly town - Hunter's Hot Springs north of town has pools and camping.

Best - J

Offline MrBent

Re: Critique my NE CA/SW OR Loop!
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 09:14:21 am »
Thanks, J!

Here's another version.  What do you think?


« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 10:53:18 am by MrBent »

Offline jamawani

Re: Critique my NE CA/SW OR Loop!
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2012, 09:28:11 am »
Scott -

Wow! I see that you have routed the group into Surprise Valley.  You are aware that there is about 20 miles of dirt between  Adel, Oregon and Fort Bidwell. Calif?  There are little stores in Adel, Ft. Bidwell, and Cedarville.

Probably the most dramatic scenery along this route is just north of Adel - Hart Mountain and the lakes of the Warner Valley - almost 4000 ft sheer wall of a fault block.  Paved road loop from Adel to Plush and back to Hwy 140.  Store in Plush.  The valley floor should be fabulous in June.  Camping options galore - - BTW most camping on your route will likely be random, i.e. without services.

I noticed that you have a backtrack loop into Lava Beds NM.  You could still do the stretch from Lava Beds to Lakeview via Hwy 140.  Follow Hill Rd to State Line Rd, then take Harpold Rd to Bonanza - Bonanza ain't no Bonanza but has basic services.  Then you can continue west on Hwy 70 almost to Dairy and over the mountains to Sprague River - then east on Sprague River Rd to Hwy 140.  This avoids the busiest stretch of Hwy 140 near Klamath Falls.

Anyhoo - just some ideas.

Offline MrBent

Re: Critique my NE CA/SW OR Loop!
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2012, 11:11:27 am »
This is very helpful, J.  Now, looking closely at the maps, since Bonanza has some services, it looks like I could head due north on Bly Mtn. Cutoff Rd. and hit 140 at Klamath Falls Lakeview Forest St. Park.  Is it your experience that 140 about there and to the east as sufficiently low traffic loads to make it pleasant touring?  Logging trucks?  Gen. traffic?  The info. on the stores is VERY helpful!  Twenty miles of dirt is worth it for the crazy remote beauty.  I assume it's probably a pretty good dirt road given that it connects to paved sections.

Here's another draft:


« Last Edit: January 13, 2012, 11:31:49 am by MrBent »

Offline jamawani

Re: Critique my NE CA/SW OR Loop!
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2012, 05:10:29 pm »
Scott -

You may want to talk to someone at a bike shop in Klamath Falls - it's been a while for me - but I found that Hwy 140 was less than desirable over Bly Mountain - narrow, winding, no shoulder, moderate traffic & fairly high speeds.  Bliss Rd (fka - Squaw Flats Rd) is longer but has minimal traffic and relatively slow speeds.
The plan was to redo Hwy 140 in 2011 - but they are two years late - at least.

Here's the ODOT Traffic Count Map:

Calif doesn't have such a map - but data is here:
Scroll down by Hwy number in upper right corner.

Overall the loop looks quite good -
There isn't much "spectacular scenery - all very nice riding though.
Hart Mountain and Hart Lake - north of Adel - is spectacular.
If you are going to be so close - I'd suggest adding the small loop.

Best - J