Monday, November 9, 2020

Washington State Route 538

On November 1, 2020, we drove through Mount Vernon on Washington State Route 538.

RCW 47.17.780
State route No. 538

A state highway to be known as state route number 538 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 5 at Mt. Vernon, thence easterly to a junction with state route number 9.

SR 538 @ I-5
Highway 538 starts at this junction with I-5.

SR 538 in Mount Vernon
Shopping center, shopping center, stoplight, go. Just a couple miles from I-5, still in Mount Vernon, we reach the halfway point of Highway 538.

SR 538 @ SR 9
After passing Skagit Valley College (hence why Highway 538 is called "College Way"), the shops turn to houses, then to forest. But shortly after we start rolling up the hill, we get to this roundabout with SR 9. Highway 538 has ended.

A short drive and no need for a U-turn at the end...

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Washington State Route 536

On November 1, 2020, we drove what remains of Washington State Route 536.

RCW 47.17.770
State route No. 536

A state highway to be known as state route number 536 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 20 at Fredonia, thence easterly to a junction with state route number 5 at Mt. Vernon.

SR 536 @ SR 20
Originally, Highway 536 began in Anacortes at the ferry dock to the San Juans. After the North Cascades Highway was completed in 1972, the western half of Highway 536 became part of SR 20. It is thus that we begin at this Y junction at Fredonia (which is basically just a lumber mill nowadays).

SR 536 east of Avon
Towering on the horizon across the farmlands of the Skagit Valley is Mt Baker. It is autumn, so pumpkin farms dot the highway with big orange signs. At the halfway point of Highway 536, we are here in the community of Avon.

SR 536 @ I-5
As we near Mount Vernon, a mound of earth looms on the north side of the road. This is the dike for the Skagit River, just in case it floods. We pass through an old industrial area, cross over the river, and enter town. I always expect a directional sign at the first stoplight (1st St) telling me to turn right, but there isn't a sign at all. In fact, the highway goes straight, which doesn't feel correct. Highway 536 goes under 2nd St, then turns right to become 3rd St. After a couple blocks, there's a sign to turn left. This, we do. Highway 536 quickly meets I-5 and ends.

It's the shortcut route to Anacortes and Whidbey Island. It does this well.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Washington State Route 534

On Sunday, November 1, 2020, we drove up to the lake on Washington State Route 534.

RCW 47.17.765
State route No. 534

A state highway to be known as state route number 534 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 5 at Conway, thence southeasterly to a junction with state route number 9 at McMurray.

SR 534 @ I-5
Down along the South Fork Skagit River, Highway 534 begins at this interchange with I-5.

SR 534 east of Conway
Fairly quickly the highway leaves the farmland of the Skagit River delta and heads up the hill, into the trees with scattered houses. Autumn colors are in full display on this sunny day. Just a couple miles in, we reach this halfway point.

SR 534 @ SR 9
The highway speeds up as our little valley narrows. We curve through the forest and horse farms, over an imperceptible pass, and just before Lake McMurray, we reach the end of Highway 534 at this junction with SR 9.

Sadly, there is no public access to the lake, so we turned around and went elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Washington State Route 532

On Sunday, July 19, 2020, we drove Washington State Route 532 across the bridge and up the hill.

RCW 47.17.760
State route No. 532

A state highway to be known as state route number 532 is established as follows:

Beginning at a point on Camano Island known as McEacherns Corner, thence easterly over a bridge and by way of Stanwood to a junction with state route number 530 in the vicinity of Stanwood, thence easterly to a junction with state route number 5 in the vicinity east of Stanwood.

SR 532 @ Camano Island
Highway 532 begins at this intersection at the north end of Camano Island, a smidge south of "Terry's Corner". The first quarter mile of the highway was built as a bypass around said corner, since most people go south on East Camano Drive from here. ..."McEacherns Corner" isn't on the map.

SR 532 in Stanwood
Shops and farms line the road on Camano Island. Up and over the hill and down to the ditch known as Davis Slough, which marks the end of the island. The big new bridge, however, is over West Pass, part of the delta of the Stillaguamish River (a branch of a branch... I think it's actually more tidal than fluvial at this point). Welcome to Stanwood. The halfway point of Highway 532 is near the QFC.

SR 532 @ I-5
After crossing Pioneer Highway (the old old US 99), we climb up up up the hill and east to I-5. Just like that, our highway drive is over.

Isabelle bought cherries. They were good.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Washington State Route 531

On Sunday, July 19, 2020, we drove Washington State Route 531 through northern Snohomish County.

RCW 47.17.757
State route No. 531

A state highway to be known as state route number 531 is established as follows:

Beginning at Wenberg state park, thence northerly and easterly to a junction with state route number 9 in the vicinity north of Marysville.

SR 531 @ Wenberg Park
Highway 531 was made a state highway, in part, to provide access to Wenberg State Park, but now the park is a county park. Does that mean the highway shouldn't be a state route anymore? In any case, we begin here along the east shore of Lake Goodwin at the park entrance.

SR 531 @ I-5
We drive north through the woods with a couple views of the lake to our left. At the north end of the lake, we turn right and soon are driving along the shore of Lake Ki. You could drive straight in the drink if you were not careful. People were treating the lakeside verge as a park. Lakes, woods, let's call this area Lakewood! After curving southeast, we turn left to head due east. The Cascades glisten in the distance, crowned by Three Fingers. After a wait at the railroad crossing, a sign welcomes us to Marysville. Apartment buildings and shopping centers spring from the forest. We have arrived at the junction with I-5.

SR 531 @ SR 9
The east side of the freeway is in Arlington. Welcome to Smokey Point. The narow two-lane road is now seven lanes wide. But then we enter cornfields and it narrows again. Low flying aircraft! The road abruptly climbs out of the valley and onto the hill. Just past a hidden sign, we arrive at the roundabout with SR 9, marking the end of Highway 531.

I'm not sure this road needs to be a state highway, but it's certainly a busy road on a summer weekend.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Washington State Route 530

On Sunday, June 7, 2020, we drove the length of Washington State Route 530, up the Stillaguamish and down the Sauk.

RCW 47.17.755
State route No. 530

A state highway to be known as state route number 530 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 5 in the vicinity west of Arlington, thence easterly and northerly by way of Darrington to a junction with state route number 20 in the vicinity of Rockport.

SR 530 @ I-5
When Highway 530 was first created in 1964, it began in Conway and took Pioneer Highway (really old US 99) through Stanwood to here, a junction with I-5 just west of Arlington and north of Smokey Point. In 1991, that section was removed as redundant. Thus we begin at milepost 17.

SR 530 @ SR 9 southward
The first half-mile of Highway 530 is on the really old US 99, which then curves south on Smokey Point Boulevard. We, though, go straight east through the farmland of "The Island". The highway curves north and east on a bypass, but we reach Arlington and SR 9 nevertheless.

SR 530 @ SR 9 northward
We turn north. Highway 530 runs coincidentally with SR 9 for all of a block before we turn east again.

SR 530 @ SR 20
At the edge of Arlington, we cross the South Fork Stillaguamish River and head up the North Fork Stillaguamish valley. The valley is a narrow strip of farmland deep in the forested mountains. Lots of traffic on the road, especially when you're in a long line of cars going 10 mph under the speed limit. The highway crosses the river a couple times. We stop at the site of the 2014 Oso landslide. The highway is marked as the Oso Slide Memorial Highway in this area. The trees are growing quick. Soon the devastation will be difficult to visualize. Several miles later, we stop at White Horse for a hike in the woods. Afterwards, the farms give way to forest. At Darrington, still in the valley bottom, we cross from the Stillaguamish watershed to the Sauk watershed. Highway 530 used to end here, but in 1983, it was extended. Thus we take a left turn (stop for burgers) and head through the forest down the big Sauk River and cross the even bigger Skagit River at Rockport. The east leg of the delta-shaped junction with SR 20 is closed due to a rockslide just a bit east on SR 20. The sign says "End 530" and so it is.

Highway 530 can be a fun road to drive, curvy and scenic, as long as you have the road to yourself...

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Washington State Route 529

On Saturday, May 23, 2020, we drove Washington State Route 529, zig-zagging through Everett and across the delta.

RCW 47.17.752
State route No. 529

A state highway to be known as state route number 529 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 5 in Everett, thence westerly and northerly through Everett to a junction with state route number 528 in Marysville.

SR 529 @ I-5 southward
Once upon a time, Highway 529 was a fairly straight road, taking Broadway through Everett directly to the Snohomish River bridges and Marysville. It was part of the Pacific Highway, paved over a hundred years ago. The highway's purpose has changed since I-5 was built, it seems. It almost entirely avoids Broadway, being rerouted in 1991 over to Marine View Drive and starting here at this nondescript interchange with I-5 at Pacific Ave.

SR 529 @ US 2
The first couple turns of Highway 529 are hard to follow if you don't know where the route goes, including the first turn north on Maple St. After a couple blocks, we reach California St, which is an off-ramp of US 2. Hewitt Ave has on-ramps for US 2, but the two highways don't technically intersect there.

SR 529 @ I-5 northward
Hewitt Ave is one of the main east-west streets through downtown Everett. Highway 529 avoids the city as much as possible, however, so we turn left two blocks farther north, on Everett Ave. (A right turn is a spur of Highway 529 to another interchange with I-5, but since the spur isn't part of the code description, we didn't drive it.) A few blocks west, say "hi!" to Broadway as we pass the old highway at a right angle. Down to the waterfront, we turn north and zoom by the Naval Station and marinas. A massive pedestrian overpass is under construction. As we near the mouth of the Snohomish River, the highway curves east then southeast to reach a junction with itself. Exit for 529 north! Half a cloverleaf and we're back on Broadway and then the old bridge over the river, a long green cage. Island, slough, island, slough, island. Highway 529 is a mostly access-restricted freeway here. And then we reach another junction with I-5, northbound only.

SR 529 @ SR 528
After one more bridge over another slough, we roll into Marysville on State Ave. The old highway keeps going straight, but Highway 529 ends here at this junction with SR 528.

If you like old highway bridges, farmland, marinas, and a glimpse of a city, all in a quick drive, Highway 529 is the road for you!