Hey Bent Bloke, thanks for the reply! Just reporting back that we parked at the McKenzie River Ranger Station 2.25 miles south of Highway 242 on Highway 126. The ranger station is only open 8-4:30 Monday through Saturday, but it has good parking and restrooms. Beautiful facility actually. Parking there we were able to keep our car off of 242, trying to keep it as car-free as possible for everybody else. The gate excluding all cars was 11 miles in on 242. Saturday was the last car-free day for the pass this summer, and there were a lot of riders taking advantage of it.
Starting at the ranger station it was just under 48.5 miles to the top and back, with somewhere around 4000 feet of elevation gain. The road surface was fantastic! I was told it was repaved on the west approach to the pass just a few years ago. I guess closed in winter (no stud damage) makes a difference. Fun ride, but my (almost) 57 year old legs definitely felt the burn. Highly recommended.