Author Topic: Portland to Boise  (Read 2983 times)

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Offline jamesofyorkshire

Portland to Boise
« on: May 12, 2011, 12:28:44 am »
I'm going to start a TransAm from the coast west of Portland, Oregon (not sure where yet). I shall spend a few days with a friend at Clackamas/Estacada then head to Boise. Idaho.

Considering I'll have a loaded bike and I'm not as fit as I could be.........which route should I take through middle/east Oregon....Hwy 20 or Hwy 26 east from Madras? Is one route flatter than the other? Does either road have a shoulder? So via John Day or Burns?

Offline indyfabz

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2011, 09:59:53 am »
While it's been a while (2002), I rode from Nyssa, OR to Sisters via Ironside, John Day Mitchell and Pinneville during Cycle Oregon using U.S. 26 off and on.  I don't remember any shoulder issues. You can always use Google Maps Street View function to see if there are shoulders.

Heading east, at Mitchell there is a relatively short climb of a few miles. Then there is a long (over 20 miles), elevation loss to the junction with SR 19.  The rest of the way to John Day isn't bad.  Wish I could remember more.

Bring lots of water.  It was very warm during the second week of September, and there was little or no shade much of the time.

Finally, if you are planning to ride McKenzie Pass into Sisters (worth the effort), check with ODOT first.  I saw some news stories reporting that its considering not plowing this year because of the estimated cost.  Apparently, there are drifts up to 30'.

Offline litespeed

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2011, 10:24:50 am »
I rode 26 east-to-west a few years ago. It's a beautiful ride - high desert at its best - but there is some serious climbing, particularly just east of Prairie City. There are a number of passes. Traffic was VERY light- just the occasional car. I avoided 20 because of the scarcity of towns and services - long stretches of nothing. 20 seems to have fewer passes but I have no idea if it is any easier. Probably not much if at all.

As Indyfabz says, McKenzie Pass is truly spectacular - well worth a detour and not that bad a climb. If you catch it on a clear day it will be one of the highlights of your trip.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 07:43:51 am by litespeed »

Offline Patco

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2011, 10:55:11 am »
I will second Litespeed - there is a whole lot of nothing on U.S 20. Not saying that U.S.26 is loaded with services, but I see 26 as the friendlier alternative. As for elevation, U. S. 20 is the flatter route, which is why there is more truck traffic. It's a good road if you are in a car. On a bike...research where you will be able to obtain food and water. 

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2011, 07:25:23 pm »
I have no experience with US 20 but have ridden US 26 from Prineville to Austin (where the TA uses OR 7 to get to Baker City.) Yes, there's plenty of passes but it's beautiful scenery. The Painted Hills country is awesome--it's a great side trip when you're in the area. Shoulder is minimal to non-existent between Prineville and Dayville, but it doesn't matter since traffic is minimal to non-existent. Passing cars and trucks gave me quite the wide berth.

Offline tomdett

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2011, 11:28:48 am »
Planning to ride Portland to Boise self contained but not camping so need lodging.  Thinking of staying nearer I-84 (but hopefully not too much on I-84).   Route advice?

Offline litespeed

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2011, 04:13:22 pm »
Planning to ride Portland to Boise self contained but not camping so need lodging.  Thinking of staying nearer I-84 (but hopefully not too much on I-84).   Route advice?

Shouldn't be a problem. Just take the nice downwind ride along the north side of the Columbia River, cross over to Umatilla on the bridge (Ignore the "no pedestrians or bicycles" sign) and head southeast alongside I84. Where there is no parallel or frontage road or "old highway" ride the shoulder. I don't see any really long stretches without a town.

Offline tomdett

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2011, 04:22:34 pm »
Planning to ride Portland to Boise self contained but not camping so need lodging.  Thinking of staying nearer I-84 (but hopefully not too much on I-84).   Route advice?

Shouldn't be a problem. Just take the nice downwind ride along the north side of the Columbia River, cross over to Umatilla on the bridge (Ignore the "no pedestrians or bicycles" sign) and head southeast alongside I84. Where there is no parallel or frontage road or "old highway" ride the shoulder. I don't see any really long stretches without a town.
That's what I was hoping would work.   Also planning to continue from Boise to Salt Lake City and one to Heber UT to pick up US 40.      Look like there are good alternatives to I-84 until I am close to the ID/UT line.   Any thoughts on that portion?   

Online JMilyko

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2011, 08:20:01 am »
Planning to ride Portland to Boise self contained but not camping so need lodging.  Thinking of staying nearer I-84 (but hopefully not too much on I-84).   Route advice?

Shouldn't be a problem. Just take the nice downwind ride along the north side of the Columbia River, cross over to Umatilla on the bridge (Ignore the "no pedestrians or bicycles" sign) and head southeast alongside I84. Where there is no parallel or frontage road or "old highway" ride the shoulder. I don't see any really long stretches without a town.

Actually, there is a bicycle/pedestrian crossing facility over the river. It is accessed on the Washington side from Christie Rd. and ends at 3rd St. in Umatilla. Also, you'll be following I-82 south before you meet I-84.

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline jamesofyorkshire

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2011, 09:51:47 am »
Is it quite a flat route on the northside of the Gorge (HWY 14)?

How does it compare to the southside - I know that goes up and down a bit!

Offline litespeed

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2011, 02:59:45 pm »
It's been a few years but I don't recall much climbing at all on 14 along the river. Maybe it was just the hearty tailwind.

Online JMilyko

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2011, 08:33:42 am »
Is it quite a flat route on the northside of the Gorge (HWY 14)?

How does it compare to the southside - I know that goes up and down a bit!

In looking at the elevation profile, it looks like it is flatter in general but there is a pretty good climb between Washougal and Skamania.

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline jamesofyorkshire

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2011, 09:18:58 am »
OK. Thanks guys.

Jennifer - what program do you use to see elevation?


Online JMilyko

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2011, 10:57:09 am »
Jennifer - what program do you use to see elevation?

The elevation profile I was referring to above is the one on our Lewis & Clark map, Section 7. These profiles were created for us by someone who wrote his own program to do so. We now use a GIS program (ArcGIS from ESRI) to create profiles for our new maps. Google Earth can also display profiles. After you create directions between two points, you can right click on the route and Show Elevation is an option in the drop down menu.

I hope that helps.

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline jamesofyorkshire

Re: Portland to Boise
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2011, 11:21:03 am »
Thanks Jennifer. I didn't realise showing the elevation was an option on Google earth.


James