From downtown Winnemucca we drove straight north on Hwy 95 into Oregon. This section of north Nevada is cattle country, and we drove past endless rangelands with a few pockets of irrigated hay fields thrown in for good measure. The open range is covered with Sage just like in BC, but it’s much thicker and taller than we’ve seen at home.
Once we crossed over into Oregon the rangelands continued for quite a while until we came to an area where absolutely nothing was growing. It looked like a moonscape, and was actually what I originally expected the Arizona desert to look like before we saw it first hand a couple of years ago.
Within a couple of miles we were back to what we’d seen for most of the morning, including the only wildlife we’ve seen in our entire winter……cattle.
Our plan for the day was to get to Pendleton Oregon and decide if we could go further north once we got there. We had a couple of choices in regard to our route north; we could stay on US 95 and head into Idaho where we’d join up with the Interstate and cruise along at 70+ MPH with the rest of civilization (a route we’d travelled before) or we could head northwest through central Oregon and see some new roads. The Interstate route was further but faster according to Mapquest, but there’s something in me that really wants to drive new roads every chance I get. It has something to do with owning a motorcycle I think. So after deciding on the scenic route we took off on Hwy 78 and turned onto US 395 at the town of Burns.
The 200 miles we travelled north of Burns was absolutely some of the curviest, prettiest, most riveting sections of asphalt that I’d ever been on. It’s a road that calls out for a sports car or a motorcycle, which doesn’t mean that it was hard to drive with the trailer, but I definitely had to pay attention. It really helped that there were very few vehicles on the road, and I didn’t have to worry about slowing up traffic at all. There were lots of summits to climb, and plenty of valleys to see. It’s definitely a road that I’ll put on the list for taking the motorcycle to in the future.
And despite what you can see in the picture we also drove through miles and miles of Pine forests, (which Sylvia did not get a picture of) alongside several rushing streams, in bright sunshine.
When we popped out of the forests we dropped down about 3500 feet and drove through miles and miles of rangeland once again. Only now it actually looked like something that the livestock might like to munch on. It’s amazing how many landscapes we drove through in one day.
As you can see it was fairly sunny as we drove into Pendleton, and the temperatures were bouncing around 20C or 68F. Not too bad considering when we left Winnemucca it was only a couple of degrees above freezing. We managed to get planted in the local KOA park just after 5:00 and just after we got set up the weather took a sudden turn.
When we arrived it was almost full sunshine, but the clouds started collecting quickly.
Towards the west the clouds were black and very ugly looking. Ten minutes after I took this picture the trailer was rocking back and forth in the winds, and the roof was getting pelted with hail. Yep, we’re back in the Northwest aren’t we! The storm lasted about an hour.
Tomorrow we’re going to try and make it through Washington State. If we can’t make it home, we’ll be close enough to have an easy day on Saturday. It’s supposed to be raining both days in Kelowna, so there’s not a great rush on my part to unpack in the rain, but now that we’re close it feels like time to get home.