Back Home: The best parts about driving to Pullman

Some people find driving to Pullman dreary, but if you appreciate the little things, it can be quite exciting



Looking back over the Vantage Bridge at the gorgeous Columbia River.

LUCAS INGHAM, Evergreen columnist

The saying goes, “All roads lead back to Pullman,” but in reality, very few actually do. Cougs have been driving past the same landmarks and milestones on their way back home for generations.

While the drive can be a bit of a drag sometimes, there are a multitude of moments along the way that warm the soul.

For instance, crossing the Vantage Bridge over the Columbia River just provides a certain feeling that few other things can. Seeing the river and all its glory evokes a sense of appreciation for our beautiful state.

Driving through Vantage marks about the halfway point of the drive coming from the west side. The river almost perfectly splits the state of Washington in half, providing the perfect waypost.

I feel sorry for all those driving from the south or the east who do not get to experience seeing the whitecaps of the Columbia River. Although, northbound drivers may catch some pretty views of the river as it runs across the Washington-Oregon border. If you time it right, you are almost certain to be able to snap an awesome photo of the river under the sunset.

However, the most recognizable landmark en route to Pullman lies in the depths of the wheat fields between Othello and Colfax.

After the third-hundredth hill, with no sight of the finish line, you may start to ask yourself, “will this trip ever end?” Then over the crest of the next hill, like a beacon of hope, comes a beautiful white barn painted with bright crimson letters: “Go Cougs.”

Seeing the “Go Cougs” barn is a rejuvenating and welcoming feeling, letting you know that you are finally close to Pullman.

There is a subtle beauty to those wheat fields surrounding the barn, as plentiful as they are. Somehow, those rolling hills never get old. They could be covered in snow, or the adjacent grass could be turning bright green, and there would still be something special about them.

Even the run-down barns and rock formations stand out.

After a certain amount of time, every detail of that drive is ingrained into your head, especially as you get closer to your final destination.

There is something odd about the gap between Colfax and Pullman. Nothing feels better than that home stretch. It is like finishing a race; knowing you are near the finish gives you that extra push to get to the end. The 15-minute drive almost feels like 30, and, if it ever left, all the Cougar spirit comes rushing back.

That spirit doubles when you see the “Back Home” sign put up on the embankment as you get off the exit to Pullman. The euphoria of completing the five-plus-hour drive, and being back in the motherland, is unmatched.

Pulling down the hill, there are no more rolling hills to look at — just a classical college campus nestled in between the fields.

For some people, driving back to school might be a nuisance, but for me, it feels like a privilege.

WSU alumni are constantly discussing what makes the Cougar community so special, and driving through the middle of nowhere to find Pullman is certainly one of those things.