2014 Acura MDX: Oregon Road Trip, Part 2
May 29, 2014
After a Saturday spent walking all around Eugene, Oregon with a friend (great little city, by the way), on Sunday it was off to Bend in the 2014 Acura MDX to go mountain biking with another friend.
My buddy in Bend told me I'd enjoy the drive, and he was spot-on. From Eugene you take Route 126 slightly north, but mostly west as it follows the McKenzie River. Classic woodsy, river scenery. And hardly any traffic.
There's a cutover on Route 242 to Bend, but it's closed in winter due to snow. Apparently it won't open up until June or maybe July.
Later, the terrain gets more mountainous, and eventually Route 126 merges with Route 20, and in the town of Sisters you take Route 20 toward Bend. All told it's only about a two-hour drive from Eugene, depending on how many times you stop to take photos of your long-term car.
Who knows why or how I get ideas into my head, but for some reason I was thinking Bend was going to be moist and lush like Eugene, but in fact it's considered high desert. They don't get anywhere near the rain that Eugene does.
As such I was a little put off when the mountain bike trails didn't seem all that dissimilar from our dry, loose-dirt-over-hardpack trails in southern California. On the bright side, we were riding next to a river with flowing water, something we rarely ever have here.
But after we climbed to some higher elevation and got into thicker woods, the trails became more to my liking, the dirt providing great traction with plenty of fun twists and turns and a few jumps here and there. Good stuff.
The MDX performed flawlessly. Interestingly, my buddy, who is a car guy himself, noticed that the Acura's tires are cracking slightly on the edges where they were worn from our initial instrumented testing many miles ago.
Awesome scenery, great riding, good company. Without question, worth the side trip from Eugene.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 12,055 miles