60’s American Northwest Roadtrip

Northwest Roadtrip

Who doesn’t love a roadtrip? We post a lot about Maine. We love living here and appreciate the natural beauty around us every day. But there are many parts of the country that are incredibly beautiful, inspiring and certainly worth being on your list of places to explore and experience. The Northwest is one of those places. In summertime, the wildflowers carpet the landscape and the mountains hold court as they do every season. We’ve seen some classic small town summer parades out west that make you smile wide at the marching bands, majorettes and my favorite… Farm Wife of the Year!  So fuel up the wagon, pack the cooler, music, tent, bug spray and sleeping bags and head west!.

Thank you to LIFE magazine for the post.

“In August 1961, LIFE magazine published an ambitious, 10-page tribute to the American Northwest roadtrip with an unfortunate title: “Where God Sat When He Made America.” The title of the article, LIFE claimed, was inspired by a phrase uttered by an awe-struck visitor to Glacier National Park. Now, there’s nothing unusual, cheesy or suspect about the deep emotions that grand vistas can inspire in most anyone. Teddy Roosevelt, after all, reportedly wept upon first seeing Yosemite Valley.

But the phrase “Where God Sat … ” still feels a little weird. Would God, in anyone’s conception of an omnipotent being, really be seated while creating a landscape as vast, dramatic and humbling as the Tetons. Or Mount Rainier. Or the Oregon coast? Wouldn’t a Supreme Being feel compelled, by the very nature of the occasion, to stand while in the process of bringing forth such beauty?

At any rate — we’ve no such qualms or questions about the brilliant color photographs in this gallery, shot by long-time LIFE staffer J.R. Eyerman: we can state, unequivocally, that they’re wonderful.

When he was a boy, Eyerman took thousands of pictures in Yellowstone, Glacier and other national parks while traveling and camping with his dad. Decades later, the professional photographer spent weeks in late 1960 traveling throughout Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and even as far south as San Francisco for the magazine’s tribute to “the stunning majesty of the Northwest.

We hope you enjoy the view.”

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