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Road Trip Northwest USA

Updated on April 8, 2013
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James Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and writer. James enjoys people, music, film, and books. He is a lifelong student of history.

NORTHWEST USA



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


I 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.

US 2 STEVENS PASS WASHINGTON
US 2 STEVENS PASS WASHINGTON
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
HEADWATERS OF THE WENATCHEE RIVER
HEADWATERS OF THE WENATCHEE RIVER
LEAVENWORTH WASHINGTON
LEAVENWORTH WASHINGTON
YOUR INTREPID REPORTER IN LEAVENWORTH WASHINGTON
YOUR INTREPID REPORTER IN LEAVENWORTH WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON STATE

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.

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. 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.

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
ROCK ISLAND DAM OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER
LAKE CHELAN
LAKE CHELAN
LOWER SPOKANE FALLS
LOWER SPOKANE FALLS
SANDPOINT IDAHO
SANDPOINT IDAHO
MOYIE FALLS IDAHO
MOYIE FALLS IDAHO

IDAHO

 

Idaho is one of the fastest growing states (population wise of course).   There are 40% more people living there than 20 years ago.  Idaho is a conservative state.  It is known for its forests, mountains, ski slopes, timber industry, and yes: potatoes (1/3 the U.S. crop). 

Coeur D'Alene is home to 50,000, and a gorgeous town where tourism thrives.  My father had told me not to miss it as he considered it the nicest town in the country, with the nicest people. 

Sandpoint was perhaps the most beautiful place on my trip, surrounded by water with huge mountains in the background.  7,000 people are blessed to call that place home. 

Bonners Ferry is near the Canadian border.  3,000 folks live there.  It is eight miles from where the Ruby Ridge tragedy took place, and the area outside of town is sort of known for survivalists, and polygamous Mormons. 

COEUR D'ALENE IDAHO
COEUR D'ALENE IDAHO
SHELBY MONTANA (population 3000)
SHELBY MONTANA (population 3000)
WINDMILLS GENERATE GREEN ELECTRICITY IN MONTANA
WINDMILLS GENERATE GREEN ELECTRICITY IN MONTANA
YOURS TRULY AT GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
YOURS TRULY AT GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

MONTANA

Montana means mountain in Spanish. It is a land of cattle ranchers, lumber harvesting, and wheat fields. About a million persons live there, spread out over a huge area. People don't nose into each other's business much out there.

The first major landmark I encountered was Glacier National Park. Home to 25 active glaciers (hence the name), Glacier National Park covers a million acres. It is celebrating its 100 year anniversary this year as a National Park. There is a large grizzly bear population, hundreds of lakes, and six mountains that peak at over 10,000 feet above sea level. Unfortunately for me, most of the park was closed. I learned that it is July before the winter snows are cleared off the roads through the park.

I spent the night in Havre, Montana (pop. 10,000). It is in the middle of the northernmost part of the state, and the halfway point between Seattle and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The tourist attraction there is the underground area "Havre beneath the streets." One can see purple squares on sidewalks around town that are actually skylights for the underground. For decades the underground was a place of brothels, opium dens, and honky tonks—as well as a bank, drug store, and funeral parlor. I had noticed that on my map, and during my drive across the 677 miles of Montana, that there was a tiny town about every seven miles. An elderly lady bartender explained that the old steam trains on the Hi-Line Railroad that US-2 runs alongside needed water every seven miles, so a hamlet would spring up around the water station (later a coal station).

 

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
ANTELOPE IN MONTANA
ANTELOPE IN MONTANA
THE GEOGRAPHICAL CENTER OF NORTH AMERICA IS RUGBY NORTH DAKOTA
THE GEOGRAPHICAL CENTER OF NORTH AMERICA IS RUGBY NORTH DAKOTA
FARGO NORTH DAKOTA
FARGO NORTH DAKOTA

NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota is on the High Plains. It has the 3rd fewest residents of any state, about 650,000. Largely an agricultural area, North Dakota has the most religious people in America, the most churches per capita of any state, and the lowest unemployment.

Grand Forks is home to 100,000 souls in its metropolitan area. It sits on the Red River, which is prone to major flooding. Minnesota is just across the river. Grand Forks is a college town surrounded by farmlands. Nearby is a major Air Force Base.

Fargo, made famous by a movie not filmed there, has 200,000 inhabitants including the city across the Red River, Moorhead, Minnesota. The largest city in North Dakota, Fargo is a conservative place, notable for its extremely low rates of crime and unemployment. It has been recognized several times as one of the best places in the country to open a new business, and by Money magazine as the best place to live in America.

 

I FOUND THIS OLD PHOTO OF THE 1997 FLOOD IN GRAND FORKS NORTH DAKOTA
I FOUND THIS OLD PHOTO OF THE 1997 FLOOD IN GRAND FORKS NORTH DAKOTA
IN 1997 THE RAGING RED RIVER FLOODED GRAND FORKS NORTH DAKOTA
IN 1997 THE RAGING RED RIVER FLOODED GRAND FORKS NORTH DAKOTA
ST PAUL MINNESOTA
ST PAUL MINNESOTA
MINNEAPOLIS MINNESOTA
MINNEAPOLIS MINNESOTA

MINNESOTA

Minnesota means "sky-tinted water." The state is known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." Minnesota features large swaths of agriculture, forests, and wilderness areas. 60% of the people live in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The citizens of Minnesota exercise more than those in any other state, and are among the healthiest, the wealthiest, and the most literate in America. The world famous Mayo Clinic is there. Among famous natives are Lawrence Welk, Judy Garland, and Winona Ryder.

The Twin Cities, the 16th largest metropolitan area in the country, has 3.2 million residents. There are three major rivers there, including the Mississippi. Bob Dylan, Prince, Garrison Keillor, the Coen Brothers, and the cartoonist Charles Schulz all hail from the Twin Cities. Major corporations such as Cargill, Target, General Mills, and 3M were founded there. Universities and parks abound. The Twin Cities ranks near the top of American cities for its level of Christian worship, and charitable giving. Minneapolis (the name means water city) is the newer city with the skyscrapers. It is heavily populated with people of Scandinavian descent. St Paul, named after Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ, reminds one of a European city with Victorian architecture. It has a predominance of people with German, Irish, and French ancestry.

 

SAYONARA

Well, that's it. Sure, I drove through Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana on my way back to Michigan, but I didn't see much from the Interstate. I have written quite a few Hubs about interesting places I have visited. I'll list links to some of them below.

Los Angeles

The Land of Israel before it became the State of Israel

Pompeii, Naples, Capri & Sorrento

Scotland Road Trip

Wales Driving Tour

A Short History of Russia

Chicago Illinois

Monaco and Malta

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      Chickamaddthick 3 years ago

      Knocked my socks off with knweeodgl!

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      Nurul 3 years ago

      - oh.my.goodness,oh.my.goodness!I couldn't sleep, so was up chnceikg on any new statuses about Haddon and saw these and I am BESIDE MYSELF!!!you were SO kind to post these I totally wasn't expecting to see anything until you arrived back from Indi but you are so sweet to give me a wonderful taste of your photographs! I could NOT ask for better pictures! I cried when I saw the one of Graeme and my dad it is so perfect of them both!Aubs, you truly are the best! I will so look forward to seeing the rest and will enjoy these to the fullest!!!!

    • James A Watkins profile image
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      James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

      Efficient Admin--- You are quite welcome. Thank you for the voted up. :-)

      I very much appreciate your gracious compliments on my photography. This was an amazing trip, alright, and one I hope to do again one day. Only this time, I will make time for Yellowstone.

      James

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      Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Awesome trip and awesome photos. I have never been to the Midwest or the West Coast but these places are on my bucket list. Very informative hub. Voted up. Thanks for sharing.

    • James A Watkins profile image
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      James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

      frogyfish--- Thank you very much for coming over to peruse the story of my trip to the Great Northwest of the United States. It was an awesome trip. I am so glad that you enjoyed the photographs I snapped of God's beautiful landscapes. I have not been to Vancouver but everybody tells me it is a magnificent city.

      I really appreciate the visit and even more so your kind compliments on my writing and photography. And you are quite welcome.

      Merry Christmas!!

      James :)

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

      I very much enjoyed your beautiful pictures and informative conversation. I lived in Vancouver as a small child but can't remember much except that it rained a lot, and we got to go to those sandy beaches. You are a talented descriptive artist in both word and photography. Thank you so much for an enjoyable trip!

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      James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

      streamsidedown— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D

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      streamsidedown 5 years ago

      I can't believe how beautiful this is! well done!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      jvhirniak— I am glad you enjoyed this Hub, my friend. I enjoy car trips and I don't miss much along the way. I find it all fascinating: farms, houses, commercial enterprises, and especially landscapes. I like to see how people live and the businesses they create. But the natural beauty is most pleasing. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

    • jvhirniak profile image

      jvhirniak 7 years ago

      James - I have wanted to visit Glacier Park for some time but haven't made it up there yet. I'm sure there is much to see along the way as well and all too often we go to a destination and don't bother with what's between our departure point and final destination. Looks you filled in the gaps nicely: an interesting cross-section of facts, photos, and niche details that you have provided. I enjoyed this hub.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      pastella13— Hi! You are welcome. I didn't know of Rugby either until it appeared on my map as I was planning my route.

      I agree with you that the world is full of natural beauty. Quite a creative Creator we have. :-)

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      pastella13 7 years ago

      Hi James

      There's so much beauty in this world and so much of it would be unaccessible to most of us if it wasn't for the internet and TV. I didn't know there is Rugby in America.

      I come from Rugby in The UK, the home of rugger, or rugby sport. Thanks for making me aware. I hope you are well.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Butch45— Thank you for visiting my Hub. I have a friend from my home state of Michigan who settled in Smithers, BC. I am glad you liked the photos.

    • Butch45 profile image

      Butch45 7 years ago

      Great photos and i live a few hours flight north of there

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Steele Fields— You're welcome. Thank you for the compliments. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community! :)

    • James A Watkins profile image
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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Michelle Callis— That is a great old saying and every bit as true today as when it was first stated. I simply love your insightful comments. You speak much truth. Thank you for this pleasure and you are truly welcome.

    • Steele Fields profile image

      susan beck 7 years ago from drexel hill,pa

      Wonderful hub! Montana is calling me. Your pics are awesome, as is your writing. Thanks for sharing a great road trip.

    • Michelle Callis profile image

      Michelle Callis 7 years ago from USA

      So the old saying goes "A picture is worth a thousand words." Thank you for the use of so many photos for the visually-oriented like myself. You also seemed to have captured what a lot of modern working Americans want to see when they get away from the daily grind - natural beauty, bits and pieces of history and the way things used to be, and a collage of experiences all for one price! Thanks for including so many different places and sights within one big bowl of greatness - The Northwest!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      rls8994— It is always great to hear from the fine lady of Mississippi. It was my first time up in the Great Northwest and it is truly a beautiful part of the country. Thank you for visiting and for your kind compliments. :-)

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      rls8994 7 years ago from Mississippi

      Beautiful pictures. My son just got back from a road trip up that way. He loved it. I've never been in that part of the US although I would love to go someday. You did a great job of explaining these beautiful places which felt like I was there with you. :)

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Kamran100— Thank you for saying so. I appreciate you taking the time to check out my Hub.

    • Kamran100 profile image

      Kamran100 7 years ago

      informative hub with beautiful photos.

    • James A Watkins profile image
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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      ahorseback— Thank you for taking the trip to read about my journey. It was wonderful and I look forward to doing it again. I appreciate your comments.

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      ahorseback 7 years ago

      the perfect trip , northwest by northwest, been there , and am going back.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      izettl— I knew you lived up that way. I remember that from a long ago conversation we had. I loved it over there. I see Poulsbo in my atlas. I didn't get over to the west side of the Puget Sound; I went south of it to the ocean, and then retraced my steps. I'll have to come out that way when I have more time to leisurely look around. And the Oregon coast is definitely on my radar. Thanks for your kind words and you are welcome.

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      Laura Irwin 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Love the pics and brought back good memories for me- I live in the great northwest, but many of these places I haven't visited since I was a kid, especially Glacier National Park! reminded me how beautiful an area I live in- thanks for that.

      I grew up in an area called The Puget Sound just south of Seattle and a quick ferry ride away. More specifically a town called Poulsbo,Wa- big tourist attraction and a fun traditional norwegian town. I lived in Seattle for a while, but traffic was horrible.

      I would definitely recommend a trip to the Oregon coast.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      hamburghotels— Thank you! Thank you very much. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      William Catton— It is surely beautiful up there. I'm not much of a backpacker but I do appreciate you sharing that tip with my readers. Thank you for visiting my Hub and welcome to the Hub Pages Community.

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      hamburghotels 7 years ago

      WoW! that's new and enjoying..........love to do the same

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      William Catton 7 years ago

      We love the Pacific Northwest. For a vicarious experience of family backpacking in one of the region's glorious national parks, read the book UPS AND DOWNS AROUND RAINIER by Nancy Catton, ISBN: 0-7596-4658-9

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      stars439— Thank you for your insightful comments, my brother. I love hearing from you. Your comments always lift me up to a better place. I sure appreciate your friendship. God Bless You!

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      stars439 7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      This is absolutely wonderful. The photographs are so beautiful. The land, the mountains, the ice caps. Oh Lord how we see tantalyzing morcels of Heaven on Earth in nature's beauty. It must be a fantastic experience to actually see these wonders. God Bless You My Brother.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      strutzas— Yes, we do. Thank you for visiting my Hub and leaving your compliments. Welcome to HubPages!

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      strutzas 7 years ago from Kualapuu, Hawaii

      wonderful photos, You certainly have some beautiful scenic country.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      H P Roychoudhury— Why, thank you, kind sir. You always send me nice notes and I appreciate you. You are a classy gentleman.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Allan McGregor— Thank you for coming by and offering your warm words. I took twenty of the photos myself. The other ten I had somewhat similar shots but not as good as the ones I found and used. Some of mine were taken from a moving vehicle and had unfortunate obstructions in them.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

      James your trip to NW of USA with vivid description enriched by beautiful pictures has given me an opportunity to look to the area of knowledge, beauty and place of versatile personals with pleasure of satisfaction. I offer my heartiest congratulation for such a knowledge resourceful hub.

    • Allan McGregor profile image

      Allan McGregor 7 years ago from South Lanarkshire

      Apart from a couple of scary pictures of flooding - absolutely Beautiful.

      Quite outstanding.

      And I'd be interested how many of the photos you took yourself.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      tracykarl99— I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, we do live in a country of magnificent beauty. I didn't make it to Yellowstone, and I regret that. I see you have ties to this area. I liked the look of Tacoma. You're welcome and thank you very much for coming. I enjoyed reading your words.

    • tracykarl99 profile image

      Tracy 7 years ago from San Francisco

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading/viewing this piece. What a beautiful country we live in! I have driven this same route ~ via Utah, Wyoming, Yellowstone, Montana... (I think that I took a picture of the same antelope field, only it was green). It was August, and we swam in Lake Coeur D'Alene - heaven! But, my car broke down outside of Seattle ~ people were very kind and helpful, though. So, we were able to stay in that great city for a while, then drove down the coast - home. The state of Washington is amazing, and close to my heart; because, my grandfather hailed from Tacoma via Michegan, and my grandmother was born in Aberdeen! Thanks for this beautiful trip back to the Northern country!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      boba020682— It was long on my "To-Do" list too. Now all I lack is New England. That's the only part of the country I've not yet experienced. I'm glad you enjoyed this piece. Thank you for the affirmation.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      satomko— Washington State is a wonderful place. Thank you for taking the time to read my article and view my photographs. I appreciate your comments.

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      boba020682 7 years ago from Silicon Valley

      Nice travelogue James!

      And I really appreciate all of the pictures.

      I also envy you.

      I haven't been through that part of the country yet.

      It is on my "To Do" list.

      May God bless you and keep you writing!

      ...and traveling!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Robert— Hello, my old friend. Thank you for your gracious compliments. The West on a motorcycle would be an awesome ride for you. I'm sure of that. It'll be hard to ride to all 57 states but you can surely hit the big ones. :D

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      Seth Tomko 7 years ago from Macon, GA

      James, these travel hubs are starting to give me wanderlust, especially the bit about Washington State. I lived in King County in Washington for four years, and reading this hub made me realize how much I miss it.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      terixf— I am so glad you enjoyed it. It was nice of you to let me know. Thank you for visiting my Hub. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      mysterylady 89— There are hazards out there when one takes off across country. It must have been resolved since you are here to tell about it. Thank you for viewing my gallery.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      DeBorrah K. Ogans— You are quite welcome, my dear. It's always a pleasure to read your kindly words. I appreciate the compliments and I thank you for taking the time to read my work. You are a great encourager. :D

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      Robert 7 years ago

      James,

      Excellent journey, you are very good at both pics and commentary. I want to do the west on my motorcycle and that just made it more important to get it done. Hopefully by the time Obama adds more states I can get those done and maybe have time for Kenya all the rest.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Loves To Read— I am truly glad that you love to read. America is truly a beautiful and scenic land, as you say. And we have a lot of huge cities. Thank you for this visit and you are most welcome.

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      terixf 7 years ago from USA

      What a wonderful road trip your hub has taken me on! Your beautiful pictures and detailed account is truly enjoyable!

    • mysterylady 89 profile image

      mysterylady 89 7 years ago from Florida

      James, your trip brought back some pleasant memories -- and one not so pleasant. A friend and I were in a motor home on a very, very, very high bridge betwween Washington and Oregon when what looked like smoke started coming out. Actually it was steam from the radiator, but I didn't know that. I was scared!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      James A, Watkins, I so thoroughly vicariously enjoyed your personally narrated virtual journey through the Northwest! You have captured breathtaking scenic landscapes and landmarks. Marvelous photography! America truly is beautiful and versatile!

      Thank you for sharing another facet of your many gifts! It is always a pleasure! In His Love, Peace & Blessings!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      HubCrafter— Hey Ted! I really enjoyed reading your poetic words. I love to travel and see the sights, too. Thank you very much for your remarks. And you are welcome.

      James

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      fetty— Thank you! Thank you very much. I appreciate your thoughts on North Dakota. Not many folks live up there.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      akirchner— You know, I've been thinking about the RV thing. That would be a fun life. There's a lot to see in the old USA. I would like to see all of it. Thanks for coming back.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Lee B— I know you are out there on the Argonaut in that area. It is beautiful. Yes, the day I drove through Seattle was a perfect day. Maybe I should put some kind of business out by that ocean. Now there's a thought. Thank you for your kind comments.

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      Loves To Read 7 years ago

      I am not from America James so your trip left me astounded at the size of the cities and their populations. You certainly have some beautiful scenic country. Just reminds me how little i know about this great land. Thanks for the trip. Will look forward to more.

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      HubCrafter 7 years ago from Arizona

      Hi Jim:

      What a wonderful trip! Thank you so much for sharing all these great photos too!

      Linda and I love to travel (even if it has to be vicariously lately). We love the open road and have really enjoyed tooling around Arizona together.

      I often start out driving but get so distracted by the view that my lovely (and very wise wife) often tells me to pull over...so she can drive. I could never be a trucker because America is just too beautiful not to stare at her. We gab about the changing landscape, the rising mountains and the deep valleys, the far off houses in the trees, the herds of deer, a sole elk, a rough and tumbling stream, a brittle dry grassy plain, a truckers cap, a roadside sign. It's the minituae of seeing, smelling and savoring the land. We love it.

      Thanks for engendering these fond memories.

      Ted

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      always exploring— Thank you very much for your kind compliments. And you are most welcome. :)

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      justom— You are quite welcome. Thank you very much for taking the time to view my Hub. I appreciate it!

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      fetty 7 years ago from South Jersey

      Beautiful hub , well written with alot of detail about each area you spent time in. I have relatives in North Dakota but not in Fargo. I could never, ever live there. It is the flatest land with some of the dryest areas even though agriculture abounds. Winter lasts forever and on the farm , anyway, drinking beer is the national pasttime after the crops are brought in. My relatives still have one farm because my uncle won't leave . All of the children have left for other states and usually have educations that get them out of Dodge. The average age in Bismark was seventy the year we visited!!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      theherbivorehippi— Thank you for your kind words. It did me a world of good to make this trip and see such beautiful places. I appreciate the visitation! :-)

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      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      Montana is also very beautiful - but Idaho looks much nicer to me these days! Almost made it to Hell's Canyon but had to turn around and go back home. Eastern Oregon is absolutely gorgeous as well. There's a lot of territory to do a road trip on and if only I could get that RV big enough for the mals and my computer, I'm there!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      markminer— Thank you, kind sir! I am well pleased that you liked the pics and the story. I appreciate this visit from you.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      amillar— Thank you! Thank you very much.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      dreamreachout— I was hoping that this trip would be of special interest to those outside the USA! Thank you for saying so.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      akirchner— I plan to come back out west before long and part of my plan is definitely to take in a bit of Oregon. I gotta tell you, Idaho looked mighty good to me. As did South Dakota. Thank you very much for checking in on me and you are welcome! :)

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      sheila b.— I'm glad you enjoyed the journey. Write off the expenses from what!? I'm unemployed! :D Thank you for your comments.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Austinstar— You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it and liked the photos. Thank you for coming by to visit. After reading your comments, I want to move there myself!

      "Low unemployment! Pay attention folks. Wide open spaces, natural beauty, Multiple wives, conservatism, you name it. And beautiful scenery to boot!"

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      Lee Barton 7 years ago from New Mexico

      Those are some beautiful photos, James. Where you really in Seattle during one of the two sunny days this spring? I, too, was surprised visiting the coast of Washington. It's actually an economically depressed area these days. Unlike Joshua Kell, I'm pretty sure the weather DOES have something to do with the high suicide rate in Seattle. There is also a higher than average incidence of MS which also may be related to low vitamin D intake. Still, summer makes it all worthwhile for me.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Tom Whitworth— Thank you brother! I had lunch in Leavenworth and of course ordered my favorite German dish, Spatzel, and a big beer. Both were delicious! I appreciate the visit, my friend.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Hello, hello,— You are most welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it. The snow probably starts in October at that altitude. Thank you for coming!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Joshua Kell— You are welcome. I knew you lived in Washington, and I'll bet it is an awesome place to live. I will be out that way again, and when I am I'll let you show me the hippies. I actually lived in a commune 40 years ago in Sarasota.

      I saw a lot of empty churches, and churches converted into some type of business, alongside the road out there. I could also tell they have a huge meth problem—I kept seeing posters about the dangers of meth all over the place in Washington. I don't see that elsewhere. You made a very astute observation here:

      "It is the the physical manifestaton of much deeper spiritual problems"

      Amen! I'll pray for Washington.

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great tour, beautiful pictures, Thank,s for sharing.

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      justom 7 years ago from 41042

      Nice hub, I've never been to the NW and feel like I need to do that, I've really been to pretty much the rest of the country. Thanks for the good info. Peace!!

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      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      Man I need a road trip...bad! lol I LOVED the rainbow in the LOWER SPOKANE FALLS picture. That's awesome!!

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      markminer 7 years ago from Albany, Oregon

      Awesome Hub...I live in the Northwest, a truly beautiful place. I fell in love with it when I visited here in 1991 and came back in 2000. I will never leave. Great story, love the pics.

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      amillar 7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Nice one James.

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      dreamreachout 7 years ago

      Wonderful insight of the interiors of America for us hubbers from outside America!!

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      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      Lovely trip! I lived in the Seattle area for 23 years before moving to the wilderness and this 1-horse town, Prinetucky, Oregon. You reminded me of all the beauty we enjoyed for so many years - before it started to look like California. Have to get to Idaho again - I've driven through several times and a beautiful place as well. I am thinking we should relocate there and get out of redneckville one of these days. Thanks for the virtual tour from my house!

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      sheila b. 7 years ago

      I hope you can write off your trip expenses - then you can make more trips and write about them. I enjoyed reading the information you provided and seeing the photos.

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      Austinstar 7 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Thank you, James, for encouraging more people to move to the NW! Low unemployment! Pay attention folks. Wide open spaces, natural beauty, Multiple wives, conservatism, you name it. And beautiful scenery to boot! Ok, all Texas immigrants are required to move there now! Please feel free to take them some complimentary Gulf Oil!

      Seriously, I enjoyed the 'trip'. Really nice photos.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Peggy W— I did have a marvelous trip, Miss Peggy. I saw a lot of beautiful landscapes. Thank you for comig by to visit. It's always nice to hear from you. :-)

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      cvanthul— You are welcome, my fellow Floridian. Thank you for visiting and for the compliment. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      partisan patriot— Well, there's Kenya, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Indonesia, Mexico, the Bahamas, and Zimbabwe. That's 57.

      The Cap and Trade tax on American volcanoes must be paid by Fox News. The funds will be used to support the Free Press, i.e., the New York Times, The Washington Post, Air America.

      You have a great point though about the rampant Capitalism. Starbucks coffee at $3.95 a cup does not sound like Social Justice to me. Surely half the people of Seattle ( the ones in the zero tax bracket) should be given their coffee at no charge, in the name of Fairness, and Inclusiveness.

      I have heard that the suicide rate and homelessness affects Seattle more than any other city. I can't understand why Bill Gates doesn't just let the homeless move in, or better yet—Trading Places. Yes, to show his true progressive heart, Bill Gates should live on the street and let all the Homeless in Seattle have his estate. Surely it is big enough for at least 1,000 people to live on.

      I find your comments on undocumented workers to be offensive. It is easy to forget that 13% of those who paid good money to be led across the border have not broken any other laws since they've been here. Besides, Aztlan is rightfully theirs anyway!

      Your comments were the funniest I have ever received. Thank you.

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      Tom Whitworth 7 years ago from Moundsville, WV

      Wow James,

      Leavenworth really looks like Bavaria. I spent some time in Braunau, Austria (Hitler's birthplace) in 1999. Leavenworth looks a lot like Braunau.

      Great pictures!!!!!!!

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      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you, James, for a wonderful trip. A great eye opener about a country I don't know much about it apart from the names. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about it. One thing intrigued me about the snow cleared by July. I love snow but that would be too much even for me. So when does it start again? Very interesting.

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      Levi Joshua Kell 7 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks for this lovely hub, and a wonderful journey. I loved all of your destinations, but I have a particuliar fondness for the NW. You captured its escence beautifully. I grew up in California, but ex-patriated out here to the NW (Washington), and it truly is an awesome place to live. The forest, moutains and nature in general, is breath taking.

      Its a trip you didn't run into any of our super liberal, artsy fartsy, new ager hippie types. Theres tons of hippies where I live - too many some have said. In fact, a friend of mine has a pretty large commune on Steamboat Island, a short drive from here. So if your ever out here, and having a shortage of hippies again, drop me a line, and I'll hook you up for free(LOL).

      You are right though, with all of its beauty, Washington State is one of the most spiritually dark places I have ever lived.

      Not only is there a huge 'new' age occult movement out here, but Washington also boasts a suicide rate 15% higher than the national average. Some say its because it rains for more than half the year - but I doubt it. As I'm sure most can say these days, crime incident and drug abuse is epidemic. I'm positive that it is because there is a spiritual famine out here. The evidence of this disease, is in the 'liberal' acceptance of some of the lifestyles you had mentioned. It is the the physical manifestaton of much deeper spiritual problems (in my estimation). It is hard to even find a good church out here, there are practically none. Pray for Washington y'all. Thanks again James. God bless you

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      ecoggins— Thank you! Thank you very much. I appreciate the visitation, brother.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Ictodd1947— As great as Seattle looked, I have heard it leads the nation in suicides, and is high up the list for homeless people. Go figure! I very much appreciate you for coming by to visit. Thank you for your comments.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Don Bobbitt— Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the photographs. I know that you travel around the states in your RV. I'm going to come over and take a look at your Hubs soon. I appreciate this visitation.

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      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Although I like traveling everywhere and seeing new and different sites...I also LOVE the West. Nature at its best...wide open spaces...rivers...mountains...fields of waving grasses and grain...wildlife...and so much more.

      It would seem that you had one marvelous trip seeing all of this!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      gayla— Hello my old friend! Thank you for coming to visit me! I seem to recall that you lived in Tacoma at one time. I was impressed, though I only drove through to take a look. Mt. Rainier is absolutely awesome! I could hardly believe how beautiful it was. You are most welcome. Nice to see you here. :D

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      creativeone59— You're welcome, my dear. Thank you for coming along. I enjoyed reading your gracious words. :)

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Island Voice— It could be! What I would really like is for somebody to send me around the world to make a travel TV show. Sort of a manly Samantha Brown. :-)

      I always enjoy reading your lovely comments. Thank you.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Wanderlust— Yes, I was surprised at how much I liked it out west. Don't know why. I could see myself out there. Thanks for coming and leaving your warm words.

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      drbj— :D

      I love to shoot photographs. I still use the old Canon EOS, not digital. I can't part with her. Thank you for visiting and for your kind compliments. I'm a mean breakfast cook, too!

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      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Kay Creates— Thank you for being my first visitor! I'm glad you enjoyed the photographs. They should have been sharper, but I can't hold my hand as steady as I did when I was young.

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      Cristina Vanthul 7 years ago from Florida

      Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing your travels.