Bicycling the TransAmerica Trail

Cycling Across the US, Coast to Coast

Bicycling Adventure #3

54 days, 3,783 miles, Jul-Aug 2010

Ray Jardine

2010/07/18Oregon page 4 of 54

Day 4, Oregon

From Eugene to Sisters

I left the motel in Eugene at daybreak (5:00 am) and began to pedal through town along 7th Ave. The traffic was almost non-existent that time of morning, and day of the week (Sunday). So I had the streets to myself. In the next 10 miles I passed dozens of coffee kiosks, and I wanted to stop at one, but didn't want to waste any time, because no-traffic is a precious commodity in cities, and I knew that it would soon pick up.

Pedaling along the 126, I stopped for breakfast and snacks at the small community of Vida. I enjoyed sitting in this old, rustic chair that someone had built.

Drift Boat on the McKenzie River.

Following highway 126 along the McKenzie River.

From Eugene, the route follows highway 126 along the McKenzie River to its source. The first half was easy pedaling to the small town of Blue River. Along the way I stopped several times to admire the beautiful scenery, and talk with whomever I happened to meet. These people included the friendly staff at the little store in Vida, a fisherman about to launch his drift boat, and a few motorcycle types in Blue River.

I always enjoy talking with the motorcycle types, at least the ones who will talk to me. But hey, there are two types. The friendly ones, which make up a whopping 97% of them. And the Hells Angles types, which I tend to avoid. Someone in leathers is not necessarily a bad person. Far from it. The leather simply helps protect the wearer from road rash in case of an accident. Instead I look at peoples facial expressions. If they are trying to be all macho, I leave them alone. But If not, I may try to strike up a conversation. But usually it's the other way around. Two wheels are birds of a feather sometimes. While riding, I get a lot of waves.

In Blue River I asked a guy standing by his BMW why there were so many of this type of motorcycles today. I saw hundreds of them, and by day's end - a few thousand. He said there was a BMW International Rally in Redmond where they had 9,000 bikes.

From Blue River the route follows the McKenzie Highway (242) which became much steeper, hairpin turns an all. The grade was relentless and my bike lacked a compound low gear. So for those four hours I really worked up a sweat.

Taking a break in the cool forest, halfway up the hill.

I was planning to camp near McKenzie Pass, were the road crested the Cascade Mountains; but when I stopped at a small spring for water, the mosquitoes appeared in vicious droves. So I kept on going down the east side of the mountain pass. With my speedometer reading 30 miles per hour, that was a fun several miles of coasting. The downhill grade eased, and I pedaled to the town of Sisters.

Reaching McKenzie Pass, this is where the PCT crosses the highway (Jenny and I have thru-hiked the PCT three times). The road is downhill from here, making for an exciting ride.

North Sister on the left, Middle Sister on the right, with South Sister peeking between the two. I've climbed North Sister three times, and the other two about ten times each.

Reaching the Ponderosa Lodge in the town of Sisters.

Miles pedaled today: 95.5

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