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Boulder CO to Bend OR

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Jul 2nd, 2017, 11:52 AM
  #1
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Boulder CO to Bend OR

Our kids live in Bend and we drive there a couple of times a year. It is a totally boring drive. This month we'll take 3 nights on the road instead of the usual two. Would love suggestions for a more interesting route, places to spend the night after a max 6 hours driving, etc.
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Jul 2nd, 2017, 01:51 PM
  #2
 
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I'm not too familiar with that route, and your options might be options limited, but it's usually more interesting, though slower, to get off the interstate and use state or county roads.

Roadside Americana will point out some quirky sights that you have never heard of.
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/map/id

Or, listen to a good audio book about the West. Among others, we thought A. B. Guthrie's "The Way West" was great. We downloaded it from our library, really helped pass the time across West Texas for us a few years ago. But we were on back roads and found it to be an interesting ride in any case.
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Jul 2nd, 2017, 02:35 PM
  #3
 
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Have you been going through Cheyenne, Boise, Ontario OR and US20 to Bend?
Another way to go would be to spend night 1 near SLC and night 2 in Winnemucca NV. Go north on US 95 from Winnemucca and turn off onto Rt. 140 just south of Denio.
Rt. 140 goes through the Sheldon Antelope Refuge and into the Oregon Outback. Go north on US 395 to OR Rt. 31. It is 120 miles from 395 to US 97 just south of LaPine.
About MP 30 on Rt. 31 is the turnoff to Fort Rock. There is a small museum in the town and also an impressive rock to visit.
Be sure to leave Winnemucca with a full gas tank. You may not see an open gas station until you get to LaPine.
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Jul 2nd, 2017, 02:37 PM
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There are dozens of ways. You could add as many days as you'd want and not get bored going north through Wyoming and Idaho and Oregon using routes north of I-84 and US 20. Or use the many ways south of I-84 through Utah, Nevada, and N. California. (Mind you, there's no way of avoiding large expanses of dry country driving.)

Here's just one suggestion to start eliciting ideas without adding major detours such as the Grand Tetons or Yellowstone. (First, I presume you know the alternatives in CO since that's your home.)

Take old US 30 through WY a bit north of I-84 to Pocatello, ID. There switch to I-15 then to US 26 north of Craters of the Moon National Monument (you may want to spend a bit of time nosing around there - very interesting to some, others find it less so).

Then proceed to Boise and the usual route on I-84. But instead of turning west onto US 20, continue northwest on I-84 (there are a few good views of the the Snake River) to Baker City, OR. At Baker City go to the excellent Oregon Interpretive Center with its excellent historical exhibits. Baker City is an interesting old town with lots of old restored brick and stone buildings.

Then take OR 7 through rugged country and pine forests to US 26 to John Day. Potential interesting stops in John Day would be the Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site (google it - its just one old building but its a fascinating old chinese apothecary that had been locked up and forgotten, like a time capsule, until recently reopened ... that area during the gold rush once had the 2nd or 3rd largest Chinatown in the US). And just south of there, is Canyon City ... an interesting town filled with buildings from the gold rush.

Continue west on US 26 to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, then west to the Painted Hills (google them) near Mitchell, then west to Bend. It's a longer slower route than US 20 through eastern OR, but is through a bit more rugged and scenic countryside than the flat sagebrush of US 20.
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Jul 2nd, 2017, 03:04 PM
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The drive on I-5 to Grand Junction is quite beautiful, and I like much of the rest of the drive because I love desert, which we don't have in Western Washington.

The problem is finding a pleasant town (a) after six hours of driving that has (b) a comfortable hotel room and (c) good dining options.

I would be inclined to drive a little farther one day staying in Utah at Price or Provo and in Idaho at Mountain Home or Boise.

Boulder to Price (415 mi/6'30"), Price to Boise (461/6'30), and Boise to Bend (318 mi/5'5"). There is a Holiday Inn Express and a variety of family restaurants in Price, Utah. Boise has many hotel and dining options.

HTtY
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Jul 4th, 2017, 08:57 AM
  #7
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Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. I've passsed them on to the primary driver - my husband.
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Jul 4th, 2017, 10:41 AM
  #8
 
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Excellent.

If your husband's name is John, you might want to Google "John and Marsha You Tube" for a recording that was popular in 1959.

HTtY
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Jul 4th, 2017, 10:41 AM
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...popular in 1951.
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