Ontario, OR

I had hoped to do the drive from Crater Lake to Yellowstone in 3 relatively easy segments of around 275 miles each. Unfortunately, that’s not the way things worked out…

I left Crater Lake Friday morning, in 38 degree weather (the cold weather that moved into Crater Lake on Thursday seems to have settled in). There aren’t any major roads heading east from Crater Lake – I would need to go way out of my way, up to Portland, if I wanted to pick up the nearest Interstate (I-84). Instead, I took the back roads through the mountains.

While the drive was scenic, there were very few inhabited areas (towns of more than 100 people). The first sizable town was Vail, OR – population 1700. I decided to continue an additional 15 miles to Ontario, OR – population 11,300 – on the border with Idaho, making today’s mileage a little over 350. That seems to have been a mistake.

I’d rank Ontario just above Lovelock, Nevada as one of the least-appealing places I’ve been. Driving down the side street to the (overpriced) Holiday Inn, several toothless children came running out and tried to climb onto / into the Atom – while I was driving down the road! After discovering the prices (apparently this place takes FULL advantage of being the first wide spot in the road), I checked with several other motels to try to find a reasonable rate, which turned out to be impossible. Even the Best Western’s rooms started at $91 and went up from there.

After getting a room at America’s Best Value Inn (hint – it isn’t), I unloaded the Atom – no elevator, long hallway, lots of luggage as I didn’t want to leave anything in the car as it didn’t feel safe. After dropping the luggage off in my room, I went in search of food. The closest place was a Denny’s, which is usually good for decent, if uninspired, food. Every single adult customer in there was WAY larger than me, and for those of you who know me, you know I’m definitely “above average”. Even some of the children in there were bigger than me!

Anyway, I have reasonable Internet access here, but I only checked my email, visited the Atom forums to see what’s new, and made this post. I have lots of pictures from Crater Lake, but I’m just too tired.

Tomorrow I plan on driving around 250 miles to Pocatello, ID. That should all be on the Interstate (I-84 and I-86). Pocatello is large enough that I should be able to get a good hotel room at a reasonable price, and also try to track down a decent meal. I’ll probably post my Crater Lake pictures Saturday night.

With any luck, I’ll drive from Pocatello to West Yellowstone on Sunday, and then have a nice quiet few days in Yellowstone.

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