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Originally published Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 12:41 PM

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493 cities, 23 lighthouses, 45 dams — and he's still exploring Washington

Traveler is seeing all the sights of Washington state, from 493 cities to 32 passes, 23 lighthouses and more.

The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

What would it be like to visit every city in Washington? For David Williams the answer to this question is no mystery.

As of September 2005, Williams had visited all 493 cities in Washington. During his travels to visit these cities he also decided to drive all 32 mountain passes and ride each of the 34 ferry boats in the state. But the Seattle-area resident didn't stop there; that was only phase one of his travels.

After that first phase, he was hungry for more adventures so he created phase two in which he would attempt to visit the 23 lighthouses, 45 hydroelectric dams, 13 border crossings and 29 tribal casinos of the Evergreen State. Phase two began in January 2006 and took just 28 months to complete.

Phase three is currently in progress as Williams travels the state visiting 123 state parks, 52 heritage markers and 39 county fairs. He aims to complete phase three by the end of 2014.

Williams was born and raised in Washington and continues to find the state fascinating. Traveling to all these places is more than just sightseeing for him, it is also a way to experience history. Williams doesn't just visit the biggest and the best tourist attractions, he wants to see it all.

"Washington state history has kind of been my hobby since high school," Williams said. "It's my home state so I feel connected to it in that way."

The idea to visit these places was born in 1986, though it wasn't until he made a New Year's resolution in 2001 that Williams began his 34,977-mile journey through Washington. A day trip to the coast with his family took Williams through many small towns he had never heard of in 1986. Since then he has been excited to explore the state.

One of his favorite places is the town of Stehekin. It makes the top of his list because of the town's rich history. This remote town at the head of Lake Chelan is accessible only by boat or airplane. By using vacation days and traveling with friends and family, the trips have become part of his lifestyle. Williams said experiencing Washington with people in his life is the best part of the project.

Part of the journey for Williams includes recording his progress. To do this he has created a website ( that documents where and when he goes places, including a picture of him at every site.

"My grandmother always taught me to journal what I do so I don't forget," Williams said.

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