The road is lonesome and the road is straight. There’s one major twist up, around, and down a small range of hills.
At Burns Junction there’s a truck scale (usually closed), and once upon a time, there were services. We don’t remember either the gas station or the restaurant open in the twenty years we’ve driven that way.
The choices at Burns Junction are:
- Highway 95 for 45 miles to Jordan Valley. Midway there is Rome, so named for basalt cliffs that look like Roman ruins. The only noticeable business is Rome Station: restaurant, gas station, RV and motel. When we stopped there a few years ago to ask about camping, the proprietor directed us to a boat launch on the Owyhee River a couple of miles or so toward Jordan Valley–free camping, and we watched rafters launching there on a lovely early fall morning.
- Oregon 78 for 92 miles to Burns. The only town in between is Crane with very limited services and the largest school district in Oregon: 7500 square miles with a student body of under 100. The high school is residential; students go home on weekends. Yes, it’s a free public school. In the 40 miles between the junction and Crane, eight vehicles passed coming toward us, none from behind even though we don’t drive fast and stop for photos.