Rural commuters agree long trips are worth the view

Liv Stecker | Statesman-Examiner
Liv Stecker
Special to the S-E

If you were on the roads in rural Stevens County this week, you know that we’ve been championing some of the sketchiest driving conditions in the country lately. Freezing rain on top of hard-packed snow makes for some ice-rink worthy surfaces.

“I am pretty sure they’re using a Zamboni machine to plow Flat Creek Road these days,” jokes Ryder Gilmore, a resilient driver who lives between Northport and Kettle Falls on the winding two lane road that follows Lake Roosevelt to its northern end. Gilmore’s entire family is made up of the hardy stock that brave these roads every day, year round.

With conditions like these, you’d imagine some rural dwellers would be rethinking their commute, but for many, the few weeks of nail-biting ice dancing on four tires is worth the serenity of a traffic free commute during the rest of the year.

While the annual average travel time between Northport and Colville ranges from 35-45 minutes, the time spent with the beautiful scenery of Williams Lake or a cruise through Marcus have a lot more to offer than sitting in a 30 minute gridlock or hitting every red light that Division Street in Spokane has to offer.

From Republic to Newport and Metaline Falls to Chewelah, the roads in rural Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille Counties are peppered with daily commuters who will take the trade-off of convenient commute times for the appeal of country living.

The full story is available online here or by picking up the Jan. 10, 2017 edition of the S-E.