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July 3, 2011 Santiam and McKenzie Passes Ride - by Michael Wolfe and Stuart Coffey

Tough decision this year.

Had a few folks who wanted to do this ride, but because of a death in the family, the choice became the 3rd of July.

Typically, the MacKenzie pass opens to cars in July, but with this year's snowfall, it was highly speculated as to when that might occur.

Stuart Coffey and I were the only ones able to go on this weekend, and we used his Prius to pack our bikes in it for the drive over to Sisters. We met at the shop shortly after 5 a.m., and were on the road by 5:30.

We hadn't forgotten the water jugs for the drop off at the ODOT gravel dump on Hwy. 20 -- I've heard there's water at Clear Lake, but haven't checked yet.

The outside temperature gauge registered a balmy 50 degrees as we nosed over the Santiam Pass, and I began to querry as to whether arm and kneewarmers, as well as a vest, were necessary. Certainly not the zippered legwarmers and rain jacket!

We stopped at the bakery in Sisters, but goofed and forgot to take pic's of the delightful Napolean's I had with the latte, while Stuart had some equally delightful pastry. We then drove to the park and finally left somewhere near 8:30.

A small headwind greeted us as we started back out of Sisters, along with the crack that separates the shoulder of the highway from the travel lane. It wasn't long before we stopped to remove our arm and kneewarmers, and shortly afterwards we found the collision area before Black Butte that had held traffic up for over an hour the day prior.

I was alert enough to try and prepare for the photo shot that had eluded me on our prior trips. A picture where Mt. Washington pokes it's snow-covered tip above the trees lining the roadway. But at a cycling pace, only one of the photo's turned out even this time.

We stopped to take pictures of ourselves in front of Suttle Lake and take a small break. Just prior, I'd noticed a silver flash in the ditch and did a 180 to retreive it. It was a nice digital camera, unscathed despite its apparent mode of arrival in the ditch! There was a hoodie and a jacket nearby, which led me to believe that perhaps it was in the pocket of one of them as they flew off the roof of an accelerating car.

I later placed some of the family pictures in the lost and found of Craig's List, in the hope that someone might recognize them and identify the camera. Shortly thereafter, a man called late one night at the shop stating that he would be in to retrieve the camera the next morning, using a receipt to claim the camera. He never appeared . . . .

The beargrass was in full bloom as we neared the summit, as well as the alpine version of the purple. Wild flowers are not as prolific on the Santiam Pass as they are on the MacKenzie pass.

Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe at the starting point of the ride in Sisters, Oregon

Stuart Coffey

Stuart Coffey

On the road again

On the road again...

The camera Michael found

The camera Michael found

Suttle Lake

Suttle Lake

Where the camer was found

Where the camera was found?

Michael at Santiam Pass summit

Michael at Santiam Pass Summit


Stuart points to the elevation - nearly a mile high

Click here to see the Garmin report of this ride courtesy of Stuart Coffey.

Stuart Coffey wrote:

CycloMaster Details:

Date/Time: 07/03/11; Distance: 82.81 miles; Route: Sisters - Santiam Pass - McKenzie Pass - Sisters; Time: 6 hours 30 minutes; Elevation 6,378 feet.

Good ride!

I did ride Liberty, Skyline loop yesterday only 18 miles but felt okay physically.

And rode 52 miles, Summit Lp, over Independence Bridge for extra 5 miles, then back up Skyline. About 52 miler, all seems to be holding together.