Tuesday, July 15, 2014

McKenzie Pass and the Three Sisters

Mark and I started out early this morning for what had been billed (by Mark) as a "64-mile ride" up to McKenzie Pass and down, then up and over again. Hmmm. Mark had arranged all the motel/hotel reservations on this trip as well as the cycling routes. I decided, contrary to my nature, to just "go along for the ride" and see what he cooked up.

Well, it began yesterday when I discovered a chipmunk in our bed in a "rustic" motel outside of Bend. That resulted in a room change, and I have tried not to think about how many chipmunks have defacated on the bed linens of the room we took. (But it had a nice, firm mattress.) Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow and accept that chipmunks are part of reality. At least we're not talking squirrels and rodents who shall not be named.

The view of the "Sisters" as we happily commenced our ride

The view of the sisters near McKenzie Pass

And the 64-mile ride turned into a 75-mile ride. All I can say is that I'm grateful for the campers that Mark approached at a trailhead to see if they had water. That saved our bacon. 

So, here's the deal. At about mile-marker 11-12, we reached the calcified remains of a lava flow from an eruption that occurred approximately 1500 years ago. This was near McKenzie Pass. We were exuberant that we had reached the pass and had our picture taken. 

Little did I know that we had approximately 60 miles yet to ride. 23.5 miles down, down, down. First through the lava field, then through the band of Ponderosa Pines that eventually gave way to Douglas Firs and Cedars. We were enveloped by rain forest. It was magical. I had to put on my jacket, it was so cool.

But, of course, then came the long 23-24-mile ascent *back* up to McKenzie Pass. What had been billed as a 64-mile ride turned into a 75-mile ride. 

It was a longer day that I had anticipated, but it was a good day. 75 miles, 6200 vertical feet. May my back forgive me.


  1. Well, I did that route on a motorcycle. But you are right, it is magical.

  2. Holy cow, that is unbelievably beautiful.

  3. Yes, Steven, it is magical, and I agree, Trev, unbelievably beautiful. We are so fortunate to be experiencing good weather. There are several fires burning which made yesterday's visibility not as good.