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Leavenworth Drive - European Caravan

The West Coast's largest European caravan exceeded 600 cars this year

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The Leavenworth Drive started with a tight-knit group of friends but has grown to epic proportions over the years. Ten years ago, former Northwest tuner shop Evolution Sports and a handful of Volkswagen enthusiasts started the NW Sunday Drive Club. They would cruise the best-paved and most scenic roads in the region. The city of Leavenworth became an ideal location for its Bavarian theme and beautiful setting in the Cascade Mountains.

Now on its eighth official outing, over 600 cars arrived at Bellevue Community College for the start of the event. Travelers from Canada, Oregon and further flooded the parking lots with VWs, Audis, BMWs and others.

The underlying motive for the drive was not only to draw the European car community together, but support the local Children's Hospital as well. Each driver donated $10-50 to the charity, totaling over $6000 this year. The length of the drive is a hair over 110 miles, but with around 600 extra cars on the two-lane highway, traffic gets congested easily. Thankfully, a rest stop at Steven's Pass (4000ft above sea level) regrouped the masses. They were welcomed by staff from H&R Springs who gave away its Ttes (German for bags) to the first 100 cars. Complimentary T-shirts, hats and stickers were inside, while a handful of lucky people got $50 gas cards.

It's one thing to say a group of cars traveled to Leavenworth, but it's another thing entirely when over 600 cars are involved. It's practically an invasion! The town barely had enough parking spaces but participants managed to cram into every crevice.

It was incredible to witness all the modified German cars in one place, especially in picturesque Leavenworth. Once in the city, attendees flooded the restaurants, bars and shops. Summer heat and a tiring drive warranted plenty of bratwursts, ice cream and Hefeweizen. It was a beautiful end to another successful Leavenworth Drive and we look forward to returning next year!

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