Friday, August 20, 2010

Sisters to Springfield, OR 90 miles

Last night someone told us that the last 5 miles in the 15 mile climb to McKenzie Pass were straight up, so when the first 5 miles were work and the middle 5 miles were more strenuous work, I thought, "wow, I might really struggle with this pass". Then the last 5 miles began. We came out into a view point to see a huge unexpected lava field.

After that, there was little real climbing, mostly just a mildly undulating ride at the edge and then through the lava.

At the top was an observatory, with holes made to sight the surrounding peaks.

Notice that someone defaced the pedestrian crossing sign.

After that was a 30 mile descent losing 4,000 feet. I don't really feel we worked hard enough on the entire trip to deserve that descent.
The extreme drop in elevation and the shift to the western side of the Cascades brought phenominal change in climate; it was now very lush and rain forest like.
At McKenzie Bridge ranger station we ate our muffins and fruit, then ordered sandwiches from a cafe down the road.
A headwind developed, but since we were still generally going downhill, its impact was decreased; we still managed around 18mph. Other than stopping for cold drinks at most towns, we pushed on without breaks. The road had a decent shoulder most of the time, but drivers were generally in more of a hurry than in recent memory.
A great bike lane began in Springfield. The drain grates had small spaces between the bars and the bars were oriented perpendicular to the lane. In addition, though there were man hole covers frequently, they were pretty smooth and level with the asphalt. Really nice.
When we stopped to get our bearings and check our location, a guy told us the hotel we were looking for was a long ways away and offered to put our bikes in his truck. It was only another 10 miles. We arrived there at around 8pm and ate the sandwiches from long ago.

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