'Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.'
-- Jack Kerouac
I know, you are thinking I've made a doozy of a mistake. Because everyone knows you get your kicks on Route 66 - that stretch of highway crossing America that has been immortalized in song, fiction, film and travel paraphernalia.
But let me tell you that you can also get some mighty fine kicks on Route 97 as well!
I'll admit that before setting out on our latest road trip, I hadn't given much thought to that stretch of north-south road known as Route 97. We've traveled it often as a means of simply getting from one place to another.
|Gettin' our kicks on Route 97|
Regulars readers know that we are American boomer expats who gave up suburban Seattle life and spend most of our year living in Greece. Last fall we replanted our part-time U.S. roots in the small unincorporated town of Manson, on the shores of Lake Chelan in eastern Washington State.
It didn't take long to realize that even though we both grew up in Eastern Washington, that our familiarity with the area has faded over the decades. In many ways the territory surrounding us here feels more foreign - at least unfamiliar - than does Greece.
|Our new wheels being delivered to Manson|
So, during our month-long stay this fall, we declared it time to get out and explore this new-to-us territory. After taking delivery in Manson of a Toyota RAV we'd purchased on line while still back in Greece, we set off. Traveling a portion of Route 97 was our first outing. One of the things we learned is just how much of a name for itself, our old - somewhat familiar - Route 97 is making.
Things we didn't know about Route 97
|Route 97 - a scenic wonderland awaits travelers|
* It is one of the longest north-south highways in North America. It runs north from Weed, California, through Oregon and Washington, crosses the Canadian border into British Columbia where it becomes the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek, B.C. It concludes at Watson Lake.
* If you traveled its full length -- 4,130 kilometers or 2,566 miles -- your journey would take you through semi-arid desert, interior rain forests, grasslands, mountain ranges, urban centers and rural settings so charming they could be movie sets.
* Route 97, in the Pacific Northwest is bordered on the east by the Columbia Mountain Range and to the west, the Cascade Range. The route winds through lush wine country and past old west ghost towns, places once teeming with mining activities.
|A tribute on Route 97 to the Indigenous Nations and their people|
* Between Wenatchee, Washington and Cache Creek, B.C., Canada Route 97 promotion is a partnership between North Central Washington, Thompson Okanagan, B.C. and three Indigenous Nations.
*In Washington State the route got its start thousands of years ago as a trail used by the Indigenous people. The Columbia Cascades of Route 97 passes through lands of three Nations: Nlaka'pamux, Okanagan (Syilx) and Secwepemc. Miners and early pioneers were to follow those same pathways as they settled in what is now the area encompassing three counties: Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan.
Route 97 in Washington State
|The Columbia Cascades Route 97 - where we traveled|
While our new Washington home puts us within easy driving distance from Canada we didn't make it to the border on our six-hour outing. We went only as far as Omak some 44 miles (64K) from the border.
|A portion of Lake Chelan as seen from 'The Butte'|
|Omak Home of the annual western Stampede|
|Murals decorate the buildings in Omak|
While there we saw several murals which tourist brochures credit as the work of Frank Matsura, a 19th Century Japanese photographer. I couldn't find any reference to murals, but the guy's history is fascinating and worth clicking that link to read!
|Rawson's Department Store didn't let us down|
|Scenes like this make a road trip special|
At Okanogan we opted to return home driving on the 'old Route 97' that cuts through orchards and vineyards high above the 'new 97' that follows the Columbia River.
|Apple harvest is underway along old Route 97|
Every July Pateros is the scene of the Apple Pie Jamboree. From the size of the apple packing sheds (those facilities that receive apples from the grower and pack them for world-wide distribution) there was no doubt in our mind that the Apple Pie Jamboree is being held in the right community!
|Apple Pie Jamboree - takes place in Pateros|
If you go:Had we wanted to make this outing an overnight trip, we'd have likely stayed at the 12 Tribes Casino and Hotel located just off Route 97 between Omak and Okanogan. It is a small facility but upscale with the hotel attached to the side of casino. Two eateries on the property make it an easy roadside stop.
Next year we plan to explore several of the other loop drives that take off from Route 97. For maps and tips on those drives in Washington State and Canada check out the Route 97 website, (click the link to access).
|Views along Route 97 are spectacular|
That's it from the Pacific Northwest. Our month here has gone rapidly and we are packing up to return to Greece. After all, it is almost time to harvest those olives of ours! Hope you'll be back soon for more tales of expat travel and life. Until then, thanks again for your time here and wishes for safe travels to you and yours ~
Linking soon with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday