Discovering the Pacific Northwest in a 2020 Chevy Bolt EV
The great American road trip has a new vehicle. The Chevy Bolt EV now gets an EPA-estimated average of 259 miles on a full charge on 2020 models. That’s just about the distance from Tacoma, Wash., to Portland, Ore., via Cannon Beach. Long stretches of the route also happen to be along the West Coast Electric Highway. That, plus the sheer beauty of the Pacific Northwest made it the perfect place to test-drive the 2020 Bolt EV.
An Unexpected Journey
Towering mountains, ancient forests shrouded in mist, cascading waterfalls. You don’t have to journey to Middle-earth or some other mythical land to see them. In fact, you don’t even need your passport. You can find all these and more in the Pacific Northwest.
While it might not be as bustling as Seattle, Tacoma lies in the shadows of Mt. Rainier with views to rival its neighbor to the north and boasts a revitalized downtown featuring the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, and America’s Car Museum, as well as microbreweries occupying former warehouses — or firehouses, as E9 Brewing Co. does. That’s a recurring theme in the Pacific Northwest, where breweries are nearly as numerous and giant as evergreens and the IPAs are as hazy as the forests on a foggy autumn morning.
Once your Bolt EV is safely docked for the evening, enjoy a pint at E9 before dining on homemade pasta and Spanish tapas at en Rama and docking yourself at Hotel Murano, where each floor is decorated by a different artist. The best work you’ll see, however, is the snow-capped peak of Rainier, so make sure to book a southeast-facing room.
As you set off along the 170-mile stretch from Tacoma to Cannon Beach, you’ll be able to take in the scenery without distraction, as the Bolt EV’s built in WiFi and CarPlay allow you to put GPS directions from your phone right on to the radio display and make hands-free driving a breeze. That’s good, because even in the Evergreen State fall brings a shock of colors to the trees along Interstates 5 and 101.
When hunger strikes along the way, a stop at Goose Point Shellfish Farm & Oystery on Willapa Bay in Washington or Fort George Brewery + Public House just across the Oregon border in Astoria will hit the spot.
The border crossing is one to make you stop in your tracks, as it’s the point where the Columbia River opens wide as it flows into the Pacific Ocean. Fortunately, there’s a rest stop before the 4-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge so you can snap photos in safety. If you’ve downloaded the myChevrolet app and entered your Bolt EV’s VIN, you can check your stats in terms of efficiency, tire pressure, and how much energy you’ve been able to cycle back into the battery using one-pedal low mode and other mileage saving techniques.
Astoria, the first American settlement west of the Rockies, is a great base for exploring Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark camped in the winter of 1805-06, and Fort Stevens, which took shelling from a Japanese submarine in World War II.
Stumptown & Beyond
The evergreen forests keep going into Oregon, and they descend to the ocean at Cannon Beach, famous for the intertidal rocks that jut into the sky just beyond the sand. At 235 feet tall, Haystack Rock is the largest and instantly recognizable, though you can’t see it at the popular beach bonfires at night. The S’mores make up for it, and when the tide is low you can walk seemingly forever toward the water. Fans of The Goonies, Point Break, or Twilight will notice some familiar sights, as scenes from those movies were filmed in the area.
Heading inland, Portland is just about 90 minutes from the coast through more evergreen forest and deciduous trees in brilliant oranges and purples. The city of about 650,000 is a big small town, easily navigable and full of galleries, breweries, and restaurants along the Columbia. It’s also within easy distance of the 620-foot Multnomah Falls, Mt. Hood, and the Willamette Valley wine region. Wherever you want to go, you can plan your route beforehand in the app to make sure you’re never too far from a charging station. As with anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest, you can’t help but run into epic scenery in any direction. And isn’t that the best way to undertake a journey?