Cascading Beauty

We left Bellingham this AM after getting gas at a station that also featured a Foxy Lady Latte Bar.  We thought our friend Pete was joking when he said they had cracked down on topless coffee shacks in Washington.  But then we realized that: a) there really were such things, and that b) wearing just a bra on top – since the crackdown – to serve coffee is still sufficient incentive to the guys we saw pulling up.  (I saw her walking in front of the window, if you were wondering how I learned this.) Just something we thought you would want to know.

At any rate, back on the road, we headed for Route 20, one of the most scenic roads in America.  We were heading directly for the Cascade mountain range on our way east. Our first stop was at a Washington institution, Cascadian Farms, an organic farm with a farm store and brands you may be familiar with.  We wanted everything! Take in their wonderful views, and see what some of the local attractions are.

And then it was on to North Cascades National Park.  For the record, this park contains more glaciers than any other place in the lower 48.  (Kind of a spoiler for Glacier National Park.)  The weather today was so perfect that the park ranger had to admit it could only be better when there is a rainbow.  We began by looking at the Picket Range with awe.

Our next outlook was near Diablo Dam.  We saw it from a distance, and then got closer to look at some of the many waterfalls that feed the lake, and the gorgeous setting.

Our next breath-taking stop was the Ross Lake Overlook.  The incredible color of these glacial lakes is caused by what is called “rock flour,” a composite of the rocks and soils pulverized by the melting glacier.  It is a stunning color – should create a fashion trend some year.

We went next through Rainy Pass, where it must have been extra cold lately, as it was filled with snow. We stopped at the Washington Pass Overlook to admire another remnant of winter.

Then we started to go down the east side of the mountains, into a new kind of terrain – more like Texas than anything we have seen recently. We went all the way down the into flat farmlands and orchards, and landed in the town of Winthrop.

When the town fathers learned that Route 20 would be going through their location, they wisely started planning how to get the tourists to stop and spend their money.  They did it by deciding to create a Wild West town, and everybody participated.  The type of enterprise you may now find in some of these buildings may not exactly fit, but you get the idea, and p.s. – everybody stops there! (Plus you have just descended from 70+ miles of mountain roads.) Cute and kitchy. We had lunch at the old west Mexican restaurant, right on the river.

Our last stop of the day before leaving for the town of Omak, our home for the evening, was the Shafer Museum, a repository for several important buildings in the history of Winthrop, along with every domestic, farming and mining artifact of the 19th century. It seems to be the attic of Winthrop, but it’s very charming and has wonderful views.

It was a spectacularly gorgeous day, and we were so lucky to have spectacular scenery to go with it.

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