Boredom

How to prevent it

Keep an eye out for visitor centers—like the teapot-shaped one in Zillah, outside Yakima—or download a scenic byways map from WSDOT.

If it happens anyway

Two resources for local ideas: Outdoor stores (like Leavenworth Mountain Sports) and bookstores (we love Winthrop’s Trail’s End Bookstore) tend to sell guidebooks and employ friendly residents to recommend activities.

Car Breakdown

How to prevent it

You could make sure your own jalopy is in fine working order before departure, or rent from car-share programs like Zipcar: Not only is the maintenance already taken care of, but the rental price includes gas.

If it happens anyway

Most midsize cities across the Pacific Northwest have tire-service shops and mechanics, and Hollywood tells us that when you break down in a tiny town, hijinks invariably ensue.

Bad Weather

How to prevent it

Start early, since weather happens at any time but backups build up throughout the day. Avoid mountain crossings in winter or check Washington State Department of Transportation’s various Twitter accounts (like @wsdot_passes or @wsdot_traffic) for the latest closures. Oregon’s DOT has an excellent slate of live cameras at tripcheck.com.

If it happens anyway

In snow, drive like your mom’s sitting shotgun: Leave so much extra space between you and the next car that she wouldn’t even gasp when you hit the brakes.

Getting Lost

How to prevent it

Forget your phone app—there’s an entire store in Pike Place Market devoted to paper doohickeys that never lose service, Metsker Maps. Keep an atlas on hand for trips through the hinterlands.

If it happens anyway

Our elders survived decades without GPS by utilizing one of the world’s greatest resources: the wisdom of gas station employees. Pull over to ask directions, or hang by a diesel pump to catch a road-savvy trucker.

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