On Saturday through Monday, May 26-28, 2012, we drove the length of US Route 195, the vast majority of which is also Washington State Route 195.
State route No. 195:
A state highway to be known as state route number 195 is established as follows:
Beginning at the Washington-Idaho boundary line southeast of Uniontown, thence northwesterly and northerly by way of the vicinity of Pullman, Colfax, and Rosalia to a junction with state route number 90 at Spokane.
Still within the interchange with US Route 95, US Route 195 enters Washington. Goodbye, Idaho.
We zip across the Palouse, through Uniontown and Colton. Much of the route has a "new" highway feel, as we cut through the hills and causeway across the dales, rarely slowing down. When we approach Pullman, however, we must take a left turn, elsewise we'd end up on SR 27, the old road through town.
As we bypass Pullman, US 195 meets SR 194. Weren't we just here a few minutes ago?
Quickly, we reach the end of the Pullman bypass section, at this junction with SR 270. Last chance for WSU!
We race down Spring Flat Creek and arrive at Colfax. Slow down! Jammed into a canyon at a fork in the Palouse River, Colfax still seems an old town. Near its heart, we find an intersection with SR 272.
At the north end of Colfax, US 195 has a junction with SR 26, the Cougar Highway. Back to Seattle for you? No? Then onward to Spokane, we go!
We climb back atop the plateau and roll north through more farmland. I see Steptoe Butte in the distance, which means one thing: we quickly reach the town of Steptoe and the junction with SR 23. Would you like to visit St. John?
US 195 keeps flying northward, paying little heed to hills or valleys or the curves of creeks. This highway is going somewhere in a hurry. At the south end of our bypass around Rosalia, we have an interchange with SR 271.
Just after Rosalia, we enter Spokane County. Pine trees suddenly dot the hills. Goodbye, Palouse. We find some more farmland, but after passing Spangle, the forest starts taking over. US Route 195 becomes a divided highway. We must be getting somewhere! Abruptly over a cliff and down into Hangman Valley. As we follow Hangman Creek down the valley, albiet much fast than the creek, you might think we're still a long way from civilization. The city of Spokane, however, is just atop that cliff to your east. Feeling much like a freeway, US 195 reaches I-90 and we finally realize how close to the city we are.
Once upon a time, US 195 was signed through Spokane concurrent with US 2, all the way to a junction with US 95 in Sandpoint, Idaho. I guess it eventually seemed unnecessary to force its reunion with Route 95, because I-90 is as far US Route 195 now goes.
Year by year, construction project by construction project, US Route 195 is turning into a full access-controlled freeway. It's still a long way off, but with the number of cuts through hills and broad, sweeping curves, this is certainly not a road designed for a quiet drive in the country. Nice country, though.