Author Topic: Planning TA—Oregon logging trucks & annual highway closure?  (Read 789 times)

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Offline Buchmark

Planning TA—Oregon logging trucks & annual highway closure?
« on: February 15, 2024, 03:20:53 am »
Planning for our TransAm this spring/summer.  Read the following blog
https://steveacrossamerica.com/2018/07/18/day-53-92-6-miles-sisters-to-eugene-or/

If you’ve cycled this Hwy 126 in Oregon on the ACA TransAm, does his experience of no shoulder and logging trucks not moving over ring true?

Also ACA route info says the McKenzie highway is normally closed November until July.  Is this accurate?  How have cyclists managed—detour?  Ride later into summer heat?

Mary

Offline jamawani

Re: Planning TA—Oregon logging trucks & annual highway closure?
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2024, 08:36:20 am »
Hi Mary -

I read the blog page in question.
I did not find Hwy 126 any worse than other western highways in logging country.
Nor am I aware of any other riders who find this stretch especially notorious.

Sometimes there is a nearby logging operation with an intense log removal.
Drivers have to make multiple daily runs to make ends meet.
And big trucks are very jarring to less-experienced cyclists - takes getting used to.

In the post you referenced, the rider is doing almost a hundred miles in a day.
Plus crossing McKenzie Pass towards the end of his X-USA ride.
My guess is that he might be bonking a little bit, too.
Fatigue - physical and mental - increases your risk, but also alters your viewpoint.

The section of Hwy 126 between the Hwy 242 junction and Rainbow has no shoulder.
There are portions of the old highway between Hwy 242 and Rainbow you should use.
(The historic Belknap Covered Bridge is just off the old road.)
West of Rainbow, there is a fairly good shoulder.

I don't think you'll have any problem.
I have a personal rule while riding.
I am always willing to go off the road.
It may mean bumping to a halt, but it's worth the short delay.
Also, I use a bright pool noodle that sticks out 18 inches from my rear rack.

<<<>>>

You don't say when you are planning to ride and which direction.
I suspect you are starting in May and heading west to east.
Hwy 242 rarely opens to cars before late June.
It usually opens to cyclists a few weeks before - rarely before Memorial Day.

This year (2024) Hwy 242 is being repaved and will remain closed for all users much longer.
https://www.oregon.gov/odot/regions/pages/mckenzie-highway.aspx
Oregon DOT may offer some windows for crossing - evenings? - weekends?

This will require a detour to Santiam Pass and Hwy 20.
I've ridden it - much busier, not as scenic - but with good shoulders.
The shoulders are only moderate and feel narrow whenever there is a guardrail.

Whether Hwy 126 or Hwy 20, traffic increases in the afternoon.
If you can plan your crossing for morning by starting super early, you'll have less traffic.
Weekends usually have less logging truck traffic, but WAY more tourist traffic.

I hope you have a wonderful bike tour.

Jama

Offline Buchmark

Re: Planning TA—Oregon logging trucks & annual highway closure?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2024, 01:10:28 pm »
Thanks so much, Jama!  We’re very experienced cyclists, & comfortable dealing with traffic. We have flags, bright clothes, watch our rear-view mirrors, & agree that pulling off is sometimes the best option.

We are starting from home in Ohio in May & heading west, hope to do 60-ish miles/day based on location of overnights.  Figure we will end the second week of July.

Thanks again! 
Mary

Offline davidbonn

Re: Planning TA—Oregon logging trucks & annual highway closure?
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2024, 04:50:41 pm »
With the current Cascades snowpack and long-term forecasts (above normal temperatures, below normal precipitation) I'd think it safe to bet that McKenzie Pass will likely open several weeks early.

Santiam Pass has very wide shoulders but a lot of traffic.  Also, there are large drains on the shoulder which may be catastrophic to your bike depending on the tire diameter you are running.  Some of the drains were missing grates and would easily take any cyclist out, so you might have to swing out into the 70mph traffic to dodge these hazards.

Offline Buchmark

Re: Planning TA—Oregon logging trucks & annual highway closure?
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2024, 05:20:20 pm »
Thanks

Offline jamawani

Re: Planning TA—Oregon logging trucks & annual highway closure?
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2024, 08:27:14 pm »
Mary -

If you are heading westbound from Ohio, you should be fine.
My sense is that the repaving will be done by mid July.
If you were to camp on the west side of McKenzie Pass Road (Hwy 242)
then you could hit the shoulderless section of Hwy 126 early - with less traffic.

There are a couple of campgrounds on either side of the summit.
(Scott Lake on the west side is gorgeous.)
Then there is one midway down, and one just before the junction.
The views up top are expansive, once you get lower you get into dense forest.

One thing I've learned about mountains in the west.
It's always great to camp up top - -
but that means you ride up in the heat of the afternoon
and have to come down in the chill of the morning.
Hmmmm. But sometimes the camping spot is more than worth it.

Best - J

Offline canalligators

Re: Planning TA—Oregon logging trucks & annual highway closure?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2024, 12:01:34 am »
Hwy 126 has a nasty dangerous tunnel near Mapleton.  I would NOT go that way.  Highway 36 is longer but is the route recommended by AC.

I also rode 126 east of Eugene, from Mackenzie Bridge to Walterville.  There's no shoulder and traffic was generally impatient, passed closely, and we got horns a bit.  It was doable but stressful.  But then again, there are a lot of places like that on the TA.  I'll let it go at that.

Offline mattdwyerva

Re: Planning TA—Oregon logging trucks & annual highway closure?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2024, 10:56:32 am »
...I also rode 126 east of Eugene, from Mackenzie Bridge to Walterville.  There's no shoulder ..

Not sure if 126 has changed, but looking at google street view, I can only find short segments with no shoulder, but I have not ridden it yet. 

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Planning TA—Oregon logging trucks & annual highway closure?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2024, 12:58:09 am »
The logging truck area on the PCBR is one length or road I remember well.  Sure, where it was two lanes it had a side lane. Problem was large sections of bark broke loose from the trunks and scattered in the roadway.  These were pushed into the side lanes.  That required zig-zagging left and right continuously, swerving left of the white line into the main motorway.  All in all, the PCBR was a great ride.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Planning TA—Oregon logging trucks & annual highway closure?
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2024, 08:02:51 am »
I can only help a little bit:

Last summer (2023) I did the Sierra Cascades which runs along the TA for some miles.

On HWY 20 between Santiam Junction and Sisters there was a lot of recreational traffic and almost no truck traffic - however I cannot remember if it was a weekend or not. But I felt safe.

I bicycled maybe 30000 miles in total following ACA routes and the worst section was between Mc Cloud and Four Corners on HWY 89 in California. There are high speed logging trucks, no shoulders and it is extremely dangerous. One of the few times I felt my life was in danger.

Lucas

Offline Buchmark

Re: Planning TA—Oregon logging trucks & annual highway closure?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2024, 05:37:21 pm »
Thanks all !
-Mark