The drive up Washington’s coast on US 101 can be, well, long and tiring. This is arguably one of the storied highway’s less exciting stretches. From the Columbia River, 101 skirts the edge of Baker Bay, then passes close to Long Beach (which I visited in 2004, but bypassed this time). The highway then briefly runs along Wallapa Bay, before heading inland. The scenery is limited to forests with clear-cut patches, until it reaches the mouth of the Willapa River. There’s almost nothing in the way of businesses, all the way to Raymond, Washington.
US 101 will take you through Raymond in the blink of an eye, so if you need a stretch-your-legs break, be sure to take a turn onto Commercial Street.
Downtown Raymond felt like a ghost town during my visit. Maybe I just passed through at the wrong time of day, or the wrong day of the week, but I suspect that there’s very little going on here, 24/7. During a quick walk, I checked out the Raymond Theatre (pictured above), which opened in 1928. It’s still showing movies.
There are several metal sculptures scattered around Raymond’s 5th Street Park, which spans three blocks.
The entrance is rather grand, but there isn’t much on the other side.
Many of Raymond’s storefronts were empty, and the only businesses I found that were open appeared to be Hispanic-oriented.
And while this old gas station is crumbling, at least someone thought to plant some flowers out front.
Raymond is the last town you’ll encounter as you head north, until you get to the Cosmopolis/Aberdeen/Hoquiam area — three industrial cities at the edge of Grays Harbor. I didn’t stop in Aberdeen/Hoquiam, partially because it was getting late, and I wanted to make it to Ocean Shores before dark. But I could have had a lot of fun taking pictures there. Aberdeen and Hoquiam (they run together almost seamlessly) have a rough feel to them, and the urban decay would have made for some great photos. Another time, perhaps.
Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive out of Raymond, headed north on US 101 through Cosmopolis, Aberdeen, and Hoquiam, ending at Ocean Shores: