Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Salem Oregon
Bikes: 1986 Diamondback Ascent 1996 Klein Pulse Comp, 2006 Specialized Sequoia Elite
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I ridden Hwy 22 out of Salem too many times to count. IMO it's fairly safe. Most of the Hwy has a decent shoulder and the traffic is usually only heavy on the weekends. There's a narrow stretch after the town of Detroit that's a little tight.
I've never ridden my bike on Hwy 26 out of Portland, but I've driven it many times. IMO - it has way more traffic, but if I recall correctly a good wide shoulder.
I'd chose Hwy 22 over 26 because of the volume traffic, but that's my personal preference.
Another longer option would be to ride to Estacada and then ride Hwy 224 to Hwy 22 at Detriot Lake. You could also ride I84 on the historic Columbia Gorge Hwy.
Do you need to stop in Bend?
Once you get to Central OR I'd chose Hwy 26 over Hwy 20. I've ridden Hwy 26 across Oregon and driven Hwy 20 across Oregon. IMO Hwy 20 to Burns is dull, dull, dull. It's all dry dusty dessert. Hwy 26 goes through the Ochoco Mts., John Day, and the Strawberry Mts. Hwy 26 also is a major cycling route across the US, so you're likely to meet cyclist from all over the world.
Have fun this summer on your trip. I bet you'll have an awesome time!