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Hypothetical 2019/2020 CycleOregon

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Hypothetical 2019/2020 CycleOregon

Old 09-15-20, 11:54 PM
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CliffordK
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Hypothetical 2019/2020 CycleOregon

I thought I'd overlay the 2019 CycleOregon map onto the September 8/9 2020 Oregon fire map.



We had several massive fires pop up out of absolutely nowhere the evening of September 7, 2020, showing up on the charts September 8 (and the Diamond lake fire September 9). I think the 2020 CycleOregon was planned through Eastern Oregon and would largely have been safe.

Last year CycleOregon met in Oakridge on September 7. Then rode to Rainbow on September 8.
Just one year later, the fires "blew up", with the McKenzie fire igniting the evening of September 7 near Blue River, just to the west of Rainbow. I don't think the fire quite spread to the campsite (Tokatee Golf Club), but it would have been within a mile or so. Part of the road along Cougar Reservoir, and West King likely would have been impacted by the fire.

The fire jumped nearly 30 miles that first day.

The ride then took the riders into Eastern Oregon, and potentially away from a lot of the smoke.

The Diamond Lake fire seems to have been delayed slightly from the earlier fires, and showed up on September 9th, and rapidly expanded to about 10 miles long.

CycleOregon arrived at Diamond Lake the evening of September 11, then spent September 12 lounging around Diamond Lake and Crater Lake, and departed on the morning of September 13. It appears as if the CycleOregon campsite was slightly south of the extent of the fire, but that would have been way too close for comfort. And, riders would have ridden through the fire zone, as well as the departure route taking one through the center of it.

On the 13th, the group would have ridden just past the inception point of the Roseburg/Southerlin fire, and continuing on to Dorena Lake.

The final day would have taken them back to Oakridge, away from the fires, but deep in the smoke.

Thinking of the fires. The day before the fires started, everything seemed fairly typical for the area, and one might consider starting a multi-day ride. But, shortly after ignition, the fires moved so quickly that if a cyclist or someone tent camping without a vehicle got caught by the fire, it would be extremely difficult to escape.

A couple of years ago CycleOregon got cancelled last minute because of smoke.
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Old 09-16-20, 08:55 AM
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Thanks for posting this Cliff. So sad to see how these fires have affected Oregon, but so good that Cycle Oregon was already cancelled and avoided possible dangers.

What a great route. It looks like the route included the road from Oakridge to Brice Creek and then then Dorena to Cottage Grove rails to trails? That is a very scenic route, but with a horrendous amount of climbing. That's definitely a route worth riding once it's safe to ride again!
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Old 09-16-20, 01:12 PM
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I camped at Diamond Lake. It was lush and verdant, surrounded by forest, with a view of Mt Thielson. I guess it will look very different for the next several decades.

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Old 09-16-20, 10:30 PM
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It will be interesting to see some of the damage first hand. There is a lot of recovery from forest fires in the first few years in this area. Of course, some trees will survive, but bear the scars for many years to come.

They've now reopened about 20 miles of HWY 126, but only sections that didn't quite get hit by the fires.

There are two covered bridges up the McKenzie. As far as I can tell, both managed to escape the fire only barely.

Goodpasture Bridge


Belknap Bridge (which I believe was part of the 2019 CycleOregon route). No photos yet.

Still, nothing substitutes for good physical observations.
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Old 09-18-20, 10:41 PM
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Some information here: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Pages/Wildfire.aspx

It looks like the section of Hwy 138 between Glide and Steamboat is toast. Truly sad... Along with the scenery along Hwy 138, the Umpqua River trail opposite the highway will be another loss to mourn. There are a couple of fantastic paved routes off of 138 towards the vicinity of Cottage Grove Resevoir that'll be unrideable also. One starts near Idleyld and the other near Steamboat.
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Old 09-18-20, 11:04 PM
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Hmmm,

I would imagine several of the main east/west highways will be reopened within a month. I can't imagine anybody being happy with a longterm HWY 126 closure.

I wrote to the state HWY department a few days ago about widening the roads at the same time they do repairs. Ok, a pipe dream, but if it is bad enough, that should be considered.

I got a personal reply back.

HI Clifford,
Thank you for your comments and suggestions regarding widened shoulders on 126 E toward OR 242. We will be addressing the highway with emergency funding to do repairs after this catastrophic fire. Those funds are only able to address the highway upgrades that were there before. The funding is not allowed to be used to bring the roadway to current standards, only to repair what is “pre-event” conditions.

Wider shoulders and parallel bicycle routes are important and I understand that the county has been working on a Lane County Bicycle Plan, a planning document that will lay the groundwork for future funding, should funding become available. I have reached out to Becky Taylor regarding the status of the Lane County Bicycle Plan but have not heard back, which is not surprising given the emergency response underway currently. When I find this information, I will share it with you.

I appreciate your efforts to improve the bicycle infrastructure and network in Lane County.
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Old 09-19-20, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I would imagine several of the main east/west highways will be reopened within a month. I can't imagine anybody being happy with a longterm HWY 126 closure.
For what it's worth, the entire Entiat was closed for years after its most recent fire. Which was a lot lower intensity than the ones in your neck of the woods this year. Nobody was happy about it. Mud slides don't care.

I hope everything is safe to rebuild down there and you aren't kept waiting too long. I think you need to temper your expectations though.
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