SCS Software proved just how pretty the world of American Truck Simulator could get with the release of the Oregon map expansion just a few months ago. Now, its similarly nature-loving sibling has joined in on the action—Washington.
Unlike the more southern states on the west coast of the USA, Washington has a lot of greenery. No wonder it’s called the “Evergreen State.” I observed this from the minute I drove past the state line from Oregon. My first stop in Washington was Aberdeen, coming in from Portland. Here, the two states are separated by the Columbia River. This was a prelude to what I’d be seeing a lot of in Washington — a lot of water bodies and bridges. It really is a beautiful sight though, seeing the sea of green on both sides separated by the sparkling water. As soon as I crossed to the other side, I began my trek through Washington’s very elevated road network. Make sure your truck is powerful enough to ascend hills when weighed down—because this state has a lot of mountain roadways.
The road to Aberdeen was long and winding, cutting straight through a large swath of forest. It’s pretty peaceful being huddled under the glow of the forest canopy as you meander your way through the state. After stopping in Aberdeen briefly to pick up my first bit of cargo from Washington, I began making my way to Olympia, which is just outside of another city, Tacoma. On this drive, I spotted a deer crossing sign. I don’t recall seeing them in Oregon. Though American Truck Simulator does have animated animals on some farms around the state, a deer never actually did cross the road at any moment in my WA road trip.
Into the woods
The next leg of my journey took me almost completely across the state from Olympia all the way up to Colville, which is in the northeastern part. It was about the longest single part of the entire journey, coming in at 413 miles. Not too long after getting on my way, there was a major unexpected event that appeared to be an accident that shut down an entire section of the highway. I don’t recall ever seeing an accident of this size in American Truck Simulator before. Though, I’m unclear if this is new or just rare. Continuing on, I ended up just skimming past the outskirts of Seattle during this drive, which didn’t give me an opportunity to see much of it just yet. But again, the mountain driving continued with constant bending and winding with the lush greenery straddling each side of the road. I even sailed past a few beautiful meadows somewhere along the route.
Further along, I spotted the first bit of Washington’s more rustic scenery elements. In this particular instance, I saw an old, rundown trailer park and some very simple homes on what appeared to be the shoreline of a lake. It was a nice visual reminder that a lot of Washington’s culture is being in the “great outdoors” rather than modern suburbia. You’ll see a lot of examples of this as you drive throughout the state.
As I pushed further east, I noticed a drastic change in the scenery. All of the lush greenery that I had already grown very fond of just went ahead and vanished! No, it wasn’t a glitch; it just turns out Washington’s tagline of being the “Evergreen State” is only mostly true. From my observations, it appears the southeastern part of the state consists mostly of dry, rocky areas. This terrain is, of course, what makes up most of the other states on the map to the extreme south. So, I was surprised to see that terrain stretch this far up. As someone that’s never been to Washington, I don’t know if it’s because the season in ATS mostly replicates summer rather than spring, or if these areas really are dry mostly year-round.
Before finally getting into Colville, I drove through Spokane, which seems like a quaint, little city. It has modern architecture here and there, though the country theme is still strong. Not as strong as Colville itself though, which is an even smaller farm city with a lot of fields.
Since I had come this far north, I decided to continue seeing what was up there and made my way westward to Omak. During this drive, I came through the first rural town that’s rendered and named in-game but doesn’t have a name on the map. There’s a handful scattered across the map, just like in the other states. As for Omak itself, it’s yet another small country city. Though, it looks nicer and more modern than Colville. The greenery finally returned. I diverted back towards the south, this time through the state’s center down to Wenatchee. Nothing much happened on this drive, so I simply continued on from Wenatchee even further south to Kennewick, which isn’t too far from the Oregon border.
This part of the journey took me just north of Yakima, where the scenery transitioned again. Although I anticipated it more this time, it was still a little abrupt to go from a sea of green, to what appeared to be a canyon. Encountered even more winding mountainous roads along this route. They’re a challenge, but it’s all a part of the fun, really. Kennewick is another fairly modern city, and it didn’t appear to be as rustic as some of the other cities in the state. I couldn’t pick up another job that would take me to a new destination, so I decided to simply free drive back up north to Grand Coulee.
(Non-beaver) dams and logging stories
Grand Coulee’s big claim to fame is its dam. While not as large as the Hoover Dam in Arizona, it’s still a beautiful site to see. The scenery designers even made sure to add animated water. Grand Coulee seems to sit in a basin, so you actually drive down into the city and then make your way back up when leaving, all while admiring the dam off in the distance. It’s easily one of the more visually impressive parts of the state for this reason alone.
After this little experience, I had to backtrack from Grand Coulee back to Spokane, which was just a quick hop over. I then picked up a job from Spokane that would take me to the most northern city in the game so far: Bellingham. Most of this drive happened at night, so I didn’t see much of the scenery.
I came just outside of Bellingham before the GPS led me to an interesting point. It consisted of the last few miles having my truck bobbing and weaving its way up an off-road trail on a mountainside that eventually led to a logging project in the middle of the forest. From this site, I picked up my next job, which just so happened to be a part of the new Forest Machinery Cargo DLC pack. These jobs are only available in Washington and Oregon at logging-related locations. There isn’t much I can say about this pack; the cargo options are pretty cool, though they don’t add anything truly significant to the experience other than giving you some new stuff to haul around. Thus, I only did one job with it: taking a Tug Grinder from this logging site outside of Bellingham to the city of Everett.
A trip on the water
Everett sits on the coast of Possession Sound, which eventually leads out to the Pacific. What makes it so special is that just outside of Everett is a small town that has a ferry dock.
This is the very first (and so far only) ferry dock in all of American Truck Simulator. If you have ETS2, then you know they’re very plentiful in that game. I took the ferry over to Port Angeles, over on the other side of Possession Sound. From there, I picked up another job that would take me back to Seattle.
Interestingly enough, the GPS didn’t send me the short way back to the ferry dock, but rather I ended up driving the long way around the water body, which also involved me bypassing Olympia once again. Though it takes longer, this drive was rather pretty. I also ended up noticing Olympia has its own port. Speaking of ports…
On this part of the journey, I also took the chance to detour through Tacoma to see it properly, and it too has a port — a very large container port, at that. I finally made my way into Seattle, which is the city I was most excited to see out of all. It’s the one city in Washington I know about, even though I’ve never been there in real life. But I recognize it primarily because it’s the default spot in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 — a game I played for about 12 years. Thus, I was excited to see the Sea-Tac airport here in ATS. There’s signage for it, though it’s not actually rendered. The Boeing factory, however, is fully rendered and does have hauling jobs. Seattle is also rendered, though there are no roads that actually lead into the city proper, just a highway that gets you close enough to see it. This is easily the largest city on the map and the only one that really looks like a concrete jungle.
Those aren’t treetops…
From Seattle, I did a quick freedrive down to Longview and then immediately continued to Vancouver to bring my Washington road trip tour to a proper close. I parked at a resting spot in Vancouver, feeling satisfied that I had visited all 16 cities in the new state. While I didn’t drive through every nook and cranny, I did get to see most of ATS‘ rendition of Washington. I didn’t spot the iconic Mount St. Helens or Rainier, though the scenery is still gorgeous nonetheless.
Just like with Oregon, Washington is a treat for nature lovers. I was snapping pictures constantly throughout my drive. In all, it took me about 10 hours to complete everything. Though, my route planning really wasn’t the most efficient. Nevertheless, there’s a good amount of new roads to explore here. The added benefit of having the new logging trails is also definitely a different experience that the other states (outside of Oregon) cannot provide.
American Truck Simulator provides Washington wonders
For $12 (and don’t forget $5 for the Forest Machinery pack), I think Washington is a neat little expansion for American Truck Simulator. And its release also marks the completion of an amazing goal for the dev team: They’ve now completed the entire US west coast. Of course, now this begs the question: Where to next? It’s hard to say. It would be nice to see SCS finally let ATS players cross the border into Canada (or Mexico). But the team could also simply start moving eastward, just as it already began to do so with the New Mexico expansion. We’ll have to wait and see. But in the meantime, just relish in the fact you can now drive all the way from the border of Canada to Mexico. Now that‘s a road trip.