Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Washington State Route 31

On Sunday, September 6, 2009, we drove the length of Washington State Highway 31, down the Pend Oreille River (pronounced "Pahn-der-ray," FYI) to Canada. I am saddened that my highway travels will not take me this way again.

RCW 47.17.130
State route No. 31
A state highway to be known as state route number 31 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 20 at Tiger, thence northerly by way of Metaline Falls to the international boundary.

SR 31 @ SR 20
At the tiny town of Tiger, we visited the visitor center/museum/gift shop, where we signed the guest book, bought an extremely inexpensive piece of artwork, and chatted with the locals. I wandered away briefly to stand in the middle of SR 20 to snap this photo of the start of SR 31. Highway 20 took over a significant chunk of Highway 31 back in 1973, so that's why you'd have to take a left here to stay on 20.

SR 31 @ Metaline
Since that was the only junction for Highway 31, I now present to you a photo of the midway point of the highway. This is between the quaint cities of Metaline and Metaline Falls, slightly closer to the former. Notice the emergency vehicle coming toward us. It was following a police SUV and a fire department SUV, each spaced about thirty seconds apart. We never found out what the trouble back south was.

SR 31 @ Canada
Another thirteen miles of curvy mountainside driving later, Canada! I hung a u-turn just after the yellow gate (the border) and avoided the Canadian customs. The American custom officers were slightly confused by my unusual answers, but friendly nonetheless.

North Pend Oreille County deserves more of my time than what I gave it this weekend. I'll have to manufacture some reason to visit again. . .

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