Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Traveling west now with fires
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 > Traveling west now with fires

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Posted: 08/13/21 06:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have a trip planned through Montana, Idaho, Washington, and then down the Oregon coast. We would leave in early September. With the current smoke and fire situation is that still doable?

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Billings, MT

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Posted: 08/13/21 07:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes, IMO it is doable. First thing, though, forget XM radio. Keep tuned to local stations as you travel, so you will get local news about road closures, etc. Also, if you haven't traveled out here, don't trust GPS! It doesn't matter if it is in-dash, "smart" phone, or on-dash Garmin. They can, and often do, send you on roads that are either questionable, non-existent, or misplaced (the actual turn is 5 miles away).
Keep in mind that some State Parks and/or USFS campgrounds may be closed due to extreme fire danger. Those that are open will likely have extreme fire restrictions, i.e. no campfires, no smoking except in limited areas, etc. Of course, as always, many are "Pack it in, Pack it out". No garbage service, no dump station.
We recently made a trip from Billings to Kalispell and back in our motorhome. I had to make reservations in a campground I did not want to stay in, because everything else was booked up. There were, IMO, good reason for not wanting to stay there; first, the price was $120 per night. Second, all back in sites. Third, few amenities (no store, little cabins for laundry and showers). There were several open sites while we were there, probably due to the price. It is a new (a couple years old) park, so perhaps things will get better.
Make your reservations as far in advance as possible!
Good luck.

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Rogue Valley, OR

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Posted: 08/13/21 07:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Oregon coast has been clear, and tends to stay fairly clear. It really depends on the proximity to the fire, and wind patterns. Unfortunately given the conditions this year it could change on a who knows regarding September

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Tri-Cities, WA


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Posted: 08/13/21 08:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We just came back from the Oregon Coast, it was clear. It was good up Highway 22 to Detroit Lake, on the way to Bend it began getting a bit hazy, as we got up on Highway 97 past Madras it was getting bad. Once we hit I84 towards the Tri-Cities, WA it was awful and still is in Eastern WA. Hard to say what it's going to be like, but I would not want to vacation here right now.

This blog is a good source for WA State info and links to ID & OR as well. Washington Smoke Information

Here is a good smoke & fire map

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Posted: 08/13/21 08:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In addition to Google Maps (left hand info column) the Government fire incident website will have up to date info on fires in western U.S.



Graham, WA

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Posted: 08/13/21 08:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The real question is where do you plan to stop and what routes are you taking.

All the main highways are fine, might be smokey, but driving is not an issue. If you plan to get off the main highway, and have stops in certain places, they might be closed or not fun places to go.

I'm sure you have reservations for your stays, what are those campgrounds saying? It's a little early to decide if it is good or not as fires change daily. New ones starting and current ones getting under control. How much time are you spending on the west side? Most areas west of the mountains are fine as far as fires and smoke, but booked up and crowded. However, no camp fires in all areas, so plan accordingly.


Portland, Oregon

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Posted: 08/13/21 09:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

the issue isn't just the current smoke conditon, that can change daily. It's what happens with the weather and fires between now and when you leave.

However, I would say you ARE going to encounter smoke during part of your trip, how bad will vary. In general the oregon coast is pretty smoke free even in fire season. Yes, last year was an exception.

Depending on what you want to see and do, the smoke may be a non issue or make it a miserable trip. If you plan on going to places like Crater Lake, when smoke rolls in from fires (almost every year) you may not see much.

Also, if you have health issues such as asma smoke may agrivate it.

All that said, living in western oregon, we are still planning some fall trips and will likely adjust based on weather and fires. And expect campgrounds to have fire restrictions, many may still prohibit fires of any kind, including propane pits and charcoal and only allow propane stove with a shutoff.

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Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 08/13/21 09:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Suggest being able to access dot websites. Tripcheck for Oregon, for Washington.
Curently there is some restriction in WA. North Cascades WA 20 speed is restricted, heavy smoke and occaisonal short term closures.
Fires are popping up in eastern WA. Air tankers are very busy! None this morning, visibility low here.
Hopefully we will get some rain to slow fires and clear the air.

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Martinez, CA. USA

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Posted: 08/13/21 10:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This link has most of the highway cameras out west that will give you a real time look at where your going.


Davison Michigan (East of Flint)

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Posted: 08/13/21 04:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Is it doable? Most likely
Should you do it?
I would not
There is a government test I took the question was "Where is the best place to take shelter in a hurricane"

Now this also applies to basically ____Disaster of your choice____
And the answers as best I can recall are

***Outside the storm area***

Once I got done laughing I checked the correct (highlighted) answer
(I have said for years the best place to be during a disaster is... Elsewhere, that's why I was lauging)

OH. I passed the test
And two more yesterday

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after a semi "nicked" it. Still have the radios
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