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Saturday, August 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Clark: Traveling north/south freeway a religious experience

Like any brand-new religious convert, I can’t shut up about how damned enlightened I’ve become as opposed to you – the unwashed jerks who don’t know jack ($#!^).

So bear with me today while I make you hear the Good News.

Namely, that I have accepted the north/south freeway into my heart as my own personal highway.

I know. Crazy, isn’t it?

I used to be the biggest skeptic of the north/south freeway or North Spokane Corridor, as the Washington state Department of Transportation likes to call it.

Whatever. To me, this freeway was one of those impossible pipe dreams, like Bigfoot or a two-term Spokane mayor.

Then there’s the frightening financial aspect.

To date, taxpayers have pumped more money into this road project than Rep. Matt Shea’s annual bullet budget.

Then something wondrous and completely life-changing happened.

I drove on the north/south freeway and experienced a concrete conversion.

“Holy moly!” as the priests say.

I’m talking about four miles (give or take) of heavenly highway.

My lovely wife, Sherry, and I zoomed along in her Camry with hardly a soul in sight.

“Honey,” I told her. “Those nice DOT folks built a freeway JUST FOR US!!!”

To be perfectly honest, I did spot another car or two, but it could’ve been a mirage.

Makes sense. Locating this stretch of U.S. Highway 395 is easier if your ride comes with a GPS system or Native American scout.

I considered attending the big ribbon-cutting ceremony when this minifreeway opened back in 2009.

I hear it was an amazing event that drew scores of important people who spent literally minutes extolling the virtues of the freeway before heading back home to completely put it out of their minds.

I skipped the festivities knowing I’d never get there. My sense of direction is so bad I often get lost in NorthTown Mall, which is essentially a giant square.

All I knew of the new north/south freeway was that it’s somewhere north of Hillyard.

Great. So is Canada.

Then the other day, Sherry and I decided to take a day trip to Colville.

Why did we go to Colville?

A time to be together, the antique shops, rehearsing where to flee when the end of the world finally arrives …

You know, the usual stuff that draws visitors to Stevens County.

What I didn’t count on were all the traffic snarls, stop-and-go intersections and rude motorists.

And that was driving up Division. By the time we actually reached Deer Park I was an exhausted wreck.

Good thing Sherry was driving.

But we had a wonderful day. And when it came time to head back to Spokane, I steeled myself for the worst by grabbing a copy of Wheel Deals to examine.

Then as we neared the Wandermere golf course a vision appeared in the form of an off-ramp curving smoothly to the left.

“Let’s see where it goes,” I said.

Always up for adventure. That’s the way I roll.

Suddenly we were propelled into the future. Or at least “Future 395,” as it says on some of the highway signs.

The north/south freeway gave us an utter sense of peace and privacy.

Speed limit? You don’t need no stinking speed limit. I doubt any cops have cruised this stretch since it opened.

Eventually, I am told, citizens will be able to drive 10-plus miles on the freeway, from I-90 all the way north to where we were.

According to the DOT, the project will be completely concluded sometime in the next millennium or two days before the Lord’s return, whichever comes first.

Now that I’m a true believer, I can barely wait.

Doug Clarkcan be reached at (509) 459-5432 or

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