[The ride reported here took place May 11th, 2013]
Meandering through the tallest peaks in the mid-Oregon portion of the Cascades, the Cascades Lake Highway is classified as a scenic drive. It starts going west from Bend, passing by the north side of Mt Bachelor at 6,000 ft, before going past the Sisters Wilderness, to the South of the South Sister, and from there turning towards Highway 58 to the south. Portions of this road are high enough on the Cascades that the road closes during the colder months of the year. Early May it opened for the 2013 season, a week later I was ready to ride it. Of course, the bike of choice for the job was my new favorite, the Ducati Multistrada. On my way out I filled its tank with non-ethanol gasoline.
I took the long way out, circling west from my house to go north past Junction City, and then Brownsville before turning east to climb the Cascades.
Highway 20 is a great road for climbing the Cascades, when 242 is closed, that is. Hwy 20 has very light traffic on the east climb and offers lots of nice curves. Soon I was in Sisters where I topped off the tank. A full tank here allows me to go all the way home, close to 200 miles from here looping via Hwy 58.
A quick stop on the way to Bend to photograph the bike with the Sisters on the background.
I went through Bend and soon I was riding on the Cascades Lakes Highway. Light traffic, nice warm temperature, and still some snow banking the road. I stopped at one of the Mt. Bachelor ski areas, which was already closed for the season at that time.
I was glad I got to ride this road just as it opened for the season, the views were great, with all the snow still lingering in this unseasonably warm spring. Here are several photos of the most scenic portion of the road just past Mt. Bachelor:
When the road turns south, passing on the west side of Mt. Bachelor, there is a small viewing area. I decided to explore a bit of off road with the bike for a better shot.
The results were not the best, in terms of the shot, that is.
But it was fun to have the bike in the snow.
A little farther down the road.
From here on the road becomes less dramatic in terms of mountain views. There are several access roads to lakes along the way. I did not stop on any of them except for Davis lake, already close to the High 58, where there are signs of a recent forest fire, perhaps it happened a couple of years ago.
The road gets little traffic on these areas outside of Sisters and Mt Bachelor. It seems most people turn around, back to Bend, after they enjoy the views of the taller peaks. I finally connected to Hwy. 58 and went west towards Eugene. One stop at the Odell Lake and that was it.
A view of Diamond Peak from Odell Lake.
All the way home.
Total for this trip, 311 miles or 500 Km. This could be a typical riding day for the Multistrada. But I would say it could easily do more miles than that before I get tired and call it quits for the day. This bike is, simply putting, fantastic, perfect for touring, sports touring, mind you, emphasis on sports.
Next: A first ride on the Diavel Strada!