Alvord Desert, Craters of the Moon NM, Grand Teton NP: ON pavement route for F650GS & Nissan Altima?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Anby, Jul 3, 2020.

  1. Anby

    Anby Been here awhile

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    Hi everybody,

    Early in August I am moving from the Bay area to Maryland. My wife and I want to use this opportunity to do a cross country trip, with as much camping as possible. My wife will be driving my totally packed Nissan Altima and I will be riding my F650GS thumper. So the route choice will be dictated by my low ground clearance sedan. We want to stay off the interstate as much as possible and take the more scenic routes.

    We really want to camp for a night at the Alvord Desert, and then head over to Carey ID for another night of camping. We are thinking of spending a couple of nights at Grand Teton/Yellowstone.

    Here is the route we are thinking of taking. Can this route be done in a sedan? My wife doesn't want to drive off pavement in a low ground clearance sedan for miles and miles. Do you know if the following two sections are paved?

    A) Route 140 from Lakeview, OR to Denio Junction, NV
    B) Route 205 from Denio towards Burns, OR on the Eastern side of Steens Mountain

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the rest of the route is paved. Neither of us have been in this part of the country. If there is a more scenic route, please advise. Looking forward to hearing your opinions/suggestions on the route, as well as places to stay.

    Thank you,
    Anby
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  2. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    I know nothing about Oregon. If not in a big hurry take state road 21 from just south of Boise (pronounced Boy See) over to Stanley and then drop down to your night stop in Carey. BTW there is little in Carey it's just a little bitty farm town (pop 650), no places to stay or campground. Craters isn't that much further from Carey and there is the Lava Flow Campground, no reservations, first come first served. There is more up in Arco but there is nothing between Arco and Idaho Falls. Your choice to cross over into Wyo from Swan Valley to Victor using the Teton Pass is a good one.
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  3. OTB

    OTB Oh fer Chrissakes

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    A&B are both good scenic paved roads.
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  4. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    A&B are as mentioned above. If the campground/restaurant in Fields, OR is open the burgers are good. Note that it can be a long way between gas. Last I heard/read, Denio had gas but I'd call to check. When I was last in Fields (10+ years ago) I got barrel gas at the campground/store.
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  5. Anby

    Anby Been here awhile

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    I did consider taking 21, but not seems like it might take a bit more time. Is that a more scenic route? If it is then I will try to start the day a little early and ride on this road.

    On another note, does the Lava Flow campground fill up early making it hard to find a spot? We do want to camp there but, if it doesn't work out then we might just get the stamp on my wife's book and move ahead. But it might stretch the mileage for the day a bit far.

    It looks like Lakeview has multiple gas stations. We are planning to fill up there and then in Denio if it is available. Google says it is 161 miles from Lakeview to Alvord Hot Springs, and then 170 odd miles to Nampa. The car gets about 390 miles per tank on highways, and my motorcycle gets 165 miles per tank. The car should make it to to Nampa without much issue and I am getting a 3 gallon Rotopax for the motorcycle. But a gas fillup in Denio or Fields would make it more comfortable for sure.

    It looks like there are multiple roads to access the playa of the desert, but all are gravel roads. Do you know if one of better than the others? Ideally we want to camp on the desert, but concerned about the road condition as the ground clearance of the car is pretty small.
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  6. stormdog

    stormdog Long timer

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    Fields Station was closing around 4:30 last time I was through, and the grill is turned off before that.
    Also the run up the east side of the Steens to the hot springs is un paved
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  7. viajero

    viajero Too old to be a nOOb

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    21 north from Boise is both scenic and twisty. Road is poorly paved and rough in spots. Camping is plentiful up to Stanley and beyond.
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  8. Anby

    Anby Been here awhile

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    Oh crap.. When did you do the trip though? Curious because it conflicts with what others have said. I did check out on Google Earth, but the view was not super clear.

    Appreciate the heads up. Will a sedan be able to handle it?
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  9. stormdog

    stormdog Long timer

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    I was in the area twice last year, but to be honest haven’t run up past the hit springs in a couple of years.
    Now the west side of the Steens from Fields Station to Frenchglen and up to Diamond is paved.
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  10. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Long timer

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    Hwy 21: Yes

    How packed is this Nissan going to be? Because it's pretty easy to get into the weight limits of cars, and then you risk smoking either your transmission or brakes on some of the mountain passes you're going to see.
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  11. viajero

    viajero Too old to be a nOOb

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    Easily.
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  12. Anby

    Anby Been here awhile

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    Got it. I contacted the owners of Alvord Hot Springs by email and they confirmed that the route is paved part of they way and the rest is gravel. Need to find out if Fields Station or Denio Junction carry gas.

    The car is going to be pretty packed. But I don't think it would get into the weight limit. Good to keep that in mind though, thanks for pointing out.
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  13. Mumbles24

    Mumbles24 Been here awhile Supporter

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    As of a trip I was on last month, Fields Station has gas and does close late afternoon. I can't recall the exact time, but between 4 and 5 seems accurate. Our whole crew refueled bikes and bodies there before heading to the Playa. Saw a number of smaller cars out on the playa, good gravel to get out there, toughest part is the access roads down from gravel road to the Playa proper.
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  14. Anby

    Anby Been here awhile

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    Gave Fields Station a call and they told me that they would be open 9-5 on next Sunday.. So that works out for me.. Called the people in Alvord Hot Springs and they confirmed that the road from Fields Stationis well maintained gravel.

    I was also told there are some small gas stations between Alvord Hot Springs and Jordan Valley. When I search in Google it shows gas stations only in Burns, OR and Nampa, ID.
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  15. Mumbles24

    Mumbles24 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Consider downloading a map app called OsmAnd, it is free and you can add layers (gas stations is one I have active). Great for off road stuff that I've tried so far. I'm a new rider on pavement and off. I found the gravel into Fields, the Alvord Desert and out toward Burns pretty easy to manage. Some of the more remote gas stations could run dry! We found one that was sold out, can't recall where bit it was our first stop when leaving the Alvord (headed away from Fields Station).
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  16. Anby

    Anby Been here awhile

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    Thanks, will do! What tires did you have on your bike? My bike has some Metzler Tourances, wonder how good/bad they will be on this gravel. I am considering getting a 2-3 gallon gas can and carrying spare fuel.
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  17. Mumbles24

    Mumbles24 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Shinko 705s so they are only an 80/20 tire set. I'm a total newbie and was rolling up to 50 or 55 on the way in to Fields Station and on the way out toward Burns on the gravel. I was the slowest and least experienced rider of our group. BTW we stopped in Crane for gas as we left, they were sold out because it was a heavy traffic weekend d to the Alvord desert. One guy got his tank topped off by a overland truck guy with a spare fuel can. We all refilled in Burns. If you fill at Fields Station and dont burn up all your fuel on the Playa, you should be fine if your tank size isn't tiny or your MPG isn't bad. A spare tank filled and carried in the sedan wouldn't hurt if you're not otherwise overloaded. Map it, figure MPG and have fun.
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  18. SpudMonkey

    SpudMonkey Adventurer

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  19. Anby

    Anby Been here awhile

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