Friday, July 19, 2013

Yikes! Time flies. This should get us caught up.
7-13-2013 Odell, OR to Government Camp, OR.
We knew there would be climbing today, but man… We got our first sign of what kind of day we were going to have early, when we found both of Marty’s tires flat. I had ridden over a lot of junk on the side of I-84 yesterday, and found a plastic tab with a staple hanging off the front tire at a rest area. No big deal, I removed it and the tire held air, so those expensive tires did their job! It did create a slow leak in the front which flatted overnight, and the rest of the staple got through the rear tire and flatted it. I was glad it held to the B&B. Just as a side note, we rarely ever get flats on these trips. One or two flats in a 6 week trip is normal. So after a large great breakfast at the Pheasant Valley B&B, we repaired both flats then set off up the valley through Odell, Dee, Parkdale and on to Rt. 35 towards Government Camp. 
Mt. Hood near Parkland, OR
Mt. Hood Railroad at the Parkland Depot.

We spent just about all day climbing Bennett Pass, about 31 miles. We got some great views at the top then we had a short decent to Rt 26 and the climb to Government Camp. That last three mile climb into Government Camp cooked our .. ahh Goose. 
Welcome sight, Bennett Pass Summit

Rt 26 near Government Camp is like I-90 westbound near Thorp on a summer Sunday afternoon; Busy, thin and plenty of attitude. We made it, stayed in a room and ate fish tacos to recover. Biggest day of climbing yet! (4087’) 

7-14-2013 Government Camp OR to Detroit OR.

This was a long day (72 miles) with plenty of climbing (3446’), but more importantly there was over 30 miles of descending! This leg was on rural Forest Service roads and we saw almost nobody all day. We left Government Camp and headed south on Rt. 26, then turned on Forest Service road 42. This road was recently improved and the paving was perfect. The road climbs steeply to Timothy Lake then bounces along for miles, passing through the Clackamas Meadow area. 
Clackamas Meadow
Forest Service Road 42
The Old Clackamas Ranger Station

The Clackamas Meadow ranger station is a preserved 70 year old ranger station. The road shrunk to a single lane with turn-outs, and the last eight miles was a steep descent. We gladly traded sore legs from climbing to sore hands from gripping brakes. We saw 2 vehicles on this one laned stretch. A logging truck which we yielded to and a shiny red convertible driven by a man in mid-life crisis which we made slow down to pass us. We finally got to the FS 46 road, which after a climb over a ridge, descended for the last twenty miles into Detroit. We love long descents at the end of the day, especially if they are not real steep. Detroit is a sleepy little town (Population 279) on the end of Detroit Lake. After looking around and not finding the campground, we got a room at the local motel and ate at the local restaurant/gas station/grocery/sports store. 

7-15-2013 Detroit to Belknap Springs, OR.
Today we rode route 22 from Detroit towards Santiam Pass, but turned south on route 20 and then to route 126 (Alt.) to Belknap Springs. Route 22 was a two lane fast freeway-like road, with trucks and all. 
North Santiam River from Rt 22

The adventure Cycling route takes you to Sisters over Santiam Pass, but we wanted to go over McKenzie Pass to the south because it is quiet and shady. It is getting hot in the afternoons here, so shade is important.  We camped at a fancy RV resort at the foot of McKenzie Pass. This area is famous for its mountain biking, with the McKenzie River Trail being the center piece of it and it’s natural hot springs. The resort is called Belknap Springs Resort and has 2 hot spring pools. It would be a nice place to get a cabin or room and just relax for a few days. We had a huge tent site, larger than the RV sites! It was fun to talk to the mountain bikers. They were impressed with our bikes and all our gear.

7-16-2013 Belknap Springs to Sisters, OR
Today we rode Rt. 242 up and over McKenzie Pass. We had cycled this before, maybe 2005? The road has been repaired and it was sunny and warm. As a special treat we got to watch the Cascade Classic Pro race fly up the pass past us.  (We were well off the road, instructed by police escorts) The men had a five person breakaway several minutes off the front. I felt old and fat watching them fly by. 
Pro Men Breakaway
Pro Men's Peleton

The real impressive one was watching a breakaway start in the Pro women race. Wow. 
Flying off the front

My goal was to make it up to the top before the course crew pulled the KOM (King of the Mountain) sign. We got close, but we saw the truck go by just minutes from the top. If only we could have hung on to the main field for a few more minutes…. The top of the pass is like going to the moon. It is covered by a hundreds of years old lava flow and has great views. 
McKenzie Pass Summit View

At the top is an incredible observatory built from lava stones which points out all the visible peaks.  
McKenzie Pass Observatory
We did it! 

The descent down to Sisters was nice and fast with good pavement and almost no cars. We are getting into eastern Oregon now, so the trees are thinning out and the view is wide open. It is also getting hot! I haven’t said much about the weather because it has been the same for the last week or so: Sunny and warm with light winds from the northwest. Camping in Sisters used to be hard. The local RV parks are out of town and don’t really cater to tents, and the city park which had a lawn and a toilet. The city of Sisters has now improved the city park to an attended campground with showers and biker sites! It was really nice and clean and cheap.

7-17-2013 Sisters to Bend, OR.
Today is a short day from Sisters to Bend, where we will take a day or so off. Adventure cycling has you take route 20 to Tumalo, then side roads into Bend. Rt. 20 is a busy two lane road with one meter of shoulder. Yuck. But we met a really nice Sisters resident who gave us the route to Bend using back roads. Great work Doug! It made all the difference. We also rode some of the race route and I remembered it! I rode in the Cascade Classic in 2003 (In the mortals division). The hill climbs near Tumalo in particular. We climbed out of there today in the mid afternoon with no shade and 90+ degrees. But we were soon in Bend eating ice cream to cool off. No worries. We found our Motel and sat in the AC to cool off. Better…..
The Sisters from Cloverdale Rd.

7-18-2013 Bend, OR.
Well, we have been riding pretty hard for the last eleven days. We’ve ridden about 500 miles with 26000 feet of climbing. It’s time for some rest. We have several things figure out. The campsites after Bend are busy on the weekend, and may not take us in if they are full. Bend is busy this weekend due to the bike race. So we decided to spend three nights in Bend to stay out of the woods till Sunday night and rest up. We will have to watch the Cascade Classic Crit races there Saturday night. Dang. 

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