OM - I know you may find it hard to remember what it was like in Washington, but our speed limit hasn't been 55 mph in at least 15 years. I'm concerned you're gonna get run off the road one of these days.
I don't worry about traffic. There is none here in Montana. I usually take a trip to the big city of Butte which is 65 miles away. I drive up I-15. If I see five cars in the 65 miles I'm lucky. Just like when I go fishing. If I see more than 5 fly fishers in 10 miles of river I feel it's getting crowded.
I left all the crime and traffic when I moved away. And I'm happy for it all.
If you're willing to drive to missoula, it's about 9.5 hours to get there and you have many options from there. My dad and I drove there in April last year to visit UM but all the rivers were blown out. We proceed to fish a "beaver pond" and we got a nice 20+ incher from the shore. You have rock creek, the bitterroot, blackfoot, clark fork, and the missouri river all within 45 min approximately. Get a campsite, fish two rivers a day.
You all that go from Seattle to Montana, Do you ever drive the Speed limit. We have speed limits in Montana but out of Stater's don't obey them. Even when I drive a little faster, I still get passed like I'm standing still.
A last minute work emergency meant I couldn't do the trip -- ended up staying here and fishing a ton: SF Snoqualmie and a couple of tribs up by Hwy 2. Caught the largest fish I've ever caught on a fly (not that that's a very high bar) an 18 inch or so rainbow on the Miller that put up a hell of a fight.
Thank you all for the suggestions -- I hope to make that trip someday soon ...