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Monday, 28 June 2010

Roadtrip Day 1: Eugene OR to Boise ID

Beth and I have just returned from a week's roadtrip covering 2,500 miles and six states. The main purpose of the trip, apart from just seeing part of the country, was to meet up with several friends whom we haven't seen for years.

After driving North on the I-5 we headed East across the Cascade Mountain range through the Santiam pass. The higher McKenzie pass to the South is a shorter route, but closed November-July due to snow. This is Mount Washington, which lies between the two passes.

Either pass takes the traveller to the town of Sisters, where we stopped to refuel and have a break. This is Ray's Food Place, a big foodstore made up to look like a Wild West town. When we drove on, we discovered that the whole town follows the same theme. Good for tourism, but one might get a tad tired of living in town that looks like a film set. 

After passing on through Bend, a popular seasonal ski resort, we drove across the Oregon high desert, still on route 20. The desert isn't pure sand but it's bleak enough, with very few signs of man more than a few yards either side of the thin tarmac ribbon stretching ahead of us. There are a few scattered farms and houses, but not much evidence of either crops or domesticated beasts. The town names of Burns and Prairie City give an indication of the remoteness and potential heat.

Later in the day but still in Oregon, we spotted this rock formation and stopped to take a closer look. The fence in the foreground suggests some human cultivation, or is it just there to catch tumbleweeds? During our travels we often saw fences like these running parallel to the road and maybe 20 yards away, but rarely did they appear to be fencing animals in or out, as they would in the UK.

About 6pm, having lost an hour changing from Pacific to Mountain time while still in Oregon, we crossed the Oregon-Idaho state border. Soon afterwards we arrived in Boise and located our pre-booked Motel for the night. We had a small adventure over missing car keys (I had left them in the bathroom in our Motel room), and ate at a diner nearby. Denny's are not the world's greatest diner, with quite a limited menu, but are open 24 hours a day and relatively cheap. They also have a good record on food health and safety, according to Wikipedia. 

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