About halfway to Highway 12 I stopped in Cle Elum for my morning coffee. I wasn't expecting much out of this little town. It ran nearly parallel to the freeway and seemed very much the small-town, one-main-street kind of place. (There was a taxidermist.) I did, however, manage to find a cute little coffee shop of the mountain-decor variety. There was a nice fireplace inside, cozy furniture and even sun-facing tables out front. I very much wanted to stay and sit in the crisp air and read a little bit with my americano in hand but felt like I was intruding on the little group already gathered out front.
Another great thing about the drive along 12 is the view you get of Mt. Rainier. Thankfully there are plenty of places to pull off and be touristy.