All Things Must Pass- Sisters to Belnap Hot Springs - Undaunted Porridge - CycleBlaze

August 11, 2018 to August 12, 2018

All Things Must Pass- Sisters to Belnap Hot Springs

A non-smoky sky for the first time in awhile means a clear shot of the mountains- Broken Top and South, Middle and North Sister
Heart 3 Comment 0

We have crossed several mountain passes during this journey we call Undaunted Porridge, most of them in the great and beautiful state of Oregon.  The three photos below show the Adventure Cycling elevation profiles for this section of the TransAm from Baker City.  The climbing elevation in Oregon for these six passes was about 12,500.  

July 29: The first three passes in Oregon: Sumpter, Tipton and Dixie. These passes were done in one day and involved about 4500 total feet of climbing
Heart 2 Comment 0
Aug 1 and Aug 3: Keyes Creek and Ochoco- Elevation gain 7500 feet. Ochoco was the most difficult of the Oregon passes.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Aug 12: McKenzie Pass, denoted by the solid line. The dotted is the Santiam Pass alternate route. Elevation gain 3600 feet
Heart 2 Comment 0

Sisters is a nice small town, touristy but is probably a nice place to live. It is usually warm here in the high desert but the recent heatwave here and elsewhere is unusual. 

We  decided that this is the vacation phase of our journey, which explains the extended non-riding days in Mitchell, Prineville and Sisters. The down time is nice, but takes some getting used to, even 2.5 months into retirement. I nap, read my book, write this journal, soak my feet in ice cold streams, nap some more, and eat. So I guess there isn't that much down time.  

There is only one more pass to climb and, after today, only one more long ride before Portland. Since we have some time, we will explore central Oregon and the McKenzie River area. 

Ponderosa pine forest along Hiway 242. This area reminds me of East Texas a little bit.
Heart 3 Comment 0

We left Sisters early yesterday morning (8/11) with plans to camp at Cold Spring, only about 6 miles from town. When we arrived there Jen suggested that we look for a wild camp a mile or two up the road in the national forest, saving us $20 and eliminating  the possibility of inbred drunken hoosiers  keeping us up all night. So we found a spot about a quarter mile down a dirt road, two miles past Cold Spring. 

After setting the tent up in the Deschutes National Forest, we napped and explored the woods for awhile. Then we mounted up and rode back to Cold Spring to cook dinner and get water for today's climb up McKenzie Pass. 

Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
Our wild camp about 6 miles west of Sisters
Heart 4 Comment 0
And badger (?) holes about 8 feet from the tent.
Heart 0 Comment 2
Scott BeanblossomOh oh! Trespassing near the Honey Badgers crib, lucky for you he don’t give a s...
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Scott BeanblossomYeah we lucked out. Could've gotten ugly.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Heart 2 Comment 0
Jen found this dollar in the forest near our camp. I found it later after she had apparently dropped it.
Heart 5 Comment 5
Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnFinders keepers huh Ron?
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnYep!!!
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Dee ForteIt's because Jen doesn't care anything about money - she just throws it around, willy nilly....
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Dee ForteIt's because Jen doesn't care anything about money - she just throws it around, willy nilly....
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Dee ForteHaha she is so careless with money!!
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
These Milk Duds tasted terrible!
Heart 5 Comment 0

The Persid Meteor shower was supposed  to peak at midnight and I swore I'd stay up to see it. Ha! I did get up to take a wiz about 1:30 am and saw a couple of meteors but it was cold so back into the tent I ran. 

Coffee in the cool morning
Heart 3 Comment 0

It was a very cold night and we slept until almost 8, scandalously late for us, and finally got moving at about 9:45 for the 35 mile ride over the pass and down into Belnap Hot Springs. 

The weather was perfect, cool in the morning with a high of 78 for the day! And we had a tailwind for much of the morning. We hit the summit at  about 11:50, 2 hours after we started. Not bad for a 1900 foot, 9 mile climb. 

Chugging up the pass
Heart 3 Comment 0
The fires from last year were apparent everywhere as we climbed the pass.
Heart 1 Comment 0
At Windy Point looking at Mt. Washington
Heart 4 Comment 1
Heart 3 Comment 0
Me climbing to the lunar summit.
Heart 5 Comment 0
This is the last pass we will cross on the TransAm
Heart 5 Comment 0
Another view of the Sisters
Heart 4 Comment 0

I've climbed the pass 3 times, twice last year and then today.  Avid readers (?) might recall reading our Shakedown Ride journal from 2017. McKenzie Highway started out as a trail, then a wagon road, then an auto route early in the 1900s, and is now a State highway. The lava fields are incredibly unique. It looks like a lunar landscape and of you haven't seen this area, you need to put it on your list. 

Accordng to the USFS website, the lava flow erupted from Yapoah Cone 2,600 to 2,900 years ago. It covers 65 square miles and NASA conducted astronaut training here in 1964 in preparation for the Apollo program. So there!

Heart 7 Comment 4
Scott AndersonLook at all that yellow space, just waiting to be used!
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnThat is a very artistic and beautiful photo
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnThanks!
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Scott AndersonYeah, it looks ready to be used
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Descending McKenzie Pass amid the enormous lava field
Heart 2 Comment 1
Dee Fortewow = very interesting
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
As we continued down the west side of the pass the lush vegetation of Western Oregon started to look familiar- huge Douglas Firs, Hemlocks, ferns
Heart 4 Comment 0
Looking for Ichabod Crane? (Jen's panaoramoc magic removed my head)
Heart 2 Comment 1
Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnHa ha, such photographic trickery
Reply to this comment
1 year ago

As soon as we crossed the pass and got beyond the lava fields, the topography and vegetation shifts noticed from arid ponderosa pine forests of Central Oregon rain shadow to the lush Douglas Firs and ferns west of the Cascades. 

The descent from McKenzie pass is 20 miles and 5400 feet of  insanely fun twistyness. Motorists drove slow and waved (for the most part) and I enjoyed the wind in my hair and bugs in my teeth. The exception was one sad little man-boy with Idaho tags driving a ridiculously oversized and overly loud diesel pickup truck who crop dusted us on the way by. Crop dusting is punching the gas on a diesel pickup and emitting a black cloud of smoke. But more on crop dusters and other weird American behaviors in another post.

Trees on the western side of the Cascades
Heart 5 Comment 0
The beautiful McKenzie River from Belnap Hot Springs
Heart 5 Comment 1
Dee ForteFreaking beautiful!
Reply to this comment
1 year ago

We arrived at the Belnap office, checked in and proceeded to the campground, which you get to by following a footbridge aross the McKenzie river and a half mile path through the woods. Bikes are allowed but no cars, which eliminates about 98% of Americans from using the space, the idea of walking being abhorent to so many. Belnap will be our home for the next two nights.  

And be sure to read our next installment because I heard Ron the Singing Cowboy is making a return. 

On the path going to the campground, surrounded by wilderness
Heart 5 Comment 2
Scott BeanblossomRon?
What the ? Was that, from the look on you face I’m guessing
Headlights?!
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Scott BeanblossomYou know me!!!
Reply to this comment
1 year ago

Today's ride: 48 miles (77 km)
Total: 2,150 miles (3,460 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
Comment on this entry Comment 4
Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnMom remembers McKenzie Pass, the lava fields, and running out of gas in Jen's car driving to Sisters. Looked like a tough pass for your final one.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnJen talked about that trip.
It was actually the easiest one to climb
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Greg SpinolaNever saw badger holes before. Thanks for posting.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Greg SpinolaIt was either badger holes or very large mice.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago