September 16, 2016 – Suttle Lake Loop and US 20, OR to Sam and Kelly’s house, Silverton, OR

I found myself wide awake and deep in thought around 3 AM. It’s starting to hit me that the trip is almost over and I’ll be getting back to city living. There are many pros and cons with this, the obvious pro being that I can start having a consistent paycheck again. I doze back off an hour or so later and then hear the birds chirping around 7 and it’s light out. I cook my last MRE for a little breakfast and pack up camp. At about 8 I hear Kyle’s moped on the road and knew that he would be cruising in here to check out Suttle Lake. I run down to the road to grab his attention and he comes up to my camp site. Turns out he was at the spot we had talked about, he just went further into the forest than I expected and he couldn’t hear me shouting out his name when I had pulled in. Oh well. At least I’m a couple of miles closer to the top of the pass.

Kyle heads to the lake and I finish packing up. On my way out Kyle pulls up alongside of me telling me the Lake was no good. He briefly entertains the idea of pacing me as we climb over Santiam Pass, but I think once he realized I was going to be going maybe 7 miles an hour he wanted nothing to do with it. So I start the climb and it’s a good one. Nice views of Suttle Lake and Mt. Washington are to my left and I make the remaining 6.5 mile climb in just under an hour. On the way down it starts to get very cold. The sun hasn’t gotten high enough in the sky yet so the road is completely shaded by the mountains and trees. I quickly make it to the junction of US 20 and SR 22 and stay straight on SR 22 towards Detroit following the North Santiam River. There are 2 guys going in the opposite direction on touring bikes that are bundled up like it’s the middle of winter out here. I give the wave and yell out that it’s only 11 more miles to the top of the pass. No clue if they heard me or had any reaction to it, as I’m busy cruising on a low grade downhill stretch.

It’s quite nice to be back in the thick of a forest like this with rushing water nearby, makes me feel like I’m home again. A string of what I believe are Ford Model A vehicles pass by me, kind of highlighting the day for me. Each one has its luggage strapped on the back of the vehicle and is a fun sight to see. I pull into Detroit about 11:30 and spot Kyle’s moped outside of The Cedars Restaurant. He has already finished eating and I don’t want to spend a bunch of time here, so I cross the street to Mountain High Grocery and grab a few items from the hot case as well as some chocolate milk. We sit outside for a half hour or so and then start off down the road.

The downhill isn’t as drastic now as it was before Detroit, but the views are still great with Detroit Lake (actually a reservoir) and the Santiam River to the left of me during the ride. At some point I passed Kyle because he went to check out one of the many parks I’m seeing signs for. As he passes me again I tell him he should find a swimming hole for us. Sure enough maybe 5 miles up the road he is waiting at the entrance to Fisherman’s Bend Recreation and he takes me down to the river. The water is flowing very fast and is quite shallow, but I find a spot that is deep enough to kneel down in and then submerge my whole body. It is also very cold, very close to freezing I would imagine if a thermometer was placed in it. It takes a while to warm up since the sun is hiding behind some clouds but it eventually finds its way out. I quickly washed my clothes in the river, no soap, so my shorts and shirt are wet when I go to put them back on. I decide to just strap the shirt onto the top of my bed roll to dry out and ride the 15 miles to Stayton. Perhaps this will even out the serious biker tan I’ve got going on a little bit.

From Stayton I get off of SR 22 and head north on Cascade Hwy. I see Kyle’s bike outside of a bar in Sublimity, but decide to keep riding the remaining 12 miles or so to Silverton and just shoot him a text that I passed him. Cascade Hwy is quite hilly and there are a few fires nearby that have the fresh smoke disrupting my view and noticeably making it more difficult to breathe. I make it past these and get into Silverton a little before 5. Kyle makes it into town shortly after and we ride the remaining 2 miles or so to Sam and Kelly’s house. Brian, Toby, and Colin are already there and dinner plans are made to throw some food on the grill, so Kyle and I head to grocery store to grab food and beer. Adam and Becky join the party shortly after we’ve finished eating and then we spend the rest of the night relaxing and drinking. Kyle and I set up our sleeping bags on the back porch underneath the awning and I call it a night around 11.

98.53 miles
6:47:55 in the saddle
14.5 Avg. MPH
3848 feet of elevation gained
6791 feet of elevation lost

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About darrenmodonnell

I've been bike touring each summer for the last 5 years. Summer of 2016 I'll be flying up to Alaska on June 1st and riding my bike back down towards the lower 48.
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