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From Cashmere to Ellensburg and on to Seattle

semi-overcast 72 °F


After a pleasant experience visiting the 3 cities (?) of Wenatchee, Cashmere, and Leavenworth I headed in a southerly direction toward Ellensburg to connect with I-90 which will take me to Seattle. Fortunately, the air cleared of smoke somewhat and I was able to take in the beauty of the Cascade Mountains. US Hwy97 was the highway traveled, about 60 miles in total. The roadway took me through spectacular Cascade Mountain scenery. It followed a small river and around forested mountains. Fortunately, on the ascent there was a passing lane which enabled traffic to get by slower RV's and big trucks. After reaching the summit one had to be careful with speed control on the descent. Brake failure can cause serious accidents. Approaching the valley where Ellensburg is located the terrain completely changed. The huge valley is green & lush with cropland seen for miles. Windfarms with dozens of wind mills are located along the ridge line overlooking the valley. Ellensburg is a town of about 30K and its economy is agriculture-based. Central Washington University is located here, also. The downtown is bustling and prosperous with two streets dedicated to store-front restoration and foot traffic. Very charming.

The State of Washington has but 5 east-west highways crossing the Cascade Mountain range which runs in a north/south direction. The major highway being I-90 which links Spokane in the east with Seattle in the west. The major obstacle is the infamous Snoqualmie Pass with an elevation of 3,022' and unpredictable weather. The average winter snowfall at Snoqualmie is about 150" and at times this major artery is shut down due to icy conditions, snow, or danger of avalanche. At the summit the highway widens to 8 lanes, 4 each way which provides 2 truck passing lanes and 2 auto passing lanes. The rugged mountain has snow skiing facilities, as well.

To the north, at Stevens Pass (ele. 4,067') adjacent to old US Highway #2, a 7+ mile railroad tunnel was blasted (constructed) through the mountain to connect both sides of the state by rail. Interestingly, through this tunnel special railcars loaded with fuselages of 737 aircraft are shipped from Boeing's Wicheta, KA plant for final assembly in Renton, WA (Seattle suburb). It is there in Boeing's 1 million sq.ft. plant that 12,000 workers assemble the aircraft for flight in 10 days! They produce between 45-50 737's a month! Incredible!

I booked a campsite for 5 days at a KOA in Kent,WA just south of Seattle for my base while visiting here. Plans, of course, are to visit my small family of Aunt Sandra, Cousins Tom, Marilee, and Dr. Susan Duffy Ekins and her 2 kids. A. Sandra, Susan, her children, Cati & Michael and I had Sunday brunch together today. Cati, a 3rd yr. college student at Seattle University is excitedly packing for a study semester abroad in Barcelona, Spain. Mike is a high school Senior. Tom, Marilee and I will celebrate Marilee's birthday on Tuesday with a lunch somewhere, yet to be decided. A dinner invitation was accepted at Susan's home for Monday eve., after my touring Old Boeing Field & Museum where the aerospace giant had its humble beginnings. More about that later after my visit. My time in Seattle will go quickly, I am sure.

Posted by dixter 19:58 Archived in USA Tagged wa ellensburg

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