Friday, September 10, 2010

Turning Off onto the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway

Okay, this won't exactly be a scenic post, and that's because, for once, I'm just going to have only three pictures. Yes! I swear it! (Oh, and one road song video.)

And the reason for three pictures is to emphasize how important coming back on the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway really was. The entire route back from central Oregon depended on returning this way. And why? Why did we take this longer road?

Simply because there was a part of the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway that I hadn't ever been on before, a part between this turnoff from U.S. 395 north of Lakeview, Oregon, and Winnemucca, Nevada. It wasn't the first part just east of 395, and it wasn't the last part, just north of Winnemucca. No, it was the hard-to-get-to central part, a part that can only be reached by a few other roads, including a couple coming in from the south that can be impassable with 4WD.
I've written a little about the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway before at Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway: An Outcrop. The somewhat disjointed highway goes from Winnemucca, NV, to Denio Junction, NV, from there to Adel, OR, until it hits 395 at the turnoff we're just arriving at now (these photos). From 395 it turns south, goes into Lakeview, OR, then heads west to Klamath Falls. Through all these twistings and turnings it's signed as U.S. 95, Nevada S.R. 140 (partly old Highway 8A), Oregon Route 140, U.S. 395, and Oregon Route 140 again. From Lakeview, the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway then follows 140 through K-Falls, and from K-Falls, 140 will take you, via a short distance on Oregon Route 62, to Medford, OR. From Medford, you follow I-5 north until you can exit onto U.S. 199 near Grants Pass, OR; 199 will take you west, then south, and then southwest until you almost reach the sea at Crescent City, CA, but not before you have to get on U.S 101 for a brief sojourn. I'm not sure what official exit one should take to go to the sea from 101. That's the entire Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway, as it is today. It was originally planned as one continuous road, U.S. 140, but that continuity never happened. (You didn't know continuity could happen, did you?)

I've still missed out on the section between Lakeview and K-Falls, probably on the section between K-Falls and Medford, and possibly on part of the section between Grants Pass and Crescent City.
Strikingly, at least to me, there is no signage saying anything about Winnemucca-to-the-Sea at this turn-off from U.S. 395; none that I spotted, anyway.

Another reason for going this way, other than to travel part of that strangely fascinating Winnemucca escape route, was to see the north end of the only part of Highway 8A that is still called Highway 8A. Will there be any 8A signs on the north end of that road? Stay tuned to find out...

And now, for the treat: a road song starting off with a mention of a dusty Winnemucca road:

View Bend OR to Winnemucca NV in a larger map

To be continued...


Gaelyn said...

Well I've been on the section between Grants Pass and Crescent City, the Redwood Highway. Right past the turn off for Oregon Caves where I worked.

Dan McShane said...

This road has a severe lack of continuity!

Silver Fox said...

Gaelyn, why don't you just say "Nyah nyah!" ;)

Silver Fox said...

Dan, severely. The original NV 8, 8A, and 8B were also moderately discontinuous. Possibly that's a fascination for me?