TopNoodles New Reader
4/16/19 3:42 p.m.

A rare occurrence is happening where multiple members of my family will be in one place at the same time. I will be driving from Omaha, Nebraska to central Oregon to meet them. I'm planning to camp on the trip because I can't afford much else right now. Plan is to leave one week before Memorial Day and return home two days after, hopefully dodging the worst traffic. After searching prices online I'm leaning toward just tent camping at KOA because it's next to the interstate and not really more expensive when you take park entrance fees into consideration. I will be doing all my sightseeing in Oregon so I will be skipping most parks on the way there to save time. I will also be skipping I-80 through Nebraska if I can get around the flood damaged roads. After driving the entirety of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho in 2016 I still rank I-80 through Nebraska as my least favorite stretch of interstate. Return route will be the same.

This will be the furthest I've taken the Miata and the furthest I've driven solo, but not my first Miata camping trip and not my first drive to central Oregon. Last summer I drove the Miata 8 hours one way so I'm using what I learned to hopefully get me through two 9 hour days.

This is my planned route as of right now. Breaks up the driving to 3 reasonable days, and allows me to pass through Grand Teton Park without adding much time. Overnight stops are Casper and Twin Falls. Tips and route advice are appreciated, and I'll post some pictures once I get underway.

thatsnowinnebago SuperDork
4/16/19 6:58 p.m.

Boneyard Brewing in Bend is absolutely delightful. In fact, it's my favorite brewery there. 

corsepervita HalfDork
4/16/19 8:31 p.m.

Don't think my Jalpa will be back up by then, but I'm in Redmond.  Would still be rad to get a beer with another GRM'r.

TopNoodles New Reader
5/19/19 10:37 p.m.

Car is packed, I will depart early tomorrow morning. I've adjusted my route due to weather and I will be following I-80 all the way through Wyoming. Might still get a chance to go through Jackson on the return trip. I'll try to post updates if I'm able.

Stefan MegaDork
5/19/19 11:40 p.m.

I’ll be in Bend the 26th-29th.  So if there’s a chance to gather briefly for beverages and foodstuffs on the 27th/28th I could probably make it.

TopNoodles New Reader
5/20/19 6:03 p.m.
Stefan said:

I’ll be in Bend the 26th-29th.  So if there’s a chance to gather briefly for beverages and foodstuffs on the 27th/28th I could probably make it.

It's likely I will be in the area. I go back home the 29th.

First leg if the trip complete. I-80 is more tolerable on an overcast weekday when the sun isn't trying to cook you before traffic does. I guess I don't hate it, but I was right that the traffic is what usually makes it such a chore.

The whole drive was overcast and raining. Can't really complain, there are no bugs on the car yet. Dodged a winter storm through Laramie and made it to a motel in Rawlins. Tomorrow I leave for Twin Falls, and arrive sooner than anticipated due to the route change. For some reason the drive seemed less punishing, but stopping frequently helps alleviate soreness and stiffness. Just stepping out of the car can buy another 30 minutes of relative comfort.

TopNoodles New Reader
5/21/19 8:09 p.m.

Woke up to this:

Snow wasn't accumulating yet so I booked it out of there. Didn't have any problems with traction but I was expecting it. About an hour drive through dense blowing snow, roads were very wet but not frozen. When the snow finally turned to rain things actually got worse. Suddenly all the truckers put the pedal to the metal and in order to not get rock blasted I had to drive faster then them. The snow was light and didn't stick to the glass, but once the trucks started kicking up water visibility would drop to 0 if I got too close.

Eventually I cleared the storm and rolled into Utah.

After 900 miles I put the top down, and had to put it back up after about 20 minutes. I planned to spend some time in Salt Lake City but the rain caught up with me. I didn't want to be caught in rain and traffic again so I took off for Idaho. Weather was mostly clear through Idaho and I made it to KOA in Twin Falls. Not the prettiest campground but I'll be out of here early for the last leg of the trip.

This car hasn't been driven much in the past 20 years, but I'm doing my part:

TopNoodles New Reader
5/24/19 10:39 p.m.

Arrived at my destination to visit my grandparents, the primary reason for coming here. Enjoying my time here.

Learned that I'm worse with watercolors than I thought. It's not hard to paint in Nebraska, only about 3 brush strokes are necessary, maybe 4 if there's a barn in the picture.

TJL Reader
5/25/19 6:44 a.m.

Awesome! Ive been in and around some of the areas you hit and there is some amazing scenery. Keep the pics coming.

TopNoodles New Reader
5/29/19 6:17 p.m.

I didn't do any personal adventuring, I made the most of spending time with my family. But that doesn't mean it was boring.

Early morning at the river, and time to say goodbye to family and the northwest. Grandma tried to load me up with food but there was only room for two sandwiches in the car. Every trip is an experiemnt, maybe next time I will create room for cold food storage.

Crossed back over central Oregon to Idaho. A cloudy sky made the flatness worth driving.

Camping overnight tonight. Weather looks good enough to pass through Jackson, WY tomorrow.

I was worried about getting back in the Miata after spending a week in a loaded 2018 Sienna, but while the Miata is harsher, it's like an old shoe. It just fits.

TopNoodles New Reader
5/30/19 9:47 p.m.

Thunderstorms very close to the campsite, but not quite there.

Left early in the morning and put Idaho behind me by noon. Weather cleared up and I put the top down in Wyoming. Drove through Jackson town square and killed some time in Grand Teton National Park.

Look at those happy little trees

Arrived at the motel before sunset. Tomorrow, a half day drive to the Nebraska panhandle.

TopNoodles New Reader
6/1/19 9:40 p.m.

Before leaving pinedale I drive up Skyline drive to about 8500 feet.

Leaving Wyoming

I had an oversight and got a camp site next to the highway, however it's not a very traveled highway.

Left early and took highway 20 through Nebraska.

Waiting for train

Finally got hit with bugs. The trade off for decent weather

For the last 200 miles my cruise control started acting erratically and I had to turn it off. My duct taped radiator overflow hose started leaking after 2 years. Otherwise I didn't have problems with the car. The Miata is truly one of the most boring interesting cars around, which is what Miata owners have been saying for decades. Other than interior and cosmetics my car is 100% stock.

The trip totaled over 3500 miles and nearly 7 days of driving.

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