Traveling through the Pacific Northwest

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On my last trek through the Pacific Northwest, begun early in July, I headed north through Oregon and Washington to North Cascades NP, then to Newport, Washington on the Idaho border, and from there to St. Mary Montana, on the eastern edge of Glacier National Park. After three days at Glacier, I headed back toward the California Northcoast via Coeur D’Alene, Idaho and Cascade Locks, Oregon. The entire trip looked something like this:

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One of the chief difficulties of this trip is that it required me to drive through several cities, most notably Portland (twice) and Seattle. In Portland, I ran into traffic going both ways. On the northbound leg of the trip, traffic stalled three or four miles before the bridge over the Columbia River. But once we made it to the bridge, things speeded up again. Going south I ran into some rather bad traffic on southbound 205, caused by the fact that this freeway loses a lane as it heads towards more rural environs.

I evaded traffic in Seattle by driving through on the morning of July 4. You couldn’t pay me to drive through that city on a working weekday:

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The third major jaunt in the trip involving driving from North Cascades National Park to Newport, Washington. What’s curious about driving through north central Washington is that there are so many different roads with contrary destinations on their minds, that it’s impossible to go anywhere and stay on just road — not if you want to get out of the place. I estimated I had to make about 15 left or right turns, often on entirely different roads, on a 300 mile journey. Here are some images I got along the way:

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The river in these pictures is the Columbia River, which dominates this part of Washington.

The next major jaunt in the trip involved driving, mostly along Highway 2, from Newport, Washington to Glacier National Park. I took no pictures during that drive, partly because the weather was drearily cloudless and the light horrible, but also because the highway, a two-lane road traversing the Idaho Panhandle and northwestern Montana, was infested with slow-pokes. The speed limit on the road was 70 mph, but there were people on the road who were not comfortable driving much above 50 mph — except, that is, when you had a chance to pass them, when they would invariably speed up to keep you trapped behind them. Once I had managed to pass one of these slow pokes, I didn’t dare stop to take a picture, because I was afraid they would get ahead of me once again, and I’d be back where I started, driving 45 mph on a 70 mph road with several hundred miles between me and where I needed to be by evening.

The next jaunt took me from St. Mary to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. While I did take quite a few pictures while driving through Glacier NP, once out of the park, I only took one picture on the drive, this shot of Flathead Lake:

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Once I arrived back at I-90, I had left the land of two-lane roads and slow pokes — at least for the nonce. From Coeur d’Alene, I travelled to Cascade Locks. It was a hot, hazy, dreary day. The only images I took, before reaching my destination, where from this overlook along the Columbia River:

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The final day of the trip took me from Cascade Locks to the California Northcoast. I did run into some nice shooting weather along the Smith River. But I’ll save those images for a later post.