Across the Cascade Mountains

Across the Cascade Mountains

Working our way west across the Cascade Mountains. During our full-time travel journey, we have done this several times. We might go across the Cascade Mountains again next year. Our route next year is not quite certain yet but firming up.

This year’s journey started on January 1st in Key West and crossed the entire United States (except Alaska) from corner to corner. Going across the Cascade Mountains was a real treat especially compared to crossing the eastern Washington desert. Overall we are astonished at how different western Washington is when compared to eastern Washington.

Kachess Lake along Interstate 90 in the Cascade Mountains.
Kachess Lake along Interstate 90 in the Cascade Mountains.

The Easiest Route

The Cascade Mountains run north-south along the west coast starting in British Columbia spanning across Washington and Oregon ending in northern California. The northern boundary is the Fraser River which crosses southern British Columbia before entering the Pacific Ocean south of Vancouver. According to our plan, next year we will be following the Fraser River while in Canada.

We have already gone across the Cascade Mountains several times and the easiest way across the Cascade Mountains is the route Lewis and Clark took following the Columbia River. We took this route along Interstate 84 and ended up in Boring Oregon. I still get a kick out of the name of that town and we have been back more than once. Yes, we like it there. Yes, it is quiet. Here is a link to the discussion of going across the Cascade Mountains the easiest way. Boring Oregon

Shoreline at Kachess Lake
Shoreline at Kachess Lake

The Hardest Route

We have already gone across the Cascade Mountainss on the hardest route (twice) along Highway 20. Highway 20 goes through North Cascade National Park between Burlington Washington and Winthrop Washington. I describe these trips in these two posts: Northeast Washington (we were heading east) and Northwest Washington. Most of the pictures in these two posts, including a couple of pictures in this post are of amazing mountains along Highway 20.

Early Winters Spires Washington Pass on the northern route across the Cascades Mountains.
Early Winters Spires Washington Pass on the northern route across the Cascades Mountains.

Along the hardest route, we visited North Cascades National Park. I still can’t get over the color of the water in Diablo Lake. North Cascade National Park

Diablo Lake North Cascades National Park
Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park

West from Yakima

There are two ways across the Cascade Mountains, to the west of Yakima. Interstate 90 which we took and Highway 12 which is very close to Mount Rainer. We are saving that route for later. We took the Interstate because we wanted to end up north of Tacoma heading northwest and also because we were desperate to get out of the eastern Washington desert as soon as possible. Here is a link to our description of crossing the eastern Washington desert in the middle of summer In a Heat Dome.

Lakes at the top

The big attraction for us, besides escaping the heat was the lakes near the top of Snoqualmie Pass. Along Interstate 90, there are three large lakes perfect for a paddle. I picked Kachess Lake for our campground mostly because it was well off the highway. I also figured we would have the best view of Mount Baker. The view part didn’t work out nearly as well as I hoped.

Evening calm at Kachess Lake
Evening calm at Kachess Lake

Kachess Lake was beautiful but our campsite was very tight. It was so tight that we had to position the RV with trees snuggled up to the side. It was sloped so much that the right rear tire needed blocks under it so that it would be in contact with the ground. Other than it was too narrow and too sloped it was a good campsite. There were a few other campsites that would have been better, but they were already occupied. There was good shade (but no electricity) so we had to make our own.

Our campsite at Kachess Lake, notice that the RV is in the picture on both sides of this tree.
At our campsite at Kachess Lake, notice that our RV is in the picture on both sides of this tree. We parked so that the tree was between our slides. This also meant that we could not open the door to the wet bay. That didn’t matter because there wasn’t any water at the campground so we didn’t need to open it.

Overall we had a good time and thankfully we weren’t trapped indoors. Each afternoon we went out on the lake to explore with the kayaks. The lake was very pretty surrounded by mountains covered with beautiful trees.

Lavender drying in the loft of the old stable at Our Legacy Fields.
Lavender drying in the loft of the old stable at Our Legacy Fields Lavender Farm.

Sunday Departure

We timed our departure so that we could cross Seattle on Sunday morning heading north to a family farm. Our parking location was in a pasture. In the winter or spring, the ground would have been too wet (muddy) to support our RV.

Our campsite among the Lavender at Our Legacy Fields
Our campsite among the Lavender at Our Legacy Fields

The lavender was in full bloom and the scent was wonderful. The farm was in the family for three generations, starting as a horse farm. The owners converted the stables into a store/venue with a loft for drying the lavender.

You can't tell that the venue at Our Legacy Fields was a barn unless you look at the horse stable doors.
You can’t tell that the venue at Our Legacy Fields was a barn unless you look at the horse stable doors. If you get a chance to visit Our Legacy Fields Lavender Farm, we fully recommend it. I am looking to maybe come back next fall, assuming the winter rains haven’t started.

Nearing the end of our cross-country trip

We are still looking forward to completing the Coast to Coast/tip-to-tip trip across the United States heading to the westernmost tip of Washington. We made it to Bellingham but are still short of our tip-to-tip goal. Thanks for following along with us on our journey.

Some more links about and with our Hurricane Prima Kayaks

Kayak Adventures

Hurricane Kayaks

Lake Crescent

Not going back

The Bitterroot Valley

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Our Legacy Fields Lavender Farm

15 thoughts on “Across the Cascade Mountains”

  1. Once again, visual & verbal images. They remind us of going through that country in 1962 to the Seattle Worlds fair.

    Then flying over it 30 or so years ago as we could circle its beauty from above.

    Our 35mm slides have faded some but your descriptions bring back some of the stashed away beauties

  2. Here I thought you were quite brave in your adventures in your kayak, but the rig parking that CLOSE to a tree tops that!

    Keep safe and keep the posts coming. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I guess that I should mention that site 37 isn’t a good site for a 40-foot RV. I even tried to get a better site but they were all taken.

      We were so happy to get out of the desert this only annoyed us a little bit.

      Really the reason that we parked so close to the tree was that the site was so sloped in the back. We first parked more to the middle and back of the spot but in that location, we couldn’t level the RV without keeping the rear wheels on the ground.

      By parking closer to the tree and with plenty of wasted space behind the RV we were able to get level.

      Another thing I might say is that Tami nearly always parks the RV. Without her inside, and me running around outside checking clearances, we could have never cozied up to a tree like that without her driving.

  3. Hi Scott & Tami,

    I would love to hear a follow-up on your new RV after living in it on the road (ie. what you like; what you don’t like; is it big enough, is it too big, etc).

    We are seasoned campers, but new to class A RV’ing and are currently shopping for a used, pre-DEF Coach in the 34-40′ range (preferably Foretravel).
    Thanks, Barry & Kelly

    1. I have been trying to teach our RV to be a camper since I purchased it.  Really it was designed to be a luxury motorcoach similar to the Foretravel you mentioned.  

      Perhaps the number one thing that separates my RV from so many others is the solid one-piece fiberglass roof. I won’t be buying any RV without a solid one-piece roof.  

      I can’t see myself in any other type of RV mostly because I am spoiled with my RV. The only thing it doesn’t do well is fit in small campsites or travel down narrow mountain and dirt roads. 

      I love refueling the RV in the truck lanes. I also love the no-DEF aspect of the engine. 

      Make sure to check the wheel cut on any Class A RV. We have a large wheel cut. This enables us to navigate and park the RV in places where I could not park my six-foot shorter gasoline-powered RV. 


  4. Hi Ex-Neighbors! Finally! We are currently on Hwy 90 heading to the Washington coast, Ocean Shores area. After a week of soaking up sea breezes, we will turn her around and head east/southeast. Let the adventure begin!!
    -Dave & Sue (Clear Lake)

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