Go Back   PNW Moto > Oregon > Portland

Portland Rides, meetups, regional discussions | Portland, Salem, Hermiston, Astoria

Like Tree24Likes
Thread Tools
Apr 1st 2019, 12:36 AM   #1
  Sep 2018

Help Planning an Eastern Oregon road trip?

I'm thinking relaxed, 7-10 day trip or so. 150-175 miles a day.

Start PDX, make way east, go to Joseph, OR and base there for a few days. Ride Rattlesnake grade (OR-3) north up to Washington and back.

What roads, routes, towns, stops are recommended? I know Fossil, Shaniko, Antelope is great so I need to head that way. Any help on roads and sights not to miss? Places to stay?


Day 1 - Easy day, PDX to Hood River and chill in town
Day 2 - Hood River to somewhere east of Fossil? (about 175 miles for the day)
Day 3 - ??? John Day, National Forests, etc?

Day 4 - Arrive Joseph? (Or too soon to arrive yet?) (Maybe 1-2 Full Day no riding, I could add more here if needed? Want to hike, read, relax, rest from bike)

Day 5-8 - Base in Joseph, ride Rattlesnake grade, and... where else to ride?
Day 9-10 make way back to PDX... how? what direction/route?

Need an extra 1-2 days for the trip? Or is this trip too long?

Thank you for any help!

I'm thinking I might be luxurious and forego bringing the tent this time and just do BnBs... if there's places to say. Otherwise, maybe I need to bring a tent?

Very open and flexible for how to do this best and what specific roads and routes. Looking for great scenery and interesting routes that aren't too straight (I like turns). How are the road conditions out that way these days?

Edited by bkuske on Apr 1st 2019 at 12:39 AM
Apr 1st 2019, 08:18 AM   #2
 bcj's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  teh rock

  K1200RS SV650
I found Sumpter interesting for the modified geography and history.
There's a gold dredge on display at the site it last shut down.
The entire valley floor for miles below it is made up of 30 foot tall furrows of rocks the size of your head.
I got there at the end of April though and the dredge doesn't open until May 1.

Hwy 7 between there and Baker City is a well paved meander through the forrests and hillsides.
Baker City is a good base too for a few days. You can do The Grade and back in a day.
86 out of Baker goes down to the Snake River where you can pick up 71 down to Ontario.
Farewell Bend State Park along the Snake on the OR side is a good spot to camp if you can get in.
Owyhee Reservoir has another State Park with camping.
It's pretty remote and the 25mph road along the river is a bit neglected and narrow.
Watch out for people towing houseboats to and from the lake.
More Eastern Cascade geology along the way though.

The John Day Fossil Beds Natl Monument is good for a bathroom break and visitor center inspection. Don't think there's food available though.
19 north from there up to 207 is nice if you're not following a cattle truck spewing green grease on all the corners.
The State does seem to clean the roads frequently.
A roller brush machine had just finished cleaning the road down the hills out of Maupin last time I was there.

Most of the small Forrest Service roads out that way are paved well.
A lot of the small towns have city parks down by the river where you can cool off.
Apr 1st 2019, 09:05 AM   #3
 McRider's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Woodland, WA

After you finish Rattlesnake Grade you will be in Lewiston ID and should ride up and down the old Spiral Highway:
Apr 1st 2019, 09:31 AM   #4
 GPD323's Avatar
  Jan 2016

Originally Posted by McRider
After you finish Rattlesnake Grade you will be in Lewiston ID and should ride up and down the old Spiral Highway:
I have a video of the Spiral hwy. Is better than taking the main hwy out. There is a LEO facility at the bottom of the HWY BTW.

307T, no splat matt and bcj like this.

Edited by GPD323 on Apr 1st 2019 at 09:41 AM
Apr 1st 2019, 05:05 PM   #5
 Flyboymedic's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Hazel Dell, Wa

  Multistrada Pikes Peak, VFR800, VStrom 650, TE 610
I guessing you ride HD or BMW?
Apr 1st 2019, 06:51 PM   #6
 ZXtasy's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Moses Lake, WA

  2013 Kawasaki Concours C-14, 2005 ZX-10R Kawasaki (Nekkid), '99 Yamaha TW-200
Looks like he is on a C-14 Concours in that vid, definitely a Kawi turn signal.
Apr 1st 2019, 10:25 PM   #7
 Flyboymedic's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Hazel Dell, Wa

  Multistrada Pikes Peak, VFR800, VStrom 650, TE 610
I was referring to the OP.
Apr 1st 2019, 11:01 PM   #8
  Sep 2018

Thanks for the good tips so far! Would love to hear more about best roads, sights, etc. as well as thoughts on lodging (camping vs BNBs), etc.

This is super helpful so far - Spiral HWY looks like a great addition too!

I am riding a 2011 Triumph Street Triple R. I have SW-Motech blaze saddle bags, rear bag, tank bag (+ Kriega backpack + Kriega 10L pack, as needed). Upgraded Sargent seat, comfortable enough for me, with good handling for twisty roads.
Apr 1st 2019, 11:05 PM   #9
  Jun 2016
  Portland area

Order the Oregon Butler map for motorcyclists. Many of the best roads are highlighted. It will help you pick your route and stops. Allow for route changes and flexibility.

Sent via SM-G930V
bkuske likes this.
Apr 2nd 2019, 01:38 PM   #10
  Sep 2018

Thanks Hachi, yes I have that book enroute to research - but I also know its know its no replacement for the personal experiences of many here. I look forward to diving into this more. Would love any more insights as I prepare!
Apr 2nd 2019, 01:56 PM   #11
 chadams66's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Garden Home

  2012 Versys...'83 BMW R80 RT...Suzuki GS 450t
I'd suggest getting a Butler's map of will have all of the good motorcycle roads marked in red..but it's already been done...
bkuske likes this.
Apr 2nd 2019, 02:09 PM   #12
 WarpShatner7's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  NW Oregon

When are you planning to go? Keep in mind this is the Oregon high country, you're heading into mountain territory and a lot of the FS roads are closed. The Wallowa Mountain Loop (FS 39) for example -- a peach of a road when you can get on it, and it gets you in reach of the Hell's Canyon overlook, which is not to be missed -- is closed right now and typically doesn't open until sometime in May. So, obviously, check before you go.
mjn and bkuske like this.
Apr 2nd 2019, 02:33 PM   #13
  May 2016

  2016 ZX-10R; 2017 Z900
Going on past Fossil onto Spray & Heppner on the way to a night in Pendleton [as a potential stopping place] is not awful!
bkuske likes this.
Apr 2nd 2019, 03:21 PM   #14
 MarvTravis's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Kirkland, WA

  Kawasaki ZX-14
Many motorcycle shops have free COME RIDE WITH US maps available. They're produced by Bill (the Map Man) Hutchinson, who has a printing shop in John Day. There are six maps available describing motorcycling roads in and about Oregon. In addition to road descriptions, they denote the number of turns in a particular segment. You may find them in restaurant and motel lobbies as well.

Coincidently, I appear at the head of a group in one of the photos on his cover page, (on a Blackbird I had at the time, wearing a yellow helmet and yellow Aerostich Roadcrafter).

Flyboymedic and bkuske like this.
Apr 2nd 2019, 07:30 PM   #15
  Sep 2018

Thanks everyone! I'm planning to go sometime this summer, probably late July. After looking at routes I am thinking of giving myself 12 days total.

Day 1-4 travel to Joseph (meandering)
Day 5-8 in Joseph (R&R + base to hit a few close roads)
Day 9-12 return home (meandering)

Again, on a triumph street triple R looking to average ~150-180 miles a day, 200 upper limit, to allow for a relaxing evening and time to stop and take in some sites, eat, etc.

A few questions as I look at maps and and plan, though open to anything:

Heppner-Pendeleton VS Heppner-Ukiah? The latter seems it may be better.

Ukiah-North Powder-Joseph VS Ukiah-La Grande-Joseph?

Any particular roads that are done much better in a certain direction (IE good South to North or East to West, but not as compelling vice-versa)?

Leo presence in general?

  PNW Moto > Oregon > Portland

eastern, oregon, planning, road, trip

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Eastern Oregon is apparently pretty nice... JohnnyM Ride Reports 16 Jul 22nd 2017 05:14 PM
Eastern Austria Trip Website Mr Yuk Tri-Cities 3 Jan 26th 2017 02:58 PM
Spring 2016 Eastern Oregon Road Conditions Quixote The Dalles 16 Jul 9th 2016 02:56 PM
Did a Bit of Camping in Eastern Oregon last September (2015) FeralRdr Ride Reports 6 Apr 8th 2016 02:09 PM
Trip planning frustrations. Arcane Motorcycles 11 Mar 30th 2016 10:01 AM

Copyright © 2021 PNW Moto. All rights reserved.