Enjoying the Ride in Washington State

Category: Driving, News. Written by Cameron Wong 

It’s hard to imagine, especially in traffic, but a nice way to relax and unleash a little speed is getting into the car for a drive. As the population in Western Washington grows and more cars hit the road, fun driving is becoming harder to find. The days of putting down the roof, cranking the tunes, and pushing the RPM’s, is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

There are still enjoyable roads to drive in Washington state, however, timing is everything. Weather, road conditions, and time of year are all factors to consider before …hittin the road.

Highway 2 to Leavenworth

Highway 2 from Gold Bar to Leavenworth is the tourist trap. This could be the unofficial bitrthplace of chainsaw art. If you’re visiting the state of Washington in the fall or spring this drive is a must do. The trees are vibrant with orange and reds, and the scenery is a true representation of the state at its best. Why else do you think there are tour buses littering the road during those times of year?

Once you get past Monroe and Gold Bar it’s a little over an hour to Leavenworth to stop off for lunch. This may be a great day trip at certain times of year, but be wary of the busy times on weekends. It’s best to go early in the morning when no one else is on the road and so you can enjoy the ride. But be warned…if you get stuck behind a slow-poke, it WILL ruin your fun.

I-90 Thru Vantage and Highway 243

It’s hard to miss the views when going east bound on Interstate 90 when you cross the Vantage Bridge. The wide open scenery should be appreciated. While crossing Wanapum Lake and riding the banks, it feels like Big Sky country.

There are those who floor it, and then there are those who take their time and enjoy the high cliffs and occasional bald eagle. Highway 243 will wind around the water and eventually get into a unique mountainous area on the way to the Tri Cities.

The summer months can be very busy due to all the campsites and water sports, and it’s windy in the winter, but if you get it at the right time, it can be a memorable drive with a ton of Washington scenery for your digital camera.

Highway 97 between Wenatchee and Cle Elum

This drive is all about the timing. There seems to be construction year round or the passes are constantly closed. However, on a nice spring morning with no one on the road this highway can be a treat.

The scenery is better on the Wenatchee side, but you can test your car’s suspension as the road winds and climbs the hills toward Cle Elum. And maybe the state patrol knows about the popularity of this road as well, there always seems to be a vehicle pulled over for going too fast.

Highway 202 Redmond-Fall City Road

Enjoy this stretch of highway for now, because it’s slowly dying due to overpopulation. In years past, highway 202 was gorgeous and wide open. You could go from Carnation to downtown Redmond without having to stop.

Nowadays we’re seeing way more mini vans, industrial trucks, and apartments/condos being built in the area. All the extra population is making traffic worse on that stretch of highway. The scenery is still great, just more people in their cars are enjoying as well.

At times, you can still get up to freeway type speeds on this 2 lane road and it still wouldn’t feel fast. The path itself is fairly straight, so it can be done. Just be careful when doing pushing the gas pedal, there are more cars on the road these days.

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2 Responses to “Enjoying the Ride in Washington State”

  1. Nancy on November 4th, 2008 2:32 pm

    Loved your article on “Enjoying the ride in Washington State”. The stretch of Highway 2 from Gold Bar to Leavenworth is a part of the Cascade Loop Scenic Highway. I’ve been over that stretch three times in the last three weeks and have watched the fall foliage evolve and mature. It’s a spectacular route, especially going through the Tumwater Canyon with the river running and splashing over the exposed rocks along the highway framed by the fall colors. This is well worth a day’s outing to make yourself feel revived and in awe of nature!

  2. Cameron on November 5th, 2008 4:09 pm

    great site you have there.
    Glad you enjoyed the article…it’s fun driving that stretch all the time.

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