Going to Idaho, Spokane, Montana, Yellowstone and other places requires driving east through Washington State. Two major highways go east, namely, Hwy-2 and I-90. We normally take Hwy-2 because it starts much closer to our house and it is a more rural and scenic drive. From the Everett/Marysville area just get on Hwy-2 and head east. You will pass through Monroe, Startup, Index, and various other cities and towns.
One fun stop along the way is Skykomish where volunteers run miniature trains that you can ride. Rides are free and they have a small train depot building with some railroad artifacts and souvenirs. The trains and depot are funded by donations so you may want to leave a few bills in their donation containers. The most fun is watching little kids around the trains. The trains just fascinate the kids (and the adults too). The first time we went there a long line of classic cars pulled into the parking lot just as we were preparing to leave. We stayed and admired the cars and talked with some of the owners. We then turned down the main street in town (it is a very small street) and there was a group of super cars. We got to the classic cars and the ultra-modern cars at the same time.
As you continue east on Hwy-2 you drive by Steven’s Pass which is a big sky resort. After another 45 minutes or so, you get to the Bavarian town of Leavenworth. Leavenworth is definitely a tourist town but it is still a very fun place. They have lots of events for Christmas, autumn, Octoberfest, etc. They frequently have street fairs, art exhibits, and many other fun activities. Parking can be challenging and it can get extremely crowded. One of our favorite shops is Jubilee Global Gifts where they offer free-trade and sustainable products. My wife found a nice handmade purse from Guatemala, and they have lots of other unique items.
Next you go by the town of Cashmere where they make the Aplets and Cotlets confections. We ate at the excellent BBQ restaurant on the main road into town but we have yet to take the factory tour. Continuing east brings you to larger city of Wenatchee. From a previous trip I remember that near the Convention Center there was a nice river walk with different types of art pieces. We ate at the Sumo Restaurant and it was very good. We had the seafood fried rice and spicy tuna roll and I really enjoyed both.
Normally from Wenatchee I drive on Hwy-2 eastward. This time we took an alternate route on Hwy-28 through Quincy and then took Hwy-17 from Soap Lake to Dry Falls. From there we rejoined Hwy-2. Hwy-2 out of Wenatchee is very windy and fairly steep. Once when driving my old car the engine began to overheat and I had to turn on the heater to help cool the engine. This route is more difficult to drive and there is not much to see. In contrast the route through Quincy was much easier to drive and only added about 15 minutes of drive time. There was plenty of scenery on the Quincy route and the road went through several towns (good if you want to stop). The Quincy route will be my preferred route in the future.
Hwy-17 from Soap Lake to Dry Falls (and Hwy-2) goes past some impressive, and slightly scary, rock formations. The road is fairly narrow and has some curves but it is scenic and very easy to drive. The Dry Falls Visitor’s Center is quite impressive and you get some unsurpassed views of the falls. They have a continuously running video about the Falls that is very informative. Be sure to stop and gaze at the Falls and stop in to the Visitor’s Center. A short drive gets you back on Hwy-2.
The road from Dry Falls to Spokane moves up and down with the land and goes through an occasional town. Around Spokane the traffic increases dramatically. Click here for details on Spokane.