Sunday, January 11, 2009

Washington State Route 17

On Saturday and Sunday, January 10-11, 2009, we drove the length of Highway 17, from a bit north of Pasco to a bit north of Bridgeport, via the Coulee Corridor.

RCW 47.17.070
State route No. 17
A state highway to be known as state route number 17 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 395 in the vicinity of Mesa, thence northwesterly by way of the vicinity of Moses Lake, and Soap Lake, to a junction with state route number 2 west of Coulee City; also

From a junction with state route number 2 in the vicinity west of Coulee City, thence northerly by way of the vicinity of Leahy, crossing the Columbia river in the vicinity of Bridgeport, thence northwesterly to a junction with state route number 97 east of Brewster.

SR 17 @ US 395
Saturday evening, we started out near the town of Mesa at junction of SR 17 and US 395. It's getting dark, but here we go!

SR 17 @ SR 260
Seven miles up the road, onto the grand flatness that is the Columbia Plateau, we find the junction with SR 260.

SR 17 @ SR 26
It's getting dark as we arrive at Othello and SR 26, so we stop for the night. Casa Mexicana has tasty food.

SR 17 @ SR 170
The next morning, we continue north past fields and . . . fields. And then, SR 170.

SR 17 @ SR 262
Down SR 262, twelve miles or so, is Potholes Reservoir. Someday, I'll go there. Too cold today.

SR 17 @ I-90
Ten minutes later, we return to civilization: I-90!

SR 17 @ SR 171
We're at Moses Lake, but SR 17 swings wide right. SR 171 will take you back into town, if you want. SR 171 is also supposed to go 25 miles east to Odessa, but that part hasn't been built yet.

SR 17 @ SR 282
And then it got foggy. Remember to be careful when you get to this junction, or else you'll take SR 282 to Ephrata instead of continuing to Soap Lake on 17. Very difficult, trust me.

SR 17 @ SR 28
The fog lifted slightly by the time we arrived at SR 28, just before Soap Lake. "Stop: Look again: Side traffic does not stop." Soap Lake itself is rather nice. Frozen, though.

SR 17 @ US 2 eastward
Up the Lower Grand Coulee, past Blue Lake (which should be called White Lake during the winter), past Dry Falls (quite nice in any season), Highway 17 hits a tee at US 2. We've been here before, just last year. There was snow on the ground then, too. Hmm. I guess it's always like this.

SR 17 @ US 2 westward
A bit to the west, SR 17 restarts, leaving US 2 behind.

SR 17 @ SR 172
We've left the Grand Coulee behind, too, back to the fields and fog. SR 172 will take you to Mansfield, which is really out in the fields.

SR 17 @ SR 174
Oh, look! Hills! Take a right and you can head over to Grand Coulee Dam on SR 174. But the short way would have been to keep going north-northeast back at Coulee City. . .

SR 17 @ SR 173
Highway 17 is almost over. Chagrin. We're down to the Columbia River at Bridgeport. Here's SR 173, which will take you down the left bank.

SR 17 @ US 97
But we cross the mighty Columbia and head down the right bank a few miles till Highway 17 finally is finished at US 97.

Our snowy trip is at an end (well, except for making our way home, that is). Coulees and ice-covered lakes are scenic, I do declare. The fog hurt my eyes, though.


Pedicularis said...

Many years from now, you get to revisit most of Hwy. 17 to drive 171, 172, 173, 174, etc. in order, won't you?

Hwy. 18 next weekend?

Sotosoroto said...

Not too many years from now. 2012, perhaps?

Next weekend's a bit crowded and 18 is such a long drive. . .

David J. Corcoran said...

Congratulations! You clinched SR 17. I've been following this carefully because you're the only other person I know of who has or is trying to drive every mile of state route, and I looked at SR 17 as kind of a make or break point for you since it's so far out in the middle of nowhere and (I'm guessing) doesn't go anywhere you actually needed to go. Good work.

Sotosoroto said...


17 wasn't too far out of the way, compared to 12.

Although I will finish this, I won't believe it myself until I drive Highway 41. If I can make it through repeat trips east this year (20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, and 41), I'll know I'm committed to this project!

David J. Corcoran said...

You should be able to accomplish 26, 27 and then 28, 31, and 41 in order on the same trip, so I bet you can pull it off

Sotosoroto said...

I think 41 became a milestone in my mind before I realized that 35 didn't really exist. Driving all the way across the state for a few blocks of street would've meant that I was truly doing this.

Without 35, 41 can easily be tacked on after finishing 31.

41 is still the last of the low numbers, though, so that's a milestone, right?