on the road again
April 25, 2007 2:57 PM   Subscribe

In late May, I'll be driving with a bunch of friends in an RV from Sacramento CA to George WA and back for the Sasquatch Music Festival. I've only driven as far north as the Oregon border before, so I'm looking for recommendations of interesting places to stop - your favorite diners, pie shops, waterfalls, hot springs (improved or not) and other oddities of northwest highway culture. I'm familar with many Northern California hot springs (I really like the one in Sierraville), and would love to find other very inexpensive and informal places like that.
posted by luriete to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
what route are you taking?
posted by sxtxixtxcxh at 4:05 PM on April 25, 2007

Make it a point to stop in the Bend, OR area. There's a lot of fun outdoors stuff there, and that's coming from a city boy who hates bugs and nature and stuff. Check out the lava tubes and "Big Obsidian Flow", a foot-climbable mountain made out of volcanic black glass. Also, Crater Lake is sort of on the way, and it's amazing.

In the Mt. St. Helens area, there are lots of fun, Vulcanistic attractions. The ape caves are great, you can look for bigfoot, but that might be a couple hours out of the way. You could stop and get your photo taken at the Church Of God, Zillah.

There's really not much else. Your 97 route takes you through the middle of nowhere. It might be worth it to take I-5 up, then cut across via 90. Not sure of the conditins of 97, but that might actually save you time.
posted by mattoly at 4:09 PM on April 25, 2007

Response by poster: Yes, the google map link above (sxtxixtxcxh, it's the first link) does have us going right through Bend. Good to know - I will definitely check out those things, and hopefully crater lake too.

Thanks for the I5 suggestion.

Someone told us there were a bunch of waterfalls near Bend too so that might be a full day there. Thanks!
posted by luriete at 4:20 PM on April 25, 2007

Oregon is only 3 hours tall, so be sure to get some gas and be forbidden to pump it yourself. It's a full-serve-only state!
posted by rhizome at 4:44 PM on April 25, 2007

Soap Lake is a little north of Moses but it is a thermal feature,one of the few in the state.
posted by hortense at 5:03 PM on April 25, 2007

You'll be very close to the Scablands part of WA -- the Grand Coulee, Dry Falls, etc. Here's a link to the WA Parks Dept page for the park.

In Bend, be sure to visit the Deschutes Brewery.

Crater Lake is a short side trip.

Lots of wildlife at Klamath Lake.
posted by phliar at 5:21 PM on April 25, 2007

DON'T BOTHER with Soap Lake. I live 10 minutes from the town...it's a total waste. Were it me, I'd totally do the I-5 to I-90 route and try and see some of the Cascades. Snoqualmie Falls is beautiful. If you can afford the time, taking the long way around and doing Highway 101 is gorgeous. The view as you cross the mouth of the Columbia River at Astoria is worth the drive, plus there are tons of beautiful things to do/see on that route. Email me if you want more info (email in profile).

On an aside, enjoy Sasquatch (and my backyard)! I'll be there too...it's a hell of a good time!
posted by messylissa at 9:02 PM on April 25, 2007

philar has good advice. Dry Falls is awesome, although I'd make it a quick trip up before I headed home and not a main destination myself.
posted by messylissa at 9:03 PM on April 25, 2007

Oregon is only 3 hours tall.

360 miles. You Californians and your rocket cars.

I would suggest some of those northwest coastal and cascade highways, they are just dotted with great little dinners and interesting effluvia. Or alternately you could head a little east, maybe before hitting bend, and set your sights on some beautiful desert country. real middle of nowhere stuff.
posted by French Fry at 11:21 PM on April 25, 2007

Wiley's World is my favorite place to stop and eat in Ashland, Oregon. They pretty much only serve pasta, but it's all homemade. It's a tiny, funky place, and the food is quite good.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:43 PM on April 25, 2007

Sorry to come back here again, but French Fry? The Gorge is IN that desert country, only a little more north. The OP will see plenty of it when he gets here.
posted by messylissa at 2:06 AM on April 26, 2007

2nd Wiley's World.
I had totally forgotten about that place, but it is really great.

The Gorge is IN that desert country, only a little more north

Fair nuff. I really meant more the bizarre little cultural spots in south-eastern Oregon. I.e. there is this little dinner I think its called Eddle’s (?) which is a little blue-haired-quaint-place, except everything inside is like electric fuchsia. I can’t find it on the interweb, or I’d post a link.
posted by French Fry at 10:30 AM on April 26, 2007

Some friends and I took a similar trip in '01 from Sacramento to vauge points north along a similar initial route and had good times at the Columbia River Gorge and sort of distopian good times checking out Grand Coulee (though this be out of your way). The Newberry National Volcanic Monument is a nice pit-stop up there.

If you've got the time and driving inclination, the coast is, of course, a wonderful drive. Up in WA the Olympic National Park and surrounding area is quite amazing both in terms of forest and the horrors of forestry. Lots of good RV-based camping up there as well.

I'll hafta to remember to head back this way once my GD server isn't acting up and I can do some actual research. We managed to catch a few killer roadside rest areas, as weird as that may sound...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:54 PM on April 26, 2007

(also, on review: I-5 is the suck. While perhaps not speed-optimal, Google's route takes you through some really pretty country, if you care about such things).
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:55 PM on April 26, 2007

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