Day 61: Bend, OR ➡️ McKenzie Bridge, OR

Miles: 66.3

Total: 3,601.7

Today was my favorite day, I’m pretty sure.

We left Bend this morning and headed towards Sisters. The scenery was already starting to get better!

Sisters was a pretty nice little town! It was one of those towns where everything was quaint and perfect…you know, one of those towns with beautiful flowers on every corner.

Although it was 10 a.m., Masherra and I stopped at Subway to get some food before we climbed McKenzie Pass. We also contacted the bike shop in Florence and found out that they would ship our bikes for us at a decent price. Once we finalized where we were shipping our bikes from, we went ahead and booked plane tickets! We felt so relieved after working out some of the end-of-the-bike-trip logistics.

I can’t believe we are almost finished. Masherra and I both shed a few tears at lunch, over different things, and then laughed about it. We have two days of riding left…and then this trip of a lifetime will come to a close.

It’s bittersweet.

The past couple of weeks have been tough. Riding through the desert just made me want to be home. I was ready to be done. Today, however, as the scenery became more and more beautiful, I found myself not wanting the trip to end. I found myself worrying about getting back to normal life.

I tried to soak in every moment of today.

When we left Sisters, our climb started almost immediately. We are now back on the official TransAmerica route, so we saw more bikers today!

This guy was headed west as well. He congratulated us as he rode past us. We congratulated him as well. It was a neat feeling.

The climb up to McKenzie Pass was about 15 miles. It started out at a pretty low grade, and would occasionally get steep, and then get easier. It took some time and patience, but it wasn’t too bad of a climb! You know what they say….2.5 hours up, 30 minutes down!

As we were climbing, so many cars passed us waving and friendly honking. One car with a bike rack on the back passed us with a child’s arm stuck out the window giving us a thumbs up.

Several cyclists on road bikes passed us as they were making their descent.

“Way to go!”

“Right on!”

“Oh my gosh!” (in reference to climbing the pass with a loaded touring bike)

It feels so great to have support, even when it’s from total strangers.

As we were climbing, we started riding through 2,000 year old lava beds! If you remember from my last post, the Three Sisters used to be volcanoes, and one still has the potential to erupt one day.

Anyway, climbing up to Mckenzie Pass was amazing. There were several moments where I said, “wow” out loud.

Once we made it to the top, we climbed up to an observatory.

And then, we headed down.

The descent from McKenzie Pass was my absolute favorite. The entire 12 miles down.

This is way better than any amusement park ride ever.

We descended from an ancient lava flow into a thick, lush, green forest, with the tallest trees you’ve ever seen, and the thickest ferns you could ever imagine. Everything was covered in moss, and the air smelled like one of those evergreen scented candles. The ride down was beautiful.

The road winded and twisted every which way. It was an absolute blast.

You could hear the wind blowing through the tall evergreens, almost sounding like a huge crowd applauding. The sun shown down like a spotlight, filtered by the thick ceiling of leaves. Hundreds of little tiny ‘helicopters’ floated to the ground like confetti.

What a great send-off.

I didn’t take many pictures on the way down. I wanted to soak in every single moment, and I’m so glad that I did.

As we neared McKenzie Bridge, we stopped to take a look at the McKenzie River.

You could feel the coolness of the water as you approached the bank. Across the river was pretty much my dream cottage.

We ate supper at a little restaurant and then found a place to stealth camp. It was definitely my favorite place we have camped.

We are in the forest on a bank above a small creek, nestled in between the ferns and tall trees. The sun has just set and it’s pitch black. Our tents are glowing in the dark and the creek is rolling in the background. Above me tower pine tree silhouettes, tiny stars peeking through the branches.



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