It was in 1980 and the SCMA’s “Three Flags Classic”(3FC) went going South for the first time in it’s five year history and finished in Ensenada, MEX. That was my the first time riding this Premier Long Distance Tour.
The 2017 Three Flags Classic (3FC17)
The 2017 Three Flags Classic (3FC17) is starting in Abbotsford, BC, Canada on Sept. 1st and finishing in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico on Sept. 4th. Hotel reservations with the special 3FC rates can start on Nov.1st, 2016. Here’s the contact info for these two hotels.
Quality Hotel & Conference Centre Hotel Peñasco Del Sol & Conference Centre
36035 North Parallel Road Paseo las Glorias 1, Centro
Abbotsford, BC, Canada V3G 2C6 Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico 83550
Reservations: 1-888-411-1070 Reservations: 1-888-683-0067
All room reservations MUST be made by telephone. It’s the only way you can take advantage of our group rate. Tell them you’re with the Three Flags Classic, and you will get the special 3FC rate. Abbotsford is $95 CDN per night and Puerto Peñasco is $95 US per night (without balcony) or $115 US (with balcony). These are all double occupancy rooms.
OVERVIEW of ROUTE and HIGHLIGHTS of the 42nd 3FC
From Abbotsford we cross the USA border in Sumas, WA. From Sumas the route will take us through Sedro Woolley, Everett, the Wenatchee National Forest, Ellensburg, and Yakima. We then ride some of the White Pass Scenic Byway westward on US 12 to Randle where we then turn south towards the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and Carson, WA.
Figure 1 – US 12, the White Pass Scenic Byway
The distance from Randle to Carson is about 80 miles (130km). Some of this stretch is twisty and a bit bumpy in spots. Allow yourself at least two full hours to do this stretch of road. There are many stretches of wide open road later on this route and absolutely no reason to “rush yourself” through Washington. On the road there are usually a few choices to make along the way. Here’s one that may be worth noting. From Carson the route goes east on Hwy 14, following the north shore of the Columbia River, to the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge. This bridge is a long metal grate type of bridge with a $0.75 toll payable as you come off the bridge.
OPTION: From Carson go west instead for 6.5 miles and cross the Columbia River on the Bridge of the Gods instead. Same construction and the toll’s a bit more ($1.00) but it’s 66% shorter.
Hood River is the first checkpoint this year. The exact location still to be determined (TBD).
The next leg continues south through the Mount Hood Wilderness and National Forest areas on US 26 through Madras and Prineville. From Prineville we go straight south to US 20 and then eastward to Burns, OR. You’ll want to FILL UP in Burns! The next gas station is in Fields, OR and is about 112 miles south of Burns. The Fields Station store is open year round, but closes at 6pm every day. From Fields it’s still another 121 miles to Winnemucca, NV so plan accordingly.
Winnemucca, NV will be the second checkpoint this year (exact location TBD) and at this point you’ll be almost half way to Puerto Peñasco. Leaving Winnemucca we go east, on I-80 for a few miles of freeway driving, to Battle Mountain where we turn straight south again. Once in Austin, NV we’ll travel east on US 50, “The Loneliest Road in America”.
3FC Fun Fact: After forty-one years, the 3FC has never had us drive on the eastern end of US 50 between Fallon and Ely. We’ve only done some short stretches of US 50 at the western end.
Continuing east on US 50 we go through Ely, NV and get almost to the Utah border before we turn southeast on SR-21. This highway takes us to Minersville, UT and here’s where we turn south again on SR-130 to Cedar City, UT and the junction of SR-14.
SR-14 runs about 41 miles from Cedar City to the Long Valley Junction. This highway has been designated the Markagaunt High Plateau Scenic Byway and is part of the Utah Scenic Byways program. As it ascends from Cedar City (elevation 5,800 feet) to Midway Summit (elevation 9,896 feet), it passes through some dramatic scenery including several tall cliffs, mountain terrain, and alpine forests. This area is part of Dixie National Forest and from SR-14 there are places where you can look down into Zion Park. At the SR-14 and US 89 junction we turn south again to the third checkpoint in Kanab, UT. Exact location still TBD.
Leaving Kanab the route goes south on US 89A towards Fredonia and Jacobs Lake. This interesting stretch of road is five miles shorter than going through Page on US 89.
SPECIAL NOTE: When you’re in Jacobs Lake there is a side trip on SR 67 to the North Arm of the Grand Canyon. Round trip is close to 90 miles but it is one of those nice pieces of road that you may not get a chance to ride very often. So, if you’ve never been close to the Grand Canyon and have a couple of hours to spare, you may quite enjoy this ride.
The very last leg of this year’s 3FC is going to be hot! Coming out of the mountains in Flagstaff it will start getting quite warm around Phoenix and, depending on the time of day, will continue to be quite hot all the way to Puerto Peñasco. Therefore, for the first time ever…
…the FINISH will open for ONE hour on Tuesday morning with the banquet still on Tuesday night.
This will allow riders to hold up somewhere cool for the night and get an early start Tuesday before it gets too hot. Finishing at 8pm on Monday and feeling “forced” to ride through 100⁰ or more, just to get your buckle, isn’t going to be necessary this year. If someone wants to spend Monday night around Phoenix somewhere and ride to the finish early Tuesday morning, that’s not a problem. I’d rather see a hundred more riders come now because it will be “so much easier” than have riders not come because they don’t like riding in extreme heat.
Notes from the Pre-Ride and General Info (in no particular order):
- Rooms in Flagstaff and the surrounding area go way up in price on the weekends. For example, a Motel 6 in Flagstaff was $110 because it was Friday.
- Getting gas along the way is not a problem, just be aware that the stretch between Burns, OR and Winnemucca, NV is close to 230 miles. Fields, OR is at the halfway point and gas is available at the Fields Station until 6pm daily, all year round.
- Hotels are Motels are not scarce, but you could find that driving “off route” for a few miles sometimes can save enough money to pay for two or three tanks of gas.
- With Arizona children back in school then, the Hotel Peñasco Del Sol will virtually be at our disposal from the time we arrive.
- As we can handle 325 entrants at both ends it would be fabulous to sell 325 tickets.
- The USA border crossing is only minutes from the start hotel and would form a huge bottle neck with 325 of us leaving the hotel at once. Using something like a numbered poker chip and a container in the hotel lobby, rider’s will have to put their chip in this container before they leave Abbotsford. Therefore, for the first time ever…
…riders will be able to leave Abbotsford anytime between midnight Thursday and 8am Friday
- These chips will be used at the Finish when drawing for prizes. If your chip doesn’t get collected at the Start then you’ll be ineligible to win anything in Mexico.
Figure 2 – Hotel Peñasco Del Sol
There will be more information coming along over time. Hopefully there’s enough information here that will allow people to start making plans.
If you want to contact this me regarding 3FC17 please use this email: firstname.lastname@example.org