When I arose Saturday morning the sun was bright, the sky was blue and everything seemed all right with the world! May was the third wettest month since 1998 and we had the lowest average high temperature on record. Taking that into consideration, it was time to fly the coop! After my morning coffee ritual I headed to the mountains, Detroit Lake and McKenzie Pass along the branches of the Santiam River. OMG this is a great state!
You cannot really avoid taking the freeway for parts of the trip—getting to and getting from the mountains. But once you head east from Interstate Hwy 5 you quickly know why you love traveling in Oregon.
Detroit dam was completed in 1953—the year I graduated from high school for heaven’s sake---by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dam created 400 foot (122 m) deep Detroit Lake, more than 9 miles (14 km) long with 32 miles (51 km) of shoreline. Following around the lake and heading south, I stopped at a little restaurant at Marion Forks for lunch. Several years ago on a similar trip I had stopped there and had a great meal. On that visit much of Oregon was in a wildfire zone and we were actually told we might have to evacuate the restaurant immediately if the warning came from the Forest Service. Turns out the restaurant survived. It is now under new ownership, but the food was still very good, plus the hummingbirds put on quite a show outside the windows at the feeders.
You rise to an elevation of about 4000 feet on this loop trip. In the beginning you do not realize that you are climbing to that elevation, but after connecting with Highway 20 and heading west the road weaved down through the gorgeous mountain passes for miles before coming out at Sweet Home to the flatlands of the Willamette Valley. Then to the freeway again, heading north toward home. How great it is to live in this state of excitement! Actually, the Oregon State motto is: “She Flies with Her Own Wings” and was adopted by the 1987 Legislature as the state motto.
I hope you enjoy a few of the photos taken along the way. Check them out here.