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Author Topic: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions  (Read 10856 times)

OCGuy81

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Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« on: October 25, 2011, 07:33:56 PM »

Hello again fellow roadgeeks,

I'm making a trek to Portland on Thursday for a conference, and am flying up my wife and kids so we can see some friends in town and take a day or two exploring.

I'd like to make a central Oregon loop from Portland, and am thinking of the following loops.

I-84 to Hood River, south on OR-35 to US 26, and US 26 to US 97.  (my alternate would be taking 26 directly to 97, but my wife wants to see the Gorge in the late fall)

Coming back to Portland I'm thinking of either US-20 to OR-22 and back via Salem, OR

OR-58, a bit further south, and hitting the 5 again in Eugene.

Would weather in the mountain passes be an issue yet this early in the year?  Any sightseeing suggestions, side trips, eats you can suggest?  Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 07:09:31 PM by Bickendan »
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xonhulu

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 07:55:23 PM »

Your route up the Gorge and down to Madras is a pretty scenic drive.  If you have the time, ditch I-84 past Troutdale and take the historic Columbia River Highway -- it takes you up to the high photographic vistas as Portland Women's Forum and Crown Point/Vista House, and then accesses more waterfalls than the freeway.  Stop at Multnomah Falls and hike up to the footbridge.  Also, after OR 35 takes you to US 26, take a short side trip west to the road up to Timberline Lodge for some spectacular views of Mt. Hood.  Then return to 26 and enjoy the transition from forests to high desert on the way down to Madras.

There's a lot to do in the Bend area.  Smith Rocks, Lava Lands, Newberry Crater, Lava River Cave, Tumalo Falls, and Pilot Butte are all favorites of mine.  If you feel like heading back on OR 58, take the Cascade Lakes Byway to get close-up views of Mt. Bachelor and the South Sister, as well as several nice mountain lakes; then on westbound 58, stop off at Salt Creek Falls just west of the pass to see another great waterfall.

If you go back on US 20 or OR 22, there are also some nice sights, but I'd also highly recommend OR 242, the old McKenzie Pass Highway, to get some views of the extensive lava fields up on McKenzie Pass, as well as the short hike out to Proxy Falls on the westside.  Then follow OR 126 back to Eugene (with the fairly cool Goodpasture Covered Bridge along the way), or take east OR 126 up to US 20 and/or OR 22 if you want to go back on either of those (I'd give OR 22 the slight nod for being the nicer drive).

Try to make it a two-day trip; while a single day is possible, you wouldn't have a lot of time for any activity.

The mountain passes should still be fine this time of year, but you can go to ODOT's TripChek to see the current conditions.

Enjoy the trip!
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OCGuy81

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2011, 08:41:56 PM »

Thanks for all the excellent suggestions.  We're taking Friday and Saturday to explore, and think we'll try to spend the night in Bend, so it's not too much sitting in a rental car and not being able to take it all in. Is the historic Columbia River Highway the original US 30 alignment?  I've seen pictures and it looks impressive!

You mentioned the South Sister.  Is the town of Sisters worth a stop?  Our friends in the Portland area always talk of making treks to Sisters.

Bend also has the Deschutes Brewery, which I'm very excited about.  I've had some Deschutes brews in the past and am loving the chance to visit the source!

Flight back home is Sunday afternoon, so I figure this should be a short, but fun trip! Thanks again for your input.
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xonhulu

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2011, 08:51:53 PM »

Thanks for all the excellent suggestions.  We're taking Friday and Saturday to explore, and think we'll try to spend the night in Bend, so it's not too much sitting in a rental car and not being able to take it all in. Is the historic Columbia River Highway the original US 30 alignment?  I've seen pictures and it looks impressive!

Yes, it's old US 30, and is now signed as HIST US 30.  A definite must to drive, especially for a vacationing road geek.

Quote
You mentioned the South Sister.  Is the town of Sisters worth a stop?  Our friends in the Portland area always talk of making treks to Sisters.

Sisters is a quaint little town, lots of shops and decent places to eat.  The biggest attractions in that area for me are the golf courses at nearby Black Butte Ranch, but the town is interesting, too.

Quote
Bend also has the Deschutes Brewery, which I'm very excited about.  I've had some Deschutes brews in the past and am loving the chance to visit the source!

I'll second that, although there's also a Deschutes Brewery location in NW Portland you could hit up if you can't wait to get to Bend to have a couple pints!

Quote
Flight back home is Sunday afternoon, so I figure this should be a short, but fun trip! Thanks again for your input.

You're welcome, and once again, I hope you enjoy the trip!
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agentsteel53

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2011, 11:59:27 PM »

I second the recommendation of OR-242.  It is quite possibly the most scenic route I have ever taken in the entire state (and there are plenty to choose from!)  

Don't forget to stop by Sahalie Falls on the McKenzie River, which I believe is on 126.

(the pass is gonna be open for only another several weeks before the winter sets in, so definitely check with Oregon DOT - when I drove it in 2007, it was October 27th or so, and the pass closed a week later.)
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 12:02:09 AM by agentsteel53 »
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Tarkus

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 12:14:17 AM »

If you wanted an alternate route down to Bend, I'm very partial to US-197, which I-84 and US-30 meet at the east end of The Dalles (which also has a very charming downtown).  OR-35 is a very nice drive and has the advantage of being right next to Mt. Hood.  However, you'd see more of the Gorge, and US-197's a fun road and has its own rather nice scenery (miles of wildly undulating wheat fields out of The Dalles, and some desert canyons, particularly winding in and out of Maupin, plus you can still see Mt. Hood), the elevation is several hundred feet lower, and it won't have as much traffic (particularly if ski season's gotten going).  197 ends at 97 about 40 miles north of Madras.  If you don't check it out this trip (I can understand wanting to go up on Mt. Hood), I'd definitely keep it in mind if your travels take you back to Oregon.  I'd absolutely recommend against taking 26 directly to 97.  Between Portland and Mt. Hood (particularly around Gresham), the traffic can often be aggravating and it's not particularly scenic until you get a good bit past Sandy.

Bend's among my favorite places in the whole state (and if I could figure out a way to make a living there, I'd move there in a heartbeat)--there's definitely a lot to do there, and I'd certainly recommend spending a night there.  The downtown is fantastic (Drake Park should be absolutely gorgeous right now), and there's a lot of great restaurants around downtown, the Old Mill District (there's a great "authentic" pizza place there--Flatbread), and several breweries around besides Deschutes (Cascade Lakes Brewery/Pub on Century Drive is usually a stop for me--food is great there). 

As far as Sisters goes, I'm honestly not a huge fan of the place.  It used to be pretty quaint in the early/mid-1990s, but it's become a bit of a tourist trap and it can often be rather crowded there (even now).  The only big reason I'd go is if you wanted to take the Old McKenzie Pass Highway (OR-242), though unfortunately, it just closed today (the shortest open season they've had for it ever--it only opened up July 15th this year).

Cascades Lakes Byway (also in part known as Century Drive because it's 100 miles long--same road Cascade Lakes Brewery is on, actually) also closes down in the winter beyond Mt. Bachelor, though it's a more modern road at a lower elevation than McKenzie Pass, and so it's usually open most of the year (and should be open now, though I'd check TripCheck to be sure).  Absolutely stunning drive--some of the lakes are right next to the highway and the color of the water is usually a rather interesting shade.  OR-58's great, too, and you'd definitely see some fall color up there, though Willamette Pass is rather high (though being a major route, should be well-maintained).  There's also a couple historic covered bridges along it (including the one in Lowell at Dexter Lake).

Oh, and in Redmond, there's an amusingly bizarre gas station on the south side of downtown (right at the southern terminus of US-97 BUS on 5th St, near where it meets OR-126--might be able to see the sign from the new US-97 Redmond Bypass).  Has some of the cheapest gas in the state--just look for the sign with the smirking, crazy-eyed anthropomorphized plum (I'm not making this up, I swear :spin:).
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agentsteel53

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 01:19:17 AM »

Oh, and in Redmond, there's an amusingly bizarre gas station on the south side of downtown (right at the southern terminus of US-97 BUS on 5th St, near where it meets OR-126--might be able to see the sign from the new US-97 Redmond Bypass).  Has some of the cheapest gas in the state--just look for the sign with the smirking, crazy-eyed anthropomorphized plum (I'm not making this up, I swear :spin:).

however, you're still not allowed to pump your own gas.  If you want to do that, go to the Indian reservation at Warm Springs on US-26 - just a few miles west of Madras where it hits US-97. 
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OCGuy81

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2011, 10:05:29 AM »

Additional thanks to Tarkus and agentsteel.  I like the suggestion of Cascade Lakes Brewery.  Oregon has too many good breweries to choose from!  These brews need to find their way further south!

I'll let you all know how it goes and get some pictures uploaded as well once I'm back home.
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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2011, 12:31:20 PM »

Additional thanks to Tarkus and agentsteel.  I like the suggestion of Cascade Lakes Brewery.  Oregon has too many good breweries to choose from!  These brews need to find their way further south!

You can have some of our beers when we get some In-N-Outs up here!

Rick
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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2011, 01:28:22 PM »



You can have some of our beers when we get some In-N-Outs up here!

Rick

I could probably drive up to Oregon, grab a beer, sober up sufficiently, and drive home, in the time it takes for In-N-Out to serve me.
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OCGuy81

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2011, 04:01:49 PM »

Quote
I could probably drive up to Oregon, grab a beer, sober up sufficiently, and drive home, in the time it takes for In-N-Out to serve me.

Really? That's unfortunate.  The one by me is usually really fast.  But I'll take the Oregon trip for some good microbrews anytime!  :-P
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agentsteel53

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2011, 04:07:31 PM »



Really? That's unfortunate.  The one by me is usually really fast.  But I'll take the Oregon trip for some good microbrews anytime!  :-P

not quite that slow, but it is about 20-30 minutes sometimes.  this compared to 4 minutes at Carl's Jr, which is just as good.
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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2011, 04:30:54 PM »

Quote
Carl's Jr, which is just as good

What? Really? I'm anti-In 'n Out because I'm anti California culture but even I eat there because I know that In 'n Out is magical, far more magical than Carl's

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2011, 05:09:04 PM »

But Carl's is far tastier.
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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2011, 05:29:15 PM »


What? Really? I'm anti-In 'n Out because I'm anti California culture but even I eat there because I know that In 'n Out is magical, far more magical than Carl's

I wouldn't call it magical.  It's very good but not worth the wait in line.
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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2011, 08:50:20 PM »

Quote
But Carl's is far tastier.

That's just not true- the only thing that comes close to a double/double Animal Style is a Steak 'n Shake double steakburger.

The Western Bacon Star is alright, but it's cheating. Anything with BBQ sauce, bacon, and an onion ring on it is going to be delicious. 

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2011, 09:35:12 PM »

Eh, this is a roadtrip to Oregon. Oregon has beer and not burgers. So the discussion is moot. ;) I will throw this thread at Doug and see if he has something to add.

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2011, 09:59:03 PM »

Mmmm....beer.  Thanks Steve, for keeping me focused!



I'm ALWAYS open for good brewpub selections.  The only one I've crossed off my NW list so far was Bridgeport in Portland (awesome).
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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2011, 10:18:37 PM »

Quote
Eh, this is a roadtrip to Oregon. Oregon has beer and not burgers. So the discussion is moot.  I will throw this thread at Doug and see if he has something to add.

I tell you what- one of the best burgers to be had anywhere is at the truck stop with a sit down restaurant (I couldn't tell you the name- Stagecoach maybe? it's southwest of the freeway) off I-82 in Umatilla. I'm not even kidding- their burgers are awesome.

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2011, 10:34:36 PM »

My favorite burger to date has to be Hodad's in San Diego.  The bar is set quite high, IMO! : :D
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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2011, 11:11:53 PM »

Eh, this is a roadtrip to Oregon. Oregon has beer and not burgers. So the discussion is moot. ;) I will throw this thread at Doug and see if he has something to add.

Oregon has both beer and burgers.  May I suggest having a meal (and some beer) at McMenamin's?

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2011, 11:53:21 PM »

My favorite burger to date has to be Hodad's in San Diego.  The bar is set quite high, IMO! : :D

that is quite the good one!

I'm also partial to Carneys, which is on Sunset Blvd in LA - the 8300 block or so?  I can never remember the exact address; I just know where it is  :sombrero:
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OCGuy81

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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2011, 10:05:36 AM »

Greetings again.

Fantasic trip.  The tour of Oregon provided some great scenery, excellent food, and some top notch beer.

Heading east on I-84, took the exit for historic US 30.  It's an interesting drive, and it really doesn't feel like you're going too high until you find yourself at the Crown Point Vista House, offering some incredible views.  Continuing east, lots of great waterfalls.  Stopped and took a short hike at Bridal Veil falls, and made another stop at Multnomah Falls.  The latter, while impressive, shocked me with the crowds there.  Still, very pretty.

Re-joining I-84, continued on to Cascade Locks, and went across Bridge of the Gods.  Drove east on Washington 14, and drove back across the Columbia in Hood River and stopped for lunch.  Continued east on I-84 to the Dalles, and then headed south on US-197.

Made it to Bend, and stayed the night in an area called the Old Mill District.  Shops and restaurants you can find almost anywhere, but beautiful parks and walkways lining the river.  We made the short trek to Deschutes Brewery for dinner, and I was in beergeek heaven! Some great seasonal brews now available, and the food was incredible.

Drove back on US 20 through Sisters (had a great bakery) and then took OR-22 to Salem (another incredibly beautiful drive) and hit I-5 back to Portland.

All in all, a quick trip, but fun.  I wish I had more time.  I'll upload pictures once I have the chance to go through em.

Thanks for all the feedback!
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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2011, 01:53:18 PM »

Sounds like a wonderful trip! Makes me nostalgic hearing of trips through my home state. Latourell Falls is one of my favourite stops along the way (it's one of the smaller waterfalls before you reach Multnomah Falls heading east on the historic highway). You can find wonderful examples of the hexagonal basalt columnar formations that comprise the Columbia River Gorge if you walk up right to the base of the falls.

Good call on visiting Deschutes Brewery in Bend! I would also highly recommend stopping by Full Sail Brewery in Hood River next time you make the trip up north.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 01:55:36 PM by luokou »
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Re: Oregon Trip. Road Trip Question/Suggestions
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2011, 11:14:08 PM »

Thanks luokou.  I had some Full Sail in bottles at my friend's house on Thursday night.  I wasn't aware I was that close to the source! Next time, I'm there!
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