Cross Country Recumbent

Monday July 14, 2003.  McKenzie Bridge OR to Sisters OR


Start time
10:16 am
End time
2:30 pm
Time pedaling
Average speed

This would be the first real climb of the trip.  McKenzie Bridge sits at about 1800', and the top of McKenzie pass is at 5300'.  As it turns out the climb was not that difficult, just long.  During the climb I was only making around 6 miles per hour, but the scenery was so incredible I didn't mind.  McKenzie pass is an "Oregon scenic byway"; and it starts out by winding through the Williamette national forest.  Most of the early section is in shade and feels very magical.  As the road became steeper some of the insects would pace with me, mostly bees and the occasional butterfly.  I think they thought I was a flower, but couldn't quite work out the details.  They kept landing on the bike and lifting off again.

Entering McKenzie pass

Above about 4000' I began to notice my breath becoming a little shorter.  The trees thinned out and more of the ride was in the sun and next to the rocks.  An occasional view of the Sisters would peak through the treetops, teasing me with the thought that I was close to the summit.

Higher up the pass

Near the top the pass plateaus for a few miles.  It was there I passed this little alpine pond.  The mosquitos were thick so I couldn't stay long.
Alpine pond near the plateau

The Cascade mountain range is still volcanically active, and 400 years ago this lava was laid down near the summit of the pass.
Lava field near the top

Also near the summit, a view of the North and Middle Sister.  The South Sister is obscured.  Notice the sharp relief between the lava flow and the forest.
Middle and North Sister

At last the pass, after about three hours of pedaling.  This picture was taken by a nice lady named Kathleen who was interested in the recumbent. (At least once a day I go into the spiel about why I like the recumbent, I have become resigned to this).
Summit of McKenzie pass

The descent into Sisters OR was fast and fun.  You don't descend as far as you climb up, but still it is 40 miles per hour for a good 10 minutes.  At one point a Harley passed me, with the rider enthusiastically shouting: "Dude! 40 miles per hour!".  He must not have realized that I had my own speedometer :).

Once in Sisters I saw a group of bicycles heavily loaded for distance touring.  They were parked at a fruit stand, so I stopped and chatted.  It was a family from New Hampshire: Rick, Paula, and daughter Hannah, were riding cross country following a combination of the TA and the Lewis and Clark trail.  They had started in Portland and had been on the road for two weeks.  Paula was disappointed that she had missed the famous quilt show in Sisters which had ended the previous day.

Also at the fruit stand I chatted briefly with a fellow named Michael who warned me that although you could buy lots of things in Sisters one thing you emphatically could not get was socks and underwear.  The fruit stand clerk solemnly agreed; although no one had an explantion for why this would be.  I am still flush with socks and underwear so I didn't sweat it.

Since Helen and I had planned to meet in Sisters we had arranged a place to stay, the Blue Spruce bed and breakfast.  Our host Vanel made us feel very welcome, and I highly recommend anyone going through Sisters stay here.
Blue Spruce bed and breakfast

A twilight shot of the Three Sisters from Sisters.
The Three Sisters from sisters