Favorite rides to nowhere include Big Lake School to Lake Cavanaugh, Sedro-Woolley to Bellingham via the network of roads between I-5 and Hwy 9, the Skagit Flats North to Samish Island and Edison, South Skagit Hwy to Darrington, and of course, the Flats out to Deception Pass. But Hwy 9 North of Sedro-Woolley is a short cut for Canadian truckers to avoid the scales on I5, and South of Sedro-Woolley it is a collector arterial for the much regretted pop. growth from Boeing employees who have moved up here and commute to Everett. I remember riding to high school every morning on Hwy 9, no problems.
As for the population, there is some resentment by the natives for the newcomers who brought changes. This place was once a sleepy hollow. Its now a bedroom community to Everett and Bellingham, and we are no longer left alone. Where can you buy moonshine now? You are getting the blow back from that (middle finger, etc.). I miss the past, too, but there is not much we can do about it.