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Road trip from So. CA through Bend to Boise (Dec-Jan)

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3 posts
6 reviews
Road trip from So. CA through Bend to Boise (Dec-Jan)

We are planning a road trip with our two dogs for the end of the year. We will take the 101 from southern California to Gold Beach, OR, and then go easterly to Bend via 97. We will rent a 4WD SUV. My husband had some experience driving in the snow when he used to go skiing. Is it worth spending 2 nights at Bend right around Christmas with our dogs? Also, should we avoid the 20 to Boise and take 97 north to 84 instead? What should we prepare for winter road trip in Oregon and nearby areas that snow?

Thanks in advance for your help!

8 replies to this topic
Florence, Oregon
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2,541 posts
307 reviews
1. Re: Road trip from So. CA through Bend to Boise (Dec-Jan)

It would help to know what your objectives are. For instance why Gold Beach and Bend ? What type of situation brings you to Boise ? What are you looking for in the way of routes, travelablity, sightseeing ?

Eugene, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Eugene, Springfield
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9,993 posts
200 reviews
2. Re: Road trip from So. CA through Bend to Boise (Dec-Jan)

I also wonder about Gold Beach. That is not a place from which to wander east toward Bend, particularly in winter! You would be much better off taking 199 from Crescent City to Grants Pass and I-5 or continuing up the coast and taking 138 from Reedsport to I-5 north to 58 to Bend.

All routes require crossing mountain passes, but the search and rescue folks will be called out for you if you listen to Google and wander east out of Gold Beach.

Portland, Oregon
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2,784 posts
17 reviews
3. Re: Road trip from So. CA through Bend to Boise (Dec-Jan)

Opoppa is right- all routes require multiple mountain passes-where snow will likely be encountered- traveling in winter is about being flexible and taking the route with the least impacts at the time of travel. Its really impossible to say right now which one will be the best route.

Do note that east of Bend, hwy 20 is very remote, youll likely to encounter many more services along hwy 97/I-84.

tripcheck.com for current highway conditions and traction device requirements. 4WD is likely ok if equipped with snow tires.

Edited: 25 October 2018, 06:50
Bend, Oregon
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1,322 posts
53 reviews
4. Re: Road trip from So. CA through Bend to Boise (Dec-Jan)

In addition to high chance of snow that time of year,

please consider the small amount of day light hours and

also ice and black ice on the roads.

For those of us who live here or even not, snow might be the easier

of the things to encounter on the road, its the cold mornings, black ice

and crazy drivers.

Take into consideration its going to take you longer if these condition exist.

Highway 20 from Bend to Boise is like mentioned in previous post, its two lane

and can be "ugly" drive depending on the weather. We do it many times a year

and its a long one.

Have your car prepared for slow downs and all types of events, meaning blankets water

dog supplies and food. Stay on direct routes and never use GPS to figure out short cuts

some have and it never turns out good.

Winter driving can be a challenge even for residents.

Also note there are spots of no cell service on parts of these routes.

Level Contributor
3 posts
6 reviews
5. Re: Road trip from So. CA through Bend to Boise (Dec-Jan)

We would like to visit places that are not too difficult to get to and sightseeing in those cities and along the way. We could skip Gold Beach. We've only been to Portland and Eugene in Oregon so we are looking for new cities and towns to explore.

Level Contributor
3 posts
6 reviews
6. Re: Road trip from So. CA through Bend to Boise (Dec-Jan)

Considering all said above, we will plan to take 199, 5 north, 138, and 97 to Bend if weather is ok. If not, we will detour to Eugene and go to Bend from there.

After Bend, we will take 97 to I-84 to Boise. I will pack extra everything in case of delays.

Florence, Oregon
Level Contributor
2,541 posts
307 reviews
7. Re: Road trip from So. CA through Bend to Boise (Dec-Jan)

If you were to go up Highway 101 into Oregon and then going on to Bend I would suggest going at least as far as Newport and then taking Highway 20 inland. The reason for that is there are two must see stretches of Highway 101 you would be taking in which are:

The California border to Port Orford (the Southernmost 60 miles of Highway 101 in Oregon)

and

Florence to Newport, especially Florence to Yachats

Also a spectacular sight a short distance off Highway 101 near Coos Bay that you could then take in would be Shore Acres State Park.

If you were on the Southern Oregon coast and going to Bend this route will give you a lot to see for a little extra miles over the most direct route,

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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1,112 reviews
8. Re: Road trip from So. CA through Bend to Boise (Dec-Jan)

>> Also note there are spots of no cell service on parts of these routes.<<

Oregon -- as well as most western states -- has dead zones due to the terrain and areas that are sparsely populated. Be prepared for this, particularly if you use any carriers other than Verizon or AT&T. Those two have the best coverage by far but even they have dead zones here and there.

>>to Gold Beach, OR, and then go easterly <<

I think the above posts have convinced you to change your route, but I'll just add another comment to it. You *do not* want to be going on Bear Camp Road (Rtes 33/23) east of Gold Beach in winter. In fact, it may be closed. There are now big warning signs on that road and they do gate it when the snow gets bad. You can learn why if you Google - Kim family tragedy.

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