Road Trippin' questions. Driving from Denver, CO to Blue River, OR, down through California and back to CO. Here's the link to my tentative map.
June 18, 2011 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Road Trippin' questions. Driving from Denver, CO to Blue River, OR, down through California and back to CO. Here's the link to my tentative map.

Looking for the best places to stop along the route and any general road trip advice you wonderful mefiers might have to offer. Conditions that might matter. We have two St. Bernard puppies (80lbs). We have up to a month to spend so going off the route doesn't matter all that much. I've been on plenty of road trips up to 22hrs straight through and know enough about working on my vehicle and have lived in the mountains so I'm prepared for mountain safety. We could change the route to stay on 70 through Colorado instead of heading straight up to Wyoming and down 80 but we've seen Colorado. Staying with friends and family, most of which are dog friendly. Any etiquette tips? Gifts we should bring them? Just cash? Dinner?
posted by no bueno to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Always showing up at someone's house with a bag of groceries is a plus.

Also, according to your route, you will be going by Newberry Volcano National Monument, and you should stop there and drive to the top of Newberry Peak to look at it. Maybe get out and wander around Paulina Lake, with your dogs.

If you have a manueverable car, also, from Bend, take 242 to Blue River, rather than 126. It is more spectacular than words can give justice to. A hella tricky drive though.
posted by Danf at 7:40 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Details I have left out that may be important: I'm going with my girlfriend as well as the two dogs. We have a 2011 Subaru Outback.
posted by no bueno at 7:44 AM on June 18, 2011

Response by poster: And Danf - Thanks! That sounds amazing. Exactly the type of advice we were looking for.
posted by no bueno at 7:45 AM on June 18, 2011

OK, also, once you get to Florence, on the Oregon Coast, there is a nice pit-stop park for dogs, Miller Park. You turn right on 101 (away from California) and go up to 18th St. and turn left, and while there is no dog area, the park is big and has restrooms and we usually stop there to let the dog out of the car. Can't see the ocean from there but you can't from anywhere in Florence.

There are some dog parks in Eugene. Memail me if you want to know more.
posted by Danf at 7:54 AM on June 18, 2011

Canyon de Chelly is just a little out of your way, and was the highlight of my cross-country drive.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:56 AM on June 18, 2011

Also, according to your route, you will be going by Newberry Volcano National Monument, and you should stop there and drive to the top of Newberry Peak to look at it

Second this- very cool! You can also hike to the top, although I confess I got winded by the altitude, walked back down and drove up. Also right in that area is something called the Lava Cast Forest (I think). I noticed the sign at random on the road south of Bend. Pretty amazing landscape of black hardened lava and petrified trees.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:34 AM on June 18, 2011

The 5 down through central California is boring. If you take the 101 from SF to LA, it only adds 1-1.5 hours, and is much more scenic. Plus you can stop in San Luis Obispo and see Bubblegum Alley(TM), and get the best pulled pork sandwich just north of Santa Maria.

Something to consider
posted by bodaciousllama at 11:05 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestion! On the map it looked like it would add a lot of time so I was avoiding it after we left San Francisco. Loved pulled pork as well. Might have to change the route.
posted by no bueno at 11:12 AM on June 18, 2011

I have done the Oregon/Idaho/Utah leg of this trip on many occasions and would highly recommend staying on I-80 W to Elko Nv and then going north on 225/51 to Mountain Home Idaho. It's awesomely scenic, and the remote high desert offers many opportunities to see pronghorn antelope and beautiful scenery.
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:18 PM on June 18, 2011

Idaho native here. To put it extremely charitably, I-84 between Salt Lake and Boise is a whole lot of nothing. The stretch between Salt Lake and Burley (where the two interstates merge, in southern Idaho) is probably unavoidable based on your overall itinerary, and not that bad (though high winds are common, sometimes with blowing dirt or sand, and lots of space between gas stations).

As for the second leg, between Burley and Boise, if you have some time I would really, really encourage you to take a detour north - to go through Sun Valley, over Galena Summit, through Stanley, and then west through the Boise National Forest, like so. It would definitely add some time, but for scenery this is an absolutely unbelievable drive. I know 75 doesn't exactly look like a major interstate on Google maps, but it's a perfectly fine, full speed two-lane highway that entire way (and, bonus, is an official scenic byway).

There are plenty of places along the way to let the puppies out, walk around, take pictures, get something to eat (especially in Ketchum, Sun Valley and Stanley - if you're doing this in late summer, you can also stop at some of the farmer's markets around Twin, since that's actually a big fruit farming area - peaches, apricots, cherries).

Things to see if you do decide to take that route:
Get off the interstate at Twin and look at the Snake River Canyon
Shoshone Falls
Galena Summit
Lake Stanley
Payette River byway (that last stretch where you're on 55 going into Horseshoe Bend).

Have a wonderful trip - feel free to memail with specific questions.
posted by amy lecteur at 12:32 PM on June 18, 2011

For the California leg, you chosen the 2nd most boring route north/south through the state (I-5/central valley is the most boring by a lot). If you have the time it would be a shame not to take Hwy-1 along the pacific coast instead of 101. It will take you a lot longer, but really if it's a road trip taking 101 down the Salinas valley when you could be taking Hwy-1 through Big Sur is a shame. Ditto driving over the Richmond Bridge instead of the Golden Gate.
posted by Long Way To Go at 2:23 PM on June 18, 2011

Response by poster: @amy - thanks for all the wonderful info! even though it looks like quite a bit of extra time I think we'll probably be doing it.

@ Long way - we do have big sur on the itinerary and highway 1 for part of the drive. just wasn't sure how long we'd be staying on it.
posted by no bueno at 3:13 PM on June 18, 2011

Be aware that you've just given a bunch of strangers your address (via your map link) and the information that you'll be away for up to a month.
posted by attercoppe at 3:22 PM on June 18, 2011

Response by poster: hmm. shit. thought i linked a map that was just for denver. not my address. thanks for the heads up.
posted by no bueno at 5:37 PM on June 18, 2011

I'm in Ogden, Utah. If you want to stop here we have some nice hiking trails you can hit with the puppies. I've also got a giant German Shepherd who's in serious need of some exercise so if you want to set up a Puppy Playdate let me know.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:57 PM on June 18, 2011

don't know if you just want to, but you could skip most of the horror of the los angeles/orange county freeway system and just head over the flagstaff on i-40 instead of going down to san diego and over to phoenix on i-8. It is god awful hot this time of year down their and not a lot to see for a LONG ways. Yuma is NOT a travel destination. It is somewhere to get out of. However the rim country in Northern Arizona is at its best this in about a month once the monsoons get started in earnest. The grand canyon, historic grand canyon railway, the new bridge over hoover dam (and hoover dam itself), prescott, all kinds of good hiking on the peaks north of flagstaff, monument valley, canyon de chelly, a really quirky ghost town in new mexico called mogollon, the VLA in the plains of saint augustene (the largest radio telescope in the world in the most remote area in the southwest and thunder storms so big they have their own resort), lunch at rudy's in Albuquerque, ride the tramway and dinner at sadie's (hmmmmm, good times), sunsets from sandia peak, the museum at los alamos where the smartest people in the world built the first atomic bomb, the durango-silverton narrow gauge railroad, wolf creek pass (not a big deal anymore but once upon a time a road so harrowing they wrote a song about it), leadville, pikes peak, watching dawn light up the front range anywhere from Las vegas, new mexico to fort collins, all the magical stuff in the southwest is not really along i-8 and what there is is best enjoyed in the winter when you don't watch the pavement melt (really, it can happen down there).

And the trip from the Oregon coast to the los angeles area is best done on the coast along hwy 1 as much as possible. Driving across the golden gate and the frolicking with the dogs in some park on the south side of the gate is one of my all time great traveling memories. So is walking in the redwoods in a old growth grove just north of Oreck California and watching a group of elk bulls fight it out for a harem as a the rain moved in was awesome and primal in a way not often experienced.

The last route advice is to take hwy 242 over the McKenzie pass between sisters and blue river, Oregon if it is open. if it isn't stop and walk sahalie falls and the rest of the area at the headwaters of the McKenzie river. A truly memorable part of the high cascades.

OH and if you aren't used to you will be traveling at a lot of high altitudes. So take it easy, drinks lots of water and bring allergy medication for the poison ivy and the pollen. It is thick enough to see this time of year in the Willamette valley.
posted by bartonlong at 7:15 PM on June 18, 2011

Response by poster: bartonlong - we're doing san diego to stay w/ friends not to see the sights, so it's unavoidable.
posted by no bueno at 8:57 PM on June 23, 2011

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