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Old 01-11-2020, 11:34 PM   #1
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Michigan to Oregon - least mountain grades

We're going to be traveling from Michigan to Oregon this next summer. The route we'll most likely take is US 80 to 84 to Oregon 26 to Oregon 20 to Bend, Oregon. I'd like to avoid any serious grades or mountain passes along the way if possible. Is anyone familiar enough with these highways to tell me if this is a good route to take, or is there is a better route, even though possibly longer, that would be easier on the ol' coach? Any suggestions welcomed.

Thanks
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Old 01-12-2020, 05:28 AM   #2
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I-80 to I-84 would be my preferred route. I'm not familiar with OR 26 or 20.
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Old 01-12-2020, 09:34 AM   #3
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Michigan to Oregon - least mountain grades

not sure why you want to use 20? if your coming on 84,then 26, to bend 20 doesnít fit. only way to catch 26 is in portland, then head east over mt. hood to 97, then to bend.
to catch 20 you can do it by catching 22 out of salem, then about 50 miles east it merges with 20, on to bend. If it were me, and i was heading to bend i would catch 97 at biggs off 84 and ride that all the way to bend.
Now 26 is a good road, 20 not so much. if you donít like passes you wonít like 20.

If you are looking for trees to drive through, 26,and20 have great scenery. 97 has its own landscape as well, just not many trees. Mostly fields, sage brush, and junioer. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-12-2020, 09:57 AM   #4
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Michigan to Oregon - least mountain grades

just an after thought. Is bend where your really just wanting to go? where do you intend to hook up with 84? might have a better route, and shorter.
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Old 01-12-2020, 10:01 AM   #5
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US2 would be a more scenic, less busy route.
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Old 01-12-2020, 10:16 AM   #6
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us 2? not familiar with that one.
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Old 01-12-2020, 01:32 PM   #7
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From your Profile it appears you have a Newmar Dutch Star which is fully capable of doing hills/mountains so don't avoid them. That's where the real beauty is. We drove mountains with ours all the time. Also, as you explore the West it's going to be difficult to drive on flat highways!

I'd recommend US 2. It's a very pleasant drive ... and flat. Head north in Michigan to the Upper Peninsula to begin. You'll avoid the Chicago mess, also.

Keep in mind that you don't always have to use a boring interstate to travel. We used the secondary highways all the time. You see more of the country.

Plan a stop in Duluth, MN and Fort Peck Corp of Engineer park in eastern Montana. Once in Montana you can decide what highway to take to your destination or you can continue on 2 into the Seattle area or pick up I-90 or Hwy 12 in Washington into the Seattle area. If your destination is Bend, Oregon the take 2 to I-84 to 97 to Bend.

Here's an excellent review on a campground near Duluth. Then at the bottom of the description before the Comments you'll see a 'clicky' for a link to Lighthouses & Beer - Duluth, MN. Very interesting!!

https://wheelingit.us/2016/08/15/cp-...int-duluth-mn/

Also, on the very top line of their blog is a 'clicky' for U.S. Camping. She has listed many of their stops in various states. She gives excellent campground reviews complete with site photos and detailed descriptions.

Here is the website for the Downstream Campground at Fort Peck. It makes for a very relaxing stay after the long drive you'll have. The sites are grassy and huge. When you leave and continue west you'll then realize why they call Montana 'Big Sky Country'.

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/233489

Continuing onward you can easily do Glacier National Park.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:34 AM   #8
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Thank you all for your responses. I will look at all the suggested routes that were mentioned. Yes, we have a 38 foot Dutch Star Diesel pusher but it's a 1998. I have no problem with grades but sure wouldn't want to go up or down a 10% grade for instance :O !Again, thank you all for your feedback!

Norm
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:40 PM   #9
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2 is a really scenic route. How big a hurry are you? What are you going to Bend area for? How long do you plan to stay?
Now, if you take 2 across the northern US I would suggest at Newport WA take 395 south to Spokane, I90 to 395 south again. Follow this around Tri Cities and pick up I82 to I84 west. Its only about a hundred miles to Biggs Junction where you can get US97 south. This will drop you right into Bend with few hills.
If your in a big hurry, then I80, I84. At Ontario pick up US20. Out of Ontario you will have a clumb and decent, but its lot too bad and after that relatively flat and boring to Bend. 26 is more scenic, but can get narrow between John Day and Prineville.
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Midwestman View Post
We're going to be traveling from Michigan to Oregon this next summer. The route we'll most likely take is US 80 to 84 to Oregon 26 to Oregon 20 to Bend, Oregon. I'd like to avoid any serious grades or mountain passes along the way if possible. Is anyone familiar enough with these highways to tell me if this is a good route to take, or is there is a better route, even though possibly longer, that would be easier on the ol' coach? Any suggestions welcomed.

Thanks
We lived in Prineville, OR for about 5 years and the route you described is what we took most of the time on our way back from WV each year, leaving 84 at Ontario, OR and running 20 the rest of the way. I think it is the most direct.

Another alternative would be taking 26 from Vale, off 20/26. Much of it runs along the John Day river.

IMHO, 20 is more high desert and 26 has a few more trees, and the river.

There will be some hills, but as mentioned, nothing that should be a problem.

We ran 2 one year from Everett, WA from where it comes off I-5 to the great lakes. IMHO, it is pretty far north for you at the west end and although it is beautiful on both ends, it is wheat fields in the middle. We used I-90 several times on our way back from visiting EAA Oshkosh, following it to Sheridan, WY and then going down through Yellowstone NP and the Tetons to eventually connect with 84 and 20. At that point we were living near Medford, OR and left 20 near Burns, OR to go south to 140. We also ran 90 one time to Missoula, MT and took Hwy 93 down through ID to 84 and 20. Much of it ran along the Salmon river that I had read about and wanted to see. We also came up the Lolo Trail through ID into MT that Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce used trying to escape the US Calvery on their way to Canada.

All that, along with much more, is very beautiful and historic, but is not the fastest. IMHO, your planned route is.

Steve
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:28 PM   #11
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As Dix39 says - either is good. I live 8 miles west of Prineville and when we head east, we generally take 126 to Vale, Oregon, then onto 84 at the Idaho border. We have a 35' Class A towing a Wrangler and no issues, 20 to Burns is a lot curvier road than 126 and I much prefer the trees and mountains on 126 to counting trees between Bend and Burns (usually count about 4). You have good fuel access at the border. Also, if you are planning on staying along 84, try Mountain Gate in Mountain Home, Idaho. Very nice place (not sure if they have a 10 year rule, or not). Pretty much all the passes going over to the coast from central Oregon are easy doing if you drive sensibly and the roads are in good condition.
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:39 PM   #12
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just an after thought. Is bend where your really just wanting to go? where do you intend to hook up with 84? might have a better route, and shorter.
Yes, Bend is our destination, we have family there. The plan from Michigan would be 80 across to Salt Lake City where we switch to 84 and take that to Ontario, OR and take either 20 or 26 west to Bend.
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:09 AM   #13
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If wanting a faster/easier route i would use 20. It has its own high desert scenery.
Also thereís a great ma and pa cafe in Juntura.

If more trees are your interest go 26. A few more hills and curves, but still a easy, 2lane road with some rivers and creeks alog side.
Also some little towns with good places to stop and eat if you enjoy that.
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:17 AM   #14
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What are your travel dates?
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