Old McKenzie Pass Hwy 242 West Side (oof!) 01June2022

Christine and I are back on Hwy 242, but coming up the west side this time. The west side is steeper and has many narrow hairpin corners. It’s quite the trek! The road is still closed to motorized vehicles, so we hopped on our bikes to enjoy the safety and beauty that is this highway.

We were actually able to park pretty far up, which is nice. We did see an Oregon Dept. of Transportation (ODOT) truck go through… and saw him again later.

So, this is something new for me. Christine heard me wheezing and coughing the last time we went up Hwy 242 and said she thought I may have exercise-induced asthma. I relayed that information on to my primary doctor. She sent in a prescription for an inhaler and told me to try it before I exercise. I waited for this trip, because I knew if anything did it, it would be this climb! So I took a puff. A ways up the hill, I took another puff.

Now, I don’t know if it was because I was actually paying attention to my breathing or what, but I swear I actually could breathe easier! And at the end of it, I wasn’t wheezing or coughing. We’ll call this a successful trial!

Off we went! This side of the pass looks quite different. It’s more of the mountain scenery I’m used to. Very green and twisty, it’s gorgeous to drive or ride through. It certainly didn’t take long before we had to peel a layer off.

Even with the snow around us, we were warm. The snow was pretty shallow here, melting everywhere. There were still piles where the snowplow had dumped a large amount to get it off the road. The road was, for the most part, dry and in good shape.

Here’s a picture of Christine taking a picture of me. Aren’t we silly? We did stop to put our hands in the snow (shockingly cold) and then put our hands on the back of our necks. It was wonderful!

After a lot of climbing (and I do mean a lot), there’s a nice stretch like this that makes you think and feel everything will be okay. Then it climbs again. We were really enjoying this! After the climbing, flat spots felt as if we were going downhill!

At the end of that video, you can see the ODOT truck coming straight at us. He actually got into our lane and stopped. He really wanted to talk to us! He nicely let us know the road was closed about a mile farther on, and then stared at us. We told him we’d go see it, and it would be nice to start going downhill again after all that climbing, and then we went on our merry way.

Oh, naughty girls! We kept going.

This sweet little guy rode on my arm for so long! I couldn’t help but wonder if he was eating the salt on my skin? I mean, what else is it doing? Just tired, so it’s taking a ride? No matter the reason, I was glad to catch up with Christine so she could get a picture.

That little butterfly really liked us! It hung around for quite a while, taking turns landing on the both of us.

We climbed far enough to hear plows and heavy machinery, so we turned around before we could cause problems or get into danger. Here’s a nice shot of the South Sister, I believe!

Fields of snow…

We stopped here for a quick snack. You can see the water is running under all the snow.

It’s not terribly easy to see, but you can see all three Sisters here.

Some of the burned out areas (from rampant wildfires in 2020) are quite beautiful with the snow. So stark and pretty. It’s sadder when the snow is gone and things are supposed to be green, but are dead. We liked the snow much more.

We weren’t sure where all this snow came from – it definitely wasn’t there on our way up! We carefully traversed through and finished our ride soon after. It was just before this section that we met Scott and Sarah. They’re riding a tandem bike from Astoria, OR to Virginia! VIRGINIA!! Wow.

I really regret not getting their picture. I didn’t even think about it until I got down the hill. But you can follow them on their journey and give them encouragement here: https://www.tempertandem.com/ I hope you do – they were such nice people! I admire their fortitude and adventurous spirit! Scott and Sarah, I hope Snocap was open for you to get a burger and a shake, and I wish you all the safety and happiness!

Distance: 14.8 miles; Elevation Gain: 1,476 feet

Published by aimee

It all started with my friend, Christine. She called me a Viking. It's because I like endurance sports as well as lifting heavy things. Plus, my heritage includes Norwegians... It struck a chord somewhere deep down. I suddenly liked the idea of not having to be a small, slender person. I could be strong and thick. I could have mass. I don't want to be overweight or obese, mind you. I just don't like trying to be a waif when that is very likely unattainable to me. I have muscle (under this fat). I like being strong. So this is my journey of becoming more fit and liking the fact that I will never, NEVER weigh 120 pounds.

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