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Road Trip: Northwest United States

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

The Great Northwest of the United States

This article is about my journey from the Northwest USA to the Midwest.

I had previously traveled west by automobile as far as one could go—to the Pacific Ocean.

For the vast majority of the return trip, I chose to stay off the Interstate Highway System, and drive on the northernmost Federal Highway in America, US-2.

I am going to share with you my photographs taken during my travels.

THE OCEAN AT PACIFIC BEACH, WASHINGTON

THE OCEAN AT PACIFIC BEACH, WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON NEAR THE OCEAN

WASHINGTON NEAR THE OCEAN

OLYMPIA WASHINGTON

OLYMPIA WASHINGTON

TACOMA WASHINGTON WITH MT RAINIER

TACOMA WASHINGTON WITH MT RAINIER

SEATTLE WASHINGTON

SEATTLE WASHINGTON

US 2 STEVENS PASS WASHINGTON

US 2 STEVENS PASS WASHINGTON

HEADWATERS OF THE WENATCHEE RIVER

HEADWATERS OF THE WENATCHEE RIVER

Visit the Great State of Washington

I didn't want to visit the State of Washington—the only state in America named after a president—without seeing the Pacific Ocean. It takes a few hours to reach the ocean west of Seattle, driving through small towns and forest.

I saw on my map places named Ocean City and Pacific Beach. I imagined artists' enclaves of old hippies, on a cliff with the ocean ferociously spanking the rocky shoreline. I was in for a surprise.

When I got to the ocean, there was a beautiful, wide sandy beach—virtually devoid of human beings. The little villages had no artists or hippies. They were run down, nearly deserted, with only a couple hundred inhabitants. Having lived in Florida for 18 years, I had no idea people would not make commercial use of such a place, of a wide expanse of oceanfront property.

The rest of my trip would be eastbound. I drove through the state capital, Olympia, which has 50,000 residents. Mount Rainier soon came into view, at over 14,000 feet one of many active volcanoes in Washington. I drove through the city of Tacoma, 1/3 the size of Seattle. Tacoma is known as a blue-collar town of 200,000 souls. It looked like a nice place to live.

The metropolitan area of Seattle-Tacoma has the 15th most people in America (3.4 million). The northernmost major city in the United States is Seattle. A light drizzle or mist is present many days of the year in this major seaport.

Seattle is the home to Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks. Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam all hailed from there. Seattle is one of the most congested cities in the USA, and features some of the most expensive real estate. It boasts the most college graduates of any city—more than half the adults holding a Bachelor's Degree—and is the most literate of U.S. cities.

Seattle is a very progressive city politically, since it has a far larger percentage of Atheists and people who practice homosexual behaviors than any other city in America.

Wenatchee is in the middle of the state, and home to 30,000 souls. It is the apple capital of the world. Wenatchee straddles the magnificent Columbia River—4th largest river in the U.S. and with 14 dams, it is easily the river that produces the most hydroelectric power.

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Nearby are the Bavarian village of Leavenworth (pop. 2000); and the lovely town of 4,000 named Chelan (deep water), which is on Lake Chelan, a 55 mile-wide, narrow beauty.

I encountered a fierce, blinding dust storm in Eastern Washington before driving through Spokane, the 2nd largest city in the state and a bastion of conservatism. Washington borders British Columbia, Canada, and features a wide range of topography including the ocean, mountains, rain forests, desert, and mucho agriculture. Next stop Idaho.

LEAVENWORTH WASHINGTON

LEAVENWORTH WASHINGTON

YOUR INTREPID REPORTER IN LEAVENWORTH WASHINGTON

YOUR INTREPID REPORTER IN LEAVENWORTH WASHINGTON

WENATCHEE RIVER

WENATCHEE RIVER

WENATCHEE RIVER TRAIN BRIDGE

WENATCHEE RIVER TRAIN BRIDGE

THE OWL SODA FOUNTAIN IN WENATCHEE WASHINGTON

THE OWL SODA FOUNTAIN IN WENATCHEE WASHINGTON

THE COLUMBIA RIVER

THE COLUMBIA RIVER

ROCK ISLAND DAM OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER