I wanted to get an early start this morning to get as much of the climb up McKenzie Pass done in the cooler hours. In reality, it didn't matter because the bulk of the climb was among the trees and quite shady.
I managed to make 7 miles before dropping into Super Granny gear. From then on, it was just keep pedaling! I turned on my Volcano speaker to give me some tunes to pedal by.
Since this is one of Oregon's Scenic Bikeways, there was a plethora of bike signs. Here is a great one:
That's right, bikes can use the WHOLE lane. That is quite helpful on those right hand turns. I didn't have to pedal "out of a hole".
After several miles, I popped out of the trees to the barren lava landscape.
It is really quite surreal. I walked a little in the lava, but my bike sandals with the cleats make it a bit nerve racking.
I finally reached the 5000 ft. elevation sign so I knew I didn't have much farther to go to get to the summit and the Dee Wright Observatory. As I pulled up to the summit, I saw the Bicycle Adventures van that had passed me on the way up while I was talking to another touring cyclist named Ben (riding from Michigan to the Coast). I pulled over to ask if it was okay if I parked my bike there so I could walk up to the observatory. Not only was it okay that I parked there, but Lori told me to help myself to some lunch! I took her up on the offer! I had some delicious 7 layer dip and tortilla chips and, best of all, watermelon and cantaloupe! They even had drinks--I had a Gatorade.
After chatting with some of the riders and Lori (who happens to be from Leavenworth), I walked up to the observatory. It is a curious structure.
The 360 degree view from the top is, of course, fantastic. Here's some photos.
Mt. Washington to the left, and Mt. Jefferson (barely see it) to the right from the observatory window.
Two of the 3 Sisters.
The way down. The green sign in the center is the summit sign.
After I walked back down I asked Lori if I could take a photo of her (she had taken one of me).
I rode the 15 miles down into Sisters. Now I depart from the Scenic Bikeway and pick up the ACA Sierra Cascades Route. I'm writing this from a McDonalds in Sisters. I was thinking I had to go over Santiam Pass today. Nope, I'll do that tomorrow...thankfully.
As I mentioned earlier, it didn't really matter if I got an early start (except for less traffic). If I were going the other direction, an early start would be very beneficial as there is not as much tree cover on the eastern side of the pass.
Now I REALLY won't have wifi again until Hood River (and, it turns out yesterday's wifi at Belknap Hotsprings was not the greatest. The blog wouldn't post.).