On Saturday, February 16, 2008, we drove the length of Highway 2 within Washington State. This route is also known as US 2. Washington does not have a Highway 1, thus this is the first of almost 200 highways to drive. It's also the fourth longest (after 12, 20, and 101) at 326 miles. Talk about jumping into a new project with both feet!
State route No. 2:
A state highway to be known as state route number 2 is established as follows:
Beginning at a junction with state route number 5 in Everett, thence easterly by way of Monroe, Stevens Pass, and Leavenworth to a junction with state route number 97 in the vicinity of Peshastin; also
From a junction with state route number 97 in the vicinity of Peshastin, thence easterly by way of Wenatchee, to a junction with state route number 97 in the vicinity of Orondo, thence easterly by way of Waterville, Wilbur, and Davenport to a junction with state route number 90 in the vicinity west of Spokane; also
Beginning at a junction with state route number 90 at Spokane, thence northerly to a junction with state route number 395 in the vicinity north of Spokane; also
From a junction with state route number 395 in the vicinity north of Spokane, thence northerly to a junction with state route number 20 at Newport; also
From a junction with state route number 20 at Newport, thence easterly to the Washington-Idaho boundary line.
The west end of Highway 2, in Everett. To enter the highway, you must turn left after passing under I-5, at the green sign.
Leaving Everett, crossing the Snohomish River, we arrive at the junction with SR 204.
Up to the top of the hill, we hit SR 9, which you could take all the way to Canada, if you so desired.
At Monroe, we cross under SR 522, which apparently was intended to continue further north, but currently does a U-turn back to the stop light in the distance. You'd have to take a turn north to go south (um. . . west) on 522.
Toward the other end of Monroe lies the junction with SR 203.
Halfway between the SR 203 and SR 207 junctions, this is US 2 near Skykomish.
Up and over Stevens Pass and into eastern Washington (or central Washington, if you live there). It had been so long since a road junction, I was beginning to think we had missed this one. It's not well marked as a state highway, but the junction with little SR 207 is up ahead.
This one was much more obvious. Note the signage telling me to get back to I-90. The highway planners must think I'm crazy for taking US 2 across the state instead of their wonderful interstate. Nevertheless, this is the first of two (three?) junctions between US 2 and US 97. This is where we joined the old Sunset Highway (the first cross-state highway). Coming from Seattle, it took Snoqualmie Pass (now I-90), then over Blewett Pass (now US 97) to this point near the town of Peshastin. From here eastward, US 2 and the Sunset Highway follow almost the exact same path.
Most drivers here must want to go to Wenatchee on SR 285. We, on the other hand, had to do a 270-degree turn to stay on US 2. Note that this is also signed US 97, even though per the code, US 97 is discontinuous in this stretch. Note also the Columbia River in the background.
US Alt 97 goes up the west side of the Columbia, but US 2 crosses the Columbia just after this junction.
After crossing the Columbia River, we come to a T intersection with SR 28. This is the western end of 28. We'll arrive at the eastern end in a few hours. I also see that they're still trying to get me to use I-90.
Exit to stay on US 2. Go straight to follow the Columbia River on US 97.
Out on the frigid plains of Douglas County, we arrive at a junction with SR 172, which goes due north for 13 miles before turning the east it claims to be.
Dipping down into the Grand Coulee, we find the northward junction with SR 17.
At the bottom of the hill, the southward junction with SR 17. Even though Moses Lake is on I-90, they've given up on convincing me to use the interstate. The great white plain in the distance is actually the southern end of Banks Lake, frozen and snow-covered. US 2 traverses the Dry Falls Dam just ahead.
Sometimes, I wonder if the road designers actually wanted us to stay on US 2. It seemed like we were always having to turn off the "main" road to do so. A year and a half ago, I drove SR 155 up to Grand Coulee Dam to see the light show on a Saturday night. Or was it a Friday?
And here's another route to the wonderous and huge dam, SR 21. Well, actually, SR 174 goes to the dam, but this is officially a junction with SR 21. In any case, a fog is settling in over Lincoln County.
On the outskirts of Wilbur, we find the unassuming southward junction with SR 21.
At the west end of Davenport, we find the east end of SR 28, which we last saw back near Wenatchee.
On the other end of town, the junction with SR 25.
There are a lot of straight stretches in the Columbia Basin. Up ahead, the southward junction with SR 231.
In Reardan, the northward junction with SR 231. You might not be able to tell it, but we're now very close to Spokane. Well, twenty miles still. But when you're driving over 300 miles, it's close.
After crossing over I-90, US 2 merges with the interstate eastbound traffic. This begins a three-mile discontinuous stretch of Highway 2. Note the phrasing in the code at the top of the post: "a junction with state route number 90 in the vicinity west of Spokane; . . . at a junction with state route number 90 at Spokane. . ." West of Spokane, at Spokane.
And here US 2 begins again, leaving I-90 behind. Welcome to Spokane!
Even on a Saturday afternoon, traffic is pretty brutal heading north on Division Street (US 2). Francis Street is the nearly unsigned SR 291.
At the Y, take a right to stay on US 2. Going straight puts you on US 395.
Finally outside of town, we come across SR 206. We went up to "Mount" Spokane the next day for some snowshoeing.
After driving through a snow-covered forest, we find a clearing for the junction with SR 211, a shortcut to Highway 20 and points north.
In Newport, paralleling the state line, we must turn right to stay on US 2. That's where the truck is headed. Turning left gets you on SR 20 (and to the southbound "westbound" lanes of US 2). No one seems to want to go that way.
The Safeway is in Washington, but the stores on the far side of the intersection are in Idaho. This is the junction with SR 41, which runs down the Washington-Idaho state line for a few blocks between Newport and Oldtown.
And, after merely 326 miles, our drive of Washington State Route 2 is done!