Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In the land of NO Semis, Curvistan (not Flatistan)

Today was a lazy morning filled with errors, non-planning and a FIRST.

It started off as a normal day. My alarm went off before 6am, I poked my toe outside and thought that there was too much chill in the air for me to leave. My plan was to head towards Sisters and ride Hwy 242, which is a narrow road through the forest up and down a mountain and through the lava flows. I knew it would be much cooler in the trees so I made use of my time by taking a shower, washing my hair and my plan was to have a quick breakfast

With my bike, overpacked I mounted up and headed to the driveway and as rolled out of the driveway, I made an immediate U-turn back to the office because I forgot that they offered a continental breakfast. This turned out to be a big mistake as the selection was so meagre that I only had a toasted crumpet, small muffin and two cups of apple juice. Now it just seemed silly to have another breakfast even though I wasn't full. I continued onward to Sisters but most of the eateries appeared not to be open so thoughts of buying a sandwich/fruit to have later didn't happen either.


The road starts just outside of Sisters and generally heads East. It starts out straight and Flat, not unlike most of the roads in Eastern Canada, particularly in the Kingston, ON area I am told. As you can see from the sign, no trailers and no Semis are allowed


It was easy to find a flat spot with the Sisters (mountains) in the background. I think that may be a meadow on the other side of the fence. Lately I have been looking for meadows and I thought I saw another one later in the day


The road is straight and flat for miles so I thought that it would be a perfect road for my V-Star buddy

Before long, the flatness is gone and the road becomes continuous curves, left and right in a smooth rhythm with small drop offs, no shoulders and did I say that the road is narrow ?

I eventually round a corner to a viewpoint and the vast view of the lava fields which continues for miles


This road is known as the McKenzie/Santiam Pass Scenic Byway (Hwy 242). It is not a road to be racing around as one error will put you off and down a cliff. It took me two hours not counting photos at the Dee Wright Observatory


The road is narrow as it winds its way through the lava and eventually you get to the summit


It is getting warm so I shed my clothes and put on my hiking sandals


and walk up the flights of stone steps to get to the top


You can look out the stone window frames


I even managed to get into a shot


I had no timetable and spent too much time here. It was getting late and I was getting hungry and I was miles from anywhere. It was also getting very warm


I was relaxing and just enjoying the day. If only I had some fruit or snacks to stave off my rumbling stomach


Eventually I had to leave and the twisties on the East side were more intense than the first, and this was the downhill section. It made me a bit anxious as many of the locals mentioned to be careful and take it easy. I recorded lots of video but it will have to wait until I return home

I have more things to say about the day and the other motorcyclists I met along the way and it is always enjoyable to hear about the travels of others, especially motorcyclists from far away on extended journeys

I also did something else today which I have never done before. Perhaps it is because we are in groups that we stop to re-gather, or we plan lunch or rest breaks.

I also rode the famous Aufderheide Scenic Byway (Hwy 19). Because I got a late start, I think now that it was a bad thing to do as the shadows of the late afternoon were hard to see road ahead on the curves. It is a melodic road with very little traffic, no cell service, narrow in spots with drop offs. There were no scenic pull outs and this was just a twisting, paved forest service road which started at the Cougar Reservoir and headed South to Westfir. It took me over 2 hours to ride this section and I didn't take any photos nor recorded any video which is a first for me. I caught myself off my line a few times and I was lucky there was no traffic coming from the other direction. I only passed a handful of cars on the whole stretch from start to end. I think it is foolish to ride the Aufderheide alone, you should bring a riding buddy

AND the jewel at the end of this rainbow was . . . The first time I have ever seen one in person . . .


My first covered bridge


  1. Bob you really need to keep some granola bars in amongst your bags. Lovely pictures! I think I am glad I was not at IMBC, just a little too new for these killer twisties. Your pictures are beautiful. I thought your 'meadow' was a pasture. A meadow to me is something on the side of a mountain that is flat and has wildflowers. Think Sound of Music. I love covered bridges and can hardly wait until I see one. Awww all the plans for next year!

    1. Dar:

      My story was "recapped" a bit because I am using this small keyboard. When I reached Sisters, I was looking for a sandwich take out place but nothing seemed open. I then went to the Bi-Mart and found a beverage and box of granola bars, for emergency. I also bought a cheap air compressor as when Karen needed it, it refused to work so I threw the old one out.

      I am still on the search for a meadow. I don't think they exist, or that they only exist in Flatistan.

  2. Yay a covered bridge!!! I know they are sort of rare but I guess I take for granted how many there are around this general area. Not Virginia, mostly Pennsylvania. There may be some in Virginia, but I can't remember seeing any. Great pics. The Sisters and lava beds looks really cool. I would have had to pack a lava rock home with me. Glad you are enjoying your sojourn!

    1. Kathy:

      NOW you tell me to bring back a Lava Rock. I never thought of it but I am half a day away from there right now.

      I couldn't believe my eyes when the covered bridge came into view. It was the first one I have seen and I was able to ride over it. I did see another one later in the day at Lovell, but it was "closed" for pedestrian traffic only

  3. Bob I think that did remind me of a meadow. It was a great view from the lookout, too bad you have to go up a mountain to get there. You wanna see covered bridges, (don't be afraid of the flat lands) - come east, we have covered bridges everywhere, I even know where the longest one is.

    1. Karen:

      I think that field was a pasture. I think a meadow is the flat part on a mountain which has wildflowers growing. It was my first covered bridge. I thought of you all day as I was navigating those twisties. They were very narrow roads with no shoulders. I don't think you would have liked this road. By comparison, the Hells Canyon road NF39 would have been a breeze. I miss you. I saw a V-star but it wasn't you . . .

  4. Sounds like a fantastic day! (in spite of the lack of breakfast, which I know probably bugged you to no end)
    Take Care,

    1. Jimbo:

      It was a great day. Not many miles but I was in the saddle from 9:30am to around 5:30pm, with an hour stop at the Dee Wright Observatory for photos, and a late lunch break which I still have to post about.

      I knew that there would be no place to eat after Sisters, and I should have eaten something anyway, even though I had a quick bite at my motel

  5. "If only I had some fruit or snacks to stave off my rumbling stomach". Ha, now you know what it feels like to be a vegan in cowboy country ;)

    Great photos of Dee Wright Observatory and the covered bridge. Sounds like you are discovering quite a few firsts and doing just fine on your own, but you really should find a group of riders headed your way to hang with. Not that you need them, but they may need you.

    1. Troubadour:

      I like the solitude and stopping where I like, and snapping photos of what I want. I also like the idea of taking my time and not rushing, but I get tired of hearing my own voice.

  6. I am glad you were able to do Highway 242 and the Aufderheide. They are interesting roads and not as much traffic mid-week. Hopefully you filled your belly before riding today.

    And hooray you aren't a covered bridge virgin any longer. There are over 50 of them in Oregon I believe.

    1. Trobairitz:

      It is hard to teach new tricks to an old dog. NO, I didn't eat again today and I was starving. same thing happened today, as happened yesterday.

      I actually saw two covered bridges, but the one at Lovell is only for pedestrian traffic, so only 48 more to go

  7. Beautiful shots. Here I am in front of a computer eating my heart out.

    1. John:

      I only show you a few of many and I always post a few with ME in them. Plus, I also have lots of video. You post some great shots too, makes me wish we were in Calif again.

  8. You're certainly far afield Bob. I found the route on my iPhone and zoomed down to see level, but try as I might, couldn't find you. Ride safely.

    1. David:

      Hwy 242 was very well travelled so if you run into problems then help is near. Not so much for the Aufderheide where you should really have a riding buddy and not ride so late in the day. I was starting to get worried as there were virtually no cars and the shadows were getting darker. The road just seemed to go on and on, and there are no distance markers so you have no idea how far you are along and how far is left

  9. Love the picture of the lava fields with the mountain peak in the background.

    1. Sonja:

      a few years ago we tried to drive Hwy 242 but the road was closed for some reason. We drove a few miles and had to turn around. I have seen photos posted from others of the lava fields so I knew I had to see it for myself

  10. Bob

    Why don't you get some of these:

    Alpinestars S-mx 2 Shoe

    Nice cool and easy to wear with good ankle protection?

    The thought of those big boots in the heat makes my toenails shudder!

    Best from Olympic theme park England, N

  11. Nikos:

    wearing the riding boots didn't feel too warm. You just have to keep rinsing your socks and hope they dry by morning. Walking in them is cumbersome so I prefer to wear something more airy and comfortable

  12. Love the lava fields. I can't wait to see them in person! Hopefully when it is cooler. I'm tired of this heat!!

    But you don't even have your non- shoes on in one of those photos!

  13. Great report Bob. There is a lot to lot to be said for the hum of the motor, the rush of the wind, and your own thoughts on a great stretch of highway. Very soul cleansing and rejuvenating. I need to do more of it.