Wednesday, September 2, 2009


McKenzie Pass is a must road ride if you are in Central Oregon. It goes over the original route between Bend and Eugene. If you take the main route (Santiam Pass) you may note there is a section called the Clear Lake Cutoff. That road is reasonably new. It was a boon to cyclists today when they built the Clear Lake Cutoff those many years ago. Route 242 (McKenzie Pass) is designated as a scenic highway. Though there is traffic when it is open the cars are usually not in a hurry and are not much of a bother to cyclists. Early in the summer the road is closed by snow so part of it rideable without cars.
This summer they finished a long paving and improvement project. This means about 20 miles of the west side of the highway has brand new pavement. This is great for going west on 242. Before they paved it the surface was rough with many surprise bumps and potholes. Now it is almost perfect. If you go remember there is still gravel on the surface on some of the corners. This is because the road is narrow and cars tend to hit the shoulder and spray gravel on to the pavement.
We (Muffy and I) went over last Sunday. Perfect weather, and not too much traffic. In the photos we have stopped at the bottom to have a Squirt. Bring some quarters if you go as there is Pepsi machine at Yale Camp on the other side.
Route 242 is one of the few roads in Oregon that the Dept of Transportation have not ruined by their "curve correction" policy. This is reminiscent of Europe and the great cycling roads they have over there. It is a great ride in the fall because of all the color and less traffic. If you leave from Sisters and ride all the way over and back it is 75 miles, as it is an out and back you can make it any distance you want.
We used to go over Santaim and back over McKenzie. For me the traffic on Santiam has become unbearable and with the new pavement on 242 the downhill is irresistible.
Enjoy the best time in Bend -Sept and October.

1 comment:

Pinkie50 said...

Ah fondly I remember 242...and fall is my favorite time of year in Oregon. Before moving from Oregon in 2007, 242 was the last ride I did...Hopefully we will be back 'home' soon.