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Dec 14th 2019, 02:21 PM   #1
 S1000RGirl's Avatar
  Dec 2019
  Salem OR

McKenzie Pass 9/7/18

This ride was part of the second longest day of 457 miles total on the S1000R in my riding history of 16,000 miles on this motorcycle. I was heading home to Medford from Welches, OR. Prior to this section I had ridden from Mt. Hood to Sisters and after this section I rode Hwy. 138 the Waterfall Hwy from Roseburg to Diamond Lake, cut off to Hwys 230 & 62 and back to Medford. It was a very long day in the saddle, all by myself but it was a milestone and I made it back before sundown which is always my goal for safety reasons.
I'm moving to Salem OR early 2020: McKenzie Pass will now be an annual ride event for me.
So I give you the ride report from back then....
Second Cascade Crossing of 3 Cascade Crossing Ride 9/7/18
Distance 187 miles of 457 miles
Sisters Oregon to Roseburg Oregon
Now I am headed up Hwy 242 to McKenzie Pass...
Highway 242 is at first easy: cornering with 45 mph turns and spindly trees with little ground cover other than moss, bracken and lichen. Elevation at Sisters is 3000 ft. so the trees were not this way due to elevation but due to volcanic activity in the past forever altering the landscape.
The road entered the lava rock flow off of Sisters and now it narrowed: it would stay in this lava rock for some time. No shoulder, no gravel, not even a ditch to land in. You run off this road you're in a field of sharp jagged rocks. Ouch! At times the lava rock is so high you are almost in a tunnel of rock.
By necessity the road became more technical: what was 45 mph was now 25mph. So the BMW S1000R and I stepped up our game. No room for error but no doubt about it: THIS ROAD IS FUN. Like Green Springs with lava rocks...few if any cars, no motorcycles and we ran it to the viewpoint for Mts. Washington and Jefferson: snapped a couple of shots and headed up to the summit 5500 ft. Here we stopped for photo opportunity once again and now it's on to the GREEN side...
But at first more lava rock to get through, still technical. Every car I saw "cleared the road" for me. How nice and kind of unusual...HUH?! LOL. Thank you car people! I was the only motorcycle on this road and since it was a Friday no bicycles either.
Now comes the trees: at first spindly and gnarly again, becoming more straight and robust as we descended. Lots of switchback to ride through here. 25mph, 15-20mph, then 25mph and this went on for a good 30 miles it seemed. In comparison Green Springs (my reference technical road) is about 15 miles total. This was Green Springs in total times 4, when you factor in both sides of the pass. Whoa! No wonder there's 255 corners or so I've been told.
I dream of this road when I am home 100s of miles away. For good reason, because it is that epic. I should be running it multiple times per year: it's that good.
But it was one heck of a centerpiece to put into a 457 mile day. Quite the challenge for me and the S1000R! Were we up to it? We were about to find out.
We gave these switchbacks our all, 2nd and 3rd gear work, up, down, quick shift up, auto blip down, throw over to the right, to the left, to the right to the left, braking unavoidable due to downward slope and technicality. Halfway down, concentration fatigue shows up, backed off speed for a couple of turns, recovered it, so at it again without hesitation.
This pass is a little misleading: the distance from Sisters is only 30 miles, it's longer on the way down on the green side....
With 10 miles of straighter road to Hwy. 126 which seemed to take forever now I'm really getting tired. Straight road is not my friend when I'm tired....finally left turn to Eugene.
Lots of legal passing zone passing of cars and semis increasing as I got closer to Springfield. Saw a few LEO, one just BEGGING me to do something BAD. So sorry to disappoint you. Slipped on to the Causeway to I5 to Cottage Grove for gas stop and much needed change of riding gear as it was HOT now inland.
On to Roseburg: exit to Highway 138 to Glide, OR to our final crossing to finish the ride home
Attached Thumbnails
McKenzie Pass 9/7/18-41344632_2077847322234700_2220879588207099904_o.jpg   McKenzie Pass 9/7/18-41363517_2077869785565787_305317882064011264_o.jpg  

Edited by S1000RGirl on Dec 14th 2019 at 02:26 PM
Dec 14th 2019, 03:01 PM   #2
 chadams66's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Garden Home

  2012 Versys...'83 BMW R80 RT...Suzuki GS 450t
last time I was out and my friend Justin..were heading east off of 126...when we got to the forested twisty part we hit a long line of very slow moving cars...I followed Justin with some passing of the cars on those curves..not exactly a good idea...finally we came to the front of the line..a couple of Big V-Twins one with an extended front forks.."no wonder everyone was doing 10mph"...we saw them again at the Observatory..but they weren't in a friendly mood (I think they thought of us as squids)...great road no matter which way you're going..unless you're passing cars where you shouldn't be...thanks Justin...
Dec 14th 2019, 04:06 PM   #3
 S1000RGirl's Avatar
  Dec 2019
  Salem OR

That sounds miserable riding that slow over a great road. I guess I have been lucky the two times I have been there. Both of those times were in September, and one day was a Friday. Haven't found a workaround for people's assumptions about riding fast and riding reckless. The two are mutually exclusive. Strangers can't know the time, training and safety mindset that go into anyone else's riding. Slow isn't always safe either not by a long shot. Hope the next time you make it up to McKenzie you get to ride it at your own speed rather than someone else's.

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