Oh, c'mon William Yardley! We know about the WPA guides. We know how Jack Kerouac once worked in a fire lookout in the North Cascades. And we have driven Highway 20 a thousand times more often than you. And, contrary to your Charles Kuralt-style piece in the New York Times, we can tell you that Winthrop is a pit, a horrible, kitschy, touristy suck-hole with terrible food, overpriced gas, and insufferable trinket shops that is clogged in summer with RVs with out-of-state plates and fat motorcyclists on their absurdly loud, obese Harley-Davidsons. It is not, as you write,
"an escape for Seattleites seeking the dry light, a reprieve from the gray and wet they know best."
Winthrop isn't a destination, it's a coffee stop, a place to refuel your car and wash the dead bugs off the windshield. It's a speed trap, an obstacle en route to the actual, natural attractions surrounding Hwy. 20.
But you know what, Bill? If you're going to continue your "Going Down the Road" series, try Leavenworth. I'm sure you'll love its authenticity.