What's the best route from Portland, OR to Spokane, WA?
July 11, 2018 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Specifically, can I just take Washington side SR-14 all the way to the I-82 exit, or should I take Oregon side I-84? Google maps says to take I-84 even though there's still a good chance of a substantial detour onto SR-14 to bypass the wreckage from 2017's Cascade Locks fire. Is SR-14 that much of a slowdown compared to I-84? For its entire length, really?

Also, if anybody has some good recommendations for rest stops or thrift shops from anywhere Hood River onwards, I'd appreciate it.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
14 is narrower and twistier and has a lower traffic speed, but google is telling me only a 30 minute difference.

even though there's still a good chance of a substantial detour onto SR-14 to bypass the wreckage from 2017's Cascade Locks fire.

The last few times I made the run there wasn't any debris on the road or a detour. Best to check immediately before leaving and keep an ear on the radio.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:29 AM on July 11, 2018

You can take SR-14 on Washington's side, but yes, it's going to be slower. Mostly due to the fact that many spots are just 2 lanes, where I-84 is 4 lanes.

As a general rule, any state route will be slower than an interstate. Interstates are made for quick passage through areas. State routes usually have slower speed limits, and the speed limits are often reduced when going through towns. They will usually have fewer lanes than interstates. State routes are a great way to "see" the country in ways that you won't when on an interstate.

I-84 is most definitely not detouring due to the 2017 fires. I drove all the way through from Portland to Biggs just recently.

BUT, there was another fire recently near Memaloose State Park. According to KATU, it's mostly contained.

Current detours/road conditions can be found on ODOT's TripCheck site. (SR-14 wouldn't be covered, obviously, since it's under WSDOT's domain.)

To answer your question, "Best Route" really depends on your priorities and timeline. It's a long drive either way. Personally, I'd take 84. It's still a beautiful drive, but makes better time, and fewer frustrations being stuck behind slow drivers.
posted by hydra77 at 11:45 AM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Mrs. Ikahime and I recently did this trip and we do the Oregon side to the tri-cities going thru Hood River. We did get held up sure to some construction, but I don't think it put us more than 15 minutes behind schedule. Make sure you have a good navigator in the tri-cities area, because the exits come fast and furious and are not necessarily properly marked to lead you to Spokane. Also, have an engrossing audio book or set of podcasts, because until Spokane, the scenery can be a bit monotonous.
posted by ikahime at 12:35 PM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Just drove I-84 from Portland through the gorge and there are no detours from the 2017 fire. I would recommend 84, unless you prefer a slower route through several small towns.

We usually stop at Biggs or Le Page Park (Exit 114) for bathroom breaks. If you drive past the I-82 exit a few miles, you can detour to Echo, a small town with lots of great shops and food. It is at the Hwy 395 Exit and is only about 2 miles south of the interstate. From there, you take 395 North and connect back up with I-82.

Tri-cities to Spokane is a bit boring, so the recommendation of podcasts or audio books is a good one!
posted by Giailh at 2:00 PM on July 11, 2018

okay, you are ALL WINNERS but hydra77 is the best winner since she also included multiple resources to check before I leave.

now, more importantly, which thrift stores do you all recommend in Spokane? (where I will be trapped for a very long weekend at a family reunion)
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 2:14 PM on July 11, 2018

I love The Arc thrift store - it’s basically a warehouse sized Sal Army/Goodwill with great stuff! Tupperware....alghalghhhaallgahh
posted by tristeza at 10:51 PM on July 11, 2018

Arc is on the list, as also the Union Gospel Mission.

Any recommendations, yea or nay, about the Global Neighborhood thrift shop?
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 2:11 PM on July 12, 2018

Okay, we're back. Only had time to hit the ARC and the Global Neighborhood, both good shops.

A mistake at the turning of 395 and 90 ended up being a scenic diversion through the Yakama nation, where there was Much Corn Fields.

Thanks everybody!
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 10:11 AM on August 13, 2018

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