One of my favorite day trips from Seattle is driving alongside the Columbia River in central Washington. It’s literally where “east meets west” – in this case, the moisture-sucking Cascade Range of the evergreen west gives way to the dry and desert-like climate of the east. And with the help of large-scale irrigation and a near-perfect growing climate, this region has become one of the premier agricultural areas in the world. And that’s no more apparent than in Wenatchee, smack dab in the middle of the state. This small city calls itself the “Apple Capital of the World” and with good reason. Washington produces more apples (and pears) than any other U.S. state. And Wenatchee is the epicenter of the fruit industry, where billions of apples are harvested each year. It’s also a leader in research and testing of new fruit varieties, irrigation systems and really, anything to do with agricultural technology. The draw for road trippers is the hundreds of thousands of acres of neatly manicured orchards gracing the foothills that roll down to the Columbia River banks. This story follows US 97 and nearby country roads as the highway parallels the river north to Brewster, roughly 65 miles. But that’s only a small part of the whole picture. Continuing north another 155 miles and crossing into Canada, fruit and wine grapes are grown throughout the Okanagan Valley all the way up to Kelowna, British Columbia. And heading south of Wenatchee, orchards and vineyards extend to Yakima and onto Walla Walla, near the Oregon border. By my count, that’s 455 miles (733 km) or 8½ hours of cosmic crisp apples and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, from Walla Walla to Kelowna – without stops! Best to savor small chunks at a time. And this “Fruit Route” around Wenatchee is fun to drive twice a year: once in late summer or fall during prime harvest and fruit stand season. But also in the spring when apple blossoms cover the hillsides, as this video essay illustrates. Maps, tips and more “road trips as art” can be seen at https://www.wideopenride.net/.