Day 9: Monday, May 27, 2013
Alder Springs Campground to Redmond: 55 miles
Of course, it rained all night. But ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
Compare the following photo with the one of Jack from 1981, same location.
|4000 feet and wet!|
|Steep but beautiful|
More rain, all the remaining 11 miles (and 3 hours) to the summit, and more and more wind, as I went up.
|Not quite ready for cars|
At the top, it must have been doing 30 mph, with rain! Believe it or not, I met about a dozen bicyclists who were just climbing the mountain as a day trip. And I couldn't believe how much skin was showing on some of them! Here I was, in my rain jacket and hood and rain pants and booties and suffering, and they had bare legs!
|Lookit all that bare skin!|
|At the top, all bundled up|
The top of McKenzie Pass features at least a trio of long-dormant volcanoes, and their broken-up lava flows dominate the landscape over an area of 50 square miles. Only the occasional tree manages to garner a toehold among the lava rocks.
I rode down the other side with three of the scantily-clad cyclists - only 20 minutes to the snow gate - and, its being the east side of the mountain and the clouds having dumped most of their moisture on the way up, the rain eased. With the help of a tailwind and a gentle downhill, the 15-mile ride into Sisters took under an hour.
|Sun at the snow gate!|
I remember Sisters as a sleepy little town. Now it's a tourist trap. The cars were bumper-to-bumper down the main street - tourists returning home after the Memorial Day weekend. I stopped at a bakery, then made my way out of town.
But not very fast. My tire pump, which had gotten its first use on the way up the mountain (I had stopped to help some bikers in distress), got its second use a few miles past Sisters. A 3/4" screw went straight into the rear tire. It plugged the leak fairly well, but the tire would have gone flat eventually. And, of course, when I unscrewed the screw, the tire went flat immediately. And, in the process of pushing the bike a short distance to a safe worksite, the tube rotated in the tire and sheared the valve stem off.
|I've been screwed!|
Not to worry. I carry extra tubes. And a tire. Since the tire wasn't long for this world, I changed it, too. The rest of the ride to Redmond was uneventful. I stopped at Hutch's, a bike shop, to pick up some chamois butter, and met another cyclist who was traveling with panniers, a trailer full of stuff, and a dog on top of it all. He said he'd been traveling since he was 15 and hadn't stopped, and he could give me travel advice on just about anywhere between here and Rio! And he gave me a can of ScotchGuard to treat my panniers.
After doing McKenzie Pass, I wasn't much interested in setting up a soggy tent and dealing with soggy clothes. So it was off to another Motel 6. I strung a clothesline and hung everything to dry, and the bed felt quite good.
|Tonight's drying room|