Do you ever pull out the map just to find long stretches of twisting road that you’ve never ridden on before? So do we! Paul and I were planning a day of motorcycling from Eugene to Bandon via some back roads, and then back up the coast via 101. But the weather forecasters suddenly warned of an incoming front that could drop rain as early as 11am at the coast. We decided to go east instead to seek out warmer temperatures and avoid the rain until the last minute on the way back.
Nothing really that special about this route except that I had never been on Highway 242, which is actually the old pass highway to and from Eugene. The road isn’t really maintained anymore and is actually closed most of the wet season. It starts out very inviting, similar to Highway 199 from Grants Pass into the Redwoods, or Highway 1 in NorCal: a thin strip of asphalt draped in the middle of a dense forest with corners ranging from 15 to 35 for at least 10 miles. It would’ve been pure bliss but nearly every corner had the gravel marbles dragged into the roadway by the oversized RV’s littering our beautiful road. Nonetheless, the scenery was incredible!
After tap dancing through these tight and sometimes treacherous corners, we left the forest and ascended to the 5000ft summit where the road opened up a bit. Suddenly the vegetation was becoming non-existent as we crossed through the lava field. The landscape changes so quickly and completely, it was like being on another planet. Here’s a picture I found on Flickr:
Highway 242 conveniently links right up to Sisters, where we would’ve ended up anyway had we taken 126 to 20. We pushed through the annoyingly crowded main drag (no choice) and headed onto Bend. And gosh, as long as we’re in Bend, we better hit the Deschutes Brewery for lunch. I had the Ham wrapped Halibut, and washed it down with their Sagebrush Classic Pils. A really tasty lunch to say the least!
Then back to business as we headed home. Except the business of enjoying the 30+ miles of tight corners through the Santiam Pass that was practically ruined by the endless stream of RV’s, dawdling sedans, and small trucks towing boats. It’s a public road and all, but please use the turn-outs folks!
All and all though, another great day trip through western Oregon covering nearly 300 miles. And we beat the storm back home. It’s been raining ever since I got home. Perfect timing!