As his Canadian counterpart stated, the American border control officer did not care about our son’s expired passport. We waited about one hour in a long line to cross back the border into US. He jovially asked us several routine questions and at the end after he gave us back the passports reminded us to renew his passport “whenever you have some time”. He was definitely way friendlier that his colleagues at the JFK Airport. But we understand latter that this easiness comes exclusively when you cross the border on land from Canada. On any airport it would not be such a friendly experience, however as a US citizen they are obliged to let you in.
We drove by Bellingham flanked by the amazing view of the snow capped Mount Baker and turned left at Burlington, WA to Route 20 that goes to North Cascades National Park. The park is not the usual self contained park and is peppered by communities that alternate with spectacular cascades and green lakes hidden in the creases of mountains. It is no entry park fee because Route 20 is actually the road that crosses the state to its barren interior.
Route 20 is actually a part of the Cascades Loop, an about 400 miles loop that returns to the I-5 and crosses also to the aquatic parts of Washington state. The views inside the park are spectacular but to get a better sense of its great landscape you have to get out on trails.
Unfortunately, we were pressed by time and drove through stopping in many places and arriving in the evening in Winthrop, a Western movie look-alike town filled by parked pick-up trucks, the modern horse of America. The music was flowing and dance was in full swing on the terrace by the river at the Old School House Brewery. There were some hotels in Winthrop but we could not find any rooms available in the last moment so we drove in the night to Omak, about half an hour away.