How's Wa Highway 2 for towing? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-15-2018, 08:14 PM   #1
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Location: Whidbey Island, Washington
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How's Wa Highway 2 for towing?

I usually take 90 but due to some hassles with traffic and ferries am considering 2. But I don't think I've driven up there since I graduated from high school and we don't want to talk about how long ago that was. What's the highway like as far as sharp turns and steep grades compared to 90?

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Old 05-15-2018, 08:39 PM   #2
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Steeper and more turns but prettier country in my opinion . In mid summer, driving through the North Cascades National Park with the 21 and Highlander was no problem except I had to pull off and enjoy the view pretty often. Either one is very doable. Leavenworth and Stevens pass were neat experiences too. Camped on US Forest
Service Ground just west of Leavenworth and ran into town for a festival they were having. ( which I think is all the time).
Nice country. We tend to run state roads when possible jumping on and off the Interstate once in a while.
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:28 PM   #3
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What Dave said.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:31 PM   #4
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Although I grew up in Olympia and was a skier during High School and College years, I no longer have HWY 90 in my road vocabulary. From the Washington DOT highway reports, it seems like there is a major crash almost every hour. If I'm heading from West to East over the cascades, I always take highway 2. Its a very pleasant drive, not nearly as crowded as 90 and way more scenic. For summertime travel and heading East to West, then 20 becomes an option … and a good one. You might want to turn off your air conditioner though as the grades can be steep and long … but there 'plateaus' between steep sections. Driving 20 from West to East, it seems like one continuous steep grade with few areas to pull over.

My reccommendations repeated:

Highway 2 - Stevens Pass either direction is a beautiful drive and very scenic. A little windyer and a bit steeper but you shouldn't have trouble if you can handle Snoqualmie. 2 lane most of the way but far less traffic than 90.

Highway 20 - Washington and Rainy Passes go East to West to try out your tow V. and its muscles first. Scenery is OUTSTANDING! Two lanes mostly with a passing lane shared. Some sections are 4 lane. If the weather is blue sky and beautiful, and Stevens Pass was a piece of cake, consider HWY 20. If its rainy, then Id save this pass for another time when you'll be able to see the mountain peaks and have better scenery.

Hope this helps,

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Old 05-15-2018, 11:45 PM   #5
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Thanks, thatís helpful. 20 is out on this trip but I may try 2; Iíll see what traffic maps say when I make it out.
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Old 05-16-2018, 12:03 AM   #6
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I drive I-90 all the time heading down to Bend Oregon through Yakima. Other than it being a major source of "hurry up and get there" drivers it's not bad. Except on Friday night and/or Sunday till 8-9pm. Everyone coming back from Lake Chelan and/or Moses lake is trying to get over the pass. There all in a hurry and it's heavy traffic. Not sure what Hiway 2 is like on Friday or Sunday. But I'd think it gets it's share of the Lake Chelan traffic. Same with Blewitt Pass going north/south from Cle Elum/Wenatchee. Seen some nasty crashes on that road due to impatience.
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Old 05-16-2018, 03:13 AM   #7
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We live close to both 2 and 90, and typically take Highway 2 when we're just out hiking around for the day without the trailer, so we have had plenty of opportunity to enjoy the the scenery on that route and thus don't feel compelled to take Highway 2 while towing just for the scenery. When we head out to points east and/or southeast with the trailer, we take I-90 since we're in a hurry to get some place far, far away - hopefully Utah. Highway 2 is a good bit more scenic than I-90, but it's a lot of winding 2 lane with limited places to pull over, and it seems like there's always some idiot that just has to follow too close and make stupid risky passes when they're stuck behind a trailer. I-90, being a real freeway, always has 2 or more lanes in each direction, and even slow truck lanes in places, so you'll be less of a constipatorial problem for other drivers. Also, on 90 if you're taking it easy on the grades to get better mpg, you have the option of just tucking in with the semi's and staying out of everyone's way.

Both 2 and 90 eastbound climb gradually over a long distance up the foothills of the Cascades, and each one only has one steep long grade - on 2 it's the climb just before the ski area at Stevens Pass (4,000'), and 90 it's the final grunt up to the summit at Snoqualmie Pass (3,500').

Going westbound, both start out already at the higher elevation, but 2 has more of a climb to get up and over the hump, while 90 is a more gradual uphill over a longer distance, and then down the west side.

We have run into bad traffic jams on both 2 and 90, and in particular Sunday afternoons and evenings can see real bad backups.

We would recommend avoiding Blewitt Pass unless you have a reason not to, and would suggest saving Highway 20 up north for when you have 2-3 days (or more) to really do it justice.
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Old 05-16-2018, 04:24 AM   #8
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We just picked up our 19 last month. Never having owned a trailer, let alone towed one, I was a bit apprehensive about getting acquainted with the experience pulling it home by way of Seattle and I-90. While hooking up in Sumas and sharing these thoughts with Dennis, who brought it through customs for us, he told us when he has delivered trailers in the direction we were going, he has taken 9 south out of Sumas to 2 and then east to I-90. We decided to try that route, and by the time we got to I-90 we had successfully navigated several miles of two lane roads, sharp turns, traffic circles, smaller towns and steep grades with slow lanes. We did pull over and look some as well, but never felt pressed by anyone behind at any time. We were hoping to have been able to take a brief driver training at Valley Driving School in Chilliwack before heading home, but due to a blizzard in the plains at the time, we started out two days later and were unable to reschedule another time with them. Highly recommend "Dennis' DIY School of Trailer Towing".
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Old 05-16-2018, 07:39 AM   #9
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I've done both 2 & 20 pulling the 17 with a RAV4 with no problems. I prefer 20 scenery wise, and the small towns with interesting names, but I had a great time in Gold Bar on 2 during the "Gold Bar Days". Both are pretty drives, and far more interesting than I90.

If you have the time, drive the Mount Baker Highway (on the north side of the mountains from 20) to Artist's Point. Leave the trailer for the last couple of miles (there are a couple of forest service campgrounds along Mt Baker Highway) or stay at the Silver lake Campground in Maple Falls (near the beginning of the highway). Some of the prettiest mountain scenery in the state.

Some photos from the Artist's Point area.
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Old 05-16-2018, 07:56 AM   #10
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WsDot has something closed on 2 on the weekend so rather than detours it is out on the way back, which is too bad because 90 is worse then, too. How does 2 West to East compare to 3 in BC E to W? (From Osoyoos?) I did that last year no problems though have not done the W to E direction.

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