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Old 05-16-2017, 03:59 PM   #11
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Coming out of Boise you may consider a detour south towards the Owhyee as you come into Oregon. Further south would be the Alvord desert and the Steens area which I really dig, but it may be a bit of a detour.

Once in Bend you may want to stop at the Deschutes NF Ranger station. They can probably help clue you in on some of the better boondocking spots. We are surrounded by NF around here and folks boondock on forest roads just outside of town in the MTB trail system all the time.

Other Central Oregon places I like are the Paulina Lake / Paulina Peak area (30 minutes south) and Smith Rock State Park (30 min to the north). There is no shortage of things to do in and around Bend too. Let me know if there is anything in particular I can add info on for the Bend area.

We are headed east later this summer and plan to go across northern ID (I guess highway 12 is supposed to be super cool) on our way to Montana - guess I better start my own thread!
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Old 05-16-2017, 04:30 PM   #12
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Coming out of Boise you may consider a detour south towards the Owhyee as you come into Oregon. Further south would be the Alvord desert and the Steens area which I really dig, but it may be a bit of a detour.
Rockbender beat me to it. I would highly recommend the Steens Mountain area as well. It's off the beaten path and the smaller crowds will be a pleasant change. It also boasts some great fly fishing if you're into that.

When you head up to the Olympics, both the Queets upper and lower roads will be way less crowded then the main parts of the park and offer some great rain forest scenery. You can also drive right out on the river gravel bar at Cottonwood CG on the lower Hoh for some boon docking as well as a boat launch gravel bar on the upper Hoh Road at Minnies just above Morgans. Remember to buy a "Discovery Pass" for the state of WA. Camping is free along the Hoh with the pass if you can find a spot or boondock on the gravel bars.

When in the Olympics, be sure to check out Rialto Beach and maybe a quick walk to "hole in the wall". It will give you a nice taste of what that coastline has to offer.
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:38 PM   #13
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Thanks Whit. We'll be coming from Boise on 20 headed for Bend as our jumping off point, in a sense. Maybe we'll swing down to Steens for a night first per Randall and Josh's recommendation. Looks like it's not a bad drive from wherever we wind up near Boise.

Most excellent info on Olympic Randall. Any idea how much the Discovery pass is? I've got to buy a NP $80 pass at our first NP as well. We get our money's worth out of those every year. Oddly the busiest NP in America 15 minutes from my house (GSMNP) has no stations or fees.

Josh, I forgot that Bend was your home base. We've only been through once, in a hurry, and want to take Bend in without being in a rush. The Bend area is in strong contention for a retirement spot for us, if we have a fixed address. Can you give me any suggestions on where we might park for a night or two and bike or ride our moto around town? Any place that's a possibility that's just a few miles out? Even if it's a campground that would be fine. I'd certainly like to avoid a private RV park at all costs.



Oh, I forgot to say this. Anyone with info they'd rather not share with all the internets is welcome to PM me. I have a few spots here I'd rather not give out as well or I'll never get them again.
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:55 PM   #14
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Hey Scotty!! Sounds like a great family adventure!! We stayed on the beach in the upper NW corner of Washington by Neah Bay...the Native Americans had (recently that trip) been awarded the entire coast in that area...we threw some cash into a dilapidated house that boasted that that particular stretch of beach was 'theirs' ...yes but many years before we arrived and now it was the Tribe's land. we had already set up our tent when the Tribal Police came by to kick us off the beach....we were very nice to them and apologetic, which led them to let us stay "just one night." Now I am sure you couldn't get away with that, BUT, there is a National Park or Monument (land)... up there that has a parking lot where campers unload kayaks to portage around the beach to the (legal) camping place, or hike through the woods to said point...so you can boondock there...HWY 1 all the way up is great! Plenty of boon docking opportunities and/or campgrounds...Ozette, La Push are GREAT camping spots where you can camp in the campground, beach (tent), or boondock in the parking lot! All great places, especially if your there during the week. You can take HWY 112 (northern most hwy ,cruises along sound/Bay) back towards Seattle to take ferry across or drive around by Boeing, to take kids back to Seattle...FORGOT...Stop by Dungeness Spit NWR area...more fun and boondocking!! Can't wait to see the trip report!!!
Pic1+2 Neah Bay spot. Pic 3 La Push beach camping pic 4 is either Wash or Oregon south of La Push
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Old 05-16-2017, 07:34 PM   #15
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Tumalo State Park is pretty nice. It is 6-10 miles from downtown Bend, so an easy moto trip and not a terrible bike ride depending on how many of our fantastic breweries you visit! (it is nowhere near Tumalo falls, btw). It is pretty popular, so it may already be booked depending on when you are coming.

Obviously moto's are easy to park nearly anywhere, but it is noteworthy that there are a couple designated moto parking spots downtown Bend. It makes it pretty nice to pull up to a prime parking spot while others drive around looking for a place to park.

I'll shoot you a PM.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:25 PM   #16
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Glad to hear that you are coming to the NW. If you get a chance give me a call and I can show your the renovation of your old van.

The last time I was at Tumalo Falls it was a zoo. Tons of people and difficult parking.

US20 is a great road to take to get to Bend. It follows the Malhuer River through a very tight canyon. Beautiful drive although there are not many pullouts to stop and enjoy the view.

The Steens is a beautiful area. The road to the top of the mountain, 9,500 feet, may still be closed due to snow pack. The Oregon snow pack is 150% of normal for this time of year.

If you have the time and willingness to drive lots of miles of gravel roads to isolated hot springs then stop at Hart Mountain hot springs, 42.50100 -119.69300 or Willow hot springs, 42.27546 -118.26539. Fewer miles of gravel gets you to the privately owned Alvord Hot Springs, 42.54400 -118.53300. Willow and Alvord are on opposite sides of the Alvord Desert. You have to got through Fields to get from one to the other. While in Fields stop at the store and have one of their famous burgers and milkshakes.

I suggest going through Sisters on your way to Portland. Take the McKenzie Highway, OR 242, up into the lava fields and stop at Dee Wright Observatory. On a clear day you can see about 15 mountains in the cascade range. Then continue east and stop at Proxy Falls. Taking the half mile hiking trail to the left brings you to one of the falls in the area. This fall is unique in that there is no stream on the outlet. The water comes out of the hillside, drops about 100 feet into a pool and then goes directly into the ground. Picture a a back yard pond with a water fall feature only without the pump. Continue east on 242 and turn right, north, at OR 126. Stop at Koosha and Sahalie Falls. They are about a half mile apart with a hiking trail between them. The McKenzie river should be really flowing from the snow melt. Continue north on 126 a couple of miles and stop at Clear Lake. The name says it all. Continuing north on 126 connects back into highway 20.

Hope you have a good trip.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:56 AM   #17
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I'm envious of your trip plans, so I'll enjoy them vicariously by offering you my $.02:

I lived in Ontario for a few years and there are tons of great places, totally without people, to see in that part of the country. I'm guessing my favorite is up and down the Snake River area, so many backroads you just can't believe you're still on the planet.

But, if you're headed for Bend eventually, I would hop off 84 around Nampa and head down 95 toward Jordan Valley, by far one of the eeriest and most interesting areas out that way. If you have the time, following 95 down into Nevada will take you through some of the best road-driven canyons ever. It would be well worth your time, if you have it, to follow 95 to the 140 cutoff and follow that up to 205, driving up past the Steens. You can meet up with Rte 20 near Burns and head into Bend.

I think that area defines the concept of boondocking. Just pull off the road almost anywhere. With 1000-acre ranches and 50 miles between them, you're unlikely to disturb anybody.

As I write this, I'm feeling kinda homesick. Guess I need to make a pilgrimage out there soon myself. Have fun!
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:03 AM   #18
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Following with interest. We're headed there too this summer after school lets out. We'll be in the area the last week of June or thereabouts. Friends of ours from Fresno flew into Philly this week and are driving our SMB back to California. Then we fly out to Fresno in June and drive it back, via PNW, Canadian Rockies, Banff, Glacier-Waterton, Yellowstone, etc. Should be five weeks all told!
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:22 AM   #19
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Following with interest. We're headed there too this summer after school lets out. We'll be in the area the last week of June or thereabouts. Friends of ours from Fresno flew into Philly this week and are driving our SMB back to California. Then we fly out to Fresno in June and drive it back, via PNW, Canadian Rockies, Banff, Glacier-Waterton, Yellowstone, etc.
Pictures and trip reports are mandatory

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Old 05-17-2017, 12:21 PM   #20
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Pictures and trip reports are mandatory

YES PICTURES AND TRIP REPORTS MANDATORY!!!! It is good to see the 'realz' SMB Forum folks getting on here talking trip plans and SMB USAGE....getting tired of looking here and getting so many/majority posts/pics about rebuilds, new builds, scratch builds, and (basically) everything but the meat and tators of owning a SMB!!....Trip reports are great motivators to get out there and even better healers of pains of our beauties sitting in our garages/driveways calling to be used!! VIVA LA TRIP REPORTS!!
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