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Washington State to Niagara Falls, NY - Northern Tier
WHAT TO EXPECT

This route takes you from Washington’s cool coastal area inland over the Cascades to the
desert and then to the Rockies.  You will see the active Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic
Monument, a lumbering area, the Boeing assembly plant, major hydroelectric dams, a rain
forest and stark arid areas .   Maybe you’ll visit Canada to see some outstanding scenery and
the Calgary Stampede.  Further on you’ll marvel at Mount Rushmore National Monument and
the Badlands National Park.  After going through the plains you continue to the Upper
Peninsula of Michigan to gain a perspective of the area’s early development.  Niagara Falls
is on the way to Quebec.  You’ll have a unique insight of early Americana.  All of this coupled
with diverse scenery.  

As you read this you may wish to trace the route on your road map.
From Portland, Oregon go north on I-5 to…

Washington State


Then continue north on I-5 to Route 20 and go east to the… Silver
Lake.  From here, go east to …

Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.  Go to the
observation point and see this remarkable landmark.  This
location is several miles from the volcano but you will get a good
view.  As you drive into the park, consider the fact that most of the
growth is new since 1980 when it blew its top.  We have seen the
area progress from charred remains of trees to the rapid re-
growth that has surprised the naturalists.  This is another highlight
of your trip.    Return to I-5.  

At this point either head north to
Seattle (skip to below) or go
back south on I-5 to Route 4 west to the coast. This takes you
along the northern shore of the Columbia River.  Then   go north
on US-101 to …



Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park.  With 200 inches of rain
a year, this rainforest is unusual as it is located in a temperate
climate.  Worthwhile.  It has a somewhat eerie appearance with the
sunlight filtered through the canopy of the trees.  Better be
prepared for rain, though each time we’ve been there it was
sunny.  Then north to …




Forks.  Here you can take a Chamber of Commerce tour that
includes a woodlot to see the highly mechanized cutting and
striping of trees (photo), then visit an automated mill to see the
logs converted to lumber, and see the manufacture of shingles.  
After this go north-west on Route 113 out on the Olympic
peninsula to the …


Makah Indian Reservation.  There is a splendid museum, the
Makan Cultural & Research Center that describes the way of life
that the Indians had over 400 years ago.  We consider this to be
one of the outstanding exhibits of the early development of the
area.  The reservation is on the tip of the peninsula and fishing is
important to the economy.  If you see Indians selling local smoked
fish - enjoy.  There are several Indian reservations on the Olympic
peninsula.  Then continue east to...

Olympic National Park.  Drive up (about a mile high) to Hurricane
Point – it’s a memorable experience with deer wandering about.  It
is barren.  You’ll see numerous mountaintops, the Strait of Juan
de Fuca and Vancouver Island – it’s a grand view.  While you’re
in…




Port Angeles take a ferry to Victoria, BC, Canada (photo of
harbor) to see the nearby
Butchart Gardens – one of the finest
botanical gardens in the world (photo).  I suggest a tour if you do
not plan to stay overnight.  Victoria is a pleasant city with a
waterfront that attracts tourists.  If you can, spend a couple of
days.  Try to take the time.  Then on to…





Seattle.  Gone from the waterfront are the large outfitters for
adventurers going to Alaska that I saw at the end of WW2, but
there is still much to be seen.  Enjoy the many features – we’ve
enjoyed the festive Pike Place Market area and the Space Needle
from the 1962 World’s Fair.  It is an unusual city with Mount
Rainier in the distance.  The weather attracts many residents – it
is considered one of the most desirable places to live.  And, yes
they talk about a lot of rain – but the monthly average from May –
September is less than a couple of inches a month, not bad at all
unless it happens when you are there.  From Seattle head north
on I-5 to…

Everett (exit 189) is the home of the Boeing assembly plant and
is open to the public.  It is in the largest building by volume in the
world.  It’s quite a sight to see giant aircraft being put together
SIDE TRIP.  Continue north to Vancouver, British
Columbia
, Canada by way of the San Juan Islands.  Go
north on I-5 to…

Anacortes and take the ferry to the islands.  Enjoy the
tranquility of this island retreat.  Go to
Friday Harbor and
drive to
San Juan Island National Historic Park (photo).  Did
you know of a war between the US and Canada?  Learn of the
little known “Pig War” between the two nations and the
peaceful way in which the problem was solved.  Go back to
the mainland and head north on I-5 to Canada to...

Vancouver to visit one of the fastest growing areas of
Canada.  This modern city has good public transit.  It too was
a host city for the Olympics, which stimulated its growth.  We
have great recollections of our visit.  There is much to see.  
Don’t miss
Stanley Park and the largest Chinatown in North
America.  Then back to the US and go east on Route 20 to…
North Cascades National Park – beautiful mountains, photo.  
Some are snow-capped.  Stop to hike, or at least take some
pictures of this scenic area.  As you approach the point where
Route 20 intersects with US- 97 you have a decision to make – to
go north to Calgary or south to Grand Coulee Dam.  

    DECISION TIME:  If you wish to go to Grand Coulee Dam
    continue on US-97 to Route 174 .  On the way,  route 174
    goes through desolate desert tableland spotted with
    distinctive natural stone “haystacks”.  




    The Chief Joseph Dam, photo, in Bridgeport may have
    tours.  
   
    As an alternate head to Calgary, Alberta, Canada is the
    home of the famous Calgary Stampede that is held in mid-
    July.  This is Canada’s premier rodeo and a great deal of
    fun – make sure you have reservations if you plan to go.  
    Consider going to Jasper and Banff and see the beautiful
    Lake Louise.  If you wish to take this alternate continue on
    US-97 to (see alternate)…
Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Walk into the Hoh Rainforest
Giant machinery harvests the trees
San Juan Island National Historic Park
Victoria's waterfront is active in the evening with merchants
Butchart Gardens is outstanding
St. Joseph Dam at Bridgeport, WA
Travel Letters
North Cascades National Park
Skyline of Vancouver, British Columbia